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  • Review: Miss Montreal - I Am Hunter (2012)

    Abr 25 2012, 23h52

    Review: Miss Montreal
    I Am Hunter

    8 Ball Music



    Dutch singer-songwriter and pop-rocker Sanne Hans who fronts Miss Montreal has one of the most gorgeous voices in music today. On "I Am Hunter" it curls around lonely ballads like a wisp of smoke and on the rockers it soars and shoots through the room like a bright light.

    Virtually unknown outside of Europe, the band traveled to Nashville to record their third album with the help of songwriting and producing team Nate Capmany and Joshua Crosby. Hans voice which carried their first two albums is handled and framed perfectly here.

    Three years ago Dutch national radio 3FM gave her awards for Best Newcomer and Best Singer. This year she won again for Best Singer and for Best Song for "Wish I Could," a track off this standout release. Her live performances are near-legendary in her homeland and if this record gets her gigging on these shores, the hunt for an American hit may pay off this summer.

    Here's the official video for "I Am Hunter":



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    Thanks to zhalli my best Aussie LastFM-er who turned me on Sanne three years ago via her duet with Bertolf.
  • Review: Norah Jones - Little Broken Hearts (2012)

    Abr 24 2012, 3h31

    Review: Norah Jones
    Little Broken Hearts (2012)

    Blue Note Records



    Well, well, Norah Jones and her producer Brian Burton (Danger Mouse) have just delivered a lesson to Lana Del Rey on what sexy-noir is all about. Intentional or not, the similarities will jump out here to pop culture watchers and Jones comes out on "Little Broken Hearts" as both a musical victor and the thematic one in a darkly vicious games of love. Dark is the key word here.

    Early Jones fans won't find anything close to "Come Away with Me" on this. They're more likely to be completely stunned when she sings sweetly while murdering a lover's mistress, "Miriam." ...that's such pretty name and I'll keep saying it til you die."

    There are some seemingly sunny moments leading up to that murderous climax. "Out On The Road" as she flees her lover with a half a tank of gas singing she guess he'll have to love her from afar. And "Happy Pills" which sounds like an ode to Prozac. It has a repetitive quirky beat and oddly happy sound with Norah pleading to be let go and asking how does it feel to be one shut out.

    It all plays out like an Alfred Hitchcock movie from yesterday...with an outstanding modern noir soundtrack.

  • Review: The Parlor Soldiers - When The Dust Settles (2011)

    Abr 24 2012, 2h20

    Review: The Parlor Soldiers
    When The Dust Settles (2011)

    Self Released (@ bandcamp.com)



    The Parlor Soldiers are a remnant army of three. Songwriters Alex Culbreth and Karen Jonas duet, harmonize and trade off guitar and drum roles. Bringing up the rear, or holding down the bottom is Dan Dutton on upright bass. It takes a lot of talent for three people and simple songs to hold your attention for a whole album. Culbreth and Jonas weave their voices together in Appalachian tapestry where one song has you breathing dust and the next laughing at the irreverent back and forth reminiscent of Johnny Cash and June Carter. Jonas' voice has the occasional quaver of June which might have thinking you're hearing a ghost, except June would never drop the M-F bomb. Culbreth too, sometimes holds a plaintive note that treads in Hank Williams territory.

    There is an otherworldly quality on most of the songs on their debut "When The Dust Settles" owing to their voices and the themes of outlaws, revenge and death. Even when they delve into the usual cliche-ridden areas of hookers and whiskey, the arrangements and lyrics hold the album steady. On "Mess" Jonas gives infidelity a twist singing in her sweet voice, "...I hope my white wet t-shirt doesn't expose...my broken heart."

