Friday, October 30, 2009

Attention Nick Drake Fans

Did you ever wish he were still alive? Or at the very least, someone would discover a huge cache of his unreleased music? Well, I recently made a great discovery. I was watching the film “Away We Go” and noticed a blurb on the DVD box that read something to the effect of, you’ll enjoy the beautiful, original soundtrack. As I listened I thought to myself, hey, all they did was lift a bunch of Nick Drake tunes. How the heck is that original? Well, lo and behold, after doing some research, I found out the soundtrack was actually by a newcomer, Alexi Murdoch. The Scottish folky has a soft, tender voice and his songwriting reminds me of where Nick Drake would be if he were still around. He only has two releases, “Time Without Consequence” and “Away We Go.” They’re both excellent.

Friday, October 23, 2009

These Guys Are Nuts!

I discovered the Canadian indie group, The Acorn, about a year ago and I just love their sound. Their music sounds like what the Talking Heads would be producing, if they were still around. The Acorn is very percussive and features excellent, slightly off-beat vocals. The title of their first full-length recording, “Glory Hope Mountain” is an approximate translation of the singer Rolf Klausener’s mom’s name--Gloria Esperanza Montoya. Several of the tunes including “Flood” have a definite Honduran influence. But, uniformly, the whole album is outstanding. I’d have to give it a five out of five star rating. If The Acorn was an American group, I’m sure they’d be riding the charts.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Genre Bender?

When I first listened to The Antlers, I thought they sounded like Noise Rock. Then as I got further into the recording, they sounded more folky. So I guess they'd have to be called Noise Folk (have I coined a new term?). The lead singer, Peter Silberman, has a sweet falsetto voice, which reminds me of Jeff Buckley. And the songs are frequently quiet and gentle, with the occasional infusion of blistering layers of guitar and various noises. But overall, the music is very contemplative and peaceful, and is usually fairly stripped down with a minimal amount of instrumentation. The Brooklyn-based singer started recording solo in his bedroom, but has expanded to include a full group. (He actually made a recording “The February Tape”, in a bathtub in just an hour.) I haven’t heard it, but I do enjoy his more recent music.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Little Jackie=Big Fun

I’m not into rap. Okay. That said, I’m a huge fan of Little Jackie. I’d classify them as a combo of rap, R&B, and dance. They’ve got great vocals, excellent back-up musicians, and nice sense of humor. Listen to “The World Should Revolve Around Me”, and I think you’ll hop on the proverbial bandwagon. Here is a sample of their lyrics: "This kind of knowledge can cause a depression_So I bide my time with philosophical questions_Not for nothing, but what came first?_The chicken nugget or the Egg McMuffin?" I'd just like to know, when are they coming into town. They'd be great to see live!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Got stories?

James McMurtry has, that’s for sure. The Texas singer/songwriter is the son of novelist Larry McMurtry and an English professor mom. While that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s a good singer, it does lend him some songwriting skills. At first blush, he sounds pretty country. But if you’re not a huge fan of the genre, like me, you have to look beyond the southern twang of his voice. His songs are like finely-crafted short stories. They range from kids bragging about leaving their small town, to depictions of a visit to his grandparents on Memorial Day. All imbued with a wry sense of humor. Think of him as sort of a Texas version of Bruce Cockburn. And his voice has a homey, old pair of boots sound to it. It does grow on you.