Posts Tagged ‘indie-rock

03
Jan
11

A Voice All Her Own

After spending ten years as the “sultry” voice of the Canadian female trio The Be Good Tanyas, Frazey Ford launched her voice to the forefront on her debut solo album Obadiah, released earlier this year. Proving that Ford is capable of delivering a solid album on her own, the smoldering Obadiah sounds more ambitious than any of her work with The Tanyas. Her palette expanded, Ford’s comforting voice – weaving easily from soothing jazz, smoky soul and somber country – brings new colors to light.

Obadiah has the spontaneous feel of a live performance full of honesty and heart, rich with stories about love, loss and life that unravel at their own colorful pace. Ford’s writing has matured, touching on subjects that come with experience of life’s ups and downs. Her long list of influences are an eclectic collection – Joni Mitchell, Bessie Smith, Al Green, Sean Hayes, Pauline Lamb, Prince, Ann Peebles and Joan Armatrading just to name a few.

A true teller of tales with an incomparable voice, Ford’s finest talent is her skill to take on the embodiment of her song’s characters. This is evident on the opening track “Firecracker,” where she’s a hard-drinker that talks to angels with an artful grin. On “Gospel Song,” she looks back on her family life through the eyes of country preacher. In a nod to one of her early inspirations, she covers Bob Dylan’s “One More Cup of Coffee” and makes it her own.

This article was originally published in Eugene Weekly, December 2, 2010

11
Aug
10

Take a Ride on the Wild Side

It wouldn’t be fair to attempt to categorize the Boulder Acoustic Society. Even their name doesn’t quite accurately describe their sound. It wasn’t what I expected at all — kind of like the feeling of riding in the passenger seat when a 15-year-old tries driving for the first time. You bravely hold on tight, try not to scream and hope for the best. In the end, your driver surprises the hell out of you by how well he or she pulls it off. You had more fun than you thought you would, so you say, “Let’s do it again!”

The Colorado quartet’s current release, the cleverly packaged Punchline, on Austin’s Nine Mile Records, is all musically over the place. Each track calls up a different genre tag — folk, punk, pop, gospel, blues or rock — or any combination of them. Each vocal treatment conjures a different voice from your melodic memory, be it Andy Summers howling out “Mother,” a smoke-enveloped Tom Waits hugging the keys or even the Irish whiskey-driven sharp wit of Denis Leary. In unskilled hands, this could end up as a big hot bowl of bile. The fearless boys of the Boulder Acoustic Society — equipped with violin, accordion, standup bass, percussion and the occasional ukulele — bravely deliver it all polished brilliantly. They once covered the Miley Cyrus song “Party in the U.S.A.” with Danielle Ate the Sandwich. Now that’s brave.

This article was originally published in Eugene Weekly, August 12, 2010

22
Jul
10

They Have Seen the Summit

The D.C.-based band These United States have released four albums and played more than 550 shows over the last two and a half years. That’s quite a dedicated pace. It makes you wonder if they could give others in our nation’s capital a little seminar on work ethics.

Their latest album, What Lasts (out July 20), written last summer after founding member Jesse Elliott’s near-death experience on Lake Michigan, is a horde of understandably temperamental images. Elliott — at times sounding like a gritty, weary Adam Duritz — delivers a multitude of lyrical and strident emotions. As with These United States’ previous albums, What Lasts shouldn’t be pigeonholed into one genre. In just over 30 minutes, it rumbles you through a multi-paced, psych-folk and indie-rock driven trip, never easing up.

Shortly after the band completed demos for this latest release, someone stole Elliott’s laptop while in L.A., and with it, almost 300 songs, including all of what became this album. Due to a timely email sent to a long-lost friend, one song evaded that theft and fittingly became the title track.

Their current summer tour reached a highlight when they rolled in Toronto last month — on the same day as the G20 summit. They sat in the famous Horseshoe Tavern, sipped a couple of pints and watched as rioters clashed with police in streets illuminated by burning cop cars. Even though their show was canceled, Elliott got some cool video.

This article was originally published in Eugene Weekly, July 22, 2010




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