January 7, 2010
Laura Veirs has been one of my favorite female singer/songwriters ever since 2005′s wonderful Year of Meteors. She is probably most well-known for the duet she did with Colin Meloy on “Yankee Bayonet” from The Decemberist’s Crane Wife (from reading Meloy’s twitter, it’s obvious he’s still a big fan). Her newest album is called July Flame and all signs point to this being her best work yet. The title track is atmospheric and haunting, using a wistful guitar riff and some understated organ and piano to set the somber mood. Veirs’ vocals are at their captivating best as she yearns “can I call you my own?”. The ending picks up the pace with handclaps, a single violin, and a choir of voices all adding to the song’s alluring appeal.
Broken Bells is a billed as a collaboration between The Shins’ James Mercer and famed hip-hop producer Danger Mouse, but since Mercer basically broke up the band last year this is really just The Shins feat. Danger Mouse right? Whatever you chose to call it, it’s pretty good stuff. “The High Road” starts out with some trippy keyboards and Mercer’s unmistakable vocals. The best is the uber-melodic, “Lean on Me”-evoking finale. It may not be the next “New Slang” but it’s an enjoyable listen.
Swedish Post-Punk Revivalists, Love is All have a new album out coming out this year and a new label (my midwest homies Polyvinyl Records, who are really loving the Swedes these days). From this first single, “Kungen” it’s obvious that someone’s been spinning some old 60′s folk rock records. Having vocal parts that closely resemble the chorus of “So Happy Together” is never a bad thing though, and it gives the song a retro charm that fits in well with their fuzzy, jagged sound. I’ve never really gotten into this band before, but I like what I’m hearing with this one.