New Music Friday: The Return

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it’s back. Why? Hey … why not, right? 🙂

 

So this is what I’ve acquired in the last week or so. Don’t judge. I don’t judge your musical tastes. Not much, anyway …

  • Dido – Girl Who Got Away
  • Audio Fatigue – Starting Backwards
  • Camera Obscura – Biggest Bluest Hi-Fi
  • Goldroom – Angeles EP
  • Daughter The Wild Youth EP*
  • Daughter – If You Leave*
  • Soulsavers – The Light the Dead See
  • Amy Macdonald – This Is the Life

 

* Special thanks to my buddy Tim for the hook-up with Daughter. Great new band. Really liking the atmospheric, moody music and  her breathy vocals. Loving the whole vibe. He also added me to a music group on Facebook that shares new bands and stuff. Video and/or name only–nothing illegal here, of course. No, seriously–nothing shady.

 

So I find that I have a lot more time on my hands lately. Not so much a lot more money. In fact, literally no more money. Do the math; I’m sure you’ll come up with the answer. Anyway, I’ve decided to dedicate at least a portion of my day to writing more, since a) I really miss it; b) I *really* miss it! I like sharing my thoughts about what I’m listening to, or what I’m finding in the app world, or whatever. So … yah.

New CD Review: Rush – Clockwork Angels

The moment has arrived.

 

I have heard the new music.

 

The verdict is in.

 

Rush no longer needs–nor have they *ever* needed–the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.” With this release, they have inducted themselves into their own hall of fame. Once again, their newest offering triumphs over pretty much everything else that’s available today. The songs are epic (not in the trendy sense of “Whoa … that’s so epic, man!!”), cinematic, and … simply VAST. There are 12 tracks on Clockwork Angels, and every single one of them is a home run. Or a hat trick. Or a Gordie Howe hat trick. In fact, that’s it right there–they are the Gordie Howe hat trick to end all. There’s scoring. There are assists all over the place. And there are brutal, drop-the-gloves, bare-knuckle fights that will rend your soul in two.

“Wait … what? how can there be an actual fight?”

 

Sit back, relax. If you’re reading this on your phone and have Instapaper installed, you might want to open it. This review’s gonna be commute-worthy.

 

This is Rush’s first “concept album” since their heady days of 2112, Hemispheres, Caress of Steel, etc. However, this CD differs from them in that the concept spans THE WHOLE CD. None of their previous concept albums lasted longer than 1 side of an LP. 2112 clocks in at 20:33. Between “The Fountain of Lamneth” and “The Necromancer,” Caress of Steel‘s concept tracks span 31:27. Cygnus X-1: Book 2″ from Hemispheres lasts a “paltry” 18:08.

 

Clockwork Angels is over 65 minutes long, recounting the story of a young man longing to leave his lands. He yearns for the enormity and grandiosity of Crown City. After successfully landing work as a carnival worker in Chronos Square, he falls in love, and is rejected. He seeks comfort by seeking out Cibola–the City of Gold, meanwhile working in the port city of Poseidon.

 

Themes of order, chaos, anger, forgiveness, wonder, love found and lost, heroism, failed journeys … this CD has it all.

 

You know what? Read the book. It comes out in September. The collaborative book between Kevin Anderson (for all you Star Wars novelists, that name should be *extremely* familiar) and Neil Peart expands on the story told by the CD.

 

In truth, I’ve had this CD now for about 5 days. I won’t lie: I downloaded it as soon as it hit the torrent sites. Call me what you will. I have every intention of buying it outright on Tuesday; probably two or three times. So no–I’m not a pirate. I am, however, a die-hard Rush fan, and I make no bones about it.

 

That being the case and knowing that Clockwork Angels was literally days away, I figured it might have leaked. I downloaded it and literally ushered my daughters to the backyard for a couple hours of sprinkler summer fun. Or … late spring, since, you know … it was June 5th. Technically, still spring.

