Noise 

My Pal Ghosty
My Pal Ghosty
self-released

My Pal Ghosty is a local gem. It’s not that three-chord punk songs clocking in at about a minute are a new phenomenon, nor is it surprising to find political lyrics engaged with galloping drums and speedy strumming. The refreshing components of this eponymous debut are the tossed-off dirty rock asides, the threads of humor and a good deal of earnestness.

Each band member contributes to the penning of lyrics, which might explain the variation in subject matter. “Zombie Stomp” is a social commentary on apathy all in the guise of classic garage rock. “Old Mils” is a gritty lament a la The Bruisers about a love/hate relationship with drinking. They sing about the book Geek Love, scream about loss of open space and make playful jabs at their bassist for being so punk. The deliciously funny and contagious track “Dinner with Vincent Price” is inspired by the ghoulish legend’s predilection for sharing recipes.

Like all good punk bands, My Pal Ghosty makes no apologies for its social critique, but they charmingly arm themselves with sincerity rather than self-righteousness. It’s a shame the guys disbanded just as they released the album. (Erika Fredrickson)

Moot Davis
Moot Davis
Little Dog Records

Between his youth in New Jersey and recording his debut album in Los Angeles, Moot Davis spent a little time in Nashville. Luckily, he didn’t spend long enough there to get any of that icky “Trashville” sound on him. Moot remained honky-tonk to the core.

With the help of Pete Anderson (Dwight Yoakam, et al) on guitar and in the producer’s chair, Moot’s first album two-steps directly into the hearts of listeners.

All songs on the album are original and deal with the hard-drinking, broken-hearted, road-weary territory that comes with Moot’s chosen genre. Were Davis any less of a songwriter, this material might slip into parody of classic country, but he populates the smoky bars of his songs with such accurate details that the listener may want to give him a hug and then another Budweiser in hopes that he’ll feel better, but keep singing. Moot’s earnest vocal delivery is informed by George Jones and Johnny Cash, but comes with energy similar to Hank Sr. With Moot, simply grab a partner, cut a rug and don’t forget to tip your bartender. (Caroline Keys)

Moot Davis and The Cool Deal play Sean Kelly’s Thursday, Dec. 8, at 9:30 PM. Free.

Sol’ Jibe
Marinero
Bok Choy Productions

Members of Sol’ Jibe have crossed oceans to chase down their musical influences. A few years ago the band’s Flamenco guitarist Milton Marcos and violinist Tim Snider ventured into the Spanish caves of Sacromonte, a budding artist community carved out centuries earlier by gypsies. Marcos and Snider ended up studying Flamenco (a marriage of gypsy and Arabic music) with the caves’ inhabitants and then returned to their hometown of Reno, Nev., with inspiration for what would become Sol’ Jibe.

Marinero, the sophomore release from this four-headed world-music monster, features all original material with more soul than you’d think a Reno-based band could pull off. Mostly instrumental, these guys pack the notes in, but never fall into self-indulgent noodling—each melody is well thought out and precisely delivered. For example, soprano sax and violin often share the melody line, creating a sound reminiscent of the Flecktones or Dave Matthews Band. Despite the fact that the album was recorded live, there’s nary a stray note or missed chord; the band’s live musicianship is pretty much flawless.

From Spanish caves to Nevada casinos and beyond, Sol’ Jibe is a band to watch. (Caroline Keys)

Sol’ Jibe plays Flanagan’s Central Station in Whitefish Wed., Dec. 7, at 9 PM, and in Missoula at the Top Hat Thur., Dec. 8, at 10 PM. Cover TBA for both shows.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
self-released

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah open their self-titled debut album with “Clap Your Hands!”—an intriguing piece that could easily have been chipped from the darkly carnival-esque brain of Tom Waits, especially because it evokes “The Black Rider.”

It’s an odd beginning for an album that ends up sounding more like the Talking Heads than anything else. Not that the Brooklyn-based band is completely derivative, it’s just that the songs feel so familiar at times, even conjuring Bob Dylan (is it the harmonica?) and early U2. Still, there’s a unique tenor that rises from the ashes of these borrowed sounds, and lead vocalist Alec Ounsworth and his sometimes grating, sometimes heart-lifting voice injects personality into these bouncing tunes that make Clap Your Hands Say Yeah feel like their own entity.

The chiming chords and steady disco beats of “The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth” make you want to jog in place with sweaty exuberance. “In This Home on Ice” features the warm glow of fuzzed-out guitars and reveals vocals carefully drawn out and measured like a bow across strings.

It’s an album that is sometimes gripping and sometimes bland, but it does hint at a promise of more innovation to come. (Erika Fredrickson)

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