Wednesday, November 24, 2010
This fourteen-song compilation includes Phoenix, Silversun Pickups, The National, The Black Keys, and Vampire Weekend. It also includes two breathtaking tracks from City and Colour (a.k.a Dallas Green) and Damien Rice. City and Colour's contribution is a beautifully haunting single, "At the Bird's Foot" which is about the often overlooked deaths of the eleven workers upon the Deepwater Horizon. And, Damien Rice's "The Connoisseur of Great Excuse" is a song with a real sadness that is felt through the melancholy melody and dramatically builds with swelling strings, horns and growing backing vocals.
All of the artist and label proceeds from Gasoline Rainbows will be used for Global Green's oil spill efforts to directly assist the communities, people, and ecosystems effected by the BP Oil Spill, as well as, advocate for a greener economy, educate the public and push for more regulations.
The tracklist for the album is below:
1. "Gasoline Rainbows," Amy Kuney
2. "Armistice," Phoenix
3. "40 Day Dream," Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
4. "There’s No Secret’s This Year," Silversun Pickups
5. "At the Birds Foot," City and Colour
6. "The Connoisseur of Great Excuse," Damien Rice
7. "Bloodbuzz Ohio," The National
8. "Tighten Up," The Black Keys
9. "Let the Time Roll By," Onward, Soldiers
10. "Moth’s Wings," Passion Pit
11. "Floating Vibes," Surfer Blood
12. "Mama Taught Me Better," Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
13. "I Can Change," LCD Soundsystem
14. "Cousins," Vampire Weekend
Friday, November 19, 2010
The Devil to Pay is deeply rooted in the American songwriting traditions -- heartbreak, regret and morality -- balanced with loneliness and hope. The lyrics in the opening track, "Somebody Else," are superbly lonesome and cynical: "Don't want perfection. I don't ask for the world. I wouldn't even want it as it is, but I'd kill for someone, somebody to take for granted. I've heard that there is someone for us all. For every somebody somewhere in love, there's somebody else." The next song, "Jerome, AZ," is about Shady's discontent and disconnect while in Los Angeles. "Darling" is a 50s influenced ballad with a sparkling piano. It starts with a soft plaintive whisper and slightly builds into an emotional wail at the end. And, the upbeat country composition of the strumming guitar and the rambling banjo in "Red House Plea" adds a hopefulness to an otherwise dark tune. Lastly, morality is the focus in the lilting banjo waltz, "God, Change the Laws of the World."
The theme of frustration moves seamlessly and evenly throughout The Devil to Pay creating a unified tone of a lone singer-songwriter which Brett Shady wasn't. This former rocker has shifted effortlessly into the world of Americana, and has crafted an outstanding album that would make some envious.
Purchase The Devil to Pay
The Devil To Pay by Brett Shady
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Anita Sandwina - vocals, guitar, mandolin
Ginger Parish - vocals, guitar, harmonica, recorder, percussion
Velvy Appleton - vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, bass
Three At Last Website
Purchase Live at the Freight & Salvage
Purchase Three At Last
01 - I Wish - Three At Last by aibrean
05 - Iowa Heart - Three At Last by aibrean
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
He recorded with Canadian star Sam Roberts as well as with members of Ben Kweller's and Natalie Merchant's bands and has performed on the mainstage at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in 2010 as part of the Emerging Artist Showcase. Not only are those impressive credits for an up-and-coming musician, but just this past year he added another amazing credit when he performed on stage with Bruce Springsteen.
Down Wires is a great listen from start to finish. D'Amato has the gift of word and the knack for creating well balanced songs that grab your attention. The first half of the album is more electrified while the second half is calmer with less percussion and less instrumental trimmings focusing on D'Amato's vocals and acoustic guitar. The opener, "Ballad of the Undecided," starts the album on a strong note with commanding vocals and a rock-influenced guitar. The next track, "Holy War," the acoustic guitar and harmonica combined with D'Amato's relevant and weighty lyrics makes for a great folksong like those in folk's heyday. The poignant lyrics in “My Fathers Son” make it a wonderfully honest and intimate song. And, the energetic "One Good Time" featuring Sam Roberts sounds like a song from Ryan Adams's Rock N Roll and powerfully closes Down Wires's electrified first half. The second and more acoustic half of the album begins with the banjo-centric "Let Me Tell You Something." Finally, the lovely and sparse "Once" is a poetic list of beauties found in life's banalities.
While Down Wires is mainly a acoustic folk rock album each song is different demonstrating D'Amato's songwriting savvy and musical capabilities. Down Wires is an extraordinary accomplishment and D'Amato has "been shaking the earth I walk on" since first listen.
