Richard Reed Parry – Quiet River of Dust, Vol. 1

116550-quiet-river-of-dust-vol-1Richard Reed Parry is an extraordinarily gifted musician. His main gig is with Arcade Fire, but he has collaborated with a who’s who of indie acts of the last decade: The National, Sufjan Stevens, The Unicorns, and Islands. On this release, he invited Peter Gabriel, members of Yes, Jim O’Rourke, and The Flaming Lips. I like all of these groups, so I was very interested in what this album would have to offer.

Quiet River of Dust, Vol. 1 doesn’t disappoint, not even close. The results of the collaboration is a complex, atmospheric soundscape with enough melody to tie it into something not quite ambient, not quite pop (indie or otherwise). This is a bold release designed mostly for listeners who have heard it all.  Continue reading “Richard Reed Parry – Quiet River of Dust, Vol. 1”

Jamie Lin Wilson – “Run”

DlZfo_wU4AACl2_On August 24, 2018, Jamie Lin Wilson released a second track to promote an upcoming debut LP, Jumping Over Rocks, due out on October 28th.

The track is solid throughout. She begins with a fantastic false start intro where her band establishes the country-shuffle groove of the song, then quickly ducks out and lets Wilson’s voice shine for the first verse. Continue reading “Jamie Lin Wilson – “Run””

Ruston Kelly – Dying Star

RustonKelly_DyingStar_Cover_F_RGB-1535403872-640x640 (1)Ruston Kelly released his debut album, “Dying Star,” on September 7th, 2018. Many who follow the country music scene may recognize his name as the husband of Kacey Musgraves, but marrying Musgraves is not where Kelly’s music career began. He began as a songwriter, landing a publishing deal with BMG Nashville in 2013 and penning “Nashville Without You” for Tim McGraw. Last year he released an EPcalled “Halloween.”

“Dying Star” opens with “Cover My Tracks,” a mid-tempo song with a minor key chorus that wouldn’t have been completely out of place on Counting Crows’ August and Everything After. In other words, delivered with a vibe that’s accessible, but bittersweet. In the second track, “Mockingbird,” Kelly delivers a song more comfortably within the Americana wheelhouse with a Ryan Adams inspired vocal timbre, sang from the throat. With some nice acoustic guitar finger picked flourishes to open and close.

That’s when my favorite song on “Dying Star” comes in. Continue reading “Ruston Kelly – Dying Star”

Eli “Paperboy” Reed feat. Big Daddy Kane

Today on Twitter, Eli “Paperboy” Reed, released the official video for his track “Ninety Nine Cent Dreams,” which he mentioned features Big Daddy Kane. When I saw his Tweet, the potential genre-blurring caught my attention. Reed is known for his soul influences. Big Daddy Kane has been representing the East Coast rap scene since the late 1980s. What would a collaboration from these two sound like?

Now certainly, this is not the first time soul and rap have crossed paths, but this song isn’t the typical slow jam, mid-album filler that Kanye West (with Twista and Jamie Foxx) parody on The College Dropout. Reed has written a perfect, nostalgic summertime tune. The video features kids taking a break from playing the original 8-bit Nintendo to gather coins for the ice cream truck (spoiler: Big Daddy Kane is the ice cream man).  Continue reading “Eli “Paperboy” Reed feat. Big Daddy Kane”

Mitski – Be the Cowboy

mitski-be-the-cowboy-1526053336-640x640Be the Cowboy is Mitski’s third full length, and it is a departure from Puberty 2, the album that gained her enough attention to share the stage with Pixies and Lorde. Instead of the confessional approach of that album, here she wears one or more personas as she sorts through their hurtful pasts.

One of Mitski’s strong points has been bobbing where listeners expect a weave. Throwing in a gutsy chord that doesn’t resolve as expected, or a measure that’s shorter than the ones around it, or a melody note that’s unsettling against the underlying chord (or all three at the same time). She truly exceeds all expectations on Be the Cowboy with her freewheeling approach. One only gets one chance to hear an album like this for the first time. Set time aside to let it toss you around like a rodeo bull. In other words, be the cowboy. Continue reading “Mitski – Be the Cowboy”

Blood Orange – Negro Swan

unnamed-3-1532009237-640x640-1534864119-640x640Devonte Hynes, the UK-born man behind Blood Orange has had a slow growing career over the course of three releases. His third as pseudonymous Blood Orange, Freetown Sound, catapulted him to near-superstar status in the alternative R&B scene. His follow-up, Negro Swan, finds Hynes looking inward–searching for meaning in his own coming-of-age story.

The black swan theory was put forward by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, scholar and statistician, to explain the nature of events that are considered to be huge outliers. These events are extremely rare, but with the knowledge of hindsight their rarity can be easily explained away. In Negro Swan, as Hynes looks backward into his own life, he is not interested in any kind of oversimplification. Continue reading “Blood Orange – Negro Swan”

Sleep – The Sciences

6958632-1524604286-640x640Released as a surprise at midnight on 4/20, legendary, and genre defining, stoner metal band, Sleep, has unleashed their follow up to the stoner metal staple Dopesmoker. Released through Jack White’s Third Man Records, no less. The band, and the genre, is known for its slow, chugging riffs and otherworldly lyrics. On both fronts The Sciences delivers.

Sleep makes music to nod off to, using prolonged song structure, stretching out to over ten minutes on some tracks, to create an atmosphere designed to be lost in. One of the keys to creating their signature vibe is a drum and bass guitar that operate in lock step. Sleep has one of the best rhythm sections going by way of keeping a repetitive riff propulsive, not robotic.  Continue reading “Sleep – The Sciences”