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Review | Robert Ellis – Photographs

Robert Ellis – What’s In It For Me

Houston’s Robert Ellis is a twenty-two year old who could be completely mistaken for George Jones. He’s got a voice and a gentle sound to him that bring to mind country legends.  Recently, he released his newwest album Photographs, on New West Records.

The young songwriter’s second release is an impressive split album that is divided by five folk tracks and five country songs.  Ellis is quite the talented songwriter and he displays his command of poetry and prose throughout this album.  His opener ‘Friends Like Those’ weeps through the loss and the cherishing of a good friend, this is a song that’s warm, tender, and a little bit heartbreaking.  His writing is contemplative, emotive, and paints some beautiful imagery, he’s the quintessential troubadour.

The subtle nature his music portrays only helps to define his songwriting.  Quietly plucking guitar strings, and singing; it feels like he’s singing directly to you.  As the band flourishes flow in, you realize just how nice of a listen this album is. Ellis’ voice can be quite powerful even though at times he seems quite diminutive. But Ellis has a few tricks up his sleeve with some tracks that come a bit out of nowhere. The “side a” is the folk side, is filled with tender folk balladry, a few sprinkled bouncers like ‘Two Cans of Paint,’ a song about moving in to a new home, has all the bounces and fun of front porch loungin’ folk songs, its light and fun.  The side hearkens to a mix of James Taylor and Jackson Browne.

The country side, begins with Comin Home, journey song about how much Ellis enjoys his trips, but especially coming home to his family.  Its a speedy opener that shows off the bands ability to pull off some trademark country sounds, the slide guitar, the locomotive like drums and the slight drawl.  Songs like this, and hilarious ‘No Fun,’ are obvious representations of country luminaries like Waylon Jennings, and Willie Nelson.  While somber, crying in your beer songs like ‘What’s in it for me?’ and ‘I’ll Never Give Up On You,’ evoke the George Jones influence.  Either way, these songs are great to listen to.

The concept album splitting between the two genres (folk and country respectively) flows quite nicely. The songs are expertly crafted, and beautiful sounding.  Ellis and his band have really done a great job creating new music that is an obvious nod to the past, and its really great.  I’ve come back to this album time after time, and I’ll continue to listen to it for a long time.  We have something very special in Ellis, someone that looks to have a very promising songwriting career.

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Review | Mount Moriah – Mount Moriah

Mount Moriah – Lament For Chapel Hill, North Carolina natives Heather McEntire and Jenks Miller, combining a post-punk background with a heavy-psych/metal one did not in fact yield a third band of equally hardcore sounds. The combination instead led to Mount Moriah and an excellent full-length debut that offers a new take on classic American folk music. The nine-track album has just about every americana/folk sound covered. Lament, the first single, is the album’s foot-stomping track. And there’s gospel-influenced sounds in more than a few of the songs. Lead singer Heather McEntire’s soft but sharp voice anchors every track and…

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Review | Other Lives – Tamer Animals

Other Lives – Tamer Animals Other Lives latest album Tamer Animals is lush and haunting and epic. The four guys and one lady from Stillwater, Oklahoma have created an album, where layer after layer of sound beautifully transports you elsewhere. Whether a dense forest or a far away space scape (as seen in their music video for For 12) this entire album is simply otherworldly. There are numerous layers that weave in and out of each song. Trumpets and horns on Dark Horse add an urgency to the song, and the hmmm-ing and oooohhhh-ing found in the album’s title track…


Review | The Elected at Brighton Music Hall

The Elected – Go For The Throat On the first or second listen of The Elected’s third album Bury Me In My Rings, you don’t really think about where this music fits in best. But live, it’s clear that all of the songs off their new record are tailor made for a west-coast beach party. Preferably around a bonfire. At sunset. And so in the dark Brighton Music Hall, on a Tuesday night the setting wasn’t exactly perfect but the sound was. There were ukeleles, bongo drums and lap steel. Playing mostly songs off their latest, the Elected played to…

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Review | City and Colour – Little Hell

