Tin, Man (2016)
“Still, if going out on a positive note is the intention, Tin, Man seals the deal, in spades.
It’s a bit looser in feel than last year’s 33 1/3 (of which yours truly noted had a pure “sonic and emotional wallop”), though no less tuneful and diverse. This may be due, in part, to the fact that a good chunk of the material here was tracked live, and also because they brought in quite a few guests on selected tracks, notably keyboard player Beth McKee, who adds crucial textures on several cuts. She’s particularly well-utilized on “See the Light,” a luminous ballad sung by Susan that, with McKee’s Wurlitzer electric piano, has an undeniable Southern soul vibe, and on its funkier counterpart, “No Rest,” McKee bringing her best Spooner Oldham Hammond B3 stylings to suggest a Muscle Shoals satellite studio established in Knoxville.
Elsewhere, the hits just keep comin’, from the 12-string-and-steel, Byrdsian Americana of “Lodger,” to bluesy, tremolo-drenched swamp rocker “Bad Attitude” … to the chugging powerpop of “Expensive Proposition.” ”
— Fred Mills, BlurtOnline.com
“While the group has always retained an almost fundamentalist adherence to simple rock ‘n’ roll, “Tin, Man” actually seems to rock a little harder by inviting in more friends.
… The best tracks on the album, including “Kryptonite,” “Superstition” and “Fall From Grace,” have a gritty, swampy and 1970s punk feel to them.
“Bad Attitude” is a rare cover of a Suzy Elkins/R.S. Field number that features Knoxville guitarist Barry “Po” Hannah adding some guitar chops.”
— Wayne Bledsoe , Knoxville News Sentinel
This time around, Lee and his colleagues — bassist/vocalist Susan Lee and drummer/percussionist Chris Bratta — still have their eyes on the prize, thanks to a set of songs packed with resilience and resolve. Album opener “Superstition” sets the tone, its cascading choruses making for an absolutely emphatic encounter. Every song that follows, from the tenacious and tempestuous “Kryptonite” through to the tangled tones of album closer “Expansive Proposition” follows suit, each a gritty, no-compromise rocker that brings to mind the post punk fury of purveyed by X’s John Doe and Exene Cervenka. And while “Lodger” echoes the breezy jangle of the Byrds, that edgy attitude remains undiminished. Indeed, the track that follows, “Fall From Grace,” boasts an eminently catchy chorus, all the better to maintain a rock solid impression. Likewise, the solid Bo Diddley beat of “Less Than Royalty” makes it clear their reverence for the roots is as unshakable as it’s always been.
—Lee Zimmerman, No Depression
“Well, they’re going out on a high note as Tin, Man has some of the band’s finest songs.
It’s got a real loose feel to it all (mostly tracked live) and cuts like “Superstition,” the Susan-sung “Kryptonite” (“let my love be your kryptonite”), the Byrds-y “Lodger”, the down n’ dirty “Fall From Grace” and the swampy “Bad Attitude” …. That’s the first five songs I’ve described there and there’ six more, all worthy of your time. Tin, Man is another record by a terrific band that deserves way more attention than they get …”
— Tim Hinely, daggerzine.tumblr.com
“If you haven’t heard Tim Lee 3 before, now is a good time. And if you’re a long time fan, you won’t be disappointed.”
— Richard Rossi, PowerPopNews.com
“At its core, “Tin, Man” is a retro Tim Lee 3 album, meaning that it’s as close to what the band started out like than anything they’ve done since.”
— Steve Wildsmith, The Daily Times
33 1/3 (2015)
Organic, alive and shooting high-spirited harmonies like X, 33 1/3 makes you hope for 35, 37, 40 …
– Big TakeOver #76 (.jpg, 1mg)
Lee’s old group’s twangy take on powerpop is built upon in his trio: Susan takes many lead vocals, giving the band an original sound reminiscent of Jason & the Scorchers crossed with X, but decidedly upping the hooks-and-melody quotient to Plimsouls level. The chiming “Photo Booth” is guaranteed ear candy; the sweeping, dusty grandeur of “Our Lady of the Highway” is breathtaking. “Daddy’s Girl” is a delightful c&w romp. Highly recommended.
