Thursday, December 31, 2009


In lieu of an actual "job," and with gigs few and far between, I like to think of myself sometimes as not only a professional music-creator but a music-listener. If music is a language, then the conversation requires listening as much as vocalizing.

I can still remember a time (during this decade!) when I wouldn't dream of listening to any particular song in pursuit of my own personal enjoyment. Now I've realized, of course, that good music is one of life's greatest pleasures. I've doubled in age in the last ten years, but the increase in musical exposure has been astronomical.

So, since I don't feel qualified to pick the best albums of the decade (you can go here for that), I do want to share with you my favorite albums of 2009. I could probably write six paragraphs about each of these, but since we're running out of time in the year, I'll keep it short.

10. Neko Case - Middle Cyclone
Ghostly, driven, and moody are not typical country music epithets, but Case definitely earned them, along with her Grammy nom for contemporary folk.

9. Miike Snow - Miike Snow
Somewhere in the bedlam of brash blips and beeps of '09, Andrew Wyatt found a home for piano-driven electropop, and he couldn't be more welcome.

8. The Very Best - Warm Heart of Africa
With a name like The Very Best, most would expect the opposite. But whatever you want to call the kind of music these fellows put out, there's no question they're the very best at it. With a little help from ingenious synths (and special guests Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig and M.I.A.) TVB make African chants into irresistible hooks.

7. Passion Pit - Manners
Don't be afraid to delve deeper than "Sleepyhead." This album is filled with gems that sparkle almost as much as it's dazzling choruses, especially once you realize that Michael Angelakos' vocals are more enchanting than chipmunk.

6. Lady GaGa - The Fame Monster
If I had a dollar for every time I've underestimated the talent of a female pop singer, I'd have one dollar, which I earned from hearing "Bad Romance" for the first time. It's remarkable that an album so danceable, so glitzy, can be equally dark and enchanting. And having the best music video of the year (or decade!?) has gotta count for something.

5. fun. - Aim and Ignite
Never has a band name so completely described their appeal. It's indie pop Sesame Street, with a dash of Queen and a pinch Beach Boys charm to taste. Soaring, gleeful, personal, and infectious.

4. Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
I liked these guys before they were cool. Key word: liked. Now, with WAP released and renowned, it's a full-blown love affair. They've got the indie pop trifecta down pat: fun, foreign, and famous. Right when you think all the catchy songs have already been written, along comes a tune like "1901," and everyone puts their headphones back on.

3. Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca
The term "entry-level" is thrown around a lot in music circles, regarding a band or album's "listenability." But while sophistication and detail don't always translate to increased enjoyment, there's something to be said about music that forces you to process a little faster than usual. Dirty Projectors probably aren't something your tweenage cousin is guaranteed to enjoy, but they are enjoyable nonetheless. Projector's true genius, however, isn't in their complexity but in their ability to make great, resounding songs over top. Orca is the culmination of a search for balance between intricacy and accessibility.

2. Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest
In an arena constantly filling with newcomers, Grizzly Bear are quickly becoming the "new favorite" of broad-listening music critics, and Veckatimest is their masterpiece. The album is filled to the brim with grandiose swells and gloomy, sometimes unsettling creases. I first listened to the CD in my friend's car, and I felt almost crushed by the weight of it. Now it feels more like a heavy blanket to get lost under, dark and comfortable.

1. Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavillion
This album is my generation's Kid A. It made me look at music a different way, and changed the way I enjoyed it. Few other groups devote so much effort to creating tension and resolution in their music than AC. As wave after strange wave of sound washes over you, there's an unbridled joy to be felt wondering what will happen next, or simply in expectation of it if you know what's coming. MPP isn't just a work of art, it's a challenge. "Listen to this," it says, "And then do something new." The ripples are just beginning to take shape, but I expect it will be up to Animal Collective to create the next lofty step.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Passion Pit - Manners

Every once in a while an album comes along that just kidnaps your ears for a while. I try to remain in this state for as long as I can each time it comes because I hate the periods of disillusionment before and after. When each raid ends, I'm left salivating for my next fix. Sometimes I'll even set aside bands to look into later, when I need them, judging only by their reception on blogs. Passion Pit was one such band.

