monthly guides, music

June 2010 Monthly Music Guide #4

Looking for something new? Here’s what I’ve been listening to lately…

Artist: Josh Ritter
Album: So Runs the World Away (April 23, 2010)
Style: Songwriter guy?

Yes, here’s that genre I’ve found rather irresistible these days… somewhere between folk and indie and rock, it’s that quiet guitar picking that slowly layers instruments as it carefully builds a soothing sonic groove that bobs your head as it calms your soul… as long as it’s tied together with a memorable melody and lasting lyrics, it’s guaranteed gold. And with many fans hailing Mr. Ritter as one of the greatest songwriters of the decade, what else should I expect but lyrical storytelling that spans massive maritime travels and small town communities alike (and… a mummy/archaelologist love story…?). The album could do with a little more of the eulogic and hymn-like (despite its name) “Folk Bloodbath” and a little less of the angry ranting “Rattling Locks,” but for the most part it’s an engaging excursion that’s sure to satisfy with smiles, borrowing spiritual language at times but mostly telling stories of simple folk seeking their ways in a weary world.

Standout Lyric: I am assured yes I am assured yes /
I am assured that peace will come to me /
A peace that can yes surpass the speed yes /
Of my understanding and my need
Standout Lyric II:Where the thistles eat the thorns, and the roses have no chance /
and it ain’t no wonder that the babies come out crying in advance… /
I’ll need light from my lantern, light from my lantern tonight /
Be the light of my lantern, light of my lantern tonight

The Skies Revolt - Plastic Revolution
The Skies Revolt
Album: Plastic Revolution (June 2010)
Style: Dance-core with gang vocals

A few minutes into this rowdy album you get the impression that it’s more fitting for a live show (good thing the band signed up for no less than six slots at Cornerstone next week), but after acquiring a taste, the disc is enjoyable on its own. For the most part, this is a straight-forward but unique two-layer cake: synthesized keys and banging drums on the bottom, and group vocals on the top. This dancing and yelling probably isn’t for everyone – something like the flavor of Jonezetta meets the mischievousness of Five Iron Frenzy meets the raucousness of The Chariot – but it offers some fun if you give it a chance. The lyrics reach interesting depths, and even when they veer cryptically you feel like there’s opaque meaning lurking somewhere in the tangential current.

Standout Lyric: My lips are sore from the healing process. /
I’m not considered a whore because I ask forgiveness… /
Take my soul and perforate it like paper /
for quicker detachment later
In Case It Interests You: Based on their lyrics and associates I would assume the members of The Skies Revolt are known as Christians, but I don’t personally know what they profess.

The Gaslight Anthem - American Slang
The Gaslight Anthem
Album: American Slang (June 15, 2010)
Style: “rock and roll”?

Wielding somewhat punkier Snow Patrol grooves with the vocal drawl of the guy from the Killers, these guys serve up worthy rhythms and nostalgic lyrics about old records and the radio, although I haven’t listened to it enough for any of it to really stand out or be memorable.

Standout Lyric: And don’t sing me your songs about the good times /
Those days are gone and you should just let them go

MyChildren MyBride - Lost Boy
MyChildren MyBride
Album: Lost Boy (June 8, 2010)
Style: That genre of spunky metal kids I like to call metalscenecore

Trendy metal heavy on the gang vocals and cymbal crashes but hardly any guitar solos, screaming that’s energetic but unfocused and occasionally sounds like vomiting, buffering the generally Christian themes with clichéd chants like “What goes around comes around” or “No pain, no gain.” It all comes off as rather gimmicky to me, and maybe it’s just because my little brother is more into this kind of stuff than I am but I always feel like they’re geared toward a slightly younger demographic than mine. My least favorite part about these types of bands is that when they finally get to a differentiated track that sounds like the beginning of a sweet groove, it ends up being the one-minute instrumental filler that stops before it goes anywhere. If you like Burden Of A Day To Remember or any of those other type bands you’ll probably dig this, but it’s just not my brand of metal.

Standout Lyric: Look me in the hollow eyes and hear me say: /
“When you think your only release is a lonely exit, I’ll be there to tell you that there’s another way… ”
In Case It Interests You: The members of MyChildren MyBride are known as Christians and they are with Tooth & Nail.

Blitzen Trapper - Destroyer Of The Void
Blitzen Trapper
Album: Destroyer of the Void (June 8, 2010)
Style: Some kind of retro rock

Folk rock? Classic rock? Something from my dad’s record collection? It’s acoustic guitar picking here, Queen-ish piano chords there, with harmonies and harmonicas, littered with lyrics of women, railroad tracks, and the summer rain. Hmm.

Standout Lyric: For there ain’t no road but the road to home /
And there ain’t no crops but the ones you’ve sown /
And if you learn one thing from me /
You better guide your tongue like your enemy