Thursday, September 22, 2005
"Life in Slow Motion"On sale at All That Jazz for $15.98
David Gray does sad better than anyone. He's more despondent than Coldplay. He's more pensive than Ben Harper. He may even be giving Patsy Cline an all-time sad-song run for her money.
I first heard David Gray years ago while cleaning the kitchen of a friend who was broken by the end of a long-term relationship.
A month's worth of dishes were stacked in the sink. The table was covered with unpaid bills. As I swept my friend's floor, Gray's voice sang from the CD player. The melancholy on the stereo matched the melancholy of that moment as I tried to help my friend return to the world after wallowing for weeks in his unmade bed. I think of that depressing, dirty apartment every time David Gray's voice comes on the radio. It came to mind again as I listened to "Life In Slow Motion."
Each song reminds me that someone, somewhere is lonely and heartbroken. Someone, somewhere is mouthing along with David Gray's love songs and driving themselves back to tears.
The album cover shows a jagged glacier field that looks impossible to cross. The viewer is completely isolated. It's the perfect image to capture the feeling of the music inside.
Rated: Good music to play while walking into the sea.
Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley
"Welcome to Jamrock"On sale at All That Jazz for $14.98
To me, the most fascinating thing about reggae is the Rastafarai beliefs and rhetoric that goes along with it. The more political talk about Ethiopia and Israel, the more interested I am. Needless to say, I couldn't stop listening to this latest installation of the revolution.
I plugged in Damian Mar-ley's latest CD, "Welcome to Jamrock," thinking it would be a good, early-morning album to ease me out of sleep with a positive vibration for the day. Instead, it yanked me out of bed by the collar and threw me into the middle of a battlefield while still in my pajamas. In the first track, "Confrontation," helicopters fly through the backbeats as Marley mixes hip-hop production with his traditional reggae singsong storytelling. In "Confrontation," Marley mixes his voice with recordings of Marcus Garvey to bring home the point.
Bob Marley's youngest son samples his dad in the song "Move!"
"Welcome to Jamrock" expands the boundaries of the already elastic reggae genre by bringing in artists such as Eek-a-Mouse and Bounty Killer.
Although this is a pretty heavy album, there are a couple of the requisite love songs and a very danceable beat behind Marley's "wake up and bring down Babylon" message.
Rated: Listen to it in the early morning only if you want to "Wake Up!"
The Dandy Warhols
"Odditorium or Warlords of Mars"Available at All That Jazz for $15.98
A pretentious art rock band disguised as a poppy boy band. Distorted guitar, trumpet and feedback from homemade electronics hold up the front-wall facade of catchy tunes in four-four time.
That's always been the hook of The Dandy Warhols. Smart but accessible. Born out of the heady Portland, Ore., scene, the Warhols are one of those rare underground bands that got regular mainstream airplay.
As their popularity grew, I expected them to get "Beck syndrome."
But something much, much different has happened, and I couldn't be happier about it. Math-rock music snobs gather 'round. This is the next album for you.
Instead of stripping away the odd backdrop, the Warhols stripped away the easy-access front zipper. This album is still a toe-tapper, but not everyone can dance to this stuff.
If you think Yoko Ono has a pretty voice, or if you at least "get" what she's trying to do, if you're the kind of music fan who doesn't like it too simple and who thinks an album should be as complicated as a David Lynch movie, take "Odditorium" out for a spin. I think you'll like it.
Rated: This is what you should do with success.
-- Autumn Phillips