Friday, November 1, 2019

Futureman Releases from The Hangabouts and The Vapour Trails

Single / Album Reviews

By Henry Lipput

The Michigan-based Futureman Records is run by the lovely and talented Keith Klingensmith. In addition to releasing his own collections on Bandcamp, he's one of the three members of the most excellent power pop band The Legal Matters, whose 2016 album Conrad was my favorite album from that year.

Futureman has also released some other super albums in recent years including those from Chris Richards and the Subtractions, Gretchen's Wheel, and The Hangabouts. Last year, Keith put together the amazing Altered Beast, a tribute to Matthew Sweet that featured covers from those artists as well as contributions from members of The Legal Matters. And another tribute album, this time for XTC, is in the works.

Recent releases from Futureman include a digital single from The Hangabouts and the debut album from The Vapour Trails.

"Who Wants Cilla?" b/w "Mrs. Greene," The Hangabouts, 2019

The Hangabouts' double-A side digital single "Who Wants Cilla?" and "Mrs. Greene" is the first collaboration between Futureman Records and Big Stir Records.

The Hangabouts are a wonderful power pop collective from the Detroit area and are comprised of John Lowry, Gregory Addington, and Chip Saam. Their 2017 album Kits & Cats and Saxon Wives was one of the best albums from that year. The band's new single is their first release since then.

Cilla Black was a former coat-check girl at the Cavern Club who later had a career as a singer of ballads many of which were written by Paul McCartney. "Who Want's Cilla?," is both a musical question as well as the answer in a love-letter and tribute to her. It's a marvelous power pop tune about listening to her singles on headphones with her voice "stuck between my ears."

"Mrs. Greene" is a country-rock throwback with it's Carl Perkins-like guitar solo (or maybe even George Harrison's on "Honey Don't"). The song is also reminiscent of Simon & Garfunkel's "Mrs. Robinson" with the lyrics "Have you seen Mrs. Greene when she was young / When she was so much fun."

"Who Wants Cilla?" b/w "Mrs. Greene" is out now on Futureman Records and Big Stir Records.

See You In The Next World, The Vapour Trails, 2019

If you're like me and don't spend the time that you should listening to an entire album but instead the first few tracks, then you're really missing out on The Vapour Trails' debut album See You In The Next World.

The first three songs, "Sonic Wave," "On A Nearby Bay," and "The Inner Truth" are well-made Byrds-influenced numbers and set the stage for the treasures that follow.

The Vapour Trails are a five-piece outfit from Scotland that released the single "Godspeed It" and "The Inner Truth" earlier this year. See You In The Next World contains both of these tracks as well as another ten songs written by Scott and Kevin Robertson who are also two of the three singers, along with Nicholas Mackie, in the band.

"Drag It Around" is folk-rock in Nick Drake's "Hazey Jane" mode. "Gently Swaying" brings out the band's jangle and may remind you of Teenage Fanclub, another band from Scotland.

It's no surprise that "Godspeed It" was The Vapour Trails' first single because it comes on full force and the tune rocks with the excellent bass and drum work of Andrew Crossan and Kenny Munro. And "Written In the Breeze," a song I'm really liking a lot, is a slower number with a trademark Roger McGuinn Rickenbacker-style lead guitar, a brilliant tune, and very cool vocals.

See You In The Next World is out now on Futureman Records.

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