Thanks to Rdio (I swear they don’t pay me!) I can now do new music reviews despite my state of brokedness! A lot of CDs come across my desk at work, but a lot of them I feel bad about reviewing since in some cases I’m kinda close to the product (I give full disclosure if I’m reviewing an artist I’m working with).
I’ve listened to other tracks this week – Lana Del Rey’s album, the new Jack White, even the new Cult song – but I’ll stick to stuff I haven’t seen as many reviews of out there. Oh, and as a quick note, all the titles below are clickable!!! TECHNOLOGY. Here are some thoughts!
Under The Pink favourite Donna Fullman has released a track from her upcoming album on Soundcloud and she let me know…because she’s cool like that!
I wrote a review for her previous album happiness + victory last year. This new song, By The Fire, is a pretty intro of what’s to come. I loved Donna’s sweet earthiness, which I described as “…not folk…or celtic…or gothic…or rock.” By The Fire is a bite-sized treat, tasty and leaving me wanting more. I can only expect that Donna has stepped up from happiness + victory with more experience and such an amazing album under her belt. When the new album Inner World is released, I’ll let you know!
Is it wrong for me to say that track 2 (Amen) made me think of Tom Waits when it first started? No, of course it isn’t wrong to say, because they’re both among the best living songwriters. I’m not saying the track isn’t ‘Coheny’ either. The opening track ‘Going Home’ and track 3 ‘Show Me The Place’ smack of Cohen’s simple, memorable songwriting balanced with deep and complex lyrics.
The one thing I can say for this album (click the name above for a stream)…I listened to every word. I can’t say that for every album I listen to. Sometimes I get caught up in the rhythms and melodies and production and the lyrics become another instrument. Not with Leonard Cohen. I think it’s impossible to hear one of his songs and not listen to the lyrics…and I mean REALLY listen to the lyrics.
Old Ideas ‘is’ an Old Idea…simple, scaled down songs, with a focus on the words and the melody with just enough backing instruments to support the song itself. This is a quiet album. A touch of celtic melody here, a touch of 60s folk there, even blues (Darkness, Banjo). Every song has a comforting softness to it…relaxing! (Lullaby is obviously a Lullaby!) Cohen is occasionally accompanied by female choruses (Come Healing), soft gospel singers (Going Home)…you know, stuff you expect from Leonard.
That’s actually the best way to put it…with Old Ideas you get what you expect, which is exactly what I’d want from Leonard Cohen. Good songwriting, good music.
I recently had a ‘Belle and Sebastian‘ revival. Hospitality gives me that fuzzy feeling I felt the first time I heard B&S. From the first guitar stroke I knew I was in for a treat when I stumbled into this album.
What catches my attention with a new artist is when they surprise me. ‘Eighth Avenue’ surprised me. ‘Friends of Friends’ did too…and on…and on…through the rest of the album. I mean, it’s not crazy complex, but it’s nothing like anything I’ve been listening to recently…it’s throwback but still very modern indie. It sounds like a bunch of people having fun with music, honestly.
The production is tight, the instrumentation is rich and uncluttered, the songwriting is sweet…can an album be 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s? This one seems to be, which is about the best way I could describe Hospitality. And I think that’s what surprised me…right when I had it figured out suddenly we took a corner.
I suggest you give it a listen-through if you like indie-rock that merges (heh…they’re on Merge Records!) the best of the decades into hooky and fun tracks.
And there you have it…I did a review! That wasn’t so hard, was it, Roo??
In any case, please let me know what you think! Feedback is sexy! Follow me on Twitter @Potoroo to hear from me every day!
…oh…and since I know you’re all wondering after that intro…here’s the new Cult song:
UPDATE: Quick note…20 minutes after I posted this, my boss walked in and told us we were working the new Cult album…so…like…when I posted they were an 80s band with a new song out…but I guess now they’re someone I’m working with so…this is the weirdest disclosure I’ve ever had to do 😉