DISClaimer Single Reviews (5/2/12)

(L-R): Ice Cream Sundae, Jack White

It looks like Nashville is going to continue to rule the top of the pop album charts, with Jack White predicted to replace Lionel Ritchie at No. 1 next week in the U.S. and knocking even Adele from that perch in the U.K.

Jack’s Third Man Records label is in the spotlight of this week’s pop/rock “DisClaimer” column. His debut solo disc is here, as are such company products as Jeff the Brotherhood and Karen Elson. Naturally, all of them are available on vinyl.

As good as they are, they have plenty of competition from such Music City pop-rockers as Dave Barnes, Etta Britt and our DisCovery Award winning Ice Cream Sundae.

But as for Disc of the Day? That one has to belong to Jack White alone.

ICE CREAM SUNDAE/Video Games
Writer: Zak Monnet; Producer: Bryan Clark; Publisher: none listed; Rainfeather (track) (www.icecreamsundaemusic.com)
—Ice Cream Sundae is singer-songwriter and Belmont grad Zak Monnet, aided and produced by his former college professor Bryan Clark. This track from their debut We’re Just As Sweet CD is a frothy, electro-pop chamber tune featuring synth blurps, twizzles, strings and wooshes, plus percussion hiccups and an airy, wafting tenor vocal that pleads to be allowed to play, yes, video games. Definitely different.

DAVE BARNES/Mine to Love
Writer: Dave Barnes; Producer: John Fields & Dave Barnes; Publisher: No Gang/Razor & Tie, ASCAP; Razor & Tie (track) (www.davebarnes.com)
—Fresh from his across-the-board success with “God Gave Me You,” Barnes returns with a new collection titled Stories to Tell. Its beautifully melodic lead-off single finds his engaging, earnest tenor soaring above a churning, rhythmic track with insistent, jangling guitar work, softly sighing strings and a percussive pulse that just doesn’t quit. If this doesn’t make your heart beat a little faster, you haven’t got one.

RON BRUNK/Dance Floor
Writer: Ron Brunk; Producer: Paul Allen; Publisher: Ugly Brunk Dog, no performance rights listed; RB (track) (www.ronbrunk.com)
—This veteran Nashvillian returns with a 13-tune batch called Funk the Brunk. He exhorts listeners to “let it burn” out on the dance floor while an electric guitar grinds out the repeated riff and electronic beats propel the track. It’s maniacally repetitive but somehow weirdly likable.

JACK WHITE/Sixteen Saltines
Writer: Jack White; Producer: Jack White III; Publisher: Third String Tunes, BMI; Third Man  (www.jackwhiteIII.com)
—Yes, we loved The White Stripes, The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather, but what we’ve wanted all along is a Jack White solo album. Now we have Blunderbuss, and lo-and-behold, it’s a chart-topping hit. Some are saying that Nashville is rubbing off on White via his incorporation of Fats Kaplan’s fiddle and steel into some of its tracks. But this kick-off single (available as a 45 rpm, just as the album is available on vinyl) rocks with as much snark as anything he’s ever recorded. Plus, it’s short and snotty, like a Ramones tune. There are actually two singles available from the new collection. The other is the haunting, minor-key “Love Interruption,” featuring Ruby Amanfu’s harmony singing.

CHRISTINA RECKARD & RAUL MALO/Each Other
Writer: Alan Miller/Raul Malo; Producer: Eddie Perez & Christina Reckard; Publisher: EMI Blackwood/Toto Tunes/Winning Circle, no performance rights listed; Velvet Fusion (track) (www.christinareckard.com)
—Christina is a pop-Latin Nashville singer and dancer who puts on quite a show, I am told. Her CD is titled Kaleidoscope. The esteemed Mr. Malo offers both his vocal and composing talents on this steamy slow samba while trumpets and guitars trill along. Elsewhere on the set, the salsa beats are even more throbbing and frenetic. Music City’s diversity rules!

ETTA BRITT/Dog Wants In
Writer: Don Von Tress/John Brannen; Producer: Bob Britt; Publisher: War Pony/Savannah Son/Harry Barker, BMI/SESAC; Wrinkled (track) (www.ettabritt.com)
—Etta and her rock-guitarist hubby Bob have been heating up Nashville nightspots for years, both with her solo shows and her gigs with fellow Kentucky Thunder members Vickie Carrico, Sheila Lawrence and Jonell Mosser. Her new solo CD is Out of the Shadows. This single from it perfectly captures her blue-eyed, soul-sister style. “Out of the shadows,” my eye: This is straight outta the swamp. The album’s cast includes not only Mosser, Lawrence and Carrico, but Delbert McClinton, Bekka Bramlett, The McCrary Sisters, Jimmy Hall, Scat Springs, John Jarvis, Chad Cromwell and Tom Bukovac. Yowsah.

JEFF THE BROTHERHOOD/Whatever I Want
Writer: Jake Orrall/Jammin Orrall; Producer: Jack White III; Publisher: Infinity Cat/Automatic Bzooty/Otissery, ASCAP; Third Man (www.thirdmanrecords.com)
—After years of making their mark on the Nashville pop/rock scene on their own Infinity Cat imprint, the alt-rock Orrall brothers have been taken on by Jack White’s Third Man label. Jeff the Brotherhood’s Jack-produced single is a minimalist, buzzy  guitar grinder with the act’s typically quirky lyrics and shifting tempi.

ERISA REI/Black Ball
Writer: Erisa Rei Kopp; Producer: Mike Kyle, Neil Kyle & Trey Gray; Publisher: Pesky Fly, no performance rights listed; Pesky Fly (track) (www.erisareimusic.com)
—Erisa is showcasing her new CD on Saturday at 5 p.m. at the Hard Rock Cafe. Its title tune is a dark thumper that spotlights her throaty lower register as well as her piercing upper tones. Passionate sounding.

KAREN ELSON/Vicious
Writer: Lou Reed; Producer: Jack White III; Publisher: Spirit One/Oakfield Avenue, no performance rights listed; Third Man (www.karenelson.com)
—Jack produced a surprisingly fine LP called The Ghost Who Walks for his fashion-model-turned-songwriter wife in 2010. Now amicably divorced, the couple re-teamed for this superbly rocking single as well. The band cooks with gas, and Karen has a born-to-rock voice full of attitude, elan and natural rhythm. Buy this at once at the Third Man Record Shop (623 7th Avenue South, behind the Union Mission). While you’re there, check out the label’s fine offerings by everyone from The Greenhornes and The Black Belles to Wanda Jackson and Jerry Lee Lewis.

JAS PATRICK/I Know
Writer: Jas Patrick; Producer: Jas Patrick; Publisher: Tiny Lion, BMI; Tiny Lion (track) (www.jaspatrick.com)
—This Nashvillian’s five-song EP is titled Tributaries. It seems to be a real d.i.y. affair, since he writes, sings, produces and plays drums, guitar and keyboards on it. The lead-off track features a Winwood-type, blue-eyed-soul vocal on a cool, catchy, pop/rock tune. It manages to be simultaneously relaxed and almost jazzy, yet urgent and forceful. Promising.

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Robert K. Oermann is a longtime contributor to MusicRow. He is a respected music critic, author and historian.

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