Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged blues

Small Source of Comfort

Full disclosure: Bruce Cockburn (COE-burn) is Canadian; I’m Canadian. There aren’t that many of us. We’re the world’s second largest country, with a population smaller than California. So we back our homeys when they’re world-class: Angela Hewitt, Frederick Banting, Sandra Oh, Denys Arcand, Jim Carrey, Diana Krall, Leonard Cohen, Karen Kain, Tom Thomson, David Suzuki, Cirque du Soleil.


Mark Lanegan—hey, I know that name. You sure do. Mark Lanegan fronted Screaming Trees, one of the better bands to come out of the early '90s Seattle grunge scene. They never gained the attention or commercial success of Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, or Nirvana, and their minor success was propelled mostly by “Nearly Lost You,” a track from the soundtrack for how-very-zeitgeisty film Singles. After grunge was discarded in favor of nu-metal, gangsta rap, boy bands, and factory pop, Mark Lanegan didn't remain with his old band churning out increasingly bad records or touring on nostalgia value.

Hunting My Dress

Attention wiccans and hippies—Jesca Hoop’s Hunting My Dress (with Bonus EP) is your new theme music. Ethereal and bluesy, this nine-track album and folksy five song EP are a call to light incense, join a drum circle and bake your own bread. Hunting My Dress is Hoop’s second full-length album.

Dancing on the Moon

Lisa Bell delivers the goods on her third album, mixing blues, jazz, pop, and roots into a bright, sparkling mix.

Live in Louisville

“Well you have it, you love it, now it’s your turn to shove it…I don’t want to play house anymore,” sings Carrie Rodriguez on her newly released live compilation album, Live in Louisville. Her soulful voice, accompanied by rousing fiddles, makes her point with grace and force.

Downtown Church

It's nothing new for an artist to try different genres of music, but not many can pull off multiple styles in an original way — let alone a way that actually sounds good. Count Patty Griffin among those rare musicians. I've been a fan of Griffin's since I picked up her 1998 release Flaming Red, a compelling mix of punk, pop, and what was then referred to as 'alternative' music.

American Gong

Did adding Joanna Bolme on bass somehow ruin the “purity” of the Quasi sound? I would suggest not. Although it would be impossible to argue that their music was thin before, Bolme’s bass adds a perfect oomph without taking away from the chemistry of the duo that already existed.

Rotting Slowly

Their name, Curious Mystery says so much. Curious instrumentation crossed with a mysterious sound as they fearlessly cover the gamut—a grab bag of indie noise rock, folk, psychedelia, country, and blues. It all works whether it’s attributed to their experimentation of sounds, or that they are just an experimental bunch, a breath of fresh air in an arguably stale climate.

Trio B.C.

There are a few deciding factors that determine the lasting star power of a band: it all seems to boil down to great songs, a distinctive sound, and a story to run with. Girl in a Coma meet all the criteria in spades while snagging a few extra gold stars and honorable mentions for having an amazing vocalist with a unique resonance all her own. They are also exciting live. They are the best band in the world is all. In reality, they comprise of guitar bass and drums helmed by Nina Diaz on vocals, Jenn Alva on bass, and Phanie Diaz on drums.

From the Heart

Discovering new music from a classic artist makes you feel like you’re getting to know an old friend a little bit better. The picture of them in your mind feels more complete and well-rounded.

Almost a Demo

The first track on Cryptic Shade’s three-song demo opens with a burst of dramatic metal, evil chords droning with heavy drum beats, and wailing guitar licks in the background. Then it tones down to an almost acoustic sounding guitar with some evil metal chord chugs in the background. Then the vocals come in and turn your idea of what this band is around.

From the Heart

Legacy Recordings released digitally remastered versions of fifteen Billie Holiday songs for Valentine’s Day, and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate. From the Heart is a collection of some of Holiday’s loveliest work: classics such as Ray Noble’s “The Very Thought of You,” Marks’ and Simon’s “All Of Me,” Cole Porter’s “Night and Day,” and my personal favorite, J.

From the Heart

Aretha Franklin's From The Heart compiles sixteen love songs from the Queen of Soul's exhaustive, five-decades-deep discography.

