Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Indie is In!*11 the answer to life’s great quest.

the portastylistic

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Andrew Belle - The Ladder (2010)

*I Proud To Recommended!!!*

"This guys is gonna be famous!"

Andrew Belle is one of the brightest young talents in the independent music world these days. He has managed to deliver a debut full length album that is just as good as anything backed by a major label. He has already managed to get his music placed throughout popular television shows, which if previous successes are of any value (i.e. The Fray, Mat Kearney) then he should reap the benefits greatly. That all being said, Andrew Belle has delivered some of the finest compositions from any singer/songwriter. His duet with Katie Herzig, "Static Waves," is a fun, poppy tune that shows off his awesome songwriting and his catchy vocals. "Don't Blame Yourself" and "Add It Up" are also incredibly written and performed and definitely two of the best on the disc. With this album, Andrew Belle is sure to make waves and it won't be before long that he is as successful as the aforementioned artists.

The Chicago artist, Andrew Belle, is an exceptional young talent who had set the bar high with his debut album, All the Pretty Lights. He recently released his follow-up album, The Ladder, which does not disappoint. The collection features Belle’s charming vocals, a smooth style, and some new instrumental additions.

The Ladder is an engaging mix of guitar pop, aged sounding production and a sincere approach to songwriting. Instead of replicating his previous successes, the album improves and expands on where he left off. His voice stands front and center, but now accented by big strings and subtle banjo driven rhythms. The album opens with strong vocals and faint cloudy echoes accentuated by the surprising string details. The second song, a duet with Katie Herzig called Static Waves, is an obvious standout. The soft female vocals accentuate Andrew’s solemn tone, and allows for the two’s words to intertwine as if conversing.

The Ladder is yet another illustration of Andrew Belle’s abilities as a Singer/Songwriter. His latest release shows growth and courage to experiment. This record will hold us over till he shows us something bigger and better.


Pete Yorn - Pete Yorn (2010)

*I Proud To Recommended!!!*

"an excellent album!"

Pete Yorn has a yearning in his voice that makes everything sound like it’s on the verge of collapsing. In another decade, he might’ve been a country singer, breaking his voice alongside weeping fiddles. In 2010, with the Pixies’ Frank Black producing, it’s guitars: loud, emphatic guitars. They push Yorn’s voice to the edge. “Precious Stone” has a classic rock sound that would’ve been perfect for the days of Zevon and Petty. “Rock Crowd” and the Dinosaur Jr.-like “Velcro Shoes” trend towards novelty. “Paradise Cove I” falls deep into a well of percussion with Yorn sounding like he’s walking into a bad acid trip. “Badman” sounds like Frank Black hooked Yorn up with his backing band, the Catholics. “The Chase” could be a Paul Westerberg tune from one of his rambunctious solo albums. “Always” twists Nirvana with Cracker. “Stronger Than” has that classic Yorn sound with the voice reaching for notes at the hardest end of the scale. The album wraps up with a vaguely country cover of the Flying Burrito Brothers classic, “Wheels.”



The Ghost - War Kids (2010)

*I Proud To Recommended!!!*

"One to watch for 2010!"

The Ghost, native of Faroe Islands, sounds like a band that has a lot of potential but still are very young. They seem to have "U2" moments that I'm not to fond of and rather annoyed me. At times, The Ghost have great sounds, smooth vocals and quality melodies, but they need to step back and stop listening to "Joshua Tree" for a moment and realize that they can do something completely original. If they embrace the electronic sound more, they might be able to give their music that edge needed.

With more experience, better choice of producing, and a completely original sounds, The Ghost can have something going on!

As for as the album as a whole, there were some good moments, particularly Track 2, Dream of Subak and Track 6, War Kids. As the album went on though, they seem to drag their feet. Track 7, Love is Nothing made me not want to here a flute ever again. Bad idea. It turned a ok track into a “skip this song now please” track. Track 8, Superhero did absolutely nothing for me and frankly I was bored by the end of the album.

I feel that we could see The Ghost learn from this album and explode into something fantastic. We just need to wait for that time to come. Ok start, but we want more from a band that could produce great things.

The Ghost may not be a name that’s rolling off everyone’s lips at the moment, but with Rob da Bank behind them and an album that oozes easygoing charm and genuine quality, it can’t be long before their popularity soars.
/pop fashion)


Rosie and Me - Bird and Whale (2010)

*I Proud To Recommended!!!*

"You will LOVE!"

