Sunday, August 22, 2010
On this album, LaMontagne has been joined by the Pariah Dogs. This addition has given the very private LaMontagne more confidence to try something that differs from his previous albums. Known for his raspy vocals and soulful sound, God Willin' is more country. The album is full of beautiful steel pedal guitar, melodic harmonica, rolling banjo, sparse acoustic guitar and piano. Despite the new instrumental addition, LaMontagne's growling and husky vocals are still in the forefront.
God Willin' opens and ends with up-tempo, funky, bluesy country songs that don't exactly set the tone for the album. The first track, "Repo Man", resembles an Allman Brothers song with its blues funk and "woman done me wrong" theme. "I heard the word/It's goin' all around town/Looks like your latest toy gone an/Put you down/Well it won't be long/'Fore you come crawling on home/Like some old dog with your tail on the ground." And the last song, "The Devil's in the Jukebox", is a knee-slapping, rhythm and blues country that ends the record on an upbeat note. It also brings to my mind Waylon Jennings.
However, God Willin' is an album about rejection and regret performed in slow-tempo, acoustic, and sometimes sparse songs. "New York City's Killing Me" is a somber lament with a wailing steel pedal guitar that complements the doleful lyrics. In the opening verse LaMontagne sings, "There's just something about this Hotel/Got me wishin' I was dead/Got to get out of New York City/Somewhere I can clear my head." The track, "Beg, Steal or Borrow", is a mid-tempo song with the same slick steel pedal and tapping tambourine and percussion. The wistful and heartbreaking ballad, "This Love Is Over", has a late night bluesy feel that is peculiarly sexy with its sparse acoustic guitar and LaMontagne's throaty vocals. "Old Before Your Time" sounds like an autobiographical song about life's journey and wanting more. "I was raised up poor and I wanted more, and maybe I'm a little too proud/In lookin' back I see a kid who was just afraid,/ Hungry... and old before his time." It's a relatable track for all of those who have felt restless and unsatisfied with their current living situation. Lastly, "For the Summer" brings a Neil Young's Harvest era influence with its breezy and easy quality.
God Willin' and the Creek Don't Rise may not be for everyone. The majority of the album is slow-tempo and melancholy. Even though the record doesn't quite deliver his brand of soul, it's still soulful. In my opinion, LaMontagne is suitable and does equally well with the country genre.
01 - Repo Man by aibrean
06 - This Love Is Over by aibrean
07 - Old Before Your Time by aibrean
08 - For The Summer by aibrean
Monday, August 16, 2010
Ferraby Lionheart has drawn his royal flush with The Jack of Hearts. His keen melodic instincts and romantic charm make for a sentimental album without the sap. Lionheart certainly knows about love songs. He speaks to the heart of every listener through the music and stories. And, with the combination of old country and 1960s pop, Lionheart creates familiar and timeless songs.
Arkansas- Ferraby Lionheart by Little Operation
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Deadmalls and Nightfalls is a triumphant record of the band's childhood memories in Michigan. A collection of songs and odes to the people and places that made an impression on their lives. The whole album is a first-class example of great songwriting. There isn't a weak song on the whole record. Lyrically, the songs are idiosyncratic and written in a prose form but still maintain a melodic flow. The unmistakable vocals of Matthew Milia are charming and disarming giving the songs humility and purity. Frontier Ruckus blends the fundamentals of folk and bluegrass with layers of singing saws and bright brass. This instrumentation delivers an ebullience creating an interesting juxtaposition to the nostalgic lyrics and forlorn vocals in songs like "Ontario" and "Silverfishes". Yet, the instrumental arrangements and emotive vocals also give some of the songs an honest sadness such as "The Tower", "How Could I Abandon?", and "Springterror".
With Deadmalls and Nightfalls, Frontier Ruckus has made an affecting and cohesive album. They have broken the boundaries of state lines and created an uniquely American sound with its sincere songs and homespun sound.
Standout Tracks: "Pontiac, the Nightbrink", "Silverfishes", and "Ontario"
Saturday, August 7, 2010
Big Echo as a whole is unimpressive and underwhelming. I felt no attachment to the songs. There was nothing to grab and hold onto, and I felt no desire to listen to it a second time. The energy of the songs lack a certain something -- maybe their own identity. Big Echo, was produced by Grizzly Bear's bassist, Chris Taylor, who influenced the cavernous sound. The album starts with an easy-going, 1950s-esque pop ballad, "Excuses", that is the highlight of the album, and ends with the hymn, "Sleeping In". The second and only other standout track is "Promises", has a great beat but lacks a hook to keep the listener interested.
