Song Spotlight: I Really Like You by Carly Rae Jepson

 

Here. Have a dose of upbeat unadulterated pop goodness, with a touch of slightly cheese video.

Emotion was the album that nobody wanted to admit that they liked last year, but, deep down, they did, and they got up and danced when no one was looking. And this song was one of the reason. Because, yes, it makes us want to get up and dance. Though, we still prefer to do it when no one is looking.

Album Review: Not To Disappear by Daughter

I’ll admit it. Everyone once in a while, there comes along an album that isn’t just okay, an album that I don’t just like, but rather an album that I unabashedly love. For a lot of people, albums like this are usually pretty peppy with upbeat songs and messages. Well, I love Not To Disappear by Daughter, and it is not peppy and upbeat.  Still, it is wonderful and beautiful and mesmerizing.

Daughter is a London based trio comprised of Elena Tonra, Igor Haefeli, and Remi Aguilella. Their first album, If You Leave, was one of my favorite ten albums on 2013, and has been in steady rotation in my playlist since then. This follow-up had, in my mind, a lot to live up to, and it does so magnificently.

It amazes me that this trio can get such variation in their sound, at once punchy and ethereal. Their lyrical storytelling is more certain this time around, and though their songs probe a number of dismal subjects – dementia, disconnection, loneliness – the music behind them buoys you through the storm. I have seen others review this album as dream pop, and I understand why though they have a hardened edge to them that can always threaten to burst the bubble that seems to come with that label.

Recommendation: BUY IT!

Songs that I have a playlist for: New Ways, Numbers, Alone/With You, Fossa, Made of Stone

Clunkers I will thumbs down – there is no such thing on this album. N/A

Song Spotlight: Youth by Daughter

Daughter is an indie band that some classify folk, some as alt-rock, even some as dream pop. To me, it doesn’t matter what the genre is, I think they are a brilliant three-piece with wonderful lyrics and excellent composition. They have released 2 studio albums (If You Leave (2013) and Not To Disappear (2016)), and 4 EPs.

Fans of Skins might recognize this song. I love the way it starts out with a single guitar and a gentle lead into the cacophony in the middle of the song. This description of love from the point of view of the young is both plaintive and reassuring to those of us who remember it but have grown up enough that we can see that it isn’t that way for us anymore.

Song Spotlight: Cigarettes by Noah Gundersen

Noah Gundersen has 2 LPs and 4 EPs to his name. In 2008, he was part of the band Courage. Cigarettes is off the album Ledges.

This song has all the hallmarks of a spotlight song on a Place for My Stuff. It’s a folk-rock ballad sung with heart and fervor. This was probably my single favorite song released in 2014 and this is my favorite music video that wasn’t a concert video in probably the last decade.

New Albums being released January 15th

January 15:

Bloodiest – Bloodiest
The Middle Sister – Guy Blakeslee
It’s About Time – Hank Williams, Jr.
Awake Remixes – Tycho
Live at Moe – 7 Year Bitch
Greatful – Classified
The Provider – Cold Air
Strictly Mood II Swing – Mood II Swing
The Bell – Ches Smith
Everything Sacred – Yorkston/Thorne/Khan
Rubble Kings: The Album – Various Artists
Nothing Shines Like Neon – Randy Rogers Band
3.5 Degrees – Howes
Songs For Walter – Songs For Walter
The Long Way Home – Show of Hands
Pawn Shop – Brothers Osborne
Into the Legend – Rhapsody of Fire
The Casket Factory – Blaze Ya Dead Homie
Tie Me Down – Taylor Ray Holbrook
Anarchytecture – Skunk Anansie
Shady Capo – Ca$his
Hot Sauce – The Madcaps
Interview with Robin Ross – Belinda Carlisle
Scare Creatures – Brainstorm
Wait & See -Majical Cloudz
Cautionary Tale – Dylan Leblanc
Without A Head – Soda
Cuzznz – Daz-n-Snoop
O – De Staat
Nucleus – Witchcraft
Her Tape #1 – Her
Heaving is a Place – LSD and the Search for God
Not To Disappear – Daughter
Death of a Bachelor – Panic! at the Disco
Malibu – Anderson .Paak
Confessions of a Romance Novelist – The Anchoress

January 18
Young Rich Ni$$a$ 2 – Migos

January 20
Like a Lion – Bryan Lanning

Album Review: Ron Pope & The Nighthawks – Ron Pope & The Nighthawks

I’ve listened to Ron Pope off and on for several years. I like his Americana roots sound and I think he’s at his best singing over a single guitar in front of a crowd.

