King of the Tramps
King of the Tramps throws so much at you over the course of “Wicked Mountain” that it’s impossible to not find something to love. The Tramps are a bunch of supremely talented musicians, and “Wicked Mountain” is littered with influences pulled from all over the map. The title track is a heavy, Allman-esque number that anchors the album’s B-side, while opening track “Car Song” is infused with the ghost of the Black Crowes and a helping of southern-fried rock. But most of the album — especially high points like “Jesus Saves” — is pure King of the Tramps. The album’s A-side leans toward traditional roots rock, while the second half is more jam-band influenced and amorphous. Invariably, you’ll find yourself drawn more to one or the other, depending on taste. But make no mistake, you will be drawn in. CV
King of the Tramps plays House of Bricks on Friday, June 28 at 9:30 p.m., $5.
Stone Gossard, the man not named Vedder who’s most responsible for Pearl Jam’s signature feel, has been tinkering with the tracks on “Moonlander” for the better part of a year. This is not an album that takes you to happy places. For example, consider the track “King of the Junkies,” which is inspired by Hitler’s reported meth habit. It’s a brooding song with heavy guitar that is counter-pointed by Gossard’s own Neal Young-infused vocals. Also, it’s a song about Hitler using meth. And yet, by Gossard’s own admission, this is not the darkest track on the album. There are lighter points, though — “I Need Something Different” is a bit of faux-low-fi garage rock — but Gossard has difficulty in delivering a complete album experience. His vocals are at times more grating than Vedder’s ever were, and without Mike McCready by his side, Gossard’s guitar work alone is not always up to the heavy lifting. CV