alt/indie rock

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Morning Phase by Beck

One of the reasons Beck is beloved by critics is that he doesn't just put out warmed over versions of his "sound;" although, his music is certainly identifiable.  Morning Phase is recognizably Beck, but the more atmospheric, reflective Beck. Almost every one of his albums has had a song on it that I've loved instantly and forever and this album is no exception. In this case that song is "Heart is a Drum." That's not to say that there is only one good song, there are many: "Say Goodbye", "Blue Moon", "Morning" and "Blackbird Chain" among the best.

Falling Off the Sky by the dB's

I figured I better review the new dB's CD Falling Off the Sky since I mentioned its release as being the reason behind my recommending their Sound of Music a few months ago.   One of the best things about it is that the music isn't a rehash of old dB's, they are older and wiser and it shows in the content of their songs.  There are several catchy songs but also a few colossal duds,  the worst being the weepy lament "Far Away and Long Ago".  The rest of them are middle of the road pop/rock

What We Saw From the Cheap Seats by Regina Spektor

Playful quirkiness, precisely detailed songcraft, and lyrics that you want to listen to are the hallmarks of this New York's "anti-folk" singer-songwriter.  Upon first listen, I loved the quality of Spektor's voice but was slightly put off by some of her characteristic vocal mannerisms and doodads.  Listeners will probably either love her or hate her, but I found that after the second time through this album, I was won over.

Blunderbuss by Jack White

I find the White Stripes hit or miss so I wasn't expecting to love this CD.  But I do. There is no denying that Jack White is a talented guy.  The songs are familiar yet unexpected.  The opening riff of Love Interruption is pretty close to Son of a Preacher Man but the lyrics: "I want love to: grab my fingers gently, Slam them in a doorway, Put my face into the ground" aren't run of the mill.

Some Nights by Fun.

The band's name says it all: Fun. I started listening to this CD in the car without knowing what to expect and was a believer by the end of the first track. Loaded with hooks and anthemic sing-along choruses, the whole album will just lift you up. You'll time travel to the days of Queen when listening to "Some Nights Intro" and even if you haven't been young for years, you'll love "We Are Young", the hit single that reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. Sign me up for the fan club!

The Sound of Music by the dB's

The release today of the dB's first album in 25 years got me to thinking about The Sound of Music.  The catchy tunes and smart lyrics are timeless.  You won't be saying "that's wicked eighties" like my sister's boyfriend always does when she plays her favorites from that era.  These are just well crafted pop songs that are about something.    Who can't relate to lyrics like these from "Working for Somebody Else": "I been working too hard and too long for too little / Seems like every day is just about the same / And it don't get any better." It'

Yes and Also Yes by Mike Doughty

Former Soul Coughing frontman Mike Doughty's wordplay is what makes this an interesting CD.  He can be very amusing and he comes up with great lines.  When was the last time you heard someone say claptrap?  In Rational Man he starts with "Don't give me your claptrap, Don't give me your stinking words, You make me feel like a fat sap, Hapless, in a dirty shirt."   Another great line is "She doesn't fall in love, She takes hostages" from The Huffer and the Cutter.   The duet with Rosanne Cash, Holiday (What do you want), is as much ab

Torrent Volume 1 & 2 by Will Dailey

Will Dailey—a local musician who has been playing in Boston and around the country for many years—compiled his two digitally released EPs from 2009 to create this 13-song powerhouse CD that includes a 60s-inspired rock song evoking Neil Young, an anthem for Boston’s Allston neighborhood, and guest vocals and guitar work from veterans of the Boston music scene, including Kay Hanley (Letters to Cleo), Elliot Easton (The Cars), and Tim Brennan (Dropkick Murphys). If you haven’t heard Dailey’s music, he’s worth the listen!

I and Love and You by the Avett Brothers

All of the Avett Brothers albums are great.  Their harmonies are beautiful.  Their talent with the various instruments they play (banjo, guitar, piano and more) is phenomenal and their lyrics are clever and true.  In I and Love and You the songs are sadder and filled with pain and mental anguish.  Even a seemingly festive song like "Tin Man" has dark lyrics.  But don't let that scare you.  This is a fine album without a dud on it.

7 Worlds Collide: Neil Finn & Friends Live at the St. James

Neil Finn has been making beautifully crafted music for over 30 years with Split Enz, Crowded House, his brother Tim and as a solo artist.  On this live disc he gathers several musician friends, including Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder and Johnny Marr of the Smiths, to perform their songs and his.  Great perfomances abound on this CD, especially Vedder singing "Stuff & Nonsense" and Finn doing his own "She Will Have Her Way".

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