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There's no fooling around on Fool's self-titled debut

Fool. That's a band name I can get behind. It's simple, not too ornate...it just seems like it would look good on a poster, you know?  But maybe I'm fixating on the wrong thing, because it turns out these guys are every bit as good at making music as they are naming bands. Fool's debut is psychedelic in a way that said descriptor isn't used all too often now. It isn't grimy, it isn't fuzzy, it isn't a bit salty from all the surf that frequently gets mixed in, but is instead more akin to The Zombies, Love, or—take note, as this is the one-in-a-hundred time I use this comparison as a good thing—The Grateful Dead. Whatever it is, really, it's one of the more unique releases from Nashville in a while. -Austin Phy  


Mickee Poole's "You're OK" is better than okay

 You're OK is something like the soundtrack to a high school prom in an alternate reality where the Cold War heated up and everybody ended up all melted and a little off-center. There's no anger, no aggression, just a cool, goopy go-with-the-flow relaxation the whole way through. It's lo-fi goodness as good as it gets, weird but not weird just to be weird, and uncomfortable but far from incomprehensible. There are moments of beauty, moments of breaking point tension, and an 8-minute slow burner that closes it all out with a sense of finality. Check out whatever kind of strange brew Mickee Poole's got going below. There's a solid chance you'll like it. -Austin Phy


The Daybreaks' "Cruel Summer" cover is an icy cold summertime treat

Summer isn't all sunshine and icy drinks with fruit in them. No matter what The Beach Boys tried to tell you, it's a season for loss as much as any other. A song like "Cruel Summer" works at taking a different approach to an overplayed trope, and the cover from The Daybreaks' camp pulls double duty. Fully indulging in the bleak sorrow suggested in the composition of the 1980s original, it's clearly a well thought out effort that doesn't take the gimmicky style-swap change of some covers or the miserably by-the-numbers approach of many others, but instead explores the intent of the original in a meaningful way and adds to what was already present. This version, held aloft by a restrained instrumentation and hauntingly cool harmonies, is like a nice bit of shade from the heat. If you want to get into the summer spirit but aren't sold on the idea of the season as a three month party, check out the video below. -Austin Phy


Cordovas debut is a classic and a sign of things to come

I, for one, am thrilled that we're all coming around to recognize that "dad rock" doesn't have to be a snarky ol' put-down. Some folks were way ahead of the curve on that, though. Take for example Cordovas, whose 2012 debut is proudly dad rock as hell and sticks the landing. Between the Eagles-like harmonies and some heavy touches of The Band, the sound is a little like the greatest supergroup that never existed—classic, but a totally unique take on a sound. This album's a little on the old side but just now coming to my attention as the guys are gearing up for some extensive touring and new recordings due out before all too long. They'll be on the road for a little while after some recent appearances around town, but you can catch them in September at Americana Fest alongside some fresh-faced up-and-comers with names like John Prine and Steve Earle. -Austin Phy


Rich Ruth explores with refreshing curiosity on "Thruster"

Generally uneasy and slyly experimental, when Rich Ruth's Thruster settles down for a moment, it likes to ease into a minimal funky groove like if Parliament had temporarily replaced George Clinton with a Gameboy. But that's only one sound of many to be found here—there's off-kilter folk, off-kilter new wave, off-kilter world influences, and other assorted sounds that generally leave the kilter at home, whatever that is in the first place. It's an enjoyable listen all the way through, sparse but never short on new ideas, and you can give it a listen below. -Austin Phy


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