Tag Archives: folk-rock

CD Review: God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise [2010]

Band: Ray LaMontagne and the Pariah Dogs
Release: 8/2010
Label: RCA

1. “Repo Man” – C
2. “New York City’s Killing Me” – C-
3. “God Willin’ and the Creek Don’t Rise” – C-
4. “Beg Steal or Borrow” – C+
5. “Are We Really Through? – C-
6. “This Love Is Over” – C+
7. “Old Before Your Time” – C+
8. “For the Summer” – C-
9. “Like Rock & Roll” – C
10. “The Devil’s In The Jukebox” – C-

Comments: This guy. He’s the darling of today’s mainstream folk-pop community. A.K.A WERS Daytime. LaMontagne is bearable and — at times — good, but he hardly has any edge that differentiates him from (insert artist) that played at the (insert year) Newport Folk Festival. The problem with his music is that it’s not memorable. The title track ends before it begins! “Beg Steal” is pretty catchy, if not stereotypically structured. “All your friends in school/They used to be cool.” Yay, I can rhyme! At Ray’s best, he writes like Paul Weller. At his worst, he sounds like…oops, see my second sentence.

Grade: C- (73)

Really Classic Album Review: Sounds of Silence

Artist(s): Simon & Garfunkel
Full Title: Sounds of Silence
Year: 1966
Label: Columbia/ CBS
Tracks:

1) Sounds of Silence- 9
2) Leaves That Are Green- 8
3) Blessed- 7/8
4) Kathy’s Song- 9
5) Somewhere They Can’t Find Me- 8
6) Anji (instrumental)- 7
7) Richard Cory- 8
8) A Most Peculiar Man-9
9) April Come She Will- 10
10) We’ve Got a Groovy Thing Goin’- 8
11) I Am a Rock-9

Comments:
Simon & Garfunkel kick off this ditty with an impassioned, classic, Folk Rock anthem in the title track. The song showcases the duo’s great talent for harmonious vocals, soft, emotional, pop ballads; a far, far cry from their Tiger Beaty teen idol counterparts. A focal point, I often feel is necessary to make- that S & G were not just another wimpy, sensative, Teeny Bopper group, a category/genre that they are sometimes cast aside to. “Leaves That Are Green,” is a nice, catchy number, not too adventerous, but sound. “Blessed,” at least for my money, doesn’t quite cut as deep; it’s an ok tune, but not on par with other tracks. Enter “Kathy’s Song,” a rather soft spoken ballad, that is extremely direct, musically and lyrically. It’s as if Simon is singing soley for Kathy. The tune utilizes the “less is more” logic: it’s simply Simon and his Gee Tar singing his poetry, without any major choruses or instrumental changes. It really gives the ballad a distinct quality and overall feel. Clearly, the band had a knack for writing poetic numbers with deep themes behind them. Later on in the album, we hear two back to back character studies of two very different (or very similar?) suicide victims. The first being “Richard Cory” (based on the Edwin Arlington Robinson poem of the same name, we read in Brennan’s class, if y’all recall :) a fast paced tale about a extremely successful businessman, who seems to have it all and then one night decides to “put a bullet through his head.” This unexpected suicide is contrasted by the next track, “A Most Peculiar Man,” a slow, softer, song about a lonely man, who “lived all alone, within a house, within a room, within himself.” This fucking guy leaves on the gas in his car and thus takes his own life, much to no one’s chagrin. The two studies brilliantly stand in stark contrast to one another. They are followed up by the gentle, folky, “April Come She Will,” the LP’s strongest track, in my humble opinion. It’s so peaceful and almost Summerlike- reminding me of kicking back, relaxing, and thinking about “life.” And ok, also the fact that the months idenitfied include the Summer season! Another reason why I adore this lesser known S & G track is the fact that it was featured in the classic film, The Graduate (1967) as was the title track, the much, much more famous song. For some reason, April stands out to me more and instantly brings back images of the film and the scene it’s featured in. April, her only crime? Brevity… 1:53 is too short! This LP closes with another Folk Rock anthem in “I Am a Rock,” a highly catchy and memorable ditty that contains just about everything that made the pair loveable to begin with. Overall, this is a solid listen, but comparably weaker than most of their efforts. It feels more like a bunch of decent songs, rather than a whole album. With that being said, if you like 60s Folk Rock, poetic lyrics, songs with stories, a shit load of harmony in your vocals, etc. then you will probably dig this, and naturally if you are a fan of Simon and Garfunkel, then by all means, check this out.

Grade: B+

CD Review: Skin and Bones

Band: Flashy Python (Alec Ounsworth of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah)
Release: 2009

1. “Let Us Hallucinate Together” – 9.2
2. “The Lady Is A Ghost” – 9.7
3. “Ichiban Blues” – 9.2
4. “Skin and Bones” – 9.4
5. “Obscene Queen Bee” – 9.8
6. “In the Darkness” – 9.6
7. “Cattle’s New Clothes” – 9.1
8. “Avalon’s Snake Breath” – 10.0

Comment: If anything can be said about Alec Ounsworth it’s that there is really no limit to what he can produce. His voice can work wonders on just about any song. The album is filled with what I would like to call psychedelic folk…it’s more intricate than what we know as folk and it’s faster and deeper than pure modern neo-psychedelia.

Final Grade: 9.5 out of 10