August in Music
The month of August has been good to me musically. I discovered a lot of good music. I rediscovered some old friends. I won free tickets to the three-day Austin City Limits Festival in October. Music is on my mind, and I hope to blog about it a little bit leading up to the start of October.
To quick off this music emphasis I will review some of the new music from August. Each of these artists is an individual I respect. Their albums have gotten placed on repeat on more than one occasion. But not every new album is made equal...
The new album from David Ramirez has dropped. I have blogged on multiple occasions about the love I feel for David Ramirez (here, here, and here). I bought all of Ramirez's discography for my father as a "thank you" for letting us stay in his house. I was beyond eager to listen to Fables.
And then it dropped while I was in the middle of a three-day, FULL DAYS, summit of meetings. I had to wait till close to midnight before I got my first listen. And it was so worth it. "Fables" is alive with raw lyrics and I imagine this leads to a distinct "all or nothing" appreciation. My appreciation falls into the "all" category. The weakest track "Wild Bones" is still better than most tracks by other artists.
Many of the highlight tracks were released as singles. "Harder to Lie," "How Do You Get 'Em Back," and "That Ain't Love" are amazing alt-country tracks. But for me they could not hold a candle to the contemplative and provocative "Rock and a Hard Place" and "Hold On." This album will be one of my favorite releases of 2015. I'm on the fence about where this lands in the Ramirez Discography, but I am extremely glad it is even a part of the list.
Carry The Ghost
Let me be abrupt and quick to the point. I love Noah Gundersen, but this album sucks. Gundersen seems to have got it in his mind that he needed to sound like someone else <cough> Ramirez <cough>. "Slow Dancer" is a teasing song that is riddled with potential. But the rest of the album reads like a spoiled child complaining about the abuses of his life outside of his privilege.
There are repeating moments of emotion. I am supposed to feel something. But tracks like "Selfish Art" just cause me to cringe. The music is all very good perhaps even Noah Gundersen's best. But every line of lyrics seems forced. "I hope you see the topless dancer in me" rings as hollow as a decaying tree. His references to his wet dream are truly poetic, but they lack a point. There is no urgency to Gundersen's pushing. The material has run dry.
"Heartbreaker" reminds us of what Gundersen is capable of producing. But it is too little too late. The album has come to a close. "Carrying A Ghost" is a confusing album that ultimately reveals Gundersen losing track of himself trying to be everyone else.
I have been a Grace Potter fan for many years. Many, many years. But I also have a horrible tendency to forget about artists and their top albums.
In a slew of recent "you should listen to <insert artist here>" type of conversations, I recalled how awesome Grace Potter is. I began recommending her again. And then I discovered that she had just recently released a new solo album. I was instantly hooked. The old country + blues infusion was gone. In its place a more industrial pop sound bordering on dance/house music at specific points. Everything was looking up as far as I was concerned.
Multiple tracks with different appeals strike me as quick favorites. "Your Girl," "The Miner," and "Look What We've Become" provide a spectrum of easily likable tracks. Thankfully the rest of the album is not only enjoyable, but worthy of repeating listens for deep enjoyment. "Instigators" and "Delirious" will certainly sneak up on you. And then you'll be singing them after you've moved passed the uber-catchy songs. This album will find itself on repeat for sure.