"Sleepyhead" was the first slip down the still-steepening slope for me. It came at the perfect time. I had just recently started to rebuke Owl City, but I still had the itch for catchy electro. My taste for high-pitched male vocals was, and still is, at an all time high, thanks to Animal Collective's recent EP and Dirty Projectors' Bitte Orca. Pit hit me in my weak spot.

Don't think of them as passing-phase material, though. I haven't heard electronic so diverse since Kid A. And then the bass drum kicks off on "Eyes As Candles" and they're pop. Vocal melodies are difficult to make energetic without sounding trill and stale, but that's just what you get here. Manners pulls double duty: appropriate for semi-contemplative listening or merely an everyday soundtrack.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

All Music, All Blogs

My blog's been featured on All Music, All Blogs -- a blog that attempts to list and categorize every (notable?) music blog. Check it out if you're looking for more to add to your feed, or at least read the little blurb about me.

I promise to stick to my two-posts-a-month schedule, don't worry. It might come down to the wire though. Since I've been reviewing new stuff lately, expect to read about an oldie-but-goodie next time.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

John Mayer, Battle Studies

John Mayer is the love of my life. Okay, not really, but I like him a lot. I've been more excited about his next release than any other album this year. Continuum was nice and meaty, but very open-ended, like Mayer still had much, much more to say. In some ways, Heavier Things was the answer to Room for Squares. Similarly, Battle Studies is Mayer's answer to Continuum. And it feels good.

The lyrical content of Battle is a clear departure from Mayer's previous, more philosophical writings. Most of the songs deal with relationships, unlike the heart-and-soul anthems of his previous releases. You could definitely say it's a break-up album. Mayer has always had a playful tone to tap into when he needs it ("My Stupid Mouth," "83"), tempered with a cutting melancholy ("Something's Missing," "Stop This Train"). Here there's less wit and more prodding wisdom, and lyrical hooks just vague enough to draw you into the songs. Nothing too deep for a pop song, and nothing too trite either.

Musically, the album is just what you'd expect. John Mayer cements his position as the most (or only?) tasteful guitarist in mainstream pop, and one of its most clean and dependable male vocalists. I've always regarded his work as "worry-free listening": no need to worry about sudden odd riffs or weird song structures. Although there's nothing that quite tops his live performances in Where The Light Is, and nothing as intense as Try! or Heavier Things, Mayer's guitar solos are undeniably satisfying. The production values are stellar, and Mayer's studio musicians leave nothing to be desired.

After Mayer's blues venture took me by complete surprise, I wondered how it would affect his pop career, if he even chose to go back. Well, he did, and he's sounded a little more soulful ever since. He even covers Robert Johnson's "Crossroads," the only true blues song on the album. After featuring Hendrix's "Bold As Love," on Continuum, I'm wondering if covering another guitar master is something we can look forward to on Mayer's next album.

Although most of the album is very polished and mature, Mayer's not exempt from making a few unusual (but forgivable) creative decisions. For one, Taylor Swift sounds very out of place on "Half of My Heart." John Mayer's singing is like shepherd's pie: it doesn't need a country starlet side dish. And throwing the word "shit" into "Heartbreak Warfare" doesn't make John a better, edgier songwriter. You'd think he would have learned after the almost comical "damn" in "Bigger Than My Body."

When I was listening to this album for the first time, I was looking for ways it would be different from Mayer's previous albums. I was expecting it to be revolutionary, but after a few spins I realized that I only wanted it to be consistent. John Mayer certainly expands his style, especially with songs like "Assassin" and "Who Says," which are two of the album's best, but the core Mayer goodness is still there in force. I'm not ready for a polarizing Mayer experience yet; maybe in a year or so we'll see him start experimenting more, but right now I'll take whatever he's giving.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Freelance Whales - Weathervanes

Sometimes I get the feeling that many people underestimate the importance of having a good band name. In the 21st century overload society a bold, funny, or just plain unusual name can be the difference between a band that goes viral or one that flounders in obscurity, especially for indie would-be breakouts. Odd and audacious band names have become a trademark of indie as a reaction to mass-marketable mainstream pop, but also, I would argue, because of the rampant saturation of the internet marketplace. Obviously a group's music is itself a differentiating factor from competitors, but with radio play out of the question, the task of grabbing a potential listener's attention can come down to the band's name, especially in word-of-mouth, grassroots marketing situations. It's literally impossible to listen to every worthwhile band these days, even with all the blogs, music videos, and internet radio services available, which is why I'm so thankful that Freelance Whales, a new, relevant, group bursting with potential, had the good judgment to choose such a memorable moniker that ultimately led me to give them a listen.

