I have been a big fan of Angus & Julia Stone ever since I stumbled upon the song And the Boys, which I ended up obsessing over, and throwing into countless mix CD’s and playlists. That song earwormed me something good, and led me to discover the Australian sibling duo’s other music, finding many more songs to fall hard for. I’ll admit that I had no idea that they had a new album on the way until I saw it listed on the LA Music Blog’s list of new releases this week (see here). When I found out I ran as fast as I could to have a listen. After my first listen my reaction was “musical obsession, take me away“.
My initial favorite track is Wherever You Are, the lilting lullaby of a love song that reminds me of the flush of first love, and the build it takes as it grows into something shared, something deeply connected, something real. I love the image of the car with the broken stereo, how vivid that is to me, how much it reminds me of my youth and the loves I had back when I was barely twenty. There is the bittersweet layer of long-distance in this song, too, the missing that aches, the rush to say and do and feel everything before the other person has to leave again that distance in relationship brings – another set of emotions I can relate to.
I also absolutely adore the very sultry track, Death Defying Acts. This song belongs in a David Lynch film, perhaps it is the missing tune from the Wild At Heart soundtrack because I can close my eyes and picture Sailor and Lula swaying together to this. This is definitely a song to sway to, a song to sway close to someone else to, a song to fall into bed with that sway partner, too. I want to write a torrid love scene to this song, the kind that burn bright and stay in your mind for days and days after reading.
Rick Rubin’s production shines through this album, pulling the siblings out of themselves in a deeper way without sacrificing any of there vocal vulnerability and melodic perfections. I know that the duo had broke up not long ago after having a falling out. I am ever so grateful they found their way back together, and back to the music. Honestly, I could rave about all sixteen tracks on this album and deem them all my favorites, the album is just that good.
They Want My Soul should probably be tied with number two as this is a stellar album, from start to finish. But, let’s start at the start, shall we? Rent I Pay takes you right into the groove, tight percussion, electro-twangy guitars (is that a word? yes, yes it is today), and a catch chorus that had me singing-a-long before the song was even done. This song throws out a hook that snags immediately, and then you are reeled in completely.
The next song is my first listen favorite. It is a mellow-groove that is soothing, but not sleepy. This is reminiscent of rave after-parties with their trance music in the background as everyone’s bloodstream still buzzed with whatever chemicals they had partaken in. This was not a place to sleep, but to share a collective after care with a musical accompaniment. Inside Out reminds me of that.
Rainy Taxi is another favorite. It is unmistakably Spoon in its sound and sensibility, but it also leans back into some late early 80’s rock that could fit right in on the Fast Times at Ridgemont High soundtrack of 1982, right between the Billy Squier and Sammy Hagar tracks, or maybe just after the Sparks track on the Valley Girl soundtrack.
I’m also really loving Do You, which is nearly as catch as the opening song, but a little bit more complex in its delivery. Do You is the song I think will make it on to a playlist, or two, for certain. Honestly, I’ not sure there is a bad song in the bunch – another from start to finish great album this week.
My first thought as My Mama Said Be Careful Where You Lay Your Head is that this is what it would sound like if The Lumineers asked Jenny Lewis to take the lead for a song. I kept waiting for the “hey, ho” (i.e. The Lumineers) and some cutting commentary on life in LA, but instead the song really is a celebration of youth and freedom and love – when you first move in with a lover when you are maybe too young, or so your Mama might say. This track has a lot of “hit” potential.
The Jenny Lewis comparison is vocal only, lyrically this album is unique and not a Rilo-knockoff, but I think that lead singer Patricia Lynn will have that comparison follow her for awhile. Thing is, as you listen more Patricia’s personality takes over and you begin to forget.
With Your Two Hands should be featured on the ABC series Nashville. I can so see the character of Juliette Barnes (played by Hayden Panettiere) singing this song. It has drama and fire and spunk.
My first listen favorite is It’s a Longer Road to California Than I Thought. It is a song for the road and for moving on and for starting over, all three themes I can completely embrace. Another favorite, The Heart It Beats the Thunder Rolls, is brash and bold and beautiful. I like the spirit in this song, and the ebb and flow of feelings that run through it. This feels like a mood swing rising and falling. This is a turn it up loudly kinda song.
Bonus points for some of the longest song titles I’ve seen since early Fall Out Boy and Panic! At The Disco.
My Mama Said Be Careful Where You Lay Your Head
The first solo album from the lead singer to the now defunct Fruit Bats, EDJ’s self-titled is a refreshing, end of Summer, drive through the desert kind of thing. The album opener, For the Boy Who Moved Away, is a stunner, and definitely my first listen favorite. I love when opening songs grab hold and delight in the same way I love a good opening scene in a film, pilot of a television show, or first chapter of a book that already has you in its page-turning grips. Art that grabs on from the get go is usually something you do not readily let go of.
The album meanders away from the feeling of the opening track into a late sixties/early seventies rock/folk/psychedelic place. I am reminded of some of the early seventies Laurel Canyon sound, especially with the third track, Odd Love.
The Magical Parking Lot and Salt Licorice both feel like music from a movie score. The first is lush and gorgeous, and the second is mysterious. Both make me want to lay back and close my eyes and write movie scenes to play on the inside of my eyelids That said, both song are over too soon (way before I can flush out an entire imagined movie scene) and they feel a little off from the rest of the album, which when listening in a start-to-finish manner makes the transition more jarring than dreamy, or fluid.
The song that follows the misplaced movie score songs is my second favorite on the album. A West County Girl harkens back to the seventies sound I mentioned before, and reminds me a lot of music my Mom would spin on our living room turntable while I’d lie on my stomach close to the giant speakers and read.
The album itself takes me back to my childhood in mood and memory, which is kind of a nice respite to the crazy days of this end of Summer.
A West County Girl
With Twin Peaks as the band name you know I had to take a listen, and after listening from start-to-finish a few times I’m certainly glad I did.
The album opens with a song that feels like an Elvis Costello rough cut. There is something in both the guitar work, and the vocals (which again are rough, but there is still a similarity) in I Found a New Way, that remind me of early 80’s Elvis Costello.
The second track veers away from the comparison though. Strawberry Smoothie feels more akin to a more straight forward Sonic Youth offering with a little distortion mixed up with power pop sensibilities. T
My absolute first listen favorite is Making Breakfast. The lead singers voice sounds deeper here, more soulful, and older somehow. There is a Lou Reed Dirty Boulevard feeling to this song that I find really keen, and makes me wish there was a little more like this one on the album.
Flavor, the albums first single, is a little Weezer, a little Supergrass and a whole lot of fun.
My biggest takeaway from this album? It is a little all over the place, but the places they go are very interesting. I really want to see this band play live.
I Found a New Way