 

The musicianship on the whole CD is ridiculously superb. There have been so many times over the last few days that I’ve just sat here in stunned silence, thinking “I don’t think I’ve ever heard them at this level … and they’ve been doing this for almost 40 years.” And the lyrics … seriously. This is beyond classic Neil; he elevated his game to a whole new level for this go-round. His drumming is equally stratospheric. There are parts that he sounds like he had 10 arms. Geddy pulls out some bass lines that are simply inhuman. “Headlong Flight” has this bass line that just leaves you staring into the distance, wondering how anyone can play all the notes he hits with just one hand. Alex pulls out all the stops on every single song. His solos range from haunting to twisted and everything in between. There are chords that he plays that I’m fairly confident have never been played by ANYone. “Clockwork Angels” has a couple, as does “Headlong Flight.” There are intense, spine-shattering moments, and moments where he plucks what sounds like a 12-string (“The Garden”) that give me the shivers.

 

I queued up “Caravan,” though I’ve had that and “BU2B” memorized since early 2010. I figured if I was going to enjoy the new CD,  I was going to enjoy the whole CD.

 

Even being familiar with the first two tracks through the singles released a couple of years ago, there were subtle differences that were obvious. The echoed chorus at the end of “Caravan,” the lamenting melancholy of the acoustic intro to “BU2B” … even on Neil’s fill before after the second “verse” in “BU2B”, it seems like there’s an extra length to the cymbals. The singles were excellent. The CD versions are even more polished.

 

Eventually, my playlist navigated to track 3, “Clockwork Angels.” This is where the “Gordie Howe hat trick” reference should make a whole lot of sense. There have been a few times in life where music has literally left my jaw hanging on by the sinewy tendrils of my mandibular tendons. This was one of those instances–where the opening leaves you feeling like you just got punched in the gut and had the wind literally knocked out of you. You *want* to breathe, but you can’t. And even if you could, you’re afraid to because you might miss a single, solitary note, and that pain is inexplicably more unbearable than a complete and utter lack of oxygen.

 

“Clockwork Angels” is a lengthy one, clocking it at over 7 and a half minutes. It opens with this sad, echoing, almost gregorian chant performed by Geddy Lee, which follows with an “archer’s lob” of cymbals before the full-on frontal assault hits–a barrage of guitar that sounds like it’s straight out of a “Meddle”-era Pink Floyd song. Specifically, “One of These Days.” And it’s sooooo much more dark and ominous than is the PF track. The opening is at once frantic and frenetic, pummeling you with lefts and rights of guitar and bass upper-cuts that leave you wondering when the beating will ever end. Here’s the thing: you do not WANT it to end. You WANT it. You CRAVE IT. But you are denied as the dynamic completely shifts to this whimsical, light and airy melody that recalls moments of driving through a big city for the first time, with the top down, eyes wide, and drinking in all the grandeur and splendor that you’ve always imagined. For example, imagine you’ve always dreamed of visiting someplace like NYC, Paris, Shanghai … and checking out places like the Empire State Building, Ground Zero, or the Oriental Pearl Tower, Eiffel tower, Louvre … imagine visiting any of these places for the first time. That’s the wonder I felt when the transition hit … except that feeling of wonder and comfort lasts precsiely 21 seconds. That’s all the more time you’re allotted to catch your breath and return your trays and chairs to their original upright positions. The next thing you know, Alex comes roaring back and reminds you just why he’s one of the premiere guitarists of all time, pulling out one of the most ace riffs in the Rush arsenal. Following his assault, Geddy and Neil join in and permanently seal upon you the memory of why you started listening to Rush in the first place. If ever there was a moment where you forgot who these guys used to be, or where their roots are, this song will smack you back to remembrance with all the love and force that you deserve.