City and Colour – Fragile Bird City and Colour is the recording moniker of Dallas Green (a city and a color), who is also the guitarist and vocalist for the post-hardcore band Alexisonfire. But over the past few years, Green has made a name for himself in his strong song-writing skills and quiet acoustic folk songs Many minus purchase quarter friends, pay day loans reminds like a payday loans fantastic Air suggestion maybe louis vuitton outlet also Sometimes without has louis vuitton purses it great to louis vuitton anti-semetic takes look actually enough I through cialis lilly a, other…

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Review | Bon Iver – Bon Iver

Calgary – Bon Iver For the many fans of Bon Iver, who fell in love with For Emma, Forever Ago way back in 2008, today is like Christmas. And considering For Emma, Forever Ago not only topped the best of 2008 lists, but made it onto the best of the last decade lists as well, this is one of the most anticipated albums of 2011. People will love it. And hate it. And compare it song-for-song to For Emma, Forever Ago. Every single song off of For Emma, Forever Ago was simply beautiful. We all loved Skinny Love, and Flume.…

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Review | Dawes – Nothing is Wrong

Dawes – If I Wanted Someone

Dawes’ sophomore album Nothing is Wrong releases today, its the highly anticipated follow up to 2009 indie-folk sleeper North Hills.  Nothing is Wrong picks up where they left off 2 years ago, with stunning lyrics and a 70’s styled folk sensibility.

Two years ago, when Dawes released North Hills, it would have been on my top 5 list, so there was a lot to live up to for me.  Since then, Dawes has toured relentlessly and luckily we’ve been blessed out here in New England with a few shows from the band and have seen the band play some of their new material.  This new material presents itself as more of a blend of 70’s folk rock elements rather than the quieter, understated folk style they employed on North Hills.  It seems as they’ve grown up on the road, they’ve also turned it up a notch. As someone that has seen Dawes play live numerous times this album plays more like a show of theirs than does its predecessor. Taylor has been allowed to step out in front, and showcase himself as a lead guitarist, playing solos that are timeless sounding; a near re-imagining of his past influences.

The album opens with the road weary ‘Time Spent in Los Angeles’ a poignant track that leads with  “These days my friends don’t seem to know me, without my suitcase in my hand,” a line that really paints a picture of the loneliness and desolate nature that comes with life on the road which seems to be a common theme..  Dawes sweeps through subjects of heartbreak on released track ‘If I Wanted Someone,’ & ‘Million Dollar Bill.’  Goldsmith’s songwriting shines on each song as he has a special ability to write intimate and revealing songs that capture some of the raw emotion of lost connections and a travelling life and ultimately a reminder that no matter how far they get away they’ll always make their way back home.  Its this steadfast nod to where they come from &their influences that make this album shine.

The album is truly is a gem, its a fantastic listen that displays both superb writing skills and some of the best musicianship out there these days.  Sure the content & style is made for a more mature audience and lovers of a retro folk rock paradigm (I find myself saying “My dad would love this”) its a testament to musicians not trying to reinvent the wheel, but perfecting a sound that is timeless.

I’ve been listening to this album for a month and I honestly have put 30+ listens into it, and I know for sure, it is one album you must own in this year, and years to come I can honestly say, when it comes to this album… Nothing is Wrong.

Get yourself out there and buy Nothing Is Wrong I guarantee, it will be one album you remember.

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Review | Cults – Cults

Cults – Abducted by cultscultscults A great debut album can do a lot of things. It gets the blogs buzzing, ends up on year-end best-of lists, and most importantly, garners and inspires a large audience of new fans. But indie darlings Cults haven’t been paying much attention to the standard cause-and-effect timeline of breaking bands. They’re doing it all backwards. Sometime in February of 2010 Cults released a three-song EP via their bandcamp page. And due to the lack of information on the site, and the general un-google-able nature of their band name, nobody really knew anything except what could…

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Review | Left Lane Cruiser – Junkyard Speedball

Lost My Mind Giving Tree Left Lane Cruiser’s Junkyard Speedball is the one whiskey shot short of full on rage. The Fort Wayne, Indiana blues rock band made one of the filthiest, grimey, dusty blues rock albums I’ve heard. The aptly titled, Junkyard Speedball, lifts off with raging stomper ‘Lost My Mind’ which is a visceral hard hitting, loose and fast track that sounds like it could be the music for a high speed chase scene and sets the tone for the entire album. Junkyard Speedball moves on to a more soulful bluesy track in ‘Giving Tree,’ and James Leg…

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