look at me updating all the time!
I have to do these album reviews, so I thought maybe I could put a few up here, of the albums that I like (I don't have the heart to put the bad reviews up). As you will see, they are brief and I don't spend much time on making them flow. We'll see how this goes--these might be the only ones I ever put up. Links to Myspace, where you can hear songs.
Some Velvet Morning; Silence Will Kill You
RhythmBank Entertainment 2007
Good production quality and straight-ahead rock sound give this debut album a major-label sound. It's actually catchy in a way I never found The Killers or Franz Ferdinand (to whom they compare themselves) to be. One reason I chose it was I thought it might be the namesake of the Nancy Sinatra/Lee Hazlewood song, but the sound bears no resemblance whatsoever to that style. Despite misled expectations, I was pleasantly surprised by the whole album. It's a London-based band, but the sound is definitely influenced by American rock. All the songs are energetic. The musicians are talented, and I was most impressed with the (male) singer's voice--there's a pitch-perfect passion put behind a lot of the lyrics, remninscient of U2 throughout the years. Similarities to The Police are fleeting and only on a few tracks. There are definitely a few stand-out tracks, but the songs in between aren't just filler.
Sibylle Baier ; Colour Green
Orange Twin 2006
Because of its history, I don't know whether "instant classic" or "lost classic" is the most appropriate label for this album. It was recorded in the 70's, but wasn't released until more recently. It was popular with music bloggers, and songs still show up with some regularity on online mixes. The first time I heard "Forget About," it was one of those moments where the rest of the world stopped, and there was nothing but the sadness of the song. And then, when it was over, it was one of those moments of "what was THAT?" And I wondered how I'd lived my life up till then without knowing that song. I also had this feeling at age 14 over Nick Drake, so if that's not your style, it's probably not for you. But I suspect, even though the songs don't have the complexity, or the spot-on lyrics of Drake, that there is a certain universality in the gentleness of her voice, the quality of which I hate to liken to Nico, but it is similar on some tracks (think Nico, if she wrote her own songs and sang on key). I think English is her second language, and some of the lyrics don't quite make sense, but even the most nonsensical still, in tandem with the music, somehow convey the overall intention of the song. The mood of the entire album is pretty sedate, as it's just her soft voice and a sometimes out-of-tune Spanish guitar (except for the strings on "Give Me a Smile"), but some of the songs are more uplifting than others. Like Nick Drake, I think there's an understated hope hidden in even the most dark-sounding tracks. This album, so the story goes, was part of a process of overcoming a deep depression. You can hear the darkness, but if you listen closely, you can hear the coming out of it, too.
Update on Harlan
2 days ago