Tag Archives: Music Reviews

Listen Up!

First off, I must apologize for not updating the blog with my own original commentary in quite some time. That being said, let’s get into it!

The Felice Brothers self-titled album is available now.

The Felice Brothers self-titled album is out now.

The Felice Brothers, mountain men from upstate New York, are part of the new wave of Americana/folk revival that is happening around the country. These three brothers, along with their once traveling dice gambler, now bass player, known simply as Christmas, set out to bring back the raucous deep and dirty Americana that makes you feel as though you are in a deep south saloon sippin’ on some moonshine, tapping your spurs to every wood-creaking, washboard-raking sound. You will hear many influences, most notably their lead singer, Simone, who sounds Bob Dylan-esque, but with actual harmony (don’t chastise me). Fresh off seeing them at the Anti-Pop Music Festival here in Orlando, I will tell you, as good as this album is, their live show is what sets them apart from the rest. I was so impressed with these ‘gents, they actually out-performed and had the crowd more involved than the well respected and much more widely known Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band. (Check out their impressive performance below.)

lakeLAKE are an interesting collective. Comprised of up to nine people at any time, each of which are accomplished musicians with various solo albums attributed to each. Their new album, Oh The Places We’ll Go, clocks in at just under 28 minutes, but it leaves its catchy impression, seemingly begging to be listened to again immediately after completion. Sounding at times like a group of friends that found some of their parents old instruments and recording equipment, this album is an ode to 60’s dream-pop. The album is loose, but everything fits into place, and not a second is wasted, creating 2-3 minutes of pure pop prowess at a time, rather than offering some of the meandering dreamy landscapes like their previous self-titled album. You will find yourself coming back to this time and again.

alpinismsAfter both Ben Curtis’ and the Deheza sister’s respective bands broke up, they came together to form School of Seven Bells, actually becoming greater than the sum of their original parts. Taking their name from a notorious pickpocketing school in Colombia (wait, what?), SoSB has an infectious brand of electro-dream pop, wandering through bassy trip-hop and even Frou Frou territory. The twin sister lead singers range from tribal vocal musings to traditional Indian vocals (like the country, not the oppressed original American inhabitants), all the while simultaneously provoking thought and unleashing their undeniable charm and grace. That’s not even mentioning the music; Ben’s beats are meticulous, providing the sisters with a beautiful pallet of sound-scape to craft this masterpiece of dream-pop. Their seemingly come-out-of-nowhere album Alpinisms is creating quite the buzz, and rightly so; the album will most definitely make my top 20 of ’08.

The Felice Brothers – Whiskey In My Whiskey (Live)…

There you have it, quite the range of musical sensibilities this week! Thoughts?

-Ant

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Listen Up!

The Avett Brothers

The Avett Brothers

The Avett Brothers are coming off the best album of their career, Emotionalism in 2007, to having their highest commercial success yet with the release of their new EP, The Second Gleam. The EP debuted on the Billboard top 200 album chart at a respectable 82. Emotionalism was in my top 20 albums in 2007; of course they don’t need my endorsement now, recently signing a deal with a Sony affiliate. If you have not heard The Avett Brothers unique meld of folk and bluegrass, even if you don’t find those styles particularly appealing, they deserve a shot.

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - Real Emotional Trash is out now.

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - Real Emotional Trash is out now.

Stephen Malkmus, who is most known for his days as the front man for the critically acclaimed Pavement, does not get enough credit for his solo work. Stephen Malkmus – S/T is one of my favorite albums of all time, with his gentle mix of brash lyrics and the seemingly classic 90’s guitar of yore.

“Shepherds herd in real time
Sheep are barley-grazing on a field of green
Vines ripen to find
Troy will prevail
Trojan curfews prevail”

Stephen really captured me on this album, unlike anything he did with Pavement; it’s more refined, more polished, and more emotional.

Ryan Adams has seen his amount of success, as well as some failures, and that’s what makes this topically arrogant musician so endearing. Fact is, his style changes with almost every album, with the hearty riff-laden Rock-N-Roll, to almost single-handedly commandeering the “alternative-country” genre with his proper solo debut, Heartbreaker. He really caught his stride in 2004, with the release of Love is Hell; including one of THE best cover songs of all time, Wonderwall by Oasis, greatly surpassing the original (set down your nostalgia a bit and really listen). The fact that he is in his early 30’s and crunching out 4 albums and 2 EP’s in the last three years really speaks volumes for Adams’ talent. Do yourself a favor, unleash this beast of a musician into your repertoire; start with Heartbreaker, Love Is Hell, and Cold Roses.

– Ant

[Listen Up! is a weekly feature.]