Music Briefs: Devon Williams, Blitzen Trapper, A.M. & Shawn Lee, 400 Blows

Music Briefs are provided by DJs from KXUA 88.3 FM, a student-run radio station broadcasting out of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. KXUA is a non-profit station dedicated to serving the NWA community with the most eclectic blend of music possible. Listen online at

Devon Williams – Euphoria

Label: Slumberland (2011)
Genres: Alternative Rock, Indie Pop, Baroque Pop
Sounds Like: Genaro, Gold Leaves, Cleaners From Venus

Review by TG Keas, KXUA Music Director

The former head of pop-punk outfit Osker, Devon Williams has spent the last few years delving into ever-softening genres. With his sophomore release, he’s in some weird void between baroque pop and (easy now!) 80’s post punk. “Chameleons gone indie pop” sounds like an awful lie made up by a bored hype machine and you would be justified in underestimating the extent the later influence runs. It’s not so much the experimental melancholy of post punk or the overbearing pomp of the orchestra that takes center. Rather, Williams takes the softer, melodic edges of both and cranks up either side when he gets bored. It’s a weird recipe, but thanks to his light touch, it sort of works.

Blitzen Trapper – American Goldwing

Label: Sub Pop (2011)
Genre: Folk-rock, Outlaw country
Sounds Like: Dawes, Monsters of Folk, Waylon Jennings, Delta Spirit

Review by Ginny Garber

Hey, a new Blitzen Trapper album! Certainly true to its title, this record emits an All-American sound, with modern outlaw country songs on lovin’, leavin’, drinkin’, regrettin’ – not to mention a metaphorical astronaut ditty, Following suit with previous albums, many of these songs could easily be merged into a suite of similar-sounding songs, ordinarily bothersome, but with a sound down-home and groovy as Blitzen Trapper’s, it makes for a fine listen. These here ‘er some outlaws you don’t mind taking home.

A.M. & Shawn Lee – Celestial Electric

Label: ESL Music (2011)
Genres: Pop
Sound Like: Cornershop, Shawn Lee

Review by Zeek Martin

Unfettered by geography or styles, this collaboration between two decidedly different writers comes together in a mellow album that sounds as great in your headphones as it does in the background on a long drive. The standout on the album is a cover of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils’ “Jackie Blue,” which sounds like a solid recording straight out of the mid 1970s – fuzzy wah-wah and all. The album was created over the internet, as A.M. offered up his vocal talents via email, and Lee dropped percussion, bass and a variety of instrumentation (Glockenspiel, anyone?) over it. The result is a groove-filled chilled out ride that might fly under your radar if you are not paying attention.

400 Blows – Sickness & Health

Label: Org Music (2011)
Genre: Punk, Thrash, Punk Revival
Sound Like: Fugazi, Sex Pistols, Agent Orange, Corrosion of Conformity, DRI

Review by Duncan McKinnon

It’s Punk. Old school style mixed with some awesome thrash undertones. This is not the “original” British punk band 400 Blows, but instead a more recent group of individuals from Los Angles who formed in the late 90s. It’s unclear if their name is homage to the original British punks, but it really doesn’t matter. 400 Blows is a fusion of punk and thrash, and that’s all that matters. Get Pissed!