Giving it All Away – Lousy Trouts

Lousy Trouts album review

Milwaukee hipsters rejoice, there’s another new folk/bluegrass act in town. The Lousy Trouts recently debuted with their album, “The Guy Who Gave Everything Away but Sold His Boat”, and it’s a strong showing, that, much like the title, combines grandiosity and grassroots. Within moments of listening one realizes that texture changes define the album, both in each song and especially between the various tracks. This is no surprise when you see that each of the Trouts plays multiple instruments, and that there are four guest musicians adding cello, fiddle, slide guitar and female vocals. The fiddle is always a great addition, especially in the sauntering “Statues.” The cello and occasionally bowed bass add much needed warmth to the otherwise picking heavy mix of guitar and mandolin. Meanwhile, the percussion reigns in the aptly named “Bongo Song.” The most consistent instrument, and the most expertly played, recorded, and mixed, is Alex Heaton’s bass. In another non-surprise, Heaton also assumed recording and mixing duties. When listening to a self-produced album, listen for the instrument that received the most detail, and I guarantee that’s the musician responsible for the full mix, though that’s not necessarily a good or bad thing. The album’s more … Continued

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A Peak at Coaster’s Tattoos

Coaster's Tattoos EP

Sometimes after long, brutal mid-western winters, you need a jolt to remind you that it is possible, though not probable, to feel warm again. Chicago-based Coaster’s forthcoming EP, Tattoos, has come along and provided me with that jolt. Though only 5 tracks long, there is more than enough substance to the EP to make it more than worth a listen.

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A Lot from a Little – Little Trouble Kids’ Haunted Hearts

Little Trouble Kids album review

Who else remembers building a bridge out of toothpicks and glue in middle school shop class? A few days of hard work usually came crashing down after your teacher methodically added a couple pounds. If only you had more time, more glue, more toothpicks, or some actual lumber. Then one kid in the class manages to get his bridge to hold all of the weights at your instructor’s disposal. Haunted Hearts by Little Trouble Kids is that overachieving kid.

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The Peaks and Valley’s of Pittsburgh’s Action Camp

Action Camp - Dark Electro Pop,

Because I spend most of my day at a computer, I spend a lot of time wondering what to listen to next. Despite the infinite world of Pandora, Spotify, YouTube, and my own library, I still get stuck in ruts of listening to the same stuff over and over. Thus, when I get wind of something new coming along, it’s an absolute delight to take some time with fresh sounds. This last week, that new thing was Pittsburgh’s dark electro-pop duo, Action Camp‘s forthcoming LP, PA. While that last sentence may have read like a bad business presentation with too many acronyms, it’s because the LP is simply titled and written about their home state. As Ivan, a long-time Pennsylvania native, will tell you, it’s a gorgeous but occasionally depressing state, and the tone and subject matter of the LP reflects that perfectly. With songs about various infamous disasters such as the Centralia Mine Fire and the Johnstown Flood, and recurring themes about earth and industry, it’s a delightfully dark experience.

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Sharing and Reviewing My Favorite Unknown Album

The Whole Fantastic World - Chime

Big news! My go-to “I bet you’ve never heard of this” album, no longer available in stores and produced before the days of Bandcamp, is now available on YouTube. It looks like it was actually uploaded about a year ago, but I just discovered it and compiled it into a playlist. I absolutely adore this album. It’s a rare confluence of raw edge, intelligent songwriting, and intriguing lyrics delivered by a solid three-piece. At only 8 songs at about 5 minutes each, it’s a pretty quick listen, so get listening while you read why I love it so much. The Whole Fantastic World – Chime Here’s to Looking Up Your Old Address: Like a few others tracks on this record, this song is about death. As the melody weaves in between the choppy guitar, smooth synths, and an active bassline, we learn about a girl named Dreary’s last night, concluding with “As she made her way out of the bank, To see a sea of Turin’s finest steady their aim, With one shot. Her last night.” This song sets up the tone for the rest of the record with active instrumental interludes in between many of the verses. We’ve Got … Continued

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David Wax Museum: Everything is Saved

Everything Is Saved - David Wax Museum

It was almost two years ago to the day that my parents told me about a band that I HAD to see, David Wax Museum. For various reasons I missed their shows when they were near. I finally saw them at Linneman’s Riverwest Inn and was blow away. I have only seen them once since and was equally impressed. That is the show I picked up Everything is Saved. I think it is fitting that this will be my first true album review on Those Who Dig.

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Julian Lage and Chris Eldridge: Close To Picture EP

The Close To Picture EP was released recently on August 6, 2013. The responsible parties are Julian Lage and Chris Eldridge who is best known for his work with the prolific Punch Brothers. Close To Picture is a four track EP available to own at only four dollars. It is a small collection of thought provoking works for acoustic guitar. The melodies and compositional forms are engaging, and the performances are highly virtuosic. Seldom do guitar players in this medium perform with this high of a sense of shape, tone, musicality, and composition. In their own words, "With Lage’s background in modern jazz and new music, and Eldridge’s deep relationship with bluegrass as well as his being a member of the widely acclaimed band, Punch Brothers, this duo lives at the nexus of improvisation, spontaneous composition, and virtuosic refinement, all performed on their respective 1939 Martin guitars."

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Pay The Devil: Money For Old Rope EP

Since 2011, friends of the Dig Pay The Devil have worked to become a regular component of the Milwaukee Wisconsin music scene. The four piece band is comprised of Ivan Eisenberg on banjo, harmonica, and vocals, Ivan Wayne Baker III on guitar, and vocals, Matt Gibbons on mandolin, and vocals, and finally Kent Heberling on spoons, kick drum, and snare. Their newest EP is entitled Money For Old Rope and was released this week on August 6, 2013. True to their nature, it is a mix of Bluegrass, Americana, and  new compositions which speak to the audience through the filter of traditional music.

Read on for my complete thoughts. You dig?

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Jacob Miller and the Bridge City Crooners

Hello Dig Nation, and good morning from the West Coast in beautiful Portland Oregon. It feels good to be back after taking some time off to pack up my life and schlep my humble belongings across this big nation of ours. Since we last convened I ate cheese and drank beer in Milwaukee WI, hiked the flatirons in Boulder CO, hung with some old school lounge lizards in Las Vegas NV, dipped my toes in the stoic waters that run through Yosemite National Park, ran along the coast line in the pseudo-summer that is San Francisco in June, and high fived giant Redwood trees on northbound highway 101 all the way up the California coast before arriving at my new home in Portland. Now that it's all said in done I can boast that I saw 21 of the continental 48 states in under two months and I'm pleased to say that taking in American all at once like that truly is everything Jack Kerouac promised me it would be. Regardless, the blogosphere waits for no man and there is business to attend to so let's get back to work.

Jacob Miller and the Bridge City Crooners have been a recent staple of the PDX music scene and were my first order of business in live music here. I had the pleasure of taking in the ragtime revival group at the Portland International Beer Fest over the weekend where they played not one, but two sets over the course of the weekend long party in the Pearl Disctrict. It was also a landmark weekend for Jacob Miller and the fellas because they celebrated the release of their first full length album on Friday July 19th. You can check it out and get my complete thoughts on their old-timey opus by clicking the Read On link below. You dig?

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