 

The lyrics to this are as tight and as Neil-esque as it gets. Here is an excerpt from “Clockwork Angels”:

 

“High above the city square
Globes of light float in mid-air
Higher still, against the night
Clockwork angels bathed in light

 

You promise every treasure, to the foolish and the wise
Goddesses of mystery, spirits in disguise
Every pleasure, we bow and close our eyes
Clockwork angels, promise every prize”

 

When I saw “Carnies” on the track list a few weeks ago, I will admit that I had my reservations. I’m glad I kept those in check. “How I prayed just to get away. To carry me anywhere. Sometimes the angels punish us by answering our prayers.” I love the punch to the song. It has this very “Working Man” vibe to it in the beginning. You’ll read this in the liner notes, but the story behind the song really caught me off guard. I won’t spoil it for you, cuz that’s the fun of reading the liner notes, right?

 

Which is one of the greatest things about this CD. Each track’s lyrics are prefaced by a little back story. It really helps to tie the whole saga together, and it really whets your appetite for the book (again … September, but seriously … this CD will keep you plenty entertained until then).

 

The last track, “The Garden,” is one of the most introspective and philosophically deep songs that the band has ever written. I’m ripping this right out of the liner notes, so please don’t confuse this with anything I’ve written. I could never deign to write as such. Anyway,

 

“LONG AGO I READ A STORY FROM ANOTHER TIMELINE about a character named Candide. He also survived a harrowing series of misadventures and tragedies, then settled on a farm near Constantinople. Listening to a philosophical rant, Candide replied, “That is all very well, but now we must tend our garden.”

 

I have now arrived at that point in my own story. There is a metaphorical garden in the acts and attitudes of a person’s life, and the treasures of that garden are love and respect. I have come to realize that the gathering of love and respect – from others and for myself – has been the real quest of my life.

 

“Now we must tend our garden.”

 

Chills, right? How can you not read that and just weep with hope and aspirations of filling everyone’s lives with joy and love? “The treasure of a life is a measure of love and respect. The way you live, the gifts that you give. In the fullness of time, it’s the only return that you expect.” If this is the last song on the last CD that Rush ever releases, they go out on the highest note possible. There are so many things about this song that is good–from the lyrics, to Alex’s solo that is rife with emotion, to the sheer beauty of the song … if you don’t well up and shed at least a single tear, you don’t have soul. Period. I said it, so you know it’s true.

 

Answer me this: how is it that a band that’s been around almost 40 years, and has gone through as many metamorphoses as these guys have, can come back to their roots and completely dominate? Clockwork Angels is their masterpiece, in my opinion. Their classics will always be their classics and their building blocks that got them to this precise stage, where they *can* write this kind of music. This is them at their pinnacle best–the culmination of EVERYTHING they’ve ever been.  This was the CD they were destined to write.

 

In the end, this CD is for every Rush fan that’s ever existed. It’s for every *music* fan that’s ever existed. Clockwork Angels is their definitive work, and if your music collection is without, then your collection isn’t complete.

 

CD Review: Paisley Rose – Milk and Honey

First off, all apologies to Jennifer and Anthony for the ridiculous delay for writing this. Jenn told me that it was available for download over on CDBaby a couple of weeks ago. It’s been playing non-stop since then. (With a few interludious [yes–“interludious”] distractions by Muse. Some addictions simply cannot be shaken. That bass line in “Hysteria” … I mean … COME ON!)

But here it is. To be fair, I didn’t want to just dive in and write my first response to the new music. I wanted to take it all in for as long as possible before putting finger pads to keyboard. In essence, I wanted to get it right.

Just like Jenn and Anthony have.

Now … to be fair, I came at this with a slant towards their previous songs, “Exist,” “Murder of Crows,” and “I Was a Child of God.” All of those songs were as organic as it gets. Deeply layered instrumentation, the vast majority of which is completely acoustic and … and ….. I mean … sick with emotion, pathos, and amazement. Rarely do you hear such harmonies. Mamas and the Papas, Alice in Chains … I mean, we’re talking *that* level of insane harmonies.

