November 1st, 2010

Yeasayer's Odd Blood! Beautifully odd.

For artists like myself, new music is mostly business.  Usually when we like/dislike a band or an album, we dissect it to find out what it is we like/dislike so that our music is influenced or not influenced accordingly.  We rarely just enjoy music…BUT

Yeasayer‘s “Odd Blood” is the exception for me. I listen for pure pleasure’s sake!  My ears are enraptured with not only the huge vocal melodies but the massive vocal effects.  I love the gigantic drums and the strange nuances of this over produced 80′s-esq album!!  It ranges from Tears for Fears to Justin Timberlake. Crazy right?  But there is something so amazing buried beneath it all.

When I first got the album my ears were literally offended and caught off guard by the saturation of sound and I didn’t like it at all, or so I thought.  Then several weeks, maybe months later I found it, put it on and suddenly it felt like I was listening to music that I used to know and love.  Like it used to be on of my favorite albums.  It’s very weird and I don’t know how to explain it but I missed not hearing it for so long and I recognized it way better than albums I’ve only listened to once or twice.  Now it actually is one of my favorite albums.  Music I can just enjoy.

Check out these two tracks.  What do you think? (leave in comments section)
yeasayer by jzimbrich

October 25th, 2010

Band of Horses! Become a band with infinite arms.

The Enemy Lovers and Band of Horses play in Asheville, NC on the same night! This Thursday (Oct 28)! If you have $26 to spare go and see BOH at the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium (Find Tickets) but everyone else come see The Enemy Lovers at Stella’s (The basement at Stella Blue NO COVER)!!  We launch The Enemy Lovers Residency (Live Every Thursday 9pm No Cover)!!

**Infinite Arms was released May 18, 2010.  The inspiration to write this review so long after being released came due to their upcoming show in Asheville NC, my hometown!

Let me start by saying that the new record has grown on me and I do really love it now.  But the first couple times through, I thought it was terrible.  Like Ray Lamontagne did with his new record (Click to read our review), Band of Horses ventured out on their own this time and took their touring band into the studio to record ”Infinite Arms”. (Click to listen)

After reading a lot of bad reviews I was shamefully peer pressured into thinking the new album wasn’t worth my $9.99.  Then Amazon did the $3.99 deal and I jumped on it thinking it had to be worth a try.  I downloaded it, moved it to my ipod and plugged it in to my stereo.  The opening track starts with brilliant strings that single handedly had me putting this record on continuously over the next month, even though I thought I didn’t really like the album. Then the background vocals on “Blue Beard” slapped me on the face and said why aren’t you really listening!!  I began then, to hear the understated perfection of this entire body of new music.  No, it’s not old Band of Horses or “The Funeral” but it’s definitely not a step back either.

“Infinite Arms” isn’t just a list of new songs, it’s a mood.  It’s not Band of Horses trying to fill a quota for a new Band of Horses record.  Nothing is the same here as it was with their previous two back to back masterpieces (“Everything All The Time” and “Cease To Begin”) but nothing is missing.  And though understated, there is a lot happening here!  From the stacked lead vocals with equally strong backing vocals to huge orchestral percussion, it comes together to create a full album you want to hear all the way through.  There’s a cadence in “Compliments” that make you want to stomp out the dreary early mornings and “Dilly” seems to smooth off all the hard edges of life, if only for three and a half minutes. And you’ll realize half way through “Evening Kitchen” that you’re lost in some great nostalgic thought you haven’t had in years.  Even in all the newness Ben Bridwell still captures that distinct and strangely unique vocal we all love. “Infinite Arms” is a great addition to an amazing, growing discography from Band of Horses!

This is the first Band of Horses album recorded by “the band”.  They played it, produced it and released it.  Why they made the choice to record without their former producer was puzzling to me at first, but now hearing what was created I understand.  Sometimes to step forward you have to step to the side and go around the looming expectations of how great you’ve been in the past, and create a new great.

Did you get the new record by band of horses?  What did YOU think? (leave in comments section)

October 21st, 2010

The Enemy Lovers set to play Asheville every week!! (starting OCT.28)

The Enemy Lovers are taking up residency in Stella Blue’s basement venue “Stella’s” for a weekly free show. Every Thursday at 9pm, starting Oct. 28, they have joined with Stella Blue to bring Asheville’s 21+ crowd a nightlife option where you don’t have to pay a cover or listen to a cover band.  All tip/donations will be given to Adullam Orphanages who care for 750 orphans in Africa.

Read the cool write up in Mtn. Xpress covering us here. And enjoy our homemade video advertisement below! Pass on the news … click below to ReTweet this video for us.  Thank you!

October 13th, 2010

Do you remember how to trust your gut?

How many times do we have to learn to trust our gut? We know what we have to do, yet we still hesitate … do it damn it! Trust your gut! The longer we ignore it the more numb we become and too soon we’ll forget the value of life. Like the blind, we must feel our way around until we each find what we instinctively know is there, somewhere. You were born to be what only you can become.

Be relieved to finally hear the bad news we live our lives dreading because we already know it’s right. It won’t be easy but it can be the first time you’ve heard great bad news. When it’s finally said, even though it’s not the great news we hoped for, it will become the resolve that pushes (forces!) us in the right direction.

For now it’s just, trust your gut!!

October 11th, 2010

Ray Lamontagne and the Pariah Dogs! Ray and who?

Looks like Ray took his touring band and made a self produced record in his living room.  He’s calling them the Pariah Dogs but honestly the instrumentation is minimal on this new project.  I would say the genre is your very basic old country style, epitomized by pedal steel and banjo.  This observation seems obvious to me now in the album title “God Willin and the Creek Don’t Rise” (Listen here). Sadly I prefer pre-Pariah Dogs Ray Lamontagne. But maybe it’s not the bands fault.  Maybe it’s the absence of Ray’s former producer Ethan Johns.  As inspiring as it sounds, great self-produced records are an exception to the rule. It happens (Listen to “Wake Up” from Arcade Fire’s first album “Funeral”), but it’s rare.

Most of the songs sound too familiar which isn’t necessarily bad, but it fails to be creatively unique. Like the songs are old country standards with a form that new chords and words were put into. With a stand out track like “Meg White” (Listen here) from his last album “Gossip and the Grain”, I was under the impression he was going in a new direction, more aggressive, in a smooth Lamontagne way!  But I guess not. Maybe he and Ethan Johns are making another album right now and this album was just a little release in between.  I’m really hoping this is not all we’re getting out of Ray for the next couple of years.  With high expectations for every new Ray Lamontagne record this is the first time they have been let down.  The new album is not all bad, you’re just reading a religious fan’s review that is comparing Ray to Ray.  The songs are still good (Listen to “Repo Man”) but the album falls into 4th place of 4 albums for me.  Ray Lamontagne still has one of the best voices in the music industry right now matched with an ability to write great songs!  I’m still and always will be a fan.

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PS_If you want to feel the perfect magic of Ray I recommend listening to his second album “Till the Sun Turn Black”, which is by far my favorite of his yet.  Watch this live performance of “Empty” from that album.

And here’s some good stuff from the new album “Repo Man” Live.