Rebekah Pulley drops a beauty

HGWT and King of Spain featured on NPR.

Singer/songwriter Rebekah Pulley has completed a fresh full-length, and it's a beauty. Titled Back To Boogaloo, the album is a brilliant folk-rock affair marked by smart storytelling, expressive vocals and pop hooks. Pulley, who wrote each number, has delivered her strongest album to date. Co-producer/guitar virtuoso/keyboardist Steve Connelly is all over the disc, which was recorded at his Zen Recording Studio in Pinellas Park. Another prominent component is the gorgeous piano and Hammond B3 contributions by Ryan Arsenault (Vodkanauts). In fact Pulley's entire Reluctant Prophets band, including members "past, present and future" offer excellent accompaniment throughout. In addition to Connelly and Arsenault, the players are Robert Pastore (bass), Sandi Grecco (drums), Ted Lukas (guitar) and Jasmine Conrad (backing vocals). The full-length also features a touching, twangy duet with Ronny Elliott titled "Tumbleweed." Back to Boogaloo will be released Sept. 5; that same day WMNF (88.5 FM) will host a CD release party for Pulley at Skipper's Smokehouse in Tampa.

"Matt Slate aka King of Spain will be embarking on a tour of the Eastern U.S. in the fall," notes Keith Ulrey, head of Tampa-based based New Granada Records. "His debut, Entropy (New Granada Records, NG014), is receiving glowing reviews from the likes of Delusions of Adequacy (adequacy.net), Smother.net and was recently featured on National Public Radio's Second Stage program (NPR.org)."

"New Granada Records recently ventured back into the dark world of vinyl with the latest release from Lakeland's The Dark Romantics," Ulrey continues. "The two-song 7", titled Lonely/Roads (New Granada, NG015) features the original 'Lonely...Alone' as the A-side, a killer brooding track featuring TDR's frontman Eric Collins' smooth/swaggering vocals. The B-side is a cover of Portishead's 'Roads'. TDR's full-length, sophomore effort, Heartbreaker, is now available as a pre-release from Lujo Records. Official street date for the disc is Sept. 9."

Tampa Bay-based Mohawk Bomb Records recently issued its debut disc, an impressive compilation featuring local, national and international artists dubbed No Lip Vol. 1. (For a review of it, see Spins, p. 56.) "Mohawk Bomb Records is a new kind of indie label, trying to figure out how to outmaneuver the current music industry business model without having to drain our artists' souls," reads the letter sent to me by label founder/Soulfound singer/bassist Ivan Pena. "We are driven to succeed on our own terms and bring new texture to the bland pourage that is the pop music sonicscape. We believe in 1. open communication 2. transparent accounting 3. using technology to drive music distribution and 4. reinvesting in our bands."

Pena has announced plans for both an East Coast (Tampa Bay) and West Coast (Los Angeles) CD release party. In a comment posted on tampacalling.com, David Rosenfield wrote: "This is really good news — right on, Ivan! It's great that you're doing this."

Highly talented singer/songwriter Geri X recently returned from an extended stay in Wisconsin to delight local fans with her poignant indie-folk offerings. She performed July 18 at Globe Coffee Lounge in St. Petersburg on a lineup featuring Elliott, Can't Do It, Pulley and Acho Brother. "We are coming home (I'm actually already home but the band is coming down later this month), and we'll be playing a ton of shows," Geri told me. "We leave for Wisconsin again in September, but we come home in late December for a couple of months before we hit the road for a very, very long tour.

"I love coming home to friendly people and warm fans that have been missing us. Wisconsin has been tough, but we got to play some huge festivals (Steel Bridge Song Fest, Summerfest etc.). So I guess the struggle was all worth it. But I just needed to come home, recharge the batteries and hopefully see that some people still cared about us. I love it."

Have Gun, Will Travel, recently had its song "Blessing and a Curse" featured on NPR's Second Stage program. "I can't think of a better name for a country-folk band," intones NPR host Robin Hilton at the top of the segment. "They're from Florida. Their music has a great energy to it, with some infectious, sing-along choruses and refrains." I posted a link to the download at tampacalling.com on July 16.

Get out the vote, folks. CL's Best of the Bay 2008 issue hits newsstands Sept. 17, and I'm already working on my critic's picks. Vote (and feel free to encourage your friends to vote) in the Best of the Bay Readers' Poll (tampa.creativeLoafing.com/readerspoll2008). The ballot closes Aug. 13. And mark your calendars: The Loafies (our version of election night; be the first to know who won Best of the Bay) take place Sept. 16 at Tampa Theatre. The show will be hosted by ABC Action News anchor Brendan McLaughlin and CL Political Editor Wayne Garcia.

Have info regarding the local scene? Shoot it to me at [email protected]. For the latest on local and national music — plus mindless self-indulgences, Top 10 lists, etc. — visit tampacalling.com.

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