Under The Radar: Fraser A. Gorman & Mail The Horse

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In our never-ending quest to dig up great bands whose tickets cost less than a corned beef sandwich at your local deli, we bring you the premiere edition of Under The Radar. The idea behind this column is to form a lasting relationship with artists we believe to have bright futures and stick with them as they develop and grow. In this edition, we have some really cool new music, so take a sec, learn a bit about the musicians and see what you think of these two under-the-radar acts that released albums last year that you may have missed …

Fraser A. Gorman

With all the accolades and adoration that Courtney Barnett has received in the last year-plus you would have thought that every music publication under the sun would have been all over any record coming out of a Australia, especially one from someone that Barnett put out on her own label Milk! Records. Somehow though, Slow Gum, the impressive debut album from singer-songwriter Fraser A. Gorman managed to fly under-the-radar in 2015. Maybe it was that people were expecting something more along the lines of Barnett’s Nirvana-influenced rock, instead of an album full of hook-friendly modern Americana.

Much like his pal Barnett, the 24-year-old, who has an uncanny resemblance to a certain iconic folk singer replete with an unruly coif of wiry hair, writes tunes that also trade in the seemingly mundane tales of everyday life. Drawing influence not only from the likes of the obvious – Dylan, Donovan, but also mid-70s David Bowie and Lou Reed, along with a heaping spoonful of Gold-era Ryan Adams and the folk-pop of fellow countryman Ben Lee. Slow Gum is chocked full of instantly likeable ear-wormy tunes that blends Gorman’s country-tinged rock with swells of organ and gospel-tinged backing vocals.

Mail The Horse

In some alternate universe during The Rolling Stones’ infamous recording sessions for Exile on Main Street, Gram Parsons was invited to join the band instead of being not so politely asked to take a hike for being (of all things) a bad influence on Keith Richards. The legendary sessions did lead to what many consider to be one of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll albums of all, but Parsons musical influence on Keith Richards during that time has always been a source of debate. The results of what could have been likely may have sounded something like Planet Gates the third studio album from Mail the Horse.

The five-piece Brooklyn-via-New Hampshire band clearly have spent considerable time digesting not only the Stones’ masterpiece, but also the work of the Cosmic American Music pioneer. The band’s latest is a heady musical stew of ramshackle barroom rock and psychedelic country mixed with elements of folk, gospel, soul and blues. The album is full of what the bands describe as “shimmering booze-soaked Grunge Gospel/Country Blues.” Tunes like “Wasted Sex” and “Flowers, Keys & Gasoline,” come off like spiritual cousins to some combination of “Torn & Frayed” and “Loving Cup,” while songs like “Holy Motel Magic” and “Oh, Jamie” nod to their contemporary influences sounding as if they could be lost tracks from an EP The Strokes meant to put out shortly after Is This It.

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