Weathervanes, Freelance Whales August 2009 debut album, is surprisingly polished and articulate for a band that's only existed since 2008. Their sound is already definite and constructed, and yet weaves together disparate elements and instruments with a flair not unlike Mr. Sufjan Stevens. You've got banjo, synth, glockenspiel, harmonium, cello, and whatever a waterphone is. Don't question the variety, though; it works. Judah Dadone's vocals are gentle and sublime and subliminal, and you get the impression that he has legitimate singing talent, not just on-record sound, which is dishearteningly rare these days.

"Generator ^ First Floor" and "Generator ^ Second Floor" are the "reference points" of the album. Both showcase the band's skill for intricate arrangements while maintaining an eclectic drive. "First Floor" sets the mood for the rest of the songs, and "Second Floor" comes second-to-last to draw the elements back together again in recapitulation. There are a few instrumental tracks interspersed between the other songs; normally I have a pretty low tolerance for that (Phoenix are an offender, as are Muse, Coldplay, The Killers, and even the sacred Neutral Milk Hotel). If an individual track cannot stand on it's own, why include it at all? But at least here there's some novelty with such diverse instrumentation and arrangement.

The reason I say this band is poised to break out is that there's a maturity present in their recording. The songs work together, there's a deliberate presence, and everything feels smooth, rounded off. On so many albums, what could be a great listening experience stutters and falls in the chasms between irrelevant songs (take Lady Gaga's The Fame, a pop standout suffocated by its single-oriented nature and lack of unifying motive). It's so, so easy to write ten songs and record an album, as opposed to writing an album and recording ten songs, especially on a first outing, especially for an independent band. That's why Freelance Whales shows promise.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Owl City - Ocean Eyes

There's definitely something to be said for catchy music. The instant buzz you get from a song that zips through your synapses is a powerful thing. It could be argued that pop music, from the beginning, has mainly been concerned with creating songs that stay in the listener's head for as long as possible. Even before the audio recording revolution, musical Darwinism kept only the catchiest tunes alive in the ears of the masses.

This mentality is partly to blame for the explosion of DIY music-makers on YouTube and the Internet in general, peddling their hooks and jockeying for listeners. While perhaps equally noteworthy is the new movement of independent artists intentionally going against the stereotypical made-for-radio sound, most of what we hear today belongs to that pursuit-of-pleasantness school so often associated with mainstream pop.

Adam Young is one such artist. His project, Owl City (or O-Town, as my pal Mitch likes to call it) is the most recent band to conquer my iTunes Recently Played list with a campaign consisting solely of electronic beats, blips, and synths. Ocean Eyes, Young's latest album, is practically a how-to tape on creating instantly-appealing songs with just a basement full of tech. Think The Postal Service, but more accessible and more teenager. There's even some Imogen Heap in there.

Now, one of the things I've noticed about bands with catchy music is that the catchier their songs are, the more homogeneous their body of work becomes. For example: The Beach Boys, or Mates of State. I haven't listened to all of Young's albums, but judging solely from his most recent two, Maybe I'm Dreaming and Ocean Eyes, the threat is definitely there. Still, with music this bright and downright enjoyable, it's hard to fault him for sticking with a formula that works and has won him a cache of (mostly female) fans.

I recommend Owl City if you're looking for some feel-good songs to round out your library, but don't expect anything groundbreaking. Not all music should be "deep", or even "moving", and Adam Young is an excellent alternative to the pop drivel usually served up to fulfill that role.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago

Okay, so maybe I missed the boat on this one. Bon Iver has lit up the blogosphere before, but I just have to write about them, just so that you know. Better late than never.

Bon Iver is a group headed by Justin Vernon, who wrote the material for their first album, For Emma, Forever Ago in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, of all places, cloistered in a secluded cabin. That loneliness, that air of a distant nature's arena, is definitely conveyed in the album. Vernon has a very melancholy, unfiltered voice. The first time I heard him sing, the song "Skinny Love", was almost startling, not from strangeness, but from a kind of honest, regretful timbre to his singing. Stark is a word that fits. You've got guitar, and you've got voice, and not too much else. The reason it works is his unique approach to melodic shape, utilizing effortless cadence and syncopation. I don't say this about very many albums, and I mean it: For Emma, Forever Ago is downright pleasurable listening.