With Big Echo, The Morning Benders are still an unassuming rock band trying to grow and find themselves. Their first album, Talking Through Tin Cans, had a lo-fi and less complicated sound, but since moving to Rough Trade Records and working with Chris Taylor they produced a sonically complicated yet underwhelming album. Needless to say, Big Echo has not resonated with me. And after listening to the cavernous sounds of Big Echo, I am left with wasted time, an empty feeling, and a question: "What did I just listen to?"
The Morning Benders - Excuses by flavatadpole
The Morning Benders - Cold War (Nice Clean Fight) by cafe_magro
The Morning Benders - Hand Me Downs by tadpoleaudio
Love the video, but not in love with the song.
Monday, August 2, 2010
Local Natives is an indie-rock band based in Silver Lake, Los Angeles, California. The band attracted a lot of attention from the music press and blogs after playing at the 2009 SXSW Festival. Their self-funded debut album, Gorilla Manor, was released in the UK in November 2009, and later released in the US on February 16, 2010, and has received mostly positive reviews and debuted in the Billboard 200 and #3 in the New Artist Chart.
Regardless of Local Natives' mixture of every '00 sub-genre in indie music, the hype and the reviews -- good and bad -- I find myself drawn to their youthful sound, three-part harmonies, and percussion-driven tunes. One being "Wide Eyes", a youthful and inquisitive song about people's need to witness an extraordinary event with their own eyes in order to believe it or to believe in it: "All the men of faith and men of science had their questions/Could it ever be on earth as it is in heaven?/Oh, to see it with my own eyes". The second track, "Airplanes", is a love letter to keyboardist, Kelcey Ayer's, deceased grandfather, who was a pilot: "I did not know you as well/As my father knew you/Every question you took the/Time to sit and look it up in the/Encyclopedia/I love it all so much/I call 'I want you back.'" Despite the song's subject, the track still has a youthful and rousing sound with piano, strings, harmonies, and percussion to reflect a life well-lived. "World News", is a slow-building tune with rhythmic percussion and harmonies reminiscent of the Beach Boys. The track, "Shape Shifter", is moody but never depressing because its sweeping instrumentation and explosive percussion.
Even the slower-tempo songs on Gorilla Manor have a youthful appeal with their rhythmic multi-layered percussion. "Cards and Quarters" for example, is an extremely sexy, slow-burning tune with beautiful harmonies, a soulful beat, and climaxing cymbal rolls. "Who Knows, Who Cares" is an introspective jam about life's ever-changing circumstances and situations and living life to the fullest and sharing it with the person you love: "You could let it down/Jump into the river baby/Easy as it sounds/It's never quite easily done/The current has us now, it's ok/Take into account that it's all about to change/Who knows, who cares." The quiet beginning of the song changes into a flowing groove of swaying strings and pounding percussion. I definitely think that "Who Knows, Who Cares" is one of the strongest songs on Gorilla Manor. "Cubism Dream" is about a long-distant relationship that broke up via Skype. Its lyrics show Local Natives' intelligent songwriting in which they refer to "Cubism" as the Skype window intersecting planes on a computer screen. Also, like the Cubists art, the long-distance lover is broken up, analyzed, and made into an abstract form. "We talked on a small screen/A Cubism dream/The most beautiful squares I'd ever seen." Ending on a light and calming note, Gorilla Manor, finishes with "Sticky Thread".
It is also worth mentioning Local Natives' successful attempt at covering the Talking Heads' "Warning Sign". While they kept the original bassline, they replaced David Byrne's distinctive vocal style with a melodic three-part harmony. They've also managed to make the song less nervous. Covering this iconic song was definitely an audacious move that could have either caused much embarrassment or pride. Local Natives' cover is something to be proud of, showcasing their artistic ability to take a song and put their own personal stamp on it.
Gorilla Manor is a good album with great arrangements abounding with sonic richness, yearning chants, and powerful percussion, but Local Natives tend to overdo it with the 2000s indie-rock trends. However, it's this variety of trends that makes Local Natives familiar and appealing to the indie-rock fans. Although, Gorilla Manor is certainly not original, it is easy to listen to.
Who Knows Who Cares by Local Natives by MarinaMixes2010
Local Natives - Wide Eyes by wereofftherails
Local Natives - Airplanes by stndrdeviations
local natives - cards and quarters by gfom
Local Natives - Cubism Dream by Jblz
Local natives - Warning Sign by popisonfire