Archive for the 'Electroacoustic' Category

EP – Plushgun – Plushgun

Posted by admin on 16th November 2008

  • Band / Artist : PlushgunmySpace
  • Genre : New Wave / Electoacoustic
  • Sample Track Download : N/A
  • Buy CD : Tommy Boy
  • Buy Digital Download : iTunes
  • Rating : 9 out of 10

With a ton of unsolicited gems coming in from various Indie Launchpad partners, I sometimes have to put together a random sampling from various places, sit down and see what I’ve got. This was the case with the new EP release from Plushgun, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. Not that I should be. In building up the relations I have with some of the greatest labels, management and publicity companies, it should come as no surprise that they pretty much only send me stuff they know I’ll like.

Opening with “Just Impolite” again, it’s the production that hit me first, with a wonderful 3D surround sound, that really impressed me, especially seeing as I wasn’t wearing headphones. The style of music is very reminiscent of OMD, or Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark for the unenlightened, who weren’t old enough to live through their music in the 80’s. That 80’s sound is very prevalent, but it reminds me more of 80’s soundtracks, especially the moments in the movies, that have that double edge, between despair and hopefulness. Think John Hughes and any one of his great movies from the 80’s like 16 Candles, Trains Planes and Automobiles, and Pretty in Pink and you’ll be pretty close. The second track “14 Candles” is almost an indirect nod to this 80’s genre. Don’t however think of this as some cheesy throwback to the 80’s, this is very much music for today, but with a heavy influence that’s been embarrassed to the full.

“How We Roll” takes the 80’s influence to the next step, going for a more frenetic, power driven beat and it’s just a wonder to behold. The final track “Without a Light” begins almost like a Vangelis track, but then in kicks the drums and heavy keyboards and you realise that this EP is not going our without some kicking and screaming, metaphorically speaking anyway.

Conclusion : A wonderful find, from a wonderful artist. Plushgun have a new album, “Pins and Panzers”, due in Feb of 2009. I shall be looking forward to that with baited breath.

Posted in Electroacoustic, New Wave | No Comments »

Album – Famous for Fire – Adaline

Posted by admin on 11th August 2008

  • Band / Artist : AdalinemySpace
  • Genre : Electroacoustic / Folk Rock
  • Sample Track Download : N/A
  • Buy CD : CD Baby
  • Buy Digital Download : iTunes
  • Rating : 9 out of 10

When I got this album in, I was kind of under the impression it was going to be a fairly low key, female vocalist kind of thing. That was based on my listening to just one track on the album and then podcasting it, soon after. When I got the album in, what surprised me was the depth. The opening and indeed title track “Famous for Fire”, while having sumptuous vocals, also have that almost theatrical feel to them. This style of music, often goes two ways, either totally over the top (which can actually sometimes work), or far too serious for it’s own good. It’s nice then to hear something that bucks this trend, an manages to carve a niche of it’s own. With the following track, “Find My Way”, it’s funny but more I listen to it, the more it reminds me of a mash-up between Britney Spears’ “Hit Me Baby One More Time” and Abba. Not that that’s in any way a criticism, but it’s certainly an interesting vibe.

“Chemical Spill” for me goes off on a tangent into the late era Tori Amos sound, which for me is a real turn off. Not that I’m not open to different sounds, Whiter Straighter” being a case in point, with it’s muted trad jazz trumpet. Here’s a song that comes alive and you can just sense Adaline let herself go and it’s a joy to hear. “Poor You” changes tempo, but again the vocals, with their dreamy air of beauty, capture you in the headlights, transfixed and helpless, but not wanting to move.”Meaningless Meeting” was the track that introduced me to Adaline and the more I hear it, the more I love it. Again, there is certainly a Tori Amos feel to this, but it draws more from her pure talent, rather than her pure madness.

“Pioneering” turns it up a notch, and dips a toe into more conventional pop/rock, and it’s kind of the last thing you expect, but I couldn’t help but smile, because here’s a girl that’s doing what she wants to do and while I feel like a spectator, I’m one on the same bus as Adaline and not wanting to get off.

The album ends on a more malancholic note, but while the mood is down, the vocals soar and I couldn’t think of a better song on which to close.

Conclusion : Just an amazing album, that had me constantly notching up Adaline’s final mark, as I kept playing the album and finding new things to love. Aural candy and very tasty.

Posted in Electroacoustic, Folk Rock | No Comments »

Album – Exotic Bird – Jessie Kilguss

Posted by admin on 11th February 2008

I got this album in via a MySpace request and have to admit it wasn’t quite what I was expecting, based on the tracks I’d listened to. This 12 track album, has some flashes of pure brilliance, but also some tracks that aren’t quite my cup of tea. The opening track “Desert Song” is one of those tracks that failed to grab me. It almost sounds like a country track, from the guitar that opens, but turns into a more theatrical song. I can’t pinpoint what it is that just doesn’t hang with me, but I think it just doesn’t do anything to sell Jessie’s amazing voice. The track that follows “All I Am is Breath”, however is pure magic. It’s a song that’s reminds me very much of a Jennifer Warnes, Leonard Cohen collaboration. I love the male vocals which provide a great contrast to Jessie’s. “Lord Lucan” is also an amazing track, albeit with an interesting subject matter, Lord (Lucky) Lucan, the 1970’s aristocrat, who supposedly murdered his children’s nanny, thinking it was his wife and then disappeared. “Pulling a Lucan” became a phrase in England synonymous with making a disappearance.

“Don’t” is one of several covers on the album, which can be very difficult things to pull off. People have been covering popular artists forever, but there are two different approaches to take, either cover the song in a similar style, or run with it and make it your own. Jessie takes the former approach and I couldn’t help but wish she’d firmly stamped her hallmark on it. “The Word” is a quite remarkable track, which really shows Jessies voice to it’s fullest. As making comparisons is my forté, I’d say there is a remarkable likeness to Karen Carpenter. Not so much in the tone, for which there are few to match, but more in the tone and phrasing. In fact this track and the two that follow, “The Crypt” and “The Acrobat” are the style that I find most enjoyable. Jessie’s swings from the sweet and gentle, to the dramatic and theatrical, which while still entertaining, don’t excite me in the same way. Her vesion of Tom Wait’s “I’ll Shoot the Moon” is in fact a cover I really enjoyed. I’m not too familiar with the original, but have to admit I’m not a fan of Tom Waits at all. This however is a great track, which I have to attribute to Jessie’s vocals. It has a very 40’s feel to it and reminds me of the classic movie It’s a Wonderful Life.

The album draws to an end, with “The Desperate Ones”, originally by Jacques Brel, a name I’m not too familiar with. It rounds things off nicely, with a more melancholic sound.

Conclusion : Whilst there’s no doubt Jessie has a wonderful voice, there’s a couple of songs here that I feel don’t let Jessie shine to her fullest. The majority of the tracks however are terrific.

Posted in Electroacoustic, Experimental, Rock | No Comments »