Archive for September, 2008

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No. 19: Ed Harcourt

September 28, 2008

So I’m a day really late.  I failed before I even started.  C’est la vie.

I wish I could remember where I picked up Ed Harcourt from.  It was probably Allmusic.com or something similar. Regardless, it was a good choice.  He’s incredibly talented as a songwriter, and his performing is spot on too.  He’s like Ryan Adams without the twang and a little bit more in the way of pop hooks.  I started listening to him at the beginning of the summer when I was bored out of my mind, and he filled about a week, which is impressive.  I have a pretty short attention span.  Anyways, I first listened to the album From Every Sphere (2003, Heavenly Recording).  It was good.  None of the tracks particularly blew me away, but I liked them all.  Some were a little too discordant for me to really like them, but it was still good.  This led me to Here Be Monsters (2001, Heavenly) which was his debut album.

This blew me away.  Something In Your Eye was absolutely gorgeous, but two tracks later, is what is now one of my favorite songs ever: She Fell Into My Arms.  That song has every thing a song needs for me to love it.  Poppiness, but not too much, fantastic songwriting, but it doesn’t dwell on itself.  It builds well, goes somewhere, and has fun doing it, while not being a joke song.

Next is number 18: John Butler Trio, G. Love, and Tristan Prettyman in concert.

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1 Year of Music

September 23, 2008

I turned 20 on Saturday the 20th.  It was a crazy fun time: I went canoeing, movie watching, dinner eating, cake eating.  Oh- the thrills I experienced!

But I did some thinking- I’ve listened to a lot of music since I turned 19 one year ago.  A lot.  So what are my favorite things that I’ve found since then: bands, songs, albums, etc.  So I’m going to write about my 19 favorite musical discoveries that happened over my nineteenth year of life at a rate of one a day.  I’ll start tomorrow with Ed Harcourt.

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Album Review: Nashville (Josh Rouse)

September 8, 2008

I love good singer-songwriters.  I think they’re fantastic.  However my one common complaint is that the songs often end up dull.  Repetitious.  Boring.  You know, using the same 5 chords and changing the strum pattern.  Or doing the opposite: using the same strum pattern and changing the chords used.  These people rely too much on lyrics and not enough on the music and delivery.  It’s frustrating.  Like Connor Oberst.  He has some great lyrics.  But he can’t sing.  He sounds like a dying goat.  And his compositions rarely vary within an album.

 

So when I heard about Josh Rouse, I was doubtful.  He was a singer-song writer named Josh.  Do you know how many of them there are?  Josh Radin, Josh Kelly, Joss Stone- whoops.

 

Anyways, it was with reluctance that I investigated Josh Rouse.  It was with gusto and enthusiasm that I bought his album Nashville and then Country Mouse, City House.  He has beautiful lyrics that are accentuated by a simple, but enjoyable voice.  Most importantly, he doesn’t let the melody underwhelm the lyrics.  There’s more to it than just chords.  There’s a second guitar part often times, layers of his voice, some simple drums.  And it all flows so naturally.

Nashville was a great introduction to him.  It’s very focused on a particular sound (quiet & wintry but somehow upbeat) yet varies within that sound.  It’s The Night Time is probably the best song on the album, it builds very well, but doesn’t overdo it.

Another great song, is the muted Sad Eyes.  

I’d recommend ignoring the video and just listening to the song.  It’s a House fan tribute video, so unless you want a laugh, hit play and walk away.

 

In short, Nashville is a quiet, happy, and beautiful album worthy of fans of Ryan Adams and Mason Jennings.