Saturday, August 29, 2009

Shining A Light Into The Darkness

Those Midtown Dickens have gone and grown up on their new album "Lanterns". In 2005, they started out as a duo and have now assembled a band with a full cast of characters. This album has a more traditional sound but it is not any less charming than "Oh Yell".

Art is so much an outward expression of our lives, clearly we hear that they have become more seasoned with the pains of falling out of love and learning that people are not always as nice as the grin plastered on their face. The songs are not bitter, but you know there is some winking going on as Kym Register sings on "It's Alright", "We break up and I write you a love song. I was writing it all along." A sad song, but so upbeat in tempo, that you cannot stop yourself from stomping your foot and singing along. The mandolin really keeps that upbeat tempo rolling. Yeah, just try and stop yourself from saying, "Yee haw!" Catherine Edgerton still soars on this album, her voice has become even more powerful as you can hear on "Old Dogs".

The Midtown Dickens have definitely left the songs about holding hands and ice cream behind on this album. Maybe a little sadly, they have learned some heart-wrenching lessons, but these best friends have learned that they do not have to ask for the other to hold their hand. They now know that it is automatic.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Back to School for You

You know the other day, I thought I would listen to Mercury Rev just to revisit the past. When I was younger, I had some good times while listening to the album "Deserter's Songs." But now...I can't do it. The vocals rub me the wrong way. Putting my irritation aside, I still can hear that the instrumentation on the album is still absolutely fantastic.

So, let's fast forward to 2009, and talk about a band that uses similar guitar techniques, North Elementary. They have just released their new album, "Not For Everyone, Just You". Seriously, this is a well produced album that is musically teeming with lushness and textures. Touches of swirly guitars and feedback make the album somewhat experimental, but these elements are used as accents. Essentially, the experimentation never gets in the way of the accessibility of this album. This is a solid rock-pop album that is right for a good time. How you define a good time is up to you, but there is no doubt that this album will be a good accompaniment. Like I said it's experimental at times, but it also still rocks out.