Listening to Tim Lee 3 is like taking a scenic car trip down Rt. 66 , and experiencing the great American dream, open highways and your loved one by your side. The roots of rock are quite evident, think X, Dave Allen, guitars are crisp, harmonies that will make you forget where you are. Cool song, album is excellent, solid all the way through not a lost song in the bunch, follow these links and keep track of Tim Lee 3, good stuff.
…33 1/3 contiene undici brani inediti registrati a Tucson presso gli Arizona’s Wavelab Studios insieme al batterista Chris Bratta, altro componente del gruppo. Accordi semplici ed essenziali uniti alla voce tagliente di Susan Bauer scandiscono l’hard-rocking di Baby Caught Fire: brano di apertura del disco con un sound carico di elettricità. Interessante dal punto di vista musicale è anche Shut Up And Kiss Me: un blues rock cantato dai coniugi Lee con il quale sembrano forse voler mostrare al pubblico lo spirito che ha caratterizzato la loro unione durante questi tre decenni e più di vita insieme. Come poi da atmosfera tipica degli anni ’70 le varie Photo Booth, Magnolia Plates e Night Takes Legs incarnano quel power pop che tanto si differenziò da altri generi in quel periodo per il suono melodico e quei riff di chitarra essenziali che la “British School” del decennio precedente aveva esportato in tutto il mondo. Nella tracklist troviamo anche un brano per i più tradizionalisti e stradaioli della West-Coast, che amano il classico sound on the road nei loro lunghi o brevi tragitti di vita quotidiana. When Things Get Lost, anche in questo caso interpretata dalla coppia Lee, rappresenta una ballata melodica che induce la mente a ripercorrere col pensiero quei momenti di vita reale “quando le cose vanno al diavolo” o sembrano andarci per davvero. …
(TRANSLATION) … 33 1/3 has eleven songs which they recorded in Tucson at Arizona’s Wavelab Studios together with drummer Chris Bratta, the third component of the band. Simple and essential chords, united with Susan’s cutting voice punctuate the hard-rocking of Baby Caught Fire, the opening track loaded with electricity. Also interesting from a musical point of view is Shut Up and Kiss Me, a blues rock sung by Mr and Mrs Lee who perhaps wanted to show the public the spirit that has characterized their union during these past three decades and more of their life together. Then come Photo Booth, Magnolia Plates, and Night Takes Legs, that embody that power pop of the 1970s “British School”, which was different of other genres of its time thanks to its sound and melodic guitar riffs, exported worldwide. There is also a track for the traditionalists and road-hungry fans of the West Coast who love the classic sound of the road even in their short trips of everyday life. When Things Get Lost, also sung by the couple, is a melodic ballad that makes the mind reflect back to those times when everything seemed to go to hell. …
When you’re in the mood for some good ol’ rock and roll, look no further than the Tim Lee 3. The three-piece serve up the musical equivalent of a fastball straight down the middle.
…While it’s easy to appreciate the musicianship of the disc, much of what makes “33 1/3” work so well is the feel of it.
The album’s best rocker “Shut Up and Kiss Me” feels humid and thick (dig that squealing organ, courtesy of Craig Schumacher) and it’s a lot of fun. The guitar solo on “Photo Booth” feels like a sweet throwback to the 1980s.
“(Let’s Do) Something Stupid” is the Lees’ own form of Johnny Cash and June Carter duet — raw and rocked up with a little countryish twang.
Neither Tim nor Susan are singers with golden voices. There’s an everyday plainness to them that they use to their advantage. Like the stories they tell, they’re solid and unadorned. It’s just enough to convey solid rock ‘n’ roll.