Now, having said all that, I immediately went to CDBaby’s, downloaded the new CD, fidgetdly waited for it to finish, popped it into iTunes and onto my phone. Grabbed my headphones, turned off the lights, and settled in.

First sound: Champagne cork popping, and bubbly being poured. I can only assume this is in recognition of them FINALLY being able to release their life’s ambition. Laughter, yet … there’s some distinct foreshadowing to the echo in the sound.

Then “Incognito kicks in … and I’m left flabbergasted. I wasn’t ready. I expected more along the lines of “Exist” and Crows. Instead, I get a thunderous drum, trumpet, and completely plugged in guitar?! What?!

A completely different direction. Talk about a curve ball. Which, using my least favorite sports metaphor, they hit out of the park, over the Green Monster, and whetted my appetite for the rest of the CD.

Far and away, one of my favorite tracks on the new CD is the next track, “Head in the Clouds.” I love this song for so many reasons. The dueling guitars. The subtle synth. The lyrics. The harmonics. The dynamics. This is the first time I’ve heard Jenn simply BELT IT. And holy sweet Halloween candy bag full of Skors … can she let it out. I’ve had my suspicions–that there’s a lot more force to her voice than she had previously let on. I was so much more than just right. It’s like when you’re watching some incredibly plot-twisty movie, and you kind of see hints of what’s coming, and then you get the big reveal, and it’s exactly what you thought, and you have that “YES! I NAILED IT!” That’s how that track hit me.

“Venus over Mars” is another guitar-driven track that  has to be heard to be believed. Words simply cannot describe it adequately. So … please–just get the CD.

But that’s not the end of the review. Oh … not hardly. 🙂

See, after “VoM,” there is a complete shift. “Space Hibernation” is a completely piano/strings/drums piece that will completely mellow you out to the point where you very well may forget to actually breathe. It’s that relaxing.

“Visuva” is a great choral piece that reminds me of an old, abandoned Catholic church, in which all the benches are rotting, the stained glass windows missing half their panes, but through those broken panes shines beams of sunlight that highlight the choir standing at the front, where once stood the pulpit and communion table. I don’t know. It just has a really incredible vibe to it. If this were a video, that’s how I’d shoot it. Dramatic shots of the instruments being played, close-ups of the choir members, shots from the back of the church, showing the age and demise of the building, yet echoing through the once hallowed halls resounds these angelic voices. I love this piece.

For the rest of the album, they return to an acoustic sound, returning to their roots. “Rowboat” is an awesome a capella track that makes you want to get up and travel to just about ANYwhere. “Dancing in the Rain” … if I’m not missing my mark, this could almost be called, “Jenn’s Anthem.” 🙂 “Island Song” sounds like a non-reggae track that has a really awesome island vibe to it.

This is their first CD. It already leaves me thirsting for more. Not because it lacks anything–quite the contrary, it is an amazing first full-length offering. No … it leaves me wanting more because I *know* there’s more kicking around in the back of their collective mind. They have more in them, and now that we’ve this incredible music to gnaw on and ponder, I’m already anxious for them to put out MORE music. Selfish of me, I know … but I’m a music junkie. I need more.

EDIT: Just read Jenn’s Facebook page. Apparently, “Head in the Clouds” is her favorite track too. That makes me smile from ear to ear.

New Music Alert: Rush’s Clockwork Angels Due May 22!!

To say that I’ve been looking forward to this CD for years is really kind of pointless. Anyone who is familiar with Rush has had their hopes up for this release since about June 2010. The “teasers,” as it were–“Caravan” and “BU2B” (short-hand for “Brought Up To Believe) were released, and the world felt right. It felt whole. It felt lighter.

Then the wait began. Little did we know that it would be almost 2 years until the new CD would come out.

But we have an official release date! May 22, Clockwork Angels will be released world-wide. That means at midnight, I will be on iTunes, waiting for the CD to “hit.” That also means that