As always, David Lowery has a busy year planned. Cracker is hard at work on its new album, “Sunrise in the Land of Milk and Honey,” tentatively set for release in May. It's been billed as the band's most punk record to date; judge for yourself by watching the sneak preview at www.crackersoul.com. In addition to touring with Cracker, Lowery will play a few dates with the re-formed Camper Van Beethoven, and his new solo record is also in the works.
Alison Self proves that all pop songs can be stripped down to one ukulele and one sweet voice. She covers everyone from Bessie Smith to Saves the Day, and sometimes collaborates with upright bassist Nathiel Benton from High Street Lowlifes and accordionist Laney Sullivan as Arise, Sweet Donkey. They just released a new EP and will play the Flying Brick Library in Oregon Hill on March 13 and Nara Sushi on March 23, before Self leaves on a solo East Coast tour with Pittsburgh's Elliott Sussman.
Richmond label Molsook Records awakens from a 13-month slumber with the grungy low-end sounds of FOOD. This five-year-old band is the musical culmination of people from groups such as Churl, Stop It! and Homemade Knives. It just released its new self-titled record, recorded by Steve Roche at Permanent Hearing Damage.
Tom McCormack has played with Carbon Leaf, Bitterlily and Meanflower. These days, he has his own gig with the Tom McCormack Band. It recently finished recording an EP entitled “Anxieties and Accomplishments,” which is McCormack's first recording in 12 years. He also had a little help from Carbon Leaf bandmates Carter Gravatt and Jordan Medas, as well as Stewart Myers and Brian Jones of Agents of Good Roots and singer and songwriter Regan.
On the heels of his solo release “The Hours and the Days” on Triple Stamp Records, singer-songwriter Jonathan Vassar has begun work on “The Fire Next Time.” This EP will feature the delicate melodies of his live band, the Speckled Bird, consisting of Chris Edwards on banjo, mandolin and electric guitar, and Antonia Fisher-Duke on accordion and glockenspiel.
David Shultz has revealed that he's working on the anticipated follow-up to “Sinner's Gold.” The full-length, due out this summer, is being produced by Sam Kassirer (Josh Ritter, Langhorne Slim) and engineered by Brandon Eggleston (Mountain Goats, Josh Ritter).
After the amazing Inquisition and Ann Beretta reunions, Rob Huddleston was able to finish up the long-awaited new LP from his Foundation Band. Although it's more roots-rock than hardcore punk, all of his heartfelt energy is still there in the 12 acoustic-based tracks on “Chimborazo.” Before appearances at Macrock and select dates of the Vans Warped Tour, the Foundation Band will play its CD release March 27 at the Canal Club with Brett Adams of the Riot Before. Richmond will earn even more overseas respect when the band does a short European tour in May. — Compiled by Mike Rutz of “Activate!” on 97.3 and Jay Smack of “Studio B” on 102.1