There's not much I can say here that hasn't already been said, by other, more noteworthy people. All I can add is that I hope you listen to this music. I think it's important that you do so.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Shad - The Old Prince

As far as white people go, I'm pretty white. I own a messenger bag. I live in Missouri. I play perhaps the whitest instrument in music: the mandolin. But I'd like to think I can appreciate good rap. I've taken it upon myself to become familiar with all types of music, and in doing that I've found out that I actually like most types of music, rap definitely included.

A nice thing about hip hop is that there's really not that much to it, as far as requirements for comprehension. Sure, there's a certain vernacular to become familiar with (women are sho'ty's, hos, etc.), most of which requires a sense of leniency toward grammar, legality, and women's rights, but besides that there are relatively few barriers to appreciation of the genre. Basically, there are two intrinsic elements to rap: rhymes and beats. The more satisfying the beat and the more obscure or unlikely the samples used, the better the song. Lyrics are judged based on vocabulary, difficulty, imagery, or even just the level of insult if the rapper is dissing someone. A particularly good flow should make you think "Oh snap!" or something like that.

Now, I'm not a huge fan of Soulja Boy and his ilk, and if you listen to Shad you'll know why. Shad is a Canadian rapper (yes, he's black), which is rare in itself, but even rarer is his talent. Listen to his flows and you witness true lyrical genius. I was playing his album The Old Prince when I started this post and I had to turn it off after a few minutes because I would stop writing and just listen in awe. The things he can do with words are just sick. Absolutely engrossing. And it can be about anything. Many of his songs have a playful streak to them, like the title track "The Old Prince Still Lives At Home". I was first introduced to Shad by the music video for it, which takes most of its imagery from the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Definitely worth a watch.

Shad's also got his serious side, and his songs frequently discuss "the issues". He's gifted with an eloquence, however, that negates the usually blunt nature of political rap songs. His song "Brother Watching" is a fantastic call to action. The entire album is clean. Shad even mentions Jesus. If you're looking for the next Fiddy, Shad will definitely disappoint. But if you want truly skillful hip hop without all the annoying lines about sex, violence, and civil disobedience, this might be as good as it gets.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Greencards - Fascination

You may not know this about me, but I love bluegrass music. I play the mandolin, and I was basically raised on the stuff. Well, like any other genre of music you have the traditional on one hand and the groundbreaking on the other. Bluegrass has always been stuck in the past, some would say, and for the most part I agree; there's too large a constituent of genre fans still clamoring for the same exact Bill Monroe sound, fifty years after its heyday. But there are alternatives. Newgrass Revival started bringing rock and jazz elements into the genre in the seventies. Chris Thile and Nickel Creek brought bluegrass into the pop/country and, later, alternative segments. Bela Fleck has, through utter mastery of the banjo, created a subgenre of intelligent, aware, new acoustic jazz.

Despite this, bluegrass seems destined, and content, to stay obscure. As the audience ages and shrinks, the relatively small and feeble bluegrass-focused record companies are becoming less and less willing to take risks, leading to streams of well-meaning but derivative bands that can't hope to expand their demographics. It's incredibly frustrating, as a musician, to see this vicious circle play out.

But there is an alternative: The Greencards, a group of young, virtuosic artists taking the bluegrass world by storm. The Greencards have completed their transformation from envelope-pushing traditionalists in their sophomore project, Weather and Water, to groundbreaking acoustic alternative rockers with this fourth project, Fascination. Made up of mandolin, violin, and electric bass, the trio can still claim their folk moniker, lacking drums, but are otherwise left free to experiment. Where other bluegrass bands would most likely fall back into traditional mores, The Greencards all but eschew the genre's overused chord progressions, soloing conventions, and melodies, instead developing a more modern sensibility.

The group hasn't left behind everything, however. Bluegrass has always required a high degree of musicianship, mostly owing to the hurtling speeds at which some songs are played and the skill to play with many different musical instruments in one ensemble coherently. As if it weren't already evident from seeing one of their shows, I've gotten the opportunity to jam with these guys (or "have a pick", as they call it), and I was totally awed by their mad skillz.

