Jill Barber – Mischievous Moon album review

Canadian Sweetheart Jill Barber is a fresh voice who just got herself signed after a gallivant of coffeehouse gigs. Barber certainly is fresh, her voice marinated in romance and sexy confidence. She is smooth, sultry but kind and the combination gives the effect of a warm sweater in autumn. Barber is probably best listened to on night’s end on the couch accompanied by red wine and a sweetheart, in the bathtub or during baking.

She admittedly likes her romance and follows her heart, this is ever-evident in her songs and runs the risk of being heavy on the cheese, and were talking triple creamed brie. Songs like title track “Mischievous Moon” and “Take Me By Surprise” showcase this exceptionally. However we feel more fingernail in track “Tell Me”. The album continues to be jazzy, nostalgic of the finest ladies in music such as Ella Fitzgerald and Blossom Deary with a modern day accompaniment.

Barber’s backing band creates dreamy and sweet sounds that go way over the top, which is both helping and hindering. In “Any Fool Can Fall in Love” helping, in “Steal Away” hindering. Listeners are then hit with a plethora of other romance tunes and you start to get a toothache from all the sweet. Additionally the music gets more suited for an elevator than a jazz club.

Jill Barber’s voice is nice, but safe, she has found a chord that works with her lyrics and stuck to it. Because of this she lacks in spontaneity and power that so many of her heroes’ embody. Listening to the album again would feel about as if I had just eaten a pack of fudge which I am not ready to digest. The lyrics on “If It Weren’t For Loving You” run the risk of making me ill, as it goes against the grain of modern romance while desperately trying to sound French.

For those that can handle over the top romance tunes with the accompaniment of musical backings to drive it all home, check Barber out, everyone else may want to take the album on song at a time.

Bass Drum of Death – GB City album review

Mississippi born grunge, noise-sound ear fucking duo releases GB city on Pulse Sound/Inflated records. The two fellas prove they are capable of noise-lots of it. John Barrett singer/guitarist/drummer/distortionist is one of those renaissance musicians who can’t help but wail an instrument. He started his personal project in 2007 and has now joined forces with drummer Colin Sneed.

This is Bass Drum of Death’s debut full length album in which the two fill every second with wailing, generating, ear-bending madness. The band is described as “low-fi” and “noise-pop” which they somehow manage to be both of while fitting into just good old punk (which doesn’t seem to have a place in music anymore). Whatever the two do, they do it well.
The album is filled with many solid tunes, many of which get inter-tangled in the abyss of noise together but some stand out like a black eye . The title track “GB City” drives home the objective of the album-mind numbing madness via earlobe which is a feeling I, like many (but not all) welcome with open arms.

We hear more groove in the “Leaves” which includes a melody completely suitable to choreograph head banging. The tracks “Heart Attack Kid” and “Young Pros” represent everything that is good about loud. They like to flaunt their too-cool for school attitude with most band photographs capturing their hair over the face that only displays cigarette smoke being released from their ultra loose lips. The lyrics hit the ears like a bass drum and run the risk at being repetitive, but the instrumentals often make up for it. The album is best digested with headphones, the louder the better.

UNKLE – Only The Lonely EP review

The trip-hop British duo band’s latest EP came out recently for free at the end of March. The EP has been highly anticipated due to UNKLES’s ability to seamlessly ever-evolve and their collaboration with the multitalented Nick Back and Liela Moss.

I, for one, didn’t know how UNKLE and Mr. Cave (the black Adonis of all things well-done) could pull off working together. However the first track “Take the Money and Run” proves that talented musicians just know how to collaborate. The song is spooky, transient and grandiose, as per usual with Nick Cave; whether you’re listening to him and the Bad Seeds or Grinderman this track is best played loud.

Liela Moss throws it down in “The Dog is Black” her voice is sensational, and gives me ubiquitous shiversthroughoutt this tune that instrumentally keeps right up with her, way up wherever she is.

Something is happening at all moments in “Only the Lonely”; every singular brief moment is devoted to immaculate sound. However, it is evident that this effect was not established by sound engineering or pretention; the fellas of UNKLE just get it. Additionally, UNKLE teaches us again that dub isn’t dead; it is in the state of revival.

The EP slowly slows down without a moment of boredom and lack of passion. Streams of haunted heavens come through, while a release of calmness is emanated and encouraged for listeners. We also hear the alto styling’s of Clayhill’s Gavin Clark and the soul-calming and mind-numbing Rachel Fannan. Well done gentleman, true gem.

The Vivian Girls – Share the Joy album review

The Vivian Girls share the joy.

The Vivian Girls hit us with their third album after their self-titled debut and “Everything Goes Wrong” with “Share The Joy”. The three girl Brooklyn born band are new, fresh and lo-fi which can do very little harm in the local ever so indie scene. Share the Joy grasps on to a concept and collects as a whole which was not as present in the girls’ previous albums. Share the joy is packed with sing along, fun in the sun college radio friendly tunes.

“I Heard You say” welcome listeners into the girls world they create in one another’s musical company. This world is strange and foggy yet enticing. The lyrics are boy-crazed but sung incredibly harmoniously which is capable of sounding shrill which drives home the intensity that is also apparent in the flamenco meets lo-fi haven guitar solo. The song runs the risk at sounding melodramatic however I am sure I’m sure it beautifully choreographs the state of angrily waltzing sidewalks downtown some big town.

The album then lightens up with “Dance (If You Wanna)” no pressure. It becomes clear the girls are able to combine irony and humour into their deuce-ace. The instrumentals are simple but get the job done, mostly suited for a one person dance party before a night on the town (c’mon we’ve all been there). This lightness sticks to the following songs which compile together nicely and promote the band being, dare I say, chick rock. This is particularly apparent in “Take it as it comes” which directly gives advice to an immature young girl towards a boy, that said this only caters to those that appreciate irony or young desperate heterosexual girls, mind you there is a crowd for this.

Shortly after mid album listeners meets “Where Do You Run To” which is the first song that proposes selflessness and more complicated instrumentals which create a haunting affect. This added sophistication and outward concern is apparent in the following tunes “ Light in Your Eyes” which includes a killer bass line and “Tell the World”. This section of the album is nostalgic of early Patti smith meets Bikini Kill with a garnish of Death From above 1979, interesting combo, like a punk rock bento box.

For those that appreciate an all girl lo-fi heavy bass light on the brain collection of sound-share the joy, for those of you who don’t you may want to go with their previous notion that everything goes wrong.