TAKING a break from being the singer and lyricist of upstate New York band The Felice Brothers, Ian Felice’s first solo album is a set of set of mournful, reflective ballads.
Felice Brothers’ fans needn’t worry — his siblings provide support on drums, keyboards and production duties and, though it’s largely a stately, acoustic-guitar record, it’s cut from the same folk-country-blues cloth as the band’s 2008 self-titled breakthrough long-player.
Felice describes the songs as exploring “the pull between reality and unreality and also in how time affects memory,” and tracks like In Memoriam focus on the death of his stepfather during his childhood
The dream-like closer In the Final Reckoning tells of a downpour in the kitchen where there’s lots of potatoes to peel.
Dark and powerful, a depressive ambience is threaded throughout this masterful work.
The Weather Station The Weather Station (Paradise of Bachelors) 5/5
LOYALTY, the last album from The Weather Station — Canadian singer-songwriter Tamara Lindeman — was a stripped-back, acoustic guitar-driven masterpiece.
Her new longplayer is an attempt to make a rock’n’ roll record. But while she is backed by electric guitar, drums, piano and beautiful string arrangements, it’s still a largely restrained affair.
Thirty is a breath-taking story song that quickens up as it tells of a romantic liaison, plummeting gas prices, antidepressants and a father in Nairobi, while Kept It All
To Myself is the obvious single, a jaunty pop number that could easily have appeared on Eleanor Friedberger’s recent New View record.
She is often compared to her compatriot Joni Mitchell and the influence can be heard but Lindeman has so much more to offer.
An extraordinary set of songs, The Weather Station is the best thing I’ve heard all year.
Husker Du Savage Young Du (Numero Group) 4/5
ALONGSIDE fellow Twin Cities locals The Replacements, Husker Du were influential artists in the US alternative music scene in the 1980s.
Comprising 69 songs, this mammoth three-disc collection gives a thrilling ride through the three-piece’s early career from 1979 to 1983, taking in live performances, demos, singles and their debut album.
Song titles like I’m Tired Of Doing Things, Drug Party and Punch Drunk give a good indication of the snotty, angsty punk that the band excelled in cobbling together. Sung and played at breakneck speed much of the music veers into raging, sometimes unlistenable, hardcore, with occasional signs of the more melodic and thoughtful songwriting the band would shift to before disbanding in 1988 – check out the brilliant cover of Donovan’s Sunshine Superman.
A remarkable racket, given extra poignancy by the news that drummer, co-singer and songwriter Grant Hart died recently.