My boyhood chum Paul Simcoe emailed me last week to sing the praises of the new Gordon Gano and the Ryans album Under the Sun. Paul and I grew up together, raised on the Violent Femmes (Gano's earlier band), and now that Paul's running Toronto's most excellent Criminal Records, he's a real treasure-house of kick-ass music suggestions.
Though the album isn't due out until Sept 1, Yep Roc, Gano's label, was kind enough to send me the album in MP3 form, and I've been seriously rocking to it ever since. It reminds me most of the Violent Femmes' underrated third album, The Blind Leading the Naked, with its mix of jangly, upbeat pop songs, semi-serious religious themes, and a few slow numbers that are more reminiscent of the track Good Feelings from the Femmes' eponymous debut album.
My standouts from this disc are Man in the Sand, Oholah Oholibah, Red, and Wave and Water, whose video was just released on YouTube (see above).
I don't usually review stuff far in advance of release date, but Under the Sun was worth jumping the gun for; I've scheduled this post to run again at the beginning of September to remind you that the disc is out.