Musically, Tim Lee 3 has grown into a tight unit. Confidence abounds in the record’s many stylistic variations, with a psychedelic vibe dominating, such as in the warped reverb echo of the lead guitar in “Shut Up and Kiss Me” or the humid swampiness of the main riff in “Our Lady of the Highway”. Tim is a quiet virtuoso who can do any damn thing he pleases with a guitar, and does, but he’s the kind of player whose depth of talent sneaks up on you. It’s not that his playing lacks flair, it’s that his many sonic skills are so organically woven into the whole of each song that they don’t call immediate attention to themselves. Several listens in, one begins to realize that Tim’s playing on this album offers up a master class of inventive riffs and bridges, consistently evocative but never derivative. Susan has grown in confidence as a singer over the course of the band’s albums, and her vocals here show a growing skill set of variety, from playful, to pining, to forceful. On “True” she demands respect in a voice that breaks through in full-throated intensity. Bratta’s drumming, too, shows the kind of nuance and variety that comes from the near constant gigging that the band has undertaken over the past two years. Always a steady, driving engine for the band’s fast songs, he shows his range here, tapping out the passing road sounds on “Magnolia Plates” or working the toms like a heartbeat to anchor the anxiety of the unknown in “Where Things Get Lost”.
33 1/3 is, like its predecessors…, full of inventive, melodic guitar rock with pop instincts and bar-band muscle. (Some of the credit for that goes to drummer Chris Bratta, who seems to have settled into his seat permanently. He’s not a showy drummer, but he manages an admirable amount of both power and agility). There are hints of L.A.’s Paisley Underground, early REM, X, and the Blasters—you’ll occasionally catch a ZZ Top tone from Tim, even. The best development is Susan’s emergence as the band’s main voice—she sings lead on most of the tracks here, after sharing equal time with Tim on the previous two albums. A collection of first-rate songs, performed with confidence and charm.
Sonically, “33 1/3” is the sound of a band that’s at the top of its game. Tim’s guitar playing has never strayed too far away from his jangly roots, and the melodic nature of the new record has roots that run deep down to those days. By the same token, it’s a bold step forward, with more harmonies, more swagger and a few steps outside the wheelhouse of all three musicians…
… On record, they come across with an unmistakable air of arched insurgence, a no-nonsense approach that might have found them headlining at CBGBs circa 1979. Lee and is wife Susan Bauer Lee alternate on the vocals—the latter assuming a degree of venom and confidence that assures her co-fronting role—but it’s the propulsion provided by drummer Chris Bratta that keeps “Baby Caught Fire,” “Shut Up and Kiss Me” and “Night Takes Legs” humming at full tilt. An unapologetic little gem, 33 1/3 suggests the sound of rocking revenge.
–– Relix Magazine, March 2015 (pdf)
… nothing could’ve prepared fans for the sheer sonic and emotional wallop that the new 33 1/3 provides.
… There’s a conversation going on here in these songs, memories of what was and what might’ve been, plus hints of what may still be to come. Significantly, all of the material is jointly credit to Tim and Susan.
That back and forth between the two singers is part of the trio’s appeal here (not to mention their lush, intuitive harmonies), offering a yin/yang quality that elevates the material beyond mere pop songcraft. Too, with a righteously solid rhythm section in Susan and drummer Chris Bratta freeing Tim to explore sundry guitar textures, from 12-string to Telecaster twang to flat-out blazing psychedelia, you’ve got a sound that at times borders on huge, belying the group’s “mere” 3-piece status.
…With 11 tracks total and not a single one even remotely inferior to another—and having listened to the album 20 times or more now, easily—your humble reviewer feels pretty good about awarding it a 5-out-of-5 star rating.
The real strength of the playing and singing though is that it doesn’t steal attention away from the songs themselves. In fact, the playing supports some top quality compositions. The album opens with the one-two punch of the odd and edgy “Baby Caught Fire” and the effortless Byrdsian power pop of “Photo Booth,” then segues into the standout “Our Lady of the Highway,” a brooding, in transit meditation.
Lyrically, “Shut Up and Kiss Me” allows the band’s sense of humor to come to the fore during the bridge: “You don’t know how to behave, but still I dig you like a grave.” And “Looking for the Door” takes the spirit of any dozen Springsteen car tunes, some sentimentality from Lou Reed’s classic “Rock ‘n’ Roll,” and some fatalistic realism from John Mellencamp and mixes them into an image of what must be one of the true rites of passage found in the American Heartland: “Traffic lights, well they blinked all night, had the radio on and it was all right.”
