Welcome back to another installment of Tune In Tuesday. Today’s six albums are pretty diverse in regards to musical genre and over all style but have the commonality of not sucking at all.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
This is Mr. Petty’s first studio album in eight and is well worth the wait. The tunes are refreshingly reflective of the bands thirty plus years in the business. The songs have an air of fun and a cohesive quality that have always been a trademark of the Heartbreakers. Heavy on the sweet southern rock sound, the songs have a classic vibe that sounds fresh yet familiar. Petty’s voice is in fine form with the light, nasally, southern drawl, Campbell’s guitar playing is as tight as ever, and Trench’s ability to tickle the ivory brings it all together. The album reminds you why Petty is so great and why he can take eight years off and come back just as relevant to the music scene.
Key Tracks: Running Man’s Bible, Something Good Coming, Takin’ My Time
The Gaslight Anthem
This is the third album for the New Jersey band and a pretty dramatic departure for the heartland punk rockers. It seems that the urgency and tension of the first two albums has dissipated and allowed them to grow as a band. Obviously influenced by Springsteen, American Slang is a more mature sound for the band and allows them to better connect to their audience as well as bring new folks into the fold. Don’t get me wrong, the band still rocks and a few songs have the speed and antagonism of their previous two albums.
Key Tracks: Bring It On, American Slang, Orphans
Fly Between Falls
Animal Liberation Orchestra (ALO)
Animal Liberation Orchestra (ALO) is the hippie, trippy, California band that brings the good time vibe to everything they play. The band was formed by high school buddies Zach Gill, Steve Adams, Dan Lebowitz. They all share vocal responsibilities and play a variety of instruments.
Their debut album “Fly Between Falls” was originally released in 2004 and rereleased when ALO signed to Jack Johnson’s Brushfire Records in 2006.
This album is just plain fun. Each song is up tempo and quirky yet sucks you in a little deeper each time you listen.
Key Tracks: Girl I Wanna Lay You Down, Wasting Time (Isla Vista Song), Barbeque
I and Love and You
The Avett Brothers
The Avett Brothers are the folksy, rocking, alt/country with a tinge of bluegrass band from North Carolina. With such a diverse pedigree, is it any wonder the Rick Rubin took notice, signed them to his label, and produced their major label debut “I and Love and You”?
The album is sonically rich with harmonies provided by Scott and Seth. The melodies are tight and the musical arrangement has a certain level of complication but not in an overly dramatic fashion.
Key Tracks: Ten Thousand Words, Kick Drum Heart, January Wedding
One Fast Move Or I’m Gone
Jay Farrar & Ben Gibbard
Jay Farrar (Son Volt, Uncle Tupelo) and Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie, The Postal Service) teamed up to write and record an album for the documentary “One Fast Move or I’m Gone: Kerouac’s “Big Sur”.
With Kerouac’s connection to jazz, both Farrar and Gibbard seem to be an odd choice to write and represent the spirit of Jack. However, given the tragic nature of the book and Kerouac’s immersion into the depths of alcoholism and debilitating depression, Farrar with his naturally dour vocal styling and proclivity to writing deep emotionally damaged lyrics was a competent selection, while Gibbard seemed an awkward fit with his more melodic voice and previous synth heavy work with The Postal Service.
Given the inspiration for the album it is no surprise that musically, the album is steeped in Americana with acoustic, electric, & steel guitar, lap & pedal steel, harmonica, piano, and percussions. A majority of the lyrics were taken from Kerouac’s 1962 novel “Big Sur” and Jack gets writing credit on all of the songs except Gibbard’s lyrical contribution on the title track.
The irony of this project is that as dark and damaged as Kerouac was; the album is hopeful with a vulnerable beauty etched in the music and lyrics.
Key Tracks: California Zephyr, One Fast Move or I’m Gone, Big Sur, San Francisco
One Day as a Lion
One Day as a Lion
One Day as a Lion is the musical collaboration and eponymous debut EP of acid tongue, fire and brimstone, anti politico Zack de la Rocha (Rage Against the Machine) and drummer Jon Theodore (Mars Volta).
The overall vibe on the EP is not an exodus sonically or lyrically for either musician. The lyrics are politically and emotionally charged, the music is in your face antagonistic, and the overall delivery is the equivalent of a sledgehammer. Bombastic drums and hypnotic keyboards bolster the fiery vocal release of de la Rocha. The album has urgency to it in both the spirit of the music and the delivery of the lyrics.
While the five songs seem to play quickly, what the album lacks in length, it more than makes up for with the strength of each song. It also brings the realization the potency of de la Rocha’s delivery and the void that has existed musically since the disbanding of Rage Against the Machine.
Key Tracks: All 5 Songs!
Great music awaits!