Abandon Jalopy sneak preview

Blind Melon bassist Brad Smith will release his second album, Death & Joy, under the name Abandon Jalopy in February. The sophomore release comes more than 10 years after Smith released Mercy and it features guest appearances by fellow Melon members Rogers Stevens and Christopher Thorn as well as Chris Shinn, who sang in Unified Theory, a band featuring Smith and Thorn. Shannon Hoon’s daughter, Nico, also makes an appearance on the forthcoming release (watch Nico sing “Change” with Blind Melon).

Smith says that Death & Joy will get a vinyl release first (vinyl purchase will come with a download code) followed by a digital and CD release. You can get a sneak preview of the music in this video that Smith posted to YouTube.

Do you know Awolnation?

Never heard of this band until last week when Blind Melon’s guitarist Christopher Thorn posted on Facebook that he’ll be spending the summer on the road as a member of Awolnation. Turns out that the music isn’t at all something I’d expect Thorn to be involved with. Techno-soul is maybe the best way to describe it though Megalithic Symphony is a pretty diverse – and danceable – affair. Fans of MGMT (“People”, “Jump on My Shoulders”), The Loyal Divide (“Guilty Filthy Soul”) and TV on the Radio (“Burn it Down”, “Sail”) will most likely find a few songs to their liking and, for some reason, most of the tracks remind me of The New Radicals, who you might remember from their sole hit, “You Get What You Give”.

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Band(camp) of the Week: The Nico Blues

These Jersey guys first came to my attention when they told The Aquarian Weekly that they were named after Shannon Hoon’s daughter. While I was expecting to hear a Blind Melon tribute band, I was pleasantly surprised to find a mixed bag of indie rock sounds on The Nico Blues “Blame the Boredom, Blame the Basements” and if there’s a Blind Melon influence in the music, I can’t easily detect it.

Then again, I’m not sure I agree with the bands that The Nico Blues have been compared to: Fugazi,Pavement, The Grateful Dead and the Smashing Pumpkins. The Nico Blues don’t sound like a punk band, a hippie/jam band, or an egotistical arena-rock band. They also don’t sound like The Blood Brothers although they are times that the vocals share some similarity between the two bands. Whatever it is they sound like, I’m digging it.

Recommended for fans of: The Blood Brothers, Modest Mouse, Pavement, Free Diamonds, Toys That Kill