Album Reviews

It seems very strange to be writing a review of this record, roughly twelve month’s after I  first heard it and saw the band live at SXSW in Austin. 

The Civil Wars, a duo of Joy Williams and John Paul White, seem to be on the same trajectory as the low Anthem over here in the U.K., tiny shows since last summer have now escalated to a sold out show at the Shepherd Bust Empire to a UK tour and headlining Roundhouse show in November. So yes, they have taken off!

 

Barton Hollow had its official UK release on Monday. the songs remain a treasure all the way through with the vocals and harmonisation a pure delight..

 

The live show is something else as well. Their closeness makes you think, Butterflies and love (but they are not a pair apparently).

 

So a great record packed with great songs, but I’m already waiting to LP number 2.

 

9/11

 

Pete

 

 

 

20 Years

I've Got This Friend

C'est La Mort

To Whom It May Concern

Poison & Wine

My Father's Father

Barton Hollow

The Violet Hour

Girl With The Red Balloon

Falling

Forget Me Not

Birds of a Feather

 

SXSW Review March 2011

 

After a wander to the emusic party, it’s back to Paste for the Civil Wars. This duo of Joy Williams and John Paul White met in a studio last year and found that their harmonies gelled so well, they ended up forming the band and producing a delightful album and a,well, sugar coated live show.

 

Apparently they are not ‘an item’ but you wouldn’t know from their closeness on stage, perfect hair, dress, teeth ,smiles, soaring angelic harmonies, cries from the crowd sum up the performance. “They don’t even need beer” “I just want to play with butterflies” and “I have never loved two people so much”. All of which is taken in good humour and the song’ Dead Man Walking’, indeed provide a harder edge. These guys could just find themselves on the Low Anthem’s coat tails (there was even a member of Low Anthem spotted at the bar).

 

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Taking a break from Engineers, founder Mark Peters and producer/band member Ulrich Schnauss have handed us a beautiful piece of music that, actually belies the title. 

Tranquil is the pace of the album all the way though and as we kick off with 'The Messiah Is Falling’: vocalist Judith Heck chimes in with  "So lost in time, so lost in you" which pretty much sums up the vibe of the record.

 

We are more in the world of Eno and David Sylvian on this record rather than any shoe gazing experiences but, it really is a lovely album and a nice change in listening. Just shut your eyes and drift away.

 

Pete

 

7/11

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The Messiah Is Falling

Long Distance Call

Forgotten

Yesterday Didn't Exist

Rosen Im Asphalt

The Child Of The Pigeon

Ekaterina

Amoxicillin

Gift Horse's Mouth

Underrated Silence

A town in north east Oregon, La Grande was named by a French settler in honour of its natural beauty, and is where Portland’s Laura Gibson found the muse for this record. 

Laura continues to mature as an artist and with this lovely album really hit’s the mark. A voice that is pretty unique delivers the songs with heart and soul. The record also contains fine support from the ranks of Calexico, The Decemberists, The Dodos, and drummers Rachel Blumberg and Matt Berge.

 

Diversities in song style across the entire record means a rewarding listen, to this talented artist

 

8/10

Pete

 

   1. La Grande              

   2. Milk-Heavy, Pollen-Eyed          

   3. Lion/Lamb             

   4. Skin Warming Skin              

   5. The Rushing Dark            

   6. Red Moon        

   7. Crow/Swallow          

   8. The Fire          

   9. Time Is Not              

 10. Feather Lungs

 

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What do you think of this record? Let us know here

Well Cloud Nothings are certainly a sonic power source to be reckoned with. Hard on the heels of 2010’s ‘Turning On’ and 2011’s ‘Cloud Nothings’ comes, 2012’s ‘Attack on Memory’. and this time Dylan Baldi’s four piece Cleveland  outfit are produced by Steve Albini, whose electric wand  is waved over the entire LP. 

There is a moment of gentleness as the album starts with ‘No Future/No Past’ but, don’t be fooled, soon the wall of sound and vocals hit. ‘Wasted Days’ is infectious and close on nine minutes long indeed, a ‘Garage Rock’ assault on the senses!

 

Dylan Baldi has a two tier vocal style, normal and banshee like screamed lyrics, which when set against the ‘wall of sound’ only adds to the intensity. With just eight songs on the record the album retains sharpness throughout which, even in today’s world, is easy to concentrate on.

 

The pace is unrelenting and hence, I don’t think there is a seismic change of gear here but, what Albini has brought to the show is a crisp, clear production.

 

Baldi said to Pitchfork magazine (light heartedly?) that the recording session was seemingly immersed in apathy ("Steve Albini played Scrabble on Facebook almost the entire time. I don't even know if he remembers what our album sounds like," ) But to me, it would not be the same record without  Albini.

 

There is Dinosaur Jr and MC5’s here and modern day comparisons to Yuck without a doubt. This record has an undoubted energy, soak it up!

 

10/11

Pete

 

 

 

1. No Future/No Past 

2. Wasted Days 

3. Fall In 

4. Stay Useless 

5. Separation 

6. No Sentiment 

7. Our Plans 

8. Cut You

 

Studio albums  

Turning On                           2010 ( Carpark Records)

Cloud Nothings                   2011  (Carpark Records)

 Attack On Memory            2012  (Carpark Records)

First of all I think we can establish that Sharon is a music fan at heart. The album notes not only contain the stellar cast list involved in this album, but also introduce us to her recommended listening suggestions.

 

‘The Tramp’ was produced by the National’s  Aaron Dessner, who also slots into the main guitarist role. The album also contains contributions from Bryce Dessner and Bryan Devendorf (The National); Matt Barrick (The Walkmen); Zach Condon (Beirut); Jenn Wasner (Wye Oak); Rob Moose (Antony and the Johnsons); Julianna Barwick and Thomas Bartlett (Doveman).

 

Sharon has said that “this album was written and recorded in a very transitional time in my life. I was touring a lot and when I would return to New York, I had no steady home. The studio turned into my one constant”. In a way I guess lines can be drawn with Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon's recording of ‘For Emma, Forever Ago' tucked away in a log cabin. Isolation and concentration on the task in hand can create wonderful results and that is just what has happen here.

 

Whoever the guests, Sharon is the centre point of the record. Her song writing gets better and better. Her vocal delivery gets grittier when required and harmonious or gentle if that is what the words and melody desire.

 

Warsaw starts the album at a steady pace with acoustic guitar then a fuller sound as the song grows and you quickly become immersed in what could be a four minute song, but actually lasts just over two. You find yourself longing for more, straight away.

 

’Give Out’ continues the build to ‘Serpent’ which arrives to rock your world. The record then take a delicious turn to the sublimely gentle ‘Kevin’s' and 'Leonard’.In Line’ has a steady blues vibe whilst. 'Alll I Can' maintains the intense tone via an electric organ and horns.

 

‘Tramp’ is Sharon’s third record and her debut for the fine Jagjaguwar label. Borne out of 14 months of scattered recording sessions this could really be a turning point in Sharons career, although I expected that to happen after its predecessor, ‘Epic’. 

 

Sharon’s songs have an honestly that really makes you sit up and think. ‘Tramp’ will certainly get under your skin (in a nice way) as it becomes essential listening. I am sure this will be in a lot of people’s records of 2012 come December. Oh, and those recommendations Sharon has for us include, Doug Keith, Heather Woods, Megafaun, Olga Bell, Small Black ,Scary Mansion and Ed Askew.

 

Pete

10/11 

 

 

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Warsaw

Give Out

Serpents

Kevin's

Leonard

In Line

All I Can

We Are Fine

Magic Chords

Ask

I'm Wrong

Joke Or A Lie

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