April 23, 2006

John Frusciante - Curtains

All of you should by now know the works of John Frusciante somehow. Whether you know his masterful guitar work with the band Red Hot Chili Peppers or you’ve heard me praise him repeatedly, his name should at least be vaguely familiar by now. What you may not know is that Frusciante promised his fans 6 solo albums in 6 months. An unthought-of task for any musician, Frusciante focused and accomplished his mission as promised in 2004. “Curtains” is the final chapter in the series, and fittingly so. The normal (if you can call it normal) conceptual sound that is found on his previous works is replaced by a calmer, gentler sound in his final. This record was recorded on John’s living room floor with an 8-track tape machine that was made in the 70’s. He dubbed it practically by himself, but had a little help from Omar Rodriguez (The Mars Volta), who also plays lead guitar on 2 songs. One of those songs being “Anne” that starts slowly and ends with Omar and John dueling it out with their guitars in a distortion of electric fury. As his other albums have been thus far, it took a listen or two to realize the magic that lies underneath in the profound lyrics (I’m gonna move toward a point in time / where where you are is a state of mind) and creative guitar, but it can not be denied that this music is in fact created by a genius. John Frusciante continues to astonish me with every song I hear. This album took me completely off guard. I have always known Frusciante to be a talented singer/songwriter, not to mention a magical guitar player. I wasn’t, however, expecting to get knocked off my ass again. John has many sides. “Curtains” portrays his more elegant side yet it holds true to John’s sense of ingenuity which makes this album differ from your everyday singer/songwriters. Keeping it simple is not something I’ve known Frusciante to do, but he tries his best to make this album relatively uncomplicated. In closing I would like to say, for emphasis sake, that Frusciante has become one of my all time favorite musicians. The sweat and careful details that go into his poignant music are some of the best I’ve come across in recent years. This man does not receive the credit and respect he rightfully deserves.

April 20, 2006

Eels with Strings - Live at Town Hall

Capturing the pure essence of Mr. Mark Oliver Everett (aka E), this live album showcases the scruffy fella on tour with a string quartet. Featuring fan favorites from many albums, this cd has a nice selection of tunes for the new or old fan alike. The only downside being that practically every song has the same pace. If you’re already an Eels fan, however, this should be no problem for you. The comforting sound of E’s voice is hard to resist, not to mention his incredible ability to write gorgeous music This album is filled with those delicate and personal lyrics that Eels fans have come to cherish more and more over the years. “E” has a way of making his words relate to any ear they happen to fall upon. If you have never heard the Eels before, I’d start with one of his studio albums first (Beautiful Freak, Blinking Lights). If you are an Eels fan, there is no reason you shouldn’t already own this album. E has had one hell of a life, and it is heartening to see a man go through so much and still be willing to share his soul with his fans. If you are interested in experiencing the soothing sounds of the Eels, go to www.eelstheband.com. Scroll down to the 3/10 entry on the main page, and click the link. You can watch this concert almost in its entirety. My recommendations would be “I Like Birds”, “Bus Stop Boxer”, “Trouble With Dreams” and without doubt “Things the Grandchildren Should Know”. E has quickly gained respect in my book as a sincere musician. If you like composed music with relative lyrics that can have you crying one minute in pure appreciation of life then laughing the next about meaningless nonsense, then I strongly recommend the Eels.

April 08, 2006

New Radicals - Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too

Everyone knows my little brother Timmy. Now it doesn’t happen often, but every now and then Timmy will come into my room and recommend an artist. How it usually works is I give it a quick listen and more often than not disregard it. He’ll be the first to tell you and I hate to admit this, but that’s been the case for many artists that I now appreciate (Talib Kweli, Deftones, Tenacious D, and The White Stripes). When he came to me years ago and told me to check out the New Radicals, I practically laughed in his face. Instantly considering them a one hit wonder (which it turns out, they were), I didn’t take Timmy’s recommendation seriously. Until now, 7 years later, I’ve got $6 in my pocket and I’m desperately searching record archive for the newest album to extend my collection. The only thing that popped out was this bright yellow cover. I figured I’ve been wrong about Timmy’s tastes in the past and maybe this would be no exception, so I bought it and put it in the stereo when I got home.