With Fascination, The Greencards have become what I hoped they would be from the beginning: a band incorporating bluegrass instruments to stray past the boundaries of the traditional music those elements have been mired in, but doing so in such a way as to garner merit in their own right. The album is by no means perfect, but if songs like "Davey Jones" and "Fascination" are any indication, the group is straying into very delicious territory. Carol Young's vocals are extremely potent, channeling equal parts Krauss and Krall in some instances. The songs just feel new, which is more than I can say for a lot of bands.

Perhaps bluegrass will never "break out" in the pop field, but The Greencards have proven that, at least musically, it already has.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Silversun Pickups - Swoon

Gosh, I must be just terrible. I found out about these guys by watching David Letterman. I didn't even stay up to see them perform. I just Youtubed them the next day. Isn't that nuts? What a way to live, man. Maybe if radio wasn't complete crap I could hear some new artists once in a while instead of seeing them being mentioned on TV.

I know, I know: "!!" But I don't like that website. Pandora,, etc. are the Google Ads of the music world. It almost makes me want to check "music" as my only interest on Stumbleupon and see what I come across.

Anyway, back to this band. Like lots and lots of bands, once I started listening to them I realized I had heard them before but could never figure out what the group was called. It took me months to realize that Lady Gaga sang not only "Pokerface" but "Just Dance". I still attribute every rock song I hear with a raspy male vocalist to Nickelback. But then again, no one should give a crap about Nickelback.

I always try to listen to a band's latest work when I first get into them. Silversun's 2009 release Swoon convinced me to keep digging. It wasn't until hearing their 2006 album, Carnavas, specifically "Lazy Eye", that I realized I had heard them somewhere before. I like having that kind of vague familiarity with a band. It's like finally getting to talk to someone you've seen only glimpses of. Satisfying.

I've always been meaning to get into heavier stuff, and I guess this is a step in that direction. Heaven forbid I say that I have a "high-brow" taste in music (I listen to Futuresex/Lovesounds every weekend), but anything harder than alt rock usually starts to sound a little banal in my opinion (see Linkin Park for an example of what I usually stay away from). I listen to Dragonforce once in a while for the lulz, but still.

However, Silversun Pickups are kind of becoming a favorite of mine. Maybe there really is better hard rock out there, and maybe someday I'll find it, but for now I really like these guys. It might be the fact that I've been listening to a lot of Pablo Honey recently, but the guitar tone here is scratching an itch I didn't know I'd been trying to scratch. The atmosphere is a little darker, a little more intense than what I usually put on, but I like it. What I really appreciate, though, is that there are some awesome melodies here. Like, awesome. There are orchestral elements, but they're not overused, which is nice. The vocals, while not exactly amazing, are as good as they need to be. No shrieking or screaming.

These guys are a bit outside my capacity to write about musically, but I felt I had to share my opinion here. It's important to not become rooted behind genre lines, e.g. "I like everything except country and rap." You've got to try everything.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Alexi Murdoch - Time Without Consequence

If you've seen the movie Away We Go, then you're already familiar with Alexi Murdoch's music. The songs "All My Days" and "Wait" are both featured in the film. My first priority after getting home from the theatre was looking up the artist who did those songs, so I checked it out on IMDB and then fired up the old Youtube. Turns out his music has been used in quite a few TV shows before and his album was on the Billboard Heatseekers chart.

Time Without Consequence, Murdoch's first full album, is a touching, emotional work that subtly glides around folk boundaries. Songs like "All My Days" evoke a more polished Bob Dylan, while other songs, especially the moody "12", are reminiscent of early Coldplay. In fact, the entire album feels like an even mellower Parachutes, if that's possible.

The thing that sets Murdoch apart is his voice. He has a kind of raw strength and honesty that is so rare nowadays. His delivery is effortlessly smooth and powerful, but has a conversational openness. There's just the slightest hint of a Scottish accent.

Accompaniment on the album is understated without feeling empty. Surging, at times, and absolutely flying when it needs to be. Pacing is a big aspect of it. There are plenty of details to keep you interested. Listening to the album all the way through is very satisfying.