Purchase Down Wires
04 My Fathers Son - Anthony D'Amato by aibrean
02 Holy War - Anthony D'Amato by aibrean
05 One Good Time (feat. Sam Roberts) - Anthony D'Amato by aibrean
Thursday, November 11, 2010
On February 8, 2011, Jessica Lea Mayfield will release Tell Me (Nonesuch Records), her follow-up album to With Blasphemy, So Heartfelt (2008). The woebegone songstress charmed us with her distinctive and downcast vocals and lyrics on With Blasphemy, now she is equally charming, if not more on her new single, "Our Hearts Are Wrong." On this track, Mayfield's vocals are still the focal point and she's still keeping with the same theme, heavy-hearted lyrics, and atmospheric guitar; however, the new track is more alluring, confident, and sexy -- everything With Blasphemy wasn't. This song definitely shows growth and a new level of maturity that I hope Tell Me will sustain throughout.
Download "Our Hearts Are Wrong"
Purchase With Blasphemy, So Heartfelt
Our Hearts Are Wrong by aibrean
For the past year, Treetop Flyers have had considerable buzz surrounding their last EP To Bury the Past (which includes one of my favorite tracks of 2009, "Mountain Song"). However, the group has also been busy for the past few months writing and recording their first LP, which they hope to release early next year. But, they are also hoping to release another shorter EP with songs recorded during their sessions for To Bury the Past and their most recent. They are referring to it as their "country" EP. And, to help promote their music, Treetop Flyers is giving away a free download of their track, “Long Cold Winter.”
Download "Long Cold Winter"
Purchase To Bury the Past
Long Cold Winter by aibrean
01 Mountain Song by TreetopFlyers
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Their second studio album, Antifogmatic, was released in June on Nonesuch Records. The record offers ten songs that are collaborative works in which all of the members have had input. Therefore, Antifogmatic isn't just Chris Thile, it's Punch Brothers. Also, this new found cohesive sound could in part be due to the production work of John Brion. Brion (who has done production work for Rufus Wainwright, Fionna Apple and many others) helped to highlight each instrument which in turn enhanced the whole.
Not only is Antifogmatic a collaborative effort within Punch Brothers, but it also shows range making for a very interesting and captivating listen. The opener, "You Are," is a rock-influenced track that starts softly, crescendos during the feverish chorus, and climaxes with Thile's falsetto. The jazzy up-tempo "Don't Need No" has fiddle player, Gabe Witcher, on lead vocals and exhibits Punch Brothers' musicianship with fast and intricate instrumentals. The gentler "Alex" is a charming ballad that sounds as if it came straight out of a music box, whereas the next track, "Rye Whiskey" is more of a traditional bluegrass barnstomper. "Missy" is a simmering song that boils with an expressive fiddle while telling a story about a desirable woman. Finally, the ending track, "This is the Song (Good Luck)", is sparse yet it's its simplicity that allows you to hear the Punch Brothers' artistry.
And, as for the title, Antifogmatic, Punch Brothers borrowed it from the 19th-century vernacular. An "antifogmatic" was an alcoholic beverage -- rum or whiskey -- that was used to ward off the unhealthy effects of inclement weather; but, in all reality, liquor was used for a tonic to cure just about every ailment. So, like the tonics of yore, Antifogmatic with its rich and intoxicating music is good for what ails you.
Chris Thile - mandolin, lead vocals
Gabe Witcher - fiddle, vocals
Noam Pikelny - banjo, vocals
Chris Eldridge - guitar, vocals
Paul Kowert - bass, vocals
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Jarosz's sound is airy and natural with a well-balanced style of contemporary folk and the old mountain tradition. Her voice is simple, understated, and surprisingly mature with a hint of innocence. And, all of her original songs on Song Up In Her Head are well crafted with a dreamy youthfulness and seasoned sadness. The introspective "Edge of a Dream" has a lulling melody and subtle instrumentation which complement Jarosz's sweet vocals. On the antiquated "Tell Me True" she provides a yearning vocal worthy of the old Appalachian folk tradition. And, the emotional "Broussard's Lament" is a direct criticism on the lack of response to Hurricane Katrina, "They told us Thursday they would come/ They told us Friday they would come/Saturday came and still the dying lived on." The instrumentals on “Left Home” really drive the song giving an excitement not heard in the other tracks on the album. Also, with the aid of Jerry Douglas the track soars to new heights.
Her compelling choice of covers shows her range of influence as well as musical taste. The first cover, The Decemberists' "Shankill Butchers," is a dark, menacing anti-lullaby that warns children to heed their mothers and causes chills. And, her cover of Tom Waits' "Come on Up to the House" features a jazzy bass, fun-loving fiddle and mandolin creating a more joyous version.
Lastly, the instrumental tracks on the album are mind boggling with Jarosz's prodigal skill and precision. The Grammy nominated "Mansinneedof" is a delightfully complex piece weaving together two mandolins, a fiddle and bass to create a stunning track. Finally, "Fischer Store Road" has more of a melancholy flavor with a bluegrass style and prominently features the banjo, dobro and fiddle.
At seventeen, Sarah Jarosz has produced an accomplished and competent debut album. Song Up In Her Head is a bright collection of songs about the world and life crafted with sophistication and innocence only a skilled young artist can create.
Sarah Jarosz - Song Up In Her Head by Sugar Hill Records
Sarah Jarosz - Broussard's Lament by jmontroy