I will declare it right now: the best folk band to have contacted me these past 2 months is without a doubt, Rosie and Me. When I’m reviewing music submissions, I always try to give the entire song a chance, even if it’s completely awful… but there are times that you can tell something is going to be amazing by just listening to the first five seconds. At second thirteen of “Come Back” I had already fallen deeply in love with Rosie and Me, and there was no coming back.

Singer, Rosanne Machado, accurately describes the group as “unpretentious and simple”. Both ‘Come Back’ and ‘Bonfires’ are acoustic wonders that sound and feel as natural as the change of the seasons and as spontaneous as Snooki from the Jersey Shore. These positive, warm melodies are almost enough to fight the cold winter this year and keep you refreshed during the summer.

Rosie and Me have been well received in the US, Germany, Canada, Poland and many other countries, save for perhaps the most surprising one, their country of origin: Brazil. In truth, after I listened to their songs, I was a bit surprised they were actually from Brazil, as you don’t typically see the American folk influence in Latin American countries. Drawing from different cultures to create a sound of their own, of course, makes their sound all the more unique.

Rosie and Me


Fran Healy - Wreckorder (2010)

*I Proud To Recommended!!!*

"Refreshing Perfect!"

It has been 13 years since Travis’ debut album, but frontman Fran Healy just now decided to strike out on his own. And since Healy’s singer/songwriter status has been the focal point of Travis this whole time, his debut solo album Wreckorder is bound to sound a little bit like his band. But the pleasant surprise is that some of it doesn’t. A very lean album with 10 songs clocking in under 35 minutes, Wreckorder dishes out musical comfort food and tame experimentation in equal measure. As a solo project, it won’t scare away any Travis fans who might want something just the slightest bit different.

Emery Dobyns may have produced Travis’ last album Ode to J. Smith, but the approach he and Healy took to Wreckorder couldn’t be more different. Last time we heard from Travis, they recorded their new album in two weeks and it was probably the most rocking stuff they had made since their late ‘90s debut. Wreckorder has far more in common with The Man Who and The Invisible Band in terms of sound. Acoustic guitars and pianos rule the roost here, a majority of these instruments being played by Fran Healy himself. The overall result is a professionally recorded yet low-key album that could have been made in someone’s home studio—and I mean that as a compliment.

The songs that sound like Travis outtakes, like the waltzing “Anything” or the Beach Boys bounce of “Fly in the Ointment”, aren’t the bright spots of Wreckorder. More interesting things happen when Healy lets out his inner Jonny Greenwood/Radiohead on the tense opener “In the Morning” and a very murky and mysterious fog of a tune found in “Shadow Boxing”. And without batting an eye, he closes the album with something far more playful than most of the songs that make it to Travis’ albums. “The cat jumped over the moonshine,” he sings on “Moonshine”, sounding like he wants all listeners to be in on the joke, whatever that might be.

Another nice thing about the solo album venture is that you can get whoever you want to help you out with it. If that means having Paul McCartney strap on his 1963 Hofner bass guitar for “As It Comes”, then so be it. A day in the life of an elderly married couple who have been together for a very long time, it’s like a less whimsical “When I’m Sixty-Four”:

I’ll never let you be lonely
As long as you’re by my side
You say you’d leave me if only
Another tear in my eye
Another funeral parlor
I’ll have to get a new tie

Tom Hobden of Noah & the Whale provides fiddle on a handful of songs—proof that when going the organic route in string accompaniment, a little goes a long way. Indie darling Neko Case also makes an appearance on “Sing Me to Sleep” providing a vocal performance that adds shading to the song rather than stealing the spotlight for herself. For all the star power that the names McCartney and Case alone carry, Wreckorder is not the least bit fractured by the diversity of the hired help, speaking volumes to the consistency of Healy and Dobyns’ recording approach.

The album’s first single, “Buttercups”, tells bittersweet story from Healy’s past. Not being able to afford nice roses from a florist, he picked buttercup flowers to give to his then-girlfriend. The romance of the gesture was lost on her, taking him for a cheapskate. Now that Travis’ lead singer/songwriter can afford to produce a fancy bouquet of a solo album, he still opts out for the personal touch. Wreckorder is a hand-picked gift reminding us that it’s the thought that counts. And to look down your nose at it would make you a snob.


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