Tuesday, March 11, 2008

New Albums

Two new albums to review.

The first is the long-awaited return of...

THE BLACK CROWES!

And their new album Warpaint

I was a bit let down by this album. It has none of the good old rock n roll tunes that made anyone fall in love with these guys in the first place, but instead, it's festered with groovy, slowish, melodic groove rock tunes that all seem to kind of blend into one another. But it's not a total waste. The songs, although mostly slow and dreary, are well performed. Great musicians playing well all throughout, so it's totally listenable. (Did I just make that word up?)

My favorite tracks are the opening/single "Good-bye Daughters of the Revolution" (as it is the only track reminiscent of that good old time rock n roll stuff), "Evergreen" (which builds to moments of semi-rockin' in the chorus and has a heavy groove all-throughout), "Movin' On Down The Line" (A lot of heavy, jangly slide guitar, and I like the piano-laced Elton John-ish parts of the verses), and "Wounded Bird" (the only really consistent blues-rocker, until we hit the sing-songy chorus).

The rest of the songs are filler between the better tracks, forcing the listener to just sit through the whole album, which in the end is actually kind of enjoyable.

I give this slow-restart to a great band's triumphant comeback 3 out of 5 stars.

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And a bit of a random find...

This is Melody Gardot.

She's only 23 and this is a Major Label re-release of her debut album: Worrisome Heart

Four years ago, she was in an accident (hit by a car while riding her bike! Ouch!) which left her leg badly damaged and her sensitivity to light and sound much more intense. According to Wikipedia:
(she performs while she) carries a cane and must wear dark glasses. She often has a little black box tied to her waist; called a TENS unit, it is used to alleviate neuralgic pain/muscle pain. She sits on a specialized chair while performing due to pelvic fractures sustained in the accident. Her pelvis remains misaligned, and she also suffers from an autonomic nervous system dysfunction, causing hypersensitivity to noise and sound.

As terrible as it all must be, once you hear her music you can tell that these "disabilities" actually add to her already unique sound with a unique look. Watching her perform (as you can just by doing some basic video searches online) with her cane and shades, you can see how unforgettable she will remain in the eyes of the jazz/blues scene for years to come.

As for the album itself: it's short (just shy of 33 minutes), but packs quite a punch. The title track is a moody, sexy, drunken, swaggering wish-list of a blues-club love song. Very hip.

After that, the album flows seamlessly from track to track with perfection and a smoothness that only the jazz genre still tends to offer on a regular basis these days. The mood of the album is light, fun, sweet, romantic, cool and always rich and vibrant in sound. Gardot croons and scats like an old soul, sounding lonely but hopeful in her endeavors to find love in her young life.

Check out this self-proclaimed "worrisome, troubling, baggage-free, modern-day dame" on iTunes right now - her entire album is only $5.99 and she even offers a free remixed track on her MySpace page to add to your collection. Quite the steal.

This album gets 4-and-a-half out of 5 stars. Very good!

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