Monsters With Misdemeanors
The Way That You Are
The John Wayne
There are so many things I like about this band and their sophomore effort, Cool Nightmare, that I’m not sure where to begin.
Maybe I could begin with the band’s incredible use of nostalgia. Maybe I could begin with their ability to tap into R and B, ambient, Blues, 1930’s ballads, folk, indie rock, salsa, cha-cha! Maybe I could begin with the brilliance of using an old, out of tune piano as the spiritual bedrock of their album Cool Nightmare.
Maybe I could stop gushing already and write the damn review!
The entire album moves seamlessly from one song to the next, creating an entire listening experience not unlike a concept album. “Hide From the Night” introduces the listener to an interesting interpretation of an early 60’s song, adding a sonic guitar mini solo at the climax for a modern spin: an almost acid rock touch on The Mamas and the Papas. The next track, “Find It of Use,” provides the listener with a ballad that is interrupted seamlessly by a slowed down, latin—wait, is that a cha-cha-cha?!—beat before reverting back to a ballad. “This Heart of Mine,” provides the listener with a similar experience, adding a slowly drawn violin to the mix.
The entire album is a fascinating and joyful trip back in time by skilled and thoughtful musicians. This is an effort for and by music lovers, with a variety of different instruments, sounds, melodies and emotions that create an experience complex enough for a music buff to enjoy and accessible enough for the casual listener.
Radiation City scored a big win with this one! Enjoy!
This is a mellow little EP from upstart artists Plaid Dragon. It’s got some promise as a cult favorite, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see at least one of the songs from Dog Physics featured in a Sundance Film Festival winner.
The opening track “Dog Physics,” features a breathless, girlish vocalist almost whispering over a gentle finger-picked acoustic guitar. In the background is what sounds like a synthesized string instrument gently pulling notes back and forth. This pleasant lullaby drifts just long enough, followed by a brief but triumphant burst of percussion and sonic guitar. The song then settles gently back to a lullaby.
“Sond” opens with high chords on an ukulele, accompanied by some impressive high notes from the vocalist, before giving way to simple percussion and melody. Similar to “Dog Physics,” “Sond” gently rocks the listener back and forth, ending with delicate piano.
This is a great little EP to listen to while unwinding, but also offers the listener a lot to consider on the second and third listening. A solid debut! Head over to their Bandcamp page and pick it up!
Happy Holidays to you and yours!
Josh Ritter is back! The tireless singer-songwriter announced his seventh studio album, entitled The Beast in Its Tracks, due out in early 2013. Along with this announcement came the release of the album’s first single, “Joy to You Baby”. On this track he takes a simple melody and uses it to showcase his beautiful songwriting ability. He builds the song with acoustic strumming and finishes it off with a touch of electric guitar and a quiet drum beat. Despite the cheerful chords, the lyrics give off a sad and wistful vibe. Yet, they come to a close with a little bit of hope. Once again, Ritter has crafted a wonderful song, which you should definitely check out below.
The single “Joy to You Baby” is available now, and look for The Beast in Its Tracks out on March 5th.
Now this song isn’t new or recently-released. It’s not by one of those buzzy acts or trending artists. “Middle of June” is just a damn good track by an immensely talented and underrated artist. Seattle singer-songwriter Noah Gundersen has such a cool, coaxing air to him, much like Damien Jurado, the seasoned troubadour also from the Pacific Northwest. Gundersen guides listeners through his folk-tinged music, holding them closely through every strum and hum as though he’s divulging a long-kept secret. His vocals are soothing to the soul, but have just the slightest bit of rasp to give his words that added bit of rawness that resonates deeply. But that’s not to say that his lyrics on their own are without depth; on the contrary, listen carefully to his truthful phrases for tales brimming with emotion.
Check out Noah Gundersen’s Bandcamp page for a ton of music.