Archive for the ‘Music Review’ Category

New Brandi Carlile Valentine’s EP – XOBC !

February 9, 2010

Thank you, Columbia / Sony BMG marketing department for brightening up my inbox this afternoon. A new iTunes-exclusive, valentine’s themed Brandi release with THREE original songs and two covers, a week before I get to see her live at her sold-out show in Clearwater, FL?! You complete me.

XOBC Tracklisting:
1 All You Need Is Love (Beatles cover)
2 Love Songs
3 Way to You
4 Us Again
5 Heaven (Bryan Adams cover)

I immediately purchased the five-song EP for $3.99 (yes, purchased) without hesitation or preview, and it is as amazing as I knew it would be. She covers The Beatles and Bryan Adams with ease, and engages you in the new material like you were old friends. Her take on “Heaven” is sparse and haunting, with the eerie modulation of a Rhodes piano backing her acoustic guitar picking. It is also interesting to hear “All You Need Is Love” from a female perspective with an epic chorus and ending in laughter.

Her voice is as strong as ever, and the instrumentation by the Twins is folksy and endearing. A total surprise to an avid Brandi fan such as myself, this was an unexpected and appreciated valentine’s gift. Twelve thumbs up!

iO

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The Tenant EP Release Show 12.26.09

January 2, 2010

Backbooth recently played host to the EP/7″ release party for The Tenant, and I was happy to see the place packed. Not to be confused with the crappy feature film shot locally in Orlando, the musical Tenant brings together just the right elements of Summerbirds and Orlando’s Bananafish in as close to a super-group as Orlando may soon experience. (Montreal’s band of the same name is also established, so we’ll see who gets to keep the name.)

Only their second show in support of the new music, everyone was itching to see the new tracks played live, as well as pick up one of the 1000 freshly pressed, limited release copies of their “Is Listening” EP and “Visitors” 7″ set. (Get yours locally at Park Ave CDs or online while they last.)

Track Listing

“Is Listening” EP
1. The Stranger
2. Trouble
3. Suspicion Breeds Confidence
4. You Should Hear Yourself
5. Death Pops By On Important Business From Above
6. My Unspoken Name

Visitors 7″
1. Visitors
2. Incantation (One)

For those who many not be vinyl connoisseurs, the 7″ has an MP3 coupon inside, as has become pretty standard with most new vinyl. The tracks are airy and relatively upbeat for local bartender, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Brad Register. If you have yet to experience their ethereal live show, take a listen on the bands MySpace and join the legions of locals already firmly planted on the bandwagon.

iO

Purevolume’s “Best Unsigned Bands of 2009”

January 1, 2010

We ended the year with the Grizzly Bears in the Animal Collective cleaning off their Dirty Projectors, but what about all of those bands still on the grind?

I came across Purevolume’s year-end list of 20 unsigned bands with the pretense of a free download from each of those chosen few. Now, I am never one to turn down a demo, but Purevolume’s list is understandably limited to those with profiles on their servers, and the style is more or less the same. I’ll have to compile my own list in this genre or, rather, “scene,” probably based moreso on Smartpunk sales than Purevolume plays, but I digress.

The majority of the chosen bands fall prey to the trendy chord progressions and Oh Ohs that plague their respective genres. There were a few standout tracks, however, and they are worth a listen.

1. Tonight Alive “Wasting Away” (Download MP3)

In the vein of Paramore or Hey Monday, a small woman packs a melodic punch with a strong, dynamic voice. The band has toured with Mest and 3OH!3, and I see big things on the horizon if they can manage to elbow their way to the top of the female-fronted pop-punk heap.

2. Conditions “Illuminati” (Download MP3)

My first thought in hearing this track was that they sounded much like the now-defunct band Acceptance, and on first listen you’ll understand what I mean. The vocals float over a frenetic drum pattern and transcendent guitars build up to an epic chorus. The singer has an interesting voice, so we’ll see what he can do with it.

3. He Is We “Light A Way” (Download MP3)

As much as this sounds like an emo Colbie Caillat, it is still catchy acoustic pop. The singer could definitely do more in the coming year to take full advantage of her impressive range.

4. The Bay State “Liars” (Download MP3)

I am always a sucker for a string section, and this band had me at their opening bars. The violin stabs are a refreshing break from the standard genre conventions, and the rest of the instrumentation does not disappoint.

So those are my picks from Purevolume’s year-ender, but feel free to listen to the whole list on their site. I’d love to hear who YOU think is the best unsigned band of 2009, so let me know!

iO