    Culbreth and Jonas picked their name from a old list of Civil War terms. A Parlor Soldier was one deemed unfit for duty or...a poseur. There is a little irony here. Their direct competition in the Americana/Folk circuit is The Civil Wars, the duo of Joy Williams and John Paul White who scored a coup by getting a short gig on the Grammys before Taylor Swift's segment. The buzz is they flamed out in popularity shortly after the exposure...and now that the dust has settled The Parlor Soldiers are ready to show their stuff.

    http://theparlorsoldiers.bandcamp.com/

    Thanks to strajnic for the tip on this band! All the way from Serbia to Boston....
  • Review: Joan Osborne - Bring It On Home (2012)

    Abr 24 2012, 2h14

    Review: Joan Osborne
    Bring It On Home (2012)

    Saguaro Road Records



    When the track list for Joan Osborne's first album in four years appeared and the opening track was the blues/rock standard "I Don't Need No Doctor," I felt both excitement and trepidation. An Ashford & Simpson penned tune first done by Ray Charles and then taken to another whole level by Humble Pie and the legendary voice of Steve Marriott on their Rockin' the Fillmore LP in 1971, it's a classic worthy of playing at full volume. But similar recent attempts in going back to a blues and R&B sound in the last two years by Cyndi Lauper (Memphis) and Sheryl Crow (100 Miles from Memphis) fell flat. No need to worry. Osborne goes all the way back to her club singing roots and pulls off a triumph. Her voice smoothly stretches over these soul, R&B and blues cover tunes as her road band lays down a juke joint sound truly worthy of Memphis.

    Surpassing even "I Don't Need No Doctor," the standout track is an incendiary cover of Slim Harpo's "Shake Your Hips " with Osborne is in full blues/rock chanteuse mode. On the title track, she sounds at her seductive, sultry best and on "Game of Love" she turns the song on it's head as a stand up feminist blues anthem.

    This is the album that should break her out of the one-hit wonder mode in public perception, thanks to reaching the top of the charts back in 1995 with the all-pervasive (What if God Was) One of Us. She does bring some pop/adult alternative sensibilities to some of this material, especially on a fun cover of Allen Toussaint's reggae number "Shoorah! Shoorah!" Joan Osborne coming back to AAA radio...and a blues club near you soon.
  • Review: Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires - There is a Bomb in Gilead (2012)

    Abr 24 2012, 2h07

    Review: Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires
    There is a Bomb in Gilead (May 2012)
    Alive Naturalsound Records



    Recorded in the heart of Dixie and mixed in the Motor City, the debut release from Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires burns a path through the American musical landscape on which lesser bands have become hopelessly lost. These boys are forging a sound based on garage rock guts, southern riffs and gospel flavors that was first explored by The Rolling Stones 40 years ago on Exile on Main St.

    The difference here is the Stones were doing an homage to the sounds they learned to love. On "There is a Bomb in Gilead," with Bains on vocals, drummer Blake Williamson, bass player Justin Colburn, and guitar player Matt Wurtele...the band plays like the stuff Gram Parsons called "Cosmic American Music" is in their DNA.

    There is nothing here either quite as sinister sounding or as obtuse as some of the Exile tracks, this band follows a more observant trail of lyrical hooks including the pun of the closing title track. "There is a Bomb in Gilead" plays on a Bible verse that became the Black American spiritual, "Balm in Gilead." Bains misheard the lyrics as child and sticks with that here yet works in the meaning of both words in a clever way. Getting to that last track will take you on a journey through the deep dirty south of today, the band even stops along the way for the "Magic City Stomp!" where they do a bit of their own homage via some very Stones-like jamming.