I'm sure I'll be listening to this man for a long time. At the very least, do yourself the favor of listening to "All My Days". There's a great live video of it on Youtube.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Joanna Newsom - Ys

Joanna Newsom is not your average singer. First of all, her voice is...unique. There's really no one else quite like it. My sister says she sounds like she's twelve years old, and I'll admit she doesn't exactly sound like most grown women, but the effect isn't as jarring as someone like Lady Sovereign(who I'm convinced is secretly a tween). In any case, she's a terrifically talented singer. You really have to listen for yourself, but I think her voice is a welcome change from the Natasha Bedingfields and P!NKs and Taylor Swifts (bleh!). I really am extremely picky when it comes to female vocalists. And male vocalists, for that matter.

The thing is, though, this show isn't all about Joanna's voice. Her album Ys is a collection of five lengthy fairytale ballads and songs, each a gem of musical and lyrical craftsmanship. This isn't an EP, though. No, this is a gosh darn full album; the whole thing runs a little over an hour. Each song is filled with vibrant and seldom-heard words(define jerkin, if you can), which combined with harp and orchestral accompaniment further the fantastical quality of the album(what does Ys mean, anyway?).

When listening to this stuff I feel like I should be sitting in a wingback armchair in some mansion filled with books. There's a regalness here, kind of. It's the type of music you wouldn't listen to every day--only when you're feeling particularly ponderous and wonderful. I think the harp has a lot to do with that. It's a highly underrated instrument, and Newsom is pretty spectacular at it. I wouldn't mind if her work inspired other artists to use the instrument more often.

Wikipedia says she's psych folk, whatever that is, but one thing I really like about Newsom is that she doesn't snuggle into any real genre(I found Ys in the Pop/Rock section of my library, haha). That gets you pretty far in my book. Anyway, if you want something high-quality and different, please do give this a listen.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Decemberists - The Hazards of Love

Back when I didn't care very much about finding good music, I would hear about The Decemberists and think, "With a name as cool as that, those guys must be pretty good." Basically, I was right.

Lead singer and songwriter Colin Meloy has become modern music's go-to ballad boy with the band's recent album The Hazards of Love. The seventeen-song epic throttles along with a vengeance the tale of, well, I'll let you figure that out for yourself. Suffice to say there's a slew of characters and all of the songs flow together. It's quite beautiful, really.

But even if you ignore the underlying stories, you're still left with a brilliant sound. The album's instrumentation is at times immense and grandiose, but just as easily shifts to sparse and chilling or just plain intense. Then there's the vocals, oh my God. Of course Meloy is instantly lovable. But then you've got Shara Worden, a guest vocalist from My Brightest Diamond. Just listen to "The Wanting Comes in Waves", if you want to hear what that's all about. It opens with Colin accompanied by harpsichord, quickly moving to a soaring chorus with drum, bass, and backup singers, then morphing into a bluesy, hard-driving verse with Worden's unmistakable voice over top, only to cycle through all three again, all with a searing narrative in the background. I defy you to find another band capable of making a song like this.

If you're looking for an accessible piecemeal album, this is not for you. But for someone tired of the everyday drivel of formulaic pop album structure this may be just what the doctor ordered.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Midlake - The Trials of Van Occupanther

Here's a band I listen to an awful lot. Name is Midlake and they're from a small town in Tex. Specifically, their album The Trials of Van Occupanther is what I'm about here. Great album. I'll tell you this right off the bat, here: I'm a sucker for sweet melody, and that's what you get from these guys. Nothing trite, nothing very derivative. Acoustic, mostly. The lead singer's voice is mesmerizing, especially when it's layered over itself a couple times in harmony. He's got a subtle tinge in there that just drives me wild.

The songs are mellow. Good reading music. There's nothing here that will jump out at you; everything flows smoothly, coherent. Sometimes I find myself wanting a little more energy out of them, but that wouldn't be quite right, frankly. The songs are designed, and nothing feels out of place. It's still loose, though. No Autotune, no pointless interludes, no gimmicks. Very fresh.

As for lyrics, the imagery is what's important. No love songs here. Great delivery and not much vocal finesse and you're given kind of an atmosphere. I have no idea what the title song is about--see if you can puzzle through it. But really, nothing too complicated. Just scenes and ideas.

Listen and let this music take you where it wants to go. Pay attention to melody lines and little nuances. Let a few lyrics drop into your consciousness here and there but otherwise treat the vocals as a part of the whole. Repeat "Roscoe", "Head Home", and "Young Bride" a couple times if you really want to see what's up.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

First Post Extravaganza Fist-Bump Party!


This is my blog, okay? Awesome.