Ron Pope & The Nighthawks was released on January 8, 2016. It’s his first album with his new band, after a decade long solo career. Ain’t No Angel is the first single off the album. Videos for Bad Intentions and Hotel Room have been released as well.

I wanted to like this album a lot more than I did. There is some really nice Americana/folk pop on this album . I loved tracks like Hotel Room and Lies and Cigarettes. But then I get hit with songs that I really don’t like, like Bad Intentions.

Also, I felt like Pope hit kind of a rut at some point when writing this album. It felt like there were too many references to cocaine, to the point where I started wondering if this was a Johnny Paycheck album.

Overall, this is a stream it album for me. I’m going to take the songs I like and put them in a playlist and revisit the ones I don’t like again in six months to a year and see if I still feel that way.

 

Recommendation: Stream It

Songs I have a Playlist For: Hotel Room, Lies and Cigarettes, Leave You Behind, Take Me Home

Clunkers I will thumbs down: Bad Intentions, Ain’t No Angel

Album Review: Blackstar by David Bowie

Blackstar (the album just uses a black star symbol) is the latest album by David Bowie. The 69 year-old rocker is still or maybe, more accurately, once again doing some decidedly experimental work. The album is relatively short, at 41 minutes, and only has seven tracks.

The title track starts off with what, to me, feels like a heavily jazz-influenced approach that carries all the way through the album. On the stronger tracks, Bowie’s vocals stand up to the strength of the occasionally frilly instrumental performances behind him. On the weaker tracks, it is a reminder that sometimes you lose a little voice as you age.

I think this is his most experimental album since probably “Heroes”. Only science fictions are likely to understand this reference, but I feel like much of this album could be playing in a middle Eastern cafe in a George Alec Effinger novel.  It feels futuristic in a way that I haven’t heard much outside of EDM lately.

That’s not to say that I don’t think this album has weaknesses – I feel like some of the music is a little overwhelming to Bowie’s vocals in places, and I had trouble understanding the lyrics from Bowie’s strained tenor in places. But this has always been true of me for Bowie’s music.

I think it is a testament to Bowie that he would write something like Blackstar at this point in his career. Blackstar doesn’t feel like an album of a musician looking to rest on his laurels. Fans of Bowie in his prime might be heartened of his return to greater experimentation.

After considerable thought, I would recommend this album as a buy. Certainly, if it’s available on your favorite streaming service give it a listen, but I think there’s more to this album that deserves to be discovered on regular relisten.

Recommendation: Buy it

Tracks I think I have a playlist for: Blackstar, Lazarus, Sue (Or a Season of Crime)

Clunkers I would thumbs down: Dollar Days

Song Spotlight: The Best Ever Death Metal Band Out of Denton by The Mountain Goats (John Darnielle)

 

The Mountain Goats is a band centered around singer/songwriter John Darnielle. They are an indie folk rock band with a reputation for lo-fi, heartfelt music, which in this case means music that they actually feel something about, rather than the cultural appropriation of heartfelt meaning maudlin.

“The Best Ever Death Metal Band Out of Denton” is a wonderful story song about 2 guys who dream of stage lights and music and have their dreams crushed by the people around them and resent it, because they weren’t allowed to try and fail, they just weren’t allowed to try at all. And the anger of the protagonists in this song is what makes it wonderful to me. Because it’s an honest human reaction in a song from a day and age of songs about people who react out of expectations rather than out of what they genuinely feel.

Release Friday – new albums being release on January 8

Jan 8

Blackstar – David Bowie
Leave Me Alone – Hinds
Where Have You Been All My Life? – Villagers
Spilt Milk – Pete Astor
A War Against You – Ignite
A Través Del Espejo – Federico Durand
Big World – Stevie McCrorie
Mark Bishop & Forget The Sea – Mark Bishop & Forget The Sea
Star Wars – The Ultimate Digital Collection – John Williams & London Symphony Orchestra
In Ruin – Cauldron
The Order of Elijah – War at Heart
Paramount – It Lies Within
Walking Up the Giants – Grizfolk

Jan 10

SeeFu Lical – Black Moth Super Rainbow

Jan 12

Don’t Look Back – Robby Johnson
The Book of Daniel – Danny!

Song Spotlight: Loud by Matt Nathanson & Ingrid Michaelson

Matt Nathanson has 11 studio albums. His songs have been featured on many a television show. His most well known album was Some Mad Hope, off of which four songs had chart success. “Come On Get Higher” peaked at #2 and was certified platinum.

It’s hard to remember that Borders used to host a lot of these singer in the store events. And some of my favorite performances can be found among these little videos.

I like interplay between Nathanson and Michaelson on this song, and the simple twelve string accompaniment.