Catherine Avenue

Biirdie came into my life at just the right time. Named for the musical Bye Bye Birdie (but adding an extra “I” because one Birdie band already exists), this southern California folk-rock trio’s sophomore release may not be extraordinarily adventurous or unusual, but they nevertheless make you want to take a long drive into nowhere, windows down. Maybe living in Boston, I hear songs about L.A. and get whimsical for rolling hills that lead to desert.

The Real Thing: Words And Sounds Vol. 3

Jill Scott was introduced to the world on her aptly titled, brilliant, neo soul debut Who is Jill Scott? (Words and Sounds Vol.1). She co-wrote the classic Grammy winning "You Got Me," performed by The Roots with Erykah Badu, and we've been discovering more of her ever since. With soulful, hip hop poetry style here on her third proper studio release, she continues the trend, but with more jazzy flourishes.

Canon / Verses

Being an Ani DiFranco fan has been a part of pretty much every feminist’s rite of passage since she came on the scene in the early ‘90s with the release of her self-titled album. Now seventeen years, two DVDs, and nearly thirty albums (including remixes, tributes, and live discs) later, DiFranco has simultaneously released a retrospective double-CD and book of poetry that show just how much she has grown personally, politically, and artistically.

We Belong To the Staggering Evening

Ike Reilly’s charm lies in the fact that he asks for salvation quite frequently, knowing damned well that he has no intention of repenting. The devilish genius behind the pop-sensible major label release, Salesmen and Racists _(among a slew of others titles), is back in the saddle with the independent, roadhouse-ready _We Belong To The Staggering Evening.

Just One More: A Musical Tribute to Larry Brown

Wow, this musical tribute to Larry Brown keeps your feet tapping and your mind working. These songs, by artists Brown admired, put you in the passenger seat of his little truck as you drive through the small and friendly neighborhood in the South. Spending much of his life as a firefighter, Larry Brown wrote and finally struck gold in 1988 with a collection of stories called Facing the Music. As his writing continued, he became well-known as a Southern writer of literature. His love for music equaled his passion for writing.

What Living’s All About

All would-be writers who have studied how to write know the rule: "show me don’t tell me." Visual artists find this advice easy to do and musicians are, perhaps, the same way. When the creative instrument does not rely solely on words, showing is not too difficult. Alicia Bay Laurel wrote Living on the Earth, a cult classic and the first paperback on the New York Times Bestseller List (spring 1971), which has sold over 350,000 copies. She has also written five other books. Laurel is a talented, trained musician.

Four Songs

This New York-based instrumental sextet is unlike your typical rock band. Experimental and percussive in approach, Blue Velvet’s image is organic and minimal: Their music has no vocals, no electric bass, no standard rock-drum kit and no loops or samples. Is it then worth listening to? Hell …Yeah! “Docile 1” and “Docile 2” from their EP Four Songs has a Hitchcock-style to it: strings cut harshly and are repetitive, producing a drony and eerie quality.

Living with the Living

In a day where so many previously non-political artists are taking a stance to assure themselves a Grammy nod, Ted Leo’s refreshingly authentic social commentary shines through in his music just as much as it has for the past decade. The strict vegan, along with his band The Pharmacists, released his fifth full length studio album, [Living with the Living](http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000MQ55DO?ie=UTF8&tag=feminrevie-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B000MQ55DO).

Sarah Bettens: Live at Eddie's Attic (2/23/2007)

With her lean, blonde good looks, Sarah Bettens looks like a rock star, sings like a cabaret singer and has a warm glow about her. The former lead singer with the band K’s Choice has garnered a whole new set of fans as a solo artist. The tall, tattooed Sarah reminds some of her pal Amy Ray. Her latest release and her first as a solo artist, Scream, is also Bettens’ first album since moving into a relationship with a woman (Bettens was married to the tour manager of K's Choice).

Standing in the Way of Control

The Gossip’s new album, Standing in the Way of Control, is more than interesting and different in itself. Partly, it doesn’t even sound like the Gossip. Bluesy punk of previous albums has been replaced with a garage, New York punk sound. However, this is actually done very nicely, and the audience is not lost during the change.