Thursday, February 28, 2008

Nicholas Alan - Busker

Released last year, Nicholas Alan's sophomore album, "Busker", is easily one of the best folk pop albums of 2007. With brilliant song writing and conviction to boot, Nicholas Alan is one of the people to look out for in the pop music scene today.

The album opens up properly with the song Being 25, an ode to young adulthood and not quite being comfortable with yourself just yet. I was impressed with the song's slow build up as it added more instruments creating a very lush, full sound.

The album takes a turn for the somber with the next track, I'll Make You Wonder. Despite being the most ballad like song of the album, it is sung beautifully and Alan's dense instrumentation keeps the album flowing into my favorite track of the album.

I think the third song of the album, One That I Dream About, is one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard. After an amazing string introduction the song kicks off with a series of dreamy chords that sets this song apart from anything I've heard in years. It really is a great song with some very inventive key changes that add a great deal of originality to the song.

The album picks up from this point with the extremely jubilant A Tired Apartment. The singing in this particular song is some of the best on the whole album, especially the subtle backing vocals; they really add a lot of depth to the song. But this song truly shines after the first half of the song! As Alan sings "Don't stop, run like the wind" the music picks up and a great string pattern repeats and builds, creating an amazing and lush coda.

The next song on the album is an acoustic cover of the Flaming Lips classic, Ego Tripping At the Gates of Hell. I am a very big fan of the Flaming Lips (especially their album Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots), so I was extremely relieved when I did hear Alan's stripped down cover. He made his own arrangement of this song, and sings it perfectly. I give him kudos for making an excellent choice for a cover.

The sixth song on Busker is the Macabre Lies of Liars. Despite the grim tone of the song, this is one of my favorite arrangements on the album. I love the sections of the song at 1:30 and 2:30. This is another great song with a perfect instrumentation.

The album finishes off with the deeply personal Cigarettes In Snowmen. It's a terribly gorgeous song with another great build up, but the real clincher of this song is the lyrics that Alan wrote for this song. It truly reminds me of the days when singer/songwriters dominated the radio and every kid with an acoustic guitar had a hero in Simon and Garfunkel or the Beatles. It's a real good trip, man, and the hidden track at the end of the album is equally beautiful and reminds me a bit of John Mayer. I just felt awesome after hearing this CD.

Busker is a beautiful album with some of the best arrangements I've ever heard. And Although Nicholas Alan's style has been compared to artists like Jack Johnson, I can't entirely agree; I've heard Jack Johnson and I've heard Nicholas Alan and I truly believe that the latter is much, much more endearing. It's true: Nicholas Alan is the next great hope for independent folk-pop music.

Go give Nicholas Alan and Busker a listen! You can buy his album at his website and his myspace.

Website | Myspace | Label

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Fitness Forever

Hi everyone,

Just wanted to let everyone know I've been really busy writing in some old reviews and working on some new ones that I'm pretty stoked on. So if you scroll down you can read some new interviews for some albums I added lately.

And just for the record, you can't download any albums from my blog. I allow people to stream them for previewing purposes, so please stop sending me hate mail!

So while I spend a few days writing in old reviews you should check out this lovely band from Italy called Fitness Forever. I was lucky enough to hear their first single "Mondo Fitness" last year and they are just about to release their first album on EMI in Italy and then all over the world shortly after.

Check out their myspace and hear a track from their upcoming album. Its really brilliant. Bonus points if anyone can translate the lyrics for me! I'd love to know what the song is about.

- eric

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Long Goodbye

One of my favorite new actors to pop up on my TV and in theaters is an incredibly funny Canadian by the name of Michael Cera. He co-starred in the movies Superbad and Juno and I really loved both of them. For those of you that did see Juno, maybe you remember Michael Cera and Ellen Page's acoustic duet of the Moldy Peaches song Anyone Else But You? If you don't check it out here.

As it turns out, Michael Cera has his own band. Los Angeles' The Long Goodbye consists of Michael Cera and his friend Clark Duke on guitar with Christian Buenaventura on drums.

Well because I'm writing about them in the first place, I love them to death. They describe their songs as “silly, confessional, and off-the-cuff rag-tag ditties, based on simple structures and adolescent-in-love lyrics." And that's pretty close to the truth! Everyone of the songs on their myspace is beautiful in it's own respect and a band like this really deserves to have label support and several tours a year. But I suppose with the way Michael Cera's career is exploding, it would be a miracle to hear any more music from this trio at all.

My favorite song on their myspace is "Pilgrims". The acoustic guitars are based around this one simple, but great riff that just works. And the lyrics tell of a complex love triangle between the narrator and two girls: Margaret and Shelly. It's almost folk style story telling with Michael Cera singing in either a giant hall, or with lots of reverb, but it sounds great.

The band has received attention from both Spin magazine and Limewire's music blog, both crediting the band for their DIY ethic but Limewire makes a point that their lo-fi sound detracts from their music. Well as a huge fan of the lo-fi sound I completely disagree. The music The Long Goodbye offers is honest, raw and very moving.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, give them a listen. You'll be in for a smile.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Rocketship videos!

Hey everyone,

Eric Here. I've been spending a lot of time scouring youtube lately, and I found 3 Rocketship videos. These are probably about as rare as clouds in the Mariana Trench.

Check them out!

The official video for The Foxes Teeth off Here Comes...Rocketship. 2006.

A video from the same guy who shot the Foxes Teeth video. The song is Furness from Rocketship's 1999 ambient album, Garden of Delights.

A live video of Kisses Are Always Promises. Probably 96 or 97.

Click here to visit Rocketship's official Myspace.

Click here to visit Rocketship's official Website.