Juliana Hatfield – There’s Always Another Girl LP review

Acoustic guitars, piano, a steady tempo, and vocals reminiscent of Sheryl Crow and Jewel, these combined come close to Juliana Hatfield’s sound on the newly released LP There’s Always Another Girl.  The album is a rather large collection of loose tracks, fourteen in total. Loose in that no single song seems to hit that “larger than life” status, and the arresting feeling of ‘failure’, seeps through the country-esque sound.

In many ways this album is Hatfield’s true reflection in the business, and in other words, fans got what Hatfield put into the production. The construction for every step was funded through With such positive chilled-back backers, I’m a little surprised at the album’s final ‘gloomy’ and ‘country-emo’ sound. BUT hope lies in tracks like “Change the world’ and “Someone else’s problem” that straddle the divide between fun and collected.

Maybe I’ve missed the whole ambiance of what Juliana Hatfield and There is Always Another Girl is about. Unfortunately for me, I still cannot get “the batteries are dead…completely dead” line, punctuated by the sound of dying bees, out of my mind.

This album could have been spectacular, but could-a, would-a, isn’t, is what I got. The production was just too damn squeaky clean. I left wanting at least one crack at a track where the instrumentals were the rusted gears, pushed through by Hatfields well oiled smooth sound.

The lady has talent and a good voice to boot; I hope for her next LP she gets a production team that pushes her into an earthier indie sound, and tighter lines.

Purchase on Amazon


I Break Horses – Hearts review

I’m not sure what a choir of electric-pop party-dance angels looks like, but I bet it sounds a lot like I Break Horses debut LP ‘Hearts’. The collection is fuzzy, ethereal and embracing. Stockholm natives – Maria Lindén and Fredrik Balck play with cymbals and keyboards and a whole gamete of computer sounds, oh- and don’t forget the ghostly but strong vocals.

The band created a sound-scape where ala-80s synthesizers and dusky vocals cut into each-other in hummed-layers of heart pulsating noise. You can’t be quite sure what the lyrics are, nor is the emotion of the tracks easily accessible, but the feel of the music settles somewhere between Bjork and EVE from Wall-e, embalmed together in luxurious silk.

The album is a beautifully engineered visceral experience, as wont of the heydays of the shoegaze genre. Some tracks feel cathartic, burning away any unnecessary thoughts that wander by, some pass with a whimper, somewhat felt but quickly forgotten.

Is there enough of the visceral for me to love this album?

I’m not sure. I thought I knew, but after listening to ‘Hearts’ for the zillionth time, I’m no closer to the answer.  But what I do know is the album is solid, the three years Maria and Frederick put into engineering their debut can be felt on every track, somehow each feels private and public all at once. For what ‘Hearts’ tries to be, it achieves it perfectly.

A landscape of visceral, energetic, longing sounds.


William Elliott Whitmore – Field Songs review

I have a confession.

I always wanted to review THE folk album. A few came and went, wisps of sweet vanilla in the air. Few ever passed my tried and true test of what I call the ‘foot tap’.

The idea with the ‘foot-tap’ is, take any song on the album and without paying much heed to your body, check to see if you are tapping your foot or swaying from side to side. If by any chance you are eyeing that lighter on the table next to you, with eyes full of lust and ideas of fire in the sky, then you my friend have got yourself THE album of the summer.

Keep all that in mind as I tell you about William Elliott Whitmore’s  Field Songs.

Field Songs is that moment when your ice cream melts and it starts to run down your hands, but you are quick and lap it up before it finds the ground. It is sweet satisfaction.

I don’t often find myself saying this, but I am a convert to the Whitmore gang. Think banjos and mandolins with earthy acoustic guitar riffs and deep drums reverberating through-out. Then add a voice that penetrates all the acoustics with lyrics that twist your gut and push your body a little bit to this and that side.

The album is a collection of songs about rural life. But it is more than just tales of lifting bales of rye, there is satisfaction in those lyrics, and more importantly there is meaning. The album is a story, and like all good stories there is sorrow, a sadness at the vanishing culture and deep roots of rural life.

You hear the growls of Whitmore’s voice as he straddles blues, folk, and personal ties to Mississippi and bluegrass, and you can’t help but be a convert to his music, his home-grown crowd winning sound.

The construction and sound manufacturing is true to the genre, and the lyrics true to what you might imagine a farmer feels when a month with no rain passes by. There-in lies the magic of the album, a story woven into fabric that envelops you in a history saturated with harness, work, and long hot days in fields of cotton and rye.

I have a confession…

I’ve fallen hard for this album, much too fast.


America – Back Pages review

America’s Back Pages, nothing but the familiar.

America’s Back Pages album is exactly what you expect from a band formed in the 70s. The ‘nice guy’ sound that the band enjoyed in their heydays of summers passed resonates through the tracks of Back Pages, and like their long-lived fan-base, the songs draw on experience and time.

The tracks are mellow and polished. But be warned, there is absolutely no spunk, so upbeat tempo, no happy ending. The squeaky clean production takes away from the fun in listening to a band that has perfected their sound through hard won shows and years of industry experience.

But, it creates an atmosphere that is inviting and comfortable if a bit too refined.

The album feels like a lake on a calm fall night, swushing ‘a little’ back and forth, gently lulling your senses. The tracks blend seamlessly, and the selection speaks to the travelled soul. The album is a collection of covers. Classic songs like Bob Dylan’s My Back Pages and Joni Mitchell’s Woodstock grace the album, and mould comfortably to America’s sound.

The audience for whom Back Pages was made for will be pleased, but the band’s mellow easy-listening vibe will not speak to a younger audience, or at least not off the cuff, maybe it will grow on them as the years fly by. In that time, I hope America will release an album chock-full of original stories, ones that tell the tale of a band that has lived through it all, and yet has life left in them to sing about the dog days of summers gone.

In the meantime, pick-up Back Pages and play it at a chilled-back gathering of friends over a crackling summer fire, don’t forget the wine.