Many new musicians can remind you of older (and sometimes more famous) ones. Three years ago, I’d written about the Rhode Island-based alternative folk and blues band, Deer Tick, and mentioned how uncannily Bob Dylanesque their lead singer, John McCauley sounds—so much so that a colleague after hearing them play even dubbed him ‘Baby Dylan’. But they’re not the only ones. Whenever I hear New Jersey’s rockers, The Gaslight Anthem, I’m reminded of Bruce Springsteen—and, in fact, that association is not without basis: The Gaslight Anthem are quite heavily influenced by The Boss; they’ve opened for him; and he’s played with them. More recently, I heard Charles Bradley who is known as ‘The Screaming Eagle of Soul’ and at 64 has just one album (No Time For Dreaming) to his credit. Bradley has his own style of singing funk, soul and R&B tunes but you can also distinctively discern strong influences of two legends, the late James Brown and the late Otis Redding. Then I read that Bradley began his career as a James Brown mimicker on stage before he found his own groove.
It is not easy to get into an album by Deerhunter. The Atlanta (Georgia, US) based quartet has been variously described as being purveyors of experimental rock or of post-punk or even noise rock. I prefer what Deerhunter’s frontman Bradford Cox calls their music – ambient punk. Cox is six-foot-four and very thin and has what is known as Marfan’s Syndrome, a genetic disorder of the connective tissue (and which I read somewhere that Joey Ramone also had). The disorder can make limbs and fingers very long and thin. That gives Cox a unique stage presence that is made all the more weird when he wears sun-dresses or vintage gowns and has fake blood on his face. Add his quirky vocals and things can get weirder during Deerhunter’s rather intense live gigs. Read more