Saturday, March 29, 2008
Innovative and fun, Limbeck, a four-piece from Orange County, never ceases to rock my musical socks off by making the genre of alt-country their own. The band sounds if they have a lot of fun making their records, and that carries over into the album. Nothing on this album sounds forced, dramatized, or hurried. These things are very easy to hear, especially on an alt-country record that is meant to be rhythmic and melodic, and the band keeps everything well constructed, yet provides a loose beat with the percussions to allow for guitar fills and riffs. Watching their live show, the energy is readily apparent. I highly recommend their concert, as I've seen them three times, on both coasts, and they always put on something memorable. Lyrically, the music is a mix between relationships, and what seems like nothing at all: car rides to shows, hanging out on porches, and being with friends. Perhaps that is where the allure lies, because everyone can relate to the topics singer Robb MacLean covers. A great band, and a classic album. Standout tracks: "Julia," "In Ohio on Some Steps," and "Honk + Wave."
Friday, March 28, 2008
Matt Pryor begins his side, er full-time project's new album with a throw back to the mono-track recordings that instantly drawing the listener to a bare-bones New Ams track. Immediately after the opening track, Pryor's ambitious songcrafting, which has been developing in the post-Get Up Kids era, is in full-band force, picking up where Story Like a Scar left off. The album has a slower tempo with a more experimental feel, as if Pryor doesn't really know where he's trying to go. On the other hand, it creates a sense of unpredictability that has been forthwith in recent releases. "Without a Sound (Elanor)" is a poignant song that draws from raw emotion and anecdotes. "Hughes" is interesting because it sounds more like a high school emo-track, but it works well within the confines of the album. Ironically, the best song (IMO) is the title track from their previous album, "Story Like a Scar," a sobering look at a scenario that could be anything from unacquainted love, to the break up of the Get Up Kids. Either way, it helps to support the album, and further showcase Pryor's music abilities. Standout tracks: "Story Like a Scar," "A Beacon in Beige," and "Without a Sound (Elanor)."
Without a Sound (Elanor)
Monday, March 24, 2008
Murder by Death returns with their finest work yet, a blend of lighter post-rock and heavy on the country. Their eclectic use of stringed instruments creates a wall of sound that plays nicely against the backdrop of deep drums and slower guitar riffs. The construction of the album plays into their history of creating a story that melds the tracks into a pseudo-story supported by Adam Turla's lyrical prowess. My favorite track (out of many) is "The Big Sleep," which incorporates cello, acoustic guitar, and a voice that mimics the pain and heartache of The Man in Black himself. Maturation has taken Turla a long way from the band's first few albums. The tempo is varied between slower alt-country to more of a faster rock-a-billy, post-rock mix that is very pleasing. Track-to-track mixing is seamless, and the story aspect keeps the album moving forward. The entire record has a deep, dusty, and earthy sound (it's hard to describe) that would make Johnny Cash proud. Standout tracks: "Sometimes the Line Walks You," and "The Big Sleep."
The Big Sleep
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Pulling from a jagged, rougher rock sound and distinct country twang, Adam Duritz and his cohorts come screaming back with a record that includes tracks with a noticeable departure from the softer pop-rock of their previous sing-along hits ("Omaha" and "Mr. Jones"). This makes up the bulk of the album, well, the first half at least. I had to listen to "1492" twice to try and find the conventional Crows that everyone knows, but I was impressed with the departure they made from their musical norms. "Washington Square" signals the turn in the album that heads back to familiar territory of ballads and pop. The difference between the two-halves almost forced this departure from rock to be this transparent, as trying to transition a blend of those tracks would be a guaranteed clash between the hard and soft. The album does a good job showcasing the Crows' sound, and highlighting their expanded musical talents. Give it a few listens, and I'm sure you'll be just as impressed with their advancement over the last few efforts. Standout Tracks: "Washington Square," "Los Angeles," and "Cowboys"