Hell’s Ditch – The Likes of Us
It’s ironic and more than a little difficult to accept, but the old cliche about everyone, eventually, turning into a version of their parents is true for rock n’ roll as well. Back when Springsteen and Mellencamp in the U.S., and others like them elsewhere, were making populist anthems, punk groups would go screaming into any direction other than that.
However, true grit wins in the end. Springsteen was adopted by bands like Against Me! And the Gaslight Anthem, who made some of the finest records of the early 2000s. Even emo had a sniff of the Jersey boardwalk melodrama.
Hell’s Ditch are drinking from the same well. The likes of us sounds like a tune written on acoustic guitar and one that, after numerous electrified performances, could return to its initial incarnation at any time. It’s honest, heartfelt, and shows a working-class tenderness that old-emos, like myself, will never tire of hearing.
Brooks Hudgins – Only Fans
With artwork depicting smiling like he’s just won a television set, and a voice that sounds like Mark Lanegan back off the wagon, Brooks Hudgins is quite a mess of contradictions as exhibited on recent single Only Fans. The single’s named after the website that’s done more for the pornography industry than Sarah Palin’s bid to become Vice-President of the U.S.A.
There’s also a surf guitar solo that gets involved somewhere in the middle of the tune, further adding to the mystery of this man’s work. A self-anointed rock n’ roll svengali, or a drunken poet unable to complete his sentences, let alone his stories?
You’ll just have to decide for yourself. One’s thing is for sure. From the outside looking in, Only Fans sounds mighty exciting. This could be the album where Steely Dan lost their way and blew all of their money in Amsterdam that one time.