The Avett Brothers “Magpie & the Dandelion

Posted: November 25th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Album Reviews | Tags: | Comments Off on The Avett Brothers “Magpie & the Dandelion

The Avett Brothers - Magpie and the Dandelion

I give this album 4 out of 5 stars.

Last month The Avett Brothers released their 8th studio album and the first one I have really loved since 2007’s Emotionalism. While still produced by Rick Rubin, who also produced their previous two releases, I and Love and You and last year’s The Carpenter.  I never really loved I and Love and You, it has some well crafted songs, but it feels overproduced.  In a lot of their early albums there’s some roughness in their voices and they often sound a little out of control, and that chaotic feel is part of what makes the early Avett Brothers albums so compelling.  And then The Carpenter was even more disappointing to me, it had a similar sound to Love and You, but none of the melodies or lyrics that pulled at my heartstrings.  So when I heard that Magpie and the Dandelion was also produced by Rubin and that the songs were recorded at the same time as The Carpenter (my least favorite of all their albums), I was less than enthused. Despite the recent disappointment, the Avett Brothers have produced enough quality work that they have earned my trust, and so I gave Magpie a listen the day it came out and haven’t been able to stop listening to it since.  I absolutely love this album.  It’s a return to the simple acoustic songs I love. This album could have easily been packaged as The Gleam III & IV.   My current favorite track is the gorgeous “Bring Your Love To Me.”


Plume Giant’s New Album is as Strong as They Ever Were

Posted: August 3rd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Album Reviews, Articles About Music | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Plume Giant’s New Album is as Strong as They Ever Were

A few years back I wrote about a band called Plume Giant. They sent IHYEB a copy of their EP and I thought they had a very retro-folk sound and I really enjoyed their vocal harmonies and light instrumentation. Since that first EP, Plume Giant and their sound have grown up a bit. Last October, Plume Giant went to Kickstarter to raise funds for a new album and it worked. They were able to successfully raise $10,365, almost $3k more than their $7,500 goal.

Callithump, the groups first full-length album, is the result of that Kickstarter project and it weighs in at 33 minutes of energy, passion and folk-pop fusion.

The album opens strong with “Kensico Dam,” a high energy track with some warm guitar, vocal harmonies and the right mix of percussive sounds. Compared to “I’m on Drugs,” which opened their EP, this track draws you the album with relative ease.

Track 2, “B Side Baby,” is a favorite of mine from the album for both it’s light and playful lyrics but also it’s rising tempo and ability to suck you into the song.

“I’ll be your B Side baby but I want you to be by my side tonight.”

Other tracks don’t grab me as much as the first two do. “November” feels out of place coming off the energy of the first two tracks and “We Got It Made” definitely feels like it’s from another time. “Wait it Out” almost feels like I’m listening to another artist compared to the first four tracks. It’s incredibly enjoyable to listen to but I just wonder if it’s stylistic differences make it a better match for another release. Although the style of “Wait it Out” is odd, “Old Joe the Crow” is defintely out there as well. A storytelling song about a crow named Joe is definitely different from the rest of the songs on the album. I could never really get into this song for a few reasons, one being the story is strange but the chorus line didn’t appeal to me musically.

“Birthday” is when the album starts to get back on track for me. I’m reminded a lot of the group Daughter in this track and it’s strong lyricism balances well with the guitar. The album goes on to finish well with “Before the Sun,” “Smoking Gun,” “Back Porch” and “Aisle Nine.”

In summary, I feel like the album isn’t as strong in the middle as it is on the other two ends but it is composed of great songs and I will definitely be sprinkling them into some of the mixes I make for friends. Callithump comes out next month and you can pre-order the album on Plume Giant’s website and like them on Facebook for more details and also future shows.

As always, I hope your ears bleed. Ω

New John Mayer – Born and Raised

Posted: May 23rd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Album Reviews | Tags: , | Comments Off on New John Mayer – Born and Raised

John Mayer released his 5th studio album yesterday.  Born and Raised is straight out of the early 7o’s.  There is no doubt in my mind that Mayer had Neil Young on heavy rotation as he was writing this album.  And if you ask me, that is exactly what he needed to get back on track.  I’ve been a fan of Mayer’s music for a while now.  I think he is a masterful lyricist, always writing straight from the heart, seeking and speaking truth through song.  He seems to be back on track after the misstep that was Battle Studies.  Not that Battle Studies was a terrible record, it just was quite the disappointment after the heartrendingly beautiful Heavier Things and then the oh so groovy and polished Continuum. B and T to me is a great return to form for him, and yet at the same time it is completely new and unlike anything we’ve heard from him so far.

The Bombhappies return with “A Good Fire”

Posted: March 13th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Album Reviews, Articles About Music | Tags: | Comments Off on The Bombhappies return with “A Good Fire”

Three years ago, I wrote about a little Swedish outfit called The Bombhappies. I may have engaged in rigging some votes in their favor back in the day, and maybe that vote rigging led them to getting on some podcasts and on the front page of Export Music Sweden. That may have happened.

Okay it did happen, and as a result The Bombhappies and I have maintained somewhat of a distance relationship when it comes to cool tunes. Imagine my surprise when two weeks ago I get an email from Joel Bervquist of The Bombhappies.

Turns out they had just released a new single!

I’m not one to really compare artists to each other, but I’m definitely getting some Michael Stipe out of the vocals in “Ants.” Trust me, I’m not complaining when I say this. Otherwise, I’m really feeling like The Bombhappies have found their sound. Each consecutive listen is driving me to a new aspect of the track and it’s incredibly relaxing. Is this what living in Sweden feels like?

It gets sweeter though, because the full album just dropped last week. I’ve been jamming to it for the last few hours as I was hammering out work on my college newspaper. As stressful as that work should have been, I feel oddly happy. There’s only one thing that could have been the thing that made me less stressed, and it had to have been The Bombhappies.

The mix between faster and slower songs on the album really helps level the album. Like ocean tide, the album brushes in and the pulls back out. At the end you have a sweeping relaxation and you’ll just be dying to put the album back on again. Actually, put it on repeat this time so you can save yourself the trouble next time.

The album closes on the aptly named track “Closure.” In my personal opinion, far too many albums don’t give closure. The Bombhappies found a way to fix it. They’re literally giving your closure.

This little alternative outfit from the cold corner of Europe is worth a listen for sure. I’m not just saying that because I have history with them either. This album has some of my favorite offerings from the group since I first heard them back in 2005, and dare I say they have bested what I once thought their best tracks were.

The Bombhappies’ new album, A Good Fire, is available on iTunes and Amazon MP3 right now. Also, you can preview the entire album on Spotify (which oddly enough also comes from Sweden.)

Jag hoppas öronen blöder. Ω
(That’s Swedish for I hope your ears bleed.)