In all, 33 1/3 is a strong release from Tim Lee 3. It should appeal to fans of indie roots-rock, numerologists and happily married couples. Oh — and any anyone who still likes good music of any sort.
…One thing’s for sure, the Tim Lee 3 (which is former Windbreakers dude Tim Lee along with his wife Susan and drummer Chris Bratta) sure love to play together (something you can’t say about all bands). This is LP number four and in addition to that they’ve released a few live recordings as well as an ep and various tunes on comps, too. In deciding on what to call the record the Knoxville trio, or at least Tim and Susan, figured out that on 3/6/15, the release date of the record, they’ll have been married exactly 33 1/3 years (no mean feat as we married folks know). Working with Craig Schumacher at Wavelab Studions in Tucson (the home to many a Calexico recordings), the band laid down 11 tracks and voila! 33 1/3 was born. Opening cut “Baby Caught Fire” is a thick, tough number with some real guitar meat while “Our Lady of the Highway” sounds like a tune that’d be recorded (and maybe written in Tucson….also in a similar vibe is “Where Things Get Lost”) with desert vibes all over it. “Daddy’s Girl” is a real cow-punk stomp while “Photo Booth” up straight up power pop. Another favorite is the Dumptruck-ish “Shit Up and Kiss Me.” With certain bands I get a little sick of repeating myself by saying, “Yup, they’ve made another excellent record” but here ya’ go, another excellent record from the TL3.
… It seems as if Tim Lee and Susan Bauer Lee have logged way too many highway miles recently and have done a lot of thinking. Fortunately for the listener, this makes for a really interesting record. In fact, this is the perfect LP for driving late at night or early morning along a desolate stretch of road.
“Photo Booth” is the closest thing to a powerpop song on the album with it’s jangly guiitars and very memorable chorus. “Daddy’s Girl” will make you laugh or cry depending on how close to home it hits and “Where Things Get Lost” has a Lynyrd Skynyrd feel to it that you gotta love. “Magnolia Plates” is the record’s highlight though, with a melody that’ll stick in your head and the very expressive vocals of Susan Bauer Lee. The band turns it up a notch with the final cut, “Night Takes Legs”, making sure to adhere to that old showbiz adage, “always leave ‘em wanting more”. And they certainly have.
33 1/3 is highly recommended listening…
… The new eleven-song release begins with the steady rocker “Baby Caught Fire,” which allows Lee to showcase some of his guitar skills on the closing solo. They harmonize wonderfully on “Photo Booth” as Susan’s vocals become the main focus. The guitar-pop of “Magnolia Plates” sounds as if The Pretenders and R.E.M. were mixed together in a cocktail and this song is your reward. The Tim Lee 3 pick-up the tempo on the country rocker “Shut Up And Kiss Me” and the western steel-guitar driven “Daddy’s Girl.” The album finishes with the southern stomp of “(Let’s Do) Something Stupid” and the energetic rock of “Night Takes Legs” as drummer Chris Bratta motors the songs upbeat rhythm. …
Married with Music: Podcast #4
Big TakeOver #14 04.27.15
WUTK • WDVX
DEVIL’S ROPE (2013)
Stomp & Stammer, March 2013 (pdf 7mb)
KSER 90.7 FM (Everett, Wa.) Left of the Dial w/ Sleepy John
WUTK • WDVX
RADIOGIRL on Dollard Radio – Oldambt, The Netherlands
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Available via live-stream at www.dollardradio.nl – Mondays and Wednesdays 16h00-18h00 local time
Archive at www.insurgentcountry.net
Playlist March 20th, 2013
RAUCOUS AMERICANUS (2010)
Dagger ‘Zine, 02.07.11 (scroll down)
This is a review from a Japanese music blog.
We’re not sure what the name of it is, but we think it’s a good review…
the google translation says that Raucous Americanus is “delicious”… that’s good, right? 1.20.11
Flying Monkey Radio PodCast
Radio Girl, Netherlands
Stomp & Stammer Radio Hour