My most recent Best of What’s New installment featured songs from the latest albums by The Nude Party and The War And Treaty. Typically, the picks for my weekly new music revues are informed by sampling just a few tunes from each album. Oftentimes, it’s only after these posts have been published that I find an opportunity to listen to the albums more closely.
Lately, I’ve realized more than once that some of these new releases clearly would deserve dedicated reviews. Since I rarely have the time to do that, I’ve decided to introduce The Follow-Up. The idea is to pair two albums I first highlighted in Best of What’s New and do abbreviated reviews of each in one post. Since much of the blog’s content already revolves around weekly features, I currently envisage publishing The Follow-Up on an irregular basis.
The Nude Party – Rides On
Rides On is the fourth studio album by The Nude Party, a band from North Carolina with a cool retro ’60s style sound. They were formed in 2012 by Patton Magee (lead vocals, guitar, harmonica), Shaun Couture (guitar, vocals), Don Merrill (piano, vocals), Alexander Castillo (bass, vocals), Austin Brose (percussion, vocals) and Connor Mikita (drums), who at the time were freshmen at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C. At the end of their freshman year, they all moved together to a house outside of town and learned how to play their instruments.
The group quickly gained a following in Boone where they oftentimes performed in the nude at a local party venue. They became known as “the naked party band,” which in turn inspired their name The Nude Party. In 2014, they met Oakley Munson, the drummer of garage rock band Black Lips, who recorded their debut EP Hot Tub EP, released in early 2016. By early 2018, The Nude Party had secured a deal with New West Records, which was followed by their eponymous debut album in July 2018. Fast forward to March 10, 2023 and Rides On.
Since I just covered the excellent opener Word Gets Around in Best of What’s New, I’m skipping it here and go right to the next track, Hard Times (All Around). Like other tunes on the album, it’s credited to the band. I can hear some Rolling Stones in here. Apple Music characterizes The Nude Party’s music as “frat rock of the ’60s as well as the Velvet Underground.” I guess in some of the tunes I can detect traces of the latter as well.
Here’s another sample: Cherry Red Boots. I love the great guitar sound on this one. Check it out!
Other tunes on the album I dig in particular include Hey Monet, Polly Anne, Ride On and Somebody Tryin’ to Hoodoo Me. Frankly, I also could have called out any of the other tracks. I will say there isn’t a lot of musical variety but since the band’s style is right up my alley, I don’t mind! If you’re into ’60s rock music, you should give The Nude Party a spin. Here’s a Spotify link to the album:
The War And Treaty – Lover’s Game
The War And Treaty is the amazing husband and wife duo of Michael Trotter Jr. and Tanya Trotter (born Tanya Blount). From their website: Their name alone conjures images of struggle. Of epic conflict, sacrifice and the eventual birth of a lasting peace. For UMG Nashville’s The War And Treaty, that struggle is found within love itself…Founded in Michigan in 2014, hints of that truth have always been present…Wielding a sound which cuts through the whole of Southern music tradition – from blues, soul and R&B, to gospel, country, folk and rock – the duo has dominated stages across the globe, headlining their own shows and opening for a diverse group of living legends; Al Green, Brandi Carlile, Jason Isbell, John Legend, Lauren Daigle, and Van Morrison among them.
Lover’s Game, which came out on March 10, is their third studio album. Apple Music notes Michael and Tanya co-wrote the songs rather than writing separately, which they apparently had done in the past. Lover’s Game was produced by Dave Cobb who has also worked with Chris Stapleton, Brandi Carlile, John Prine, Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell, The Highwomen and Rival Sons, among others.
Again, I’m skipping the tune I included in my most recent Best of What’s New, the smoking hot Ike & Tina Turner-reminiscent opener and title track, and highlight Blank Page, a powerful ballad. Check out this warm sound and the sweet soulful harmony singing – so good it gives me chills!
Most tunes on Lover’s Game are on the slow side except for the opener and the following mid-tempo song Ain’t No Harmin’ Me.
Other songs I’d like to call out include That’s How Love Is Made, The Best That I Have, Angel and Have You a Heart. Lover’s Game is a rich-sounding and pretty personal album. Going back one last time to The War And Treaty’s website: Spurred on by the anxiety of a pandemic, a surging career and all the couple stood to lose after years of hard work, their story plays out amid a transcendent sonic landscape, with both members crediting Cobb for their most elemental, stripped-down album to date. Here’s a Spotify link to it:
Sources: Wikipedia; Apple Music; The War And Treaty website; YouTube; Spotify