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    Thanks to WyldWoodFlower for the tip on this band! She knows her Cosmic American Music.
  • Saveall's Top Albums of 2010

    Mai 13 2010, 3h32

    What am I into? I seek authenticity. After a few decades of listening you just know it when you hear it. Rock, country, soul, blues...call it roots music. For me the best albums and songs pull from many influences. I think music today is getting broken down into too many sub genres...it gets a little bewildering and ridiculous. I long for the days when I could turn on the radio, a transistor a.m., and hear The Supremes, Johnny Cash, The Beatles and Frank Sinatra on the same station. A good song is a good song. And as my favorite bumper sticker reads: Once There Were Songs. So here's hoping I help you dear reader, find a few on here:

    My Top Albums of 2010



    Brilliant blend of 60's soul and rap by Plan B (AKA British rapper Ben Drew) in a concept album that rivals anything to come out of the UK since...perhaps The Who's Tommy. Yes, there, I said it. The Defamation of Strickland Banks. Brilliant. #1 on the UK Album chart. Will it be heard it in the U.S.? I certainly hope so. What does it sound like? Imagine Marvin Gaye lives and collaborated with a coherent Eminem. That's close...but it's better, much better.




    I normally don't go for what I think are whining indie bands. But then I heard the indie trendoids were whining this album was a sellout. So I figured it was good. It is. One or two tracks even sound like they might have been left off one of the older, better Eagles albums by a coked out producer. Plus I like the cover art.




    Jeff has taken himself a little too seriously in the past, but since he is helping launch Imelda May's career on this one...I gave it a listen, over and over. I bow before his greatness once again.




    My current favorite of 2010. Fantastically beautiful and moving. It will take you where she wants you to go...somewhere south...and warm and mostly bittersweet. Moorer draws you in with an intensely personal collection of songs and pulls you through an emotional wringer.




    Great movie, but you know that if you saw it...and you also know Ryan Bingham's theme track "The Weary Kind" is worth the price of admission. Hey he won a Oscar for it. Damn.




    Allison Moorer's big sister (by four years) Shelby Lynne, is in my view competing with her for album of the year in some quarters with this one. At times jazzy, at times americana-leaning country...great vocals and great songs.




    A fitting epitaph. There isn't a "Hurt" on here...but there is album full of tracks that hit the same chord and give you hope at the same time.




    Dawn Landes...who the hell is she and what is she singing about? I haven't figured it out yet, but I want to keep listening over and over to find out. Quirky, sweet and cool.



    Thanks to LastFM's biggest John Hiatt fan and resident otter dancingabout for pointing me here! An album of covers after her excellent Seven Angels on Bicycle, which I wore out last year. Standout cover of Little Village's "Big Love." It's hard to find a more evocative female vocalist in any genre.




    With a voice like Patty's, it's always gospel when she sings, even when it isn't, but this is...so if you don't know what to believe in...you will after you listen to her interpretations of these classics.




    So, there are a SLEW of classic rockers putting out new stuff soon, Frampton is one the first out and it doesn't disappoint...in fact it shocked me. It's political, it's topical...and it rocks.




    This lady deserves a lot more attention. Think Susan Tedeschi with a more soulful sound. I think this is her first one with Alligator Records, so she might actually get more promo. Let's hope so. The track "Weeds Like Us" ...is simply chilling.




    Peter Wolf. You don't remember him? He doesn't remember you either, but he remembers a lot...and he writes and sings all about it. A rock and roll survivor. Duets with Neko Case and Merle Haggard. Need I say more? I wouldn't be surprised if this gets a Grammy nod. Oh wait, yes I would because they always nominate music that sucks. And oh, I just heard Wolf and his old mates J.Geils are opening for Aerosmith at a Fenway Park concert in August....but I heard...long after it was sold out.




    Hey, he is Boston boy too...so go Paperboy! Retro soul sung like it was 1960-something and the party is getting started. If they only played this stuff on the radio again...he would be a household name. This latest album has already dropped in Europe to great reviews. Due out in the U.S. in August. If you can't an advance copy, pick up 2009's "Roll With You"...great, great stuff.



    Artist Tags
    Plan B
    Johnny Cash
    Eli "Paperboy" Reed & The True Loves
    Band of Horses
    Allison Moorer
    Peter Wolf
    Jeff Beck
    Janiva Magness
    Peter Frampton
    Dawn Landes
    Carrie Rodriquez
    Patty Griffin
    Shelby Lynne
    Ryan Bingham