3 days later, I find myself going crazy over this thing. One hit wonder on the radio…maybe, but trust me when I say there are many more gems on “Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too”. The first 4 songs all could have gotten radio play in my book. If you’re the kind of person that doesn’t sing in the shower but dances and sings while they get dressed, then the first few songs are perfect for you. The New Radicals have a very emotionally invigorating album. Though the whole album isn’t remarkable, it certainly has it positives. Both “Mother We Just Can’t Get Enough” and “I Hope I Didn’t Just Give Away The Ending” are worth my $5.40. The best part is that this will always be considered a one hit wonder so you will regularly find it in the cheap cd bin.

I’ve learned a few things with this album. The first is I need to respect my little brothers opinion more. If he says I’ll like it, chances are I will. Secondly, that one hit wonders can still have substance under the surface.

April 03, 2006

Amos Lee

This is going to be a quick review. This type of music isn’t my specialty, but I believe it should be in my blog. Lee has an enchanting voice that is brilliant in so many ways. You’ll find yourself humming when to his songs when you’re not even listening to it. The way he sings is hard for me to describe. But his song writing is beyond talented. His sound is sort of a Norah Jones meets Damien Rice thing, with a touch of Jack Johnson and a pinch of Frank Sinatra...except black. This album is great to chill out with, but it has better uses than that. If you really want to use it to its maximum potential, you use it for its pimpablity. It can be used driving to dinner on a first date, played during a romantic meal, or slow danced to at a wedding. This album has class and sophistication, and the best part is that it’s not that old, sappy, lackluster shit that usually is usually found in that category. The piano is mixed perfectly with the acoustic guitar to keep your interested the whole way through. This is a modern album with a classic twist that is sure to make boys feel like men and have your women swoon. Strongly Recommended.

April 01, 2006

And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead - Worlds Apart

Some of you are asking yourselves “Didn’t David already write a review for this album in his best of 2005 list?” while others are wondering “Does David really think I waste my time reading his reviews?”. If you were thinking the first question, the answer is yes, I did write about it. I also said I had only heard the album one time, and I didn’t own it yet. Now I own it, and it deserves a better review than the one it received on the list.

…And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead creates a sort of rock opera feel to their newest release, the progressive “Worlds Apart”, by adding horns, strings, and pianos. Its inspirational feel differs from the unmatchable heights of “Source Tags and Codes”, yet as the band evolves it is hard not to evolve with it. Although the ending is rather weak, Worlds Apart more than makes up for it with the combo punch that songs “World Apart”, “Summer of ‘91”, “The Rest Will Follow”, and “Caterwaul” delivers. Those 4 songs alone make this album worth the $15. The first half of this album is driven by the grand opener “Ode to Isis”, a min long song that sounds like it should be sequenced to the beginning of an epic war battle during a Ridley Scott movie. There are only a few parts of this album that bear a resemblance to the Sonic Youth sound of their older material, yet “Worlds Apart” is a monstrous album. All told, this is nowhere near the masterwork that “Source Tags & Codes” is, but then again that is one astronomic album to be compared to. I think Trail of Dead has done a fantastic job creating a different sound instead of making new songs with the same sound. Actually, either way probably would’ve worked for me. However, the path they did choose to go just shows these guys are to be taken seriously as musicians and song writers.

If you were wondering the second question, then I suggest finding someone else who is going to tell you the truth about new music in a language you can understand as oppose to those spelling bee champion wizards they have at Rolling Stone that use the music review section as a chance to display their unrivaled intelligence by using words like floccinaucinihilipilification and cool.