Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Avett Brothers' new album does not disappoint.

If you've been looking for an album that can impact you instrumentally, lyrically lift your spirits and entertain your curiosity then pick up The Avett Brothers' latest record I and Love and You.

After the success of their highly regarded album Emotionalism (2007), the North Carolina natives had a pretty hard act to follow. But Seth and Scott Avett, along with band mates, Bob Crawford (stand-up bass) and Joe Kwon (cello), found a way to enhance their band dynamic, while maintaining their strong folk foundation.

Leaving their folk roots, The Avett Brothers permeate into other genres such as country, bluegrass, rock and pop on their new album. Released Aug. 25, this album features a unique combination of instruments, such as the cello and banjo, fused with the acoustic guitar and stand-up bass, making a creative sound that is worth more than one listen.

Combine the instrumental talent with coordinated fraternal harmonies and background vocal support, songs such as "Laundry Room" could make grown men cry.

The incredible range of the album cannot go unnoticed. "Kick Drum Heart" will make you want to dance your feet off, and "The Perfect Space" reach a more emotional level with lyrics like: "I want to have friends that I can trust/that love me for the man I've become, not the man that I was."

A variety of different themes exist throughout the album. The song "Tin Man" explores the idea of experiencing real, genuine human emotion. The lyrics read: "The wind upon my face/And caring what it brings this way," and continue to say,"I miss that feeling of feeling."

An obvious but brilliant parallel to the "The Wizard of Oz" character, it is no surprise The Avett Brothers believe in an active pursuit of things that evoke feeling in their lives and they want their fans to do the same.

Their songs can appeal to a wide spectrum of audiences because they go beyond instrumental diversity and lyrical maturity. Sincerity is the reason why their fan base has grown immensely.

The Avett Brothers' utter simplicity is apparent in "January Wedding." Scott Avett sings, "I am thankful for her kind of loving cause it's simple." It becomes clear as the album continues just what kind of priorities the band has and how earnestly they want people to listen to their music.

The key to realizing the overall meaning of this album is recognizing the sincerity of The Avett Brothers and their desire to reach people. It's when you unlock the true meaning of their lyrics and dissect them word for word that you can truly appreciate the underlying purpose of their music.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone thrives solo.

I recently had the chance to see Owen Ashworth of Casiotone for the Painfully Alone perform an intimate show. Watching the California-born keyboardist mix sounds on stage was absolutely a unique experience. His earnest singing combined with the complexity of his music was impossible to escape, as I watched him stand completely isolated on stage.

I actually got the chance to talk to him and he's

After he released his latest EP, Vs. Children, he decided to go on tour. While buried in his electronic equipment, Owen sings his heart out. Almost quite literally. Although the loneliness creeps out of every song, there's a strong sense of empathy that gets ahold of every person in the room.

The songs that stuck out to me the most were "Nashville Parthenon" and "I love Creedence." If you listen closely to the lyrics and think about what they mean, you can feel his pain. And it's beautiful really.

If you want to check out more of Owen's stuff, make sure you don't just listen but watch too. Half of his craft is his art on stage.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

KiD CuDi lives up to expectations.

What started as a mixtape from a kid in Cleveland (A Kid Named Cudi) ended up being a sensational work of art in the hip hop world, and not just according to Kanye and Jay Z. If you haven't yet, check out KiD CuDi's album Man on the Moon: The End of Day. All of Cudi's tracks flow into each other in an extremely succinct fashion, leaving you no choice but to become completely lost in the beats and lyrics.

The lyrics. Cudi is not a rapper with just girls and parties on his mind; actually he is a endlessly complex character with thoughts that run deeper than most of us even dream to conceive most of the time. Listen carefully to "Soundtrack to My Life," "Up Up & Away" and "Pursuit of Happiness." They may change the way you think about things.

Cudi is really a breath of fresh air for the hip hop community and the music scene in general. He collaborates with MGMT and Ratatat on this album, which adds whole new layer to his already enhanced dynamic. The beat for his track "The Player" comes from the Band of Horses song "Funeral." By collaborating with these groups that are not often associated with the hip hop scene, Cudi makes himself versatile and opens up his music to layers of new fan bases. He knows that music is a multi-dimensional craft that deserves to be shared with everyone.

Find daily info on Cudi here:

Friday, September 4, 2009

Monsters of Folk album cover released.

Although the album is not due out until September 22, the Monsters of Folk have released their album cover, which appears to be a headshot

of the four folk stars connected through a condensed forest of vines and leaves. Going clockwise, the cover features the faces of Oberst, James, Mogis and Ward. Done by stereogum, the cover was created by Matthew Hollings.