Every once in a while, you come across an album that is almost entirely dependent upon your desire for songs about love set against a backdrop of slow licks and soft jams. Don’t You is just such an album.
To be honest, I’d be hard pressed to call even it’s most up tempo number, All The Ways, upbeat. It’s a little too laid back for that. Even at it’s loudest, this album is soft in a kind of Berlin in the bedroom way.
And, for the most part, this album works. Not completely, but it does work. The almost tentative voice of frontwoman Kelly Zutrau floats over the sonic clouds by bandmates Joe Valle and Marty Sulkow that wrap and carry their singer’s voice to the place she so plaintively seems to want to reach.
Still, I’m not decided yet as to how to recommend this album. I think I want to buy it, but I might have to listen to it another dozen times to really decide
Recommendation: Stream it (or buy it, if this is the kind of sound you live for)
Songs that I have a playlist for: Deadwater, Don’t Want to Be Your Girl, Weak, Move Me
Clunkers I will Thumbs Down: Island
MacBeth has filmed many times, by many actors and directors. The most recent production is Justin Kurzel’s production starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cottilard as the titular monarch and his wife.
Kurzel’s film is highly stylized. The Scottish countryside exudes a chill atmosphere, that sets the bleak tone of “The Scottish Play.” I will also mention that the battle scenes have a certain feeling of brutality to them, if stylized again. Your fantasy and war story touchstones won’t much exceed this film of MacBeth, excepting, perhaps, Game of Thrones, which I have not seen so as to compare them.
Michael Fassbender does an excellent job as MacBeth, excepting that there was too much quiet in the plotting conversations for my poor hearing. And Marion Cotillard was equally as good as Lady MacBeth, once again excepting the same flaw, which I blame on the director in both cases.
I will say that this version is shorter than a lot listed elsewhere – Rupert Goold’s production starring Patrick Steward was forty minutes longer; the BBC version starring Brenda Bruce was thirty minutes longer; the version directed by Polanski was thirty minutes longer. In acheiving this, there are many of the purely expository scenes cut or combined. Some have complained about this, but I don’t see it as a particular problem.
I would say that I liked this version of MacBeth, though it is suitably bleak, and dark as a production of MacBeth tends to be. Fans of Shakespeare and those of the Scottish Play are well advised to see this film.
The US trailer is at the top of this post.
I will also include links to some of the other trailers.
All three are similar, but slightly different.
ANTI – Rihanna
Simulcron – Ontal
Depend on Me – VIXX
Ritual Spirit – Massive Attack
Forest Hills Drive: Live from Fayettevlle, NC – J. Cole
Gqom Oh! The Sound of Durban Vol. 1 – Various Artists
Wabi-Sabi – Cross Record
Revengeance – Conan
Cayamo Sessions at Sea – Buddy Miller
In Search of Harperfield – Emma Pollack
Let Me Get By – Tedeschi Trucks Band
Isiah – Kevin Gates
Suicide Songs – MONEY
Le Dernier Crépuscule – Chthe’ilist
Pillars of Ash – Black Tusk
The Birds Outside Sang – Florist
Night Fiction – Clan Nugent
MartyrLoserKing – Saul Williams
Vile Child – Milk Teeth
Night Driver – Laser
Echos of the Dreamtime – Miranda Lee Richards
Souvenir – Pop Etc
This is Acting – Sia
Nevermen – Nevermen
Promise Everything – Basement
Who Sold My Generation – Night Beats
Lovers – Merival
Lost Property – Turin Brakes
Loveland – Wall of Death
Stand Up and Speak – DJD$
Don’t You – Wet
HYMNS – Bloc Party
Matter – St. Lucia
Songs in the Key of Animals – Benji Hughes
I Play My Shadow – President Sweetheart
Nine Track Mind – Charlie Puth
American Appetie – Harriet
Face Value (Deluxe Edition) – Phil Collins
One Step Forward, Two Steps Back – Hey Thanks!
Weighted Mind – Sierra Hull
The Astonishing – Dream Theatre
Life Screams – Lacey Sturm
The 1984 Suite – Mike Oldfield
Ghostlights – Avantasia
The Story – Runrig
Still in a Dream – A Story of Shoegaze 1988-1995 – Various Artists
Arts & Leisure – Walter Martin
Earthbound – Bury Tomorrow
Better – Brian McKnight
Rulebreaker – Primal Fear
Resurrection Kings – Resurrection Kings
Bridges – Cavo
Basement Chemistry – Beneficence
UXO – UXO
New City Blues – Aubrie Seller
Staring at Your Hologram – Mac McCaughan
The Art to Disappear – Spektr
When You Wish Upon a Star – Bill Frissel
River – Army of Bones
Show Yourself – XOSAR
Allir vegir til glótunar – Naôra
Void Beats/Invocation – Cavern of Anti-Matter
Yeah, there are two videos for this one. I couldn’t decide which one I liked better – in one Rothery is playing a classical nylon string guitar and in the other he’s playing a steel 12-string. And one is fairly recent and one was from quite some time ago.
Made Again is, I think, my favorite single song from the Steve Hogarth fronted Marillion. Maybe from all of Marillion (though Fish wrote some killer songs). It’s from the album Brave released all the way back in 1992.
I’ve listened to a bunch of albums over the last week, thinking about what I was going to review. All of these were albums that I wouldn’t rate Run Away, but for one reason or another I can’t really bring myself to listen to them enough to do a full review:
Adore Life – Savages – Savages is a pretty popular post-punk band from England, that has been pretty well received. But this album just didn’t hold my attention. I felt like there was kind of one speed and one volume across the album. Recommendation: Stream It
Moth – Chairlift – I actually liked this album when I actively listened to it. But if I put it on to listen to while I did something else, it faded completely into the background. It was an album that didn’t work for me as background, and frankly, not one that I liked enough that I would want to spend 10+ listens actively concentrating on it. Recommendation: Stream It
Weem – De Rosa – this is kind of a folk-rock band that felt like they had an identity crisis to me. Most of the album would have felt more enticing if it had been either more lush, or more sparse. They are kind of in a space where they want a lush sound without lush instrumentation, to me. But I know that a lot of critics really liked it. Recommendation: Strean Ut.
New View – Eleanor Friedberger – This album had the same problem that Chairlift’s album had for me. It just got totally lost when I tried to listen to it while doing something else. I didn’t like it as much as Moth, either. It was okay, but it didn’t hold my attention. Recommendation: Stream It
The Long Shadow – Shuyler Jones – Jones has put out a folk album with schizophrenia. It has some nearly bluegrass sounding songs. It has some pretty standard folk fare. And then it’s got the psychedelic metal with Jethro Tull influences. There actually isn’t anything bad about any of this, but it really didn’t fit as an album for me. Give me a straight forward folk rock album. Give me a folk metal album with touches of psychedlia. But they don’t mix terribly well for me. Recommendation: Stream It.
Honestly, I didn’t think bands were making albums like this much anymore. Jet Plane and Oxbow is Shearwater’s 9th studio album. I’ve not listened to any of their other albums, but I will probably start working my way backwards through their catalog.
Jet Plane and Oxbow is a quiet, focused album that reminds me of nothing so much as Steve Hogarth-helmed Marillion, from the period around Blind to about Marbles. Late 70s Peter Gabriel would also be an apt comparison. I like the admittedly throwback feeling sound.
This album feels instrumentally lush, but the focus is squarely on supporting and lifting the confident vocals of frontman Jonathan Meiburg. Not every song is a homerun, like the percussive Filaments where the vocals can feel a little overwhelmed, but even at it’s least impressive, this new Shearwater album is still pretty impressive. It makes me want to dig out some late era prog rock to compare and contrast.
Recommendation: Buy it
Songs I have a Play list for: Quiet Americans, Pale Kings, Wildlife in America, Stray Light at Clouds Hill
Clunkers I will thumbs down: Nada…I honestly like every song on this album.
I looked for a decent concert version of this song, but the only one I found was in the middle of a 26-minute video of a KEXP appearance. And while I like the KEXP appearance, I only wanted to play this song. This song being Blossom, from Noah Gundersen’s latest album, Carry the Ghost. Fans of the Vampire Diaries have probably already spent a lot of time obsessing over this song. I can see a very melodramatic love scene played out against this in the background, and I know it was used in the Vampire Diaries at some point.
If you like pop music and you don’t now Sara Bareilles yet, where have you been? over 5 albums (one self-released) and an EP, she has managed to generate some of the most consistently good song writing in the last decade. Is she the best? I would say probably not. But she’s always good, her songs are alway listenable, and her concerts are some of the most fun you can have in any state of dress in the US.
Bright Lights and Cityscapes is probably my favorite of all her songs.
I want to say I liked Confessions of a Romance Novelist a lot more than I think I probably really did. So I’ll say I really wanted to like the solo debut of Catherine Anne Davies a lot more than I did.
With a husky voice, an alt-pop sensibility, and a sound that is reminds me of a cross between Kate Bush and Tori Amos, there’s a lot to like with The Anchoress’ album. There’s some decent song writing, strong musicianship, and wonderful singing on this album.
What then is my problem? Well, really, it comes down to the fact that it’s just not an album that I am inclined to sit down and just listen to. I found I enjoyed it most when I had it on as background music to doing random tasks. I played it while loading servers. I played it while playing computer games. I played it while reading. And when I played it, it fit my mood and make the task more enjoyable. All good things.
But when I sat down to just listen to the album, I often found my attention wandering in other directions. Still, it’s well made and I really do like Catherine Anne Davies’ voice. And there weren’t any songs that I really didn’t like. No songs that made me instantly hit the skip button.
Recommendation: Stream it
Songs I have a playlist for: You and Only You, Chip on Your Shoulder, Rivers of Ice
Clunkers I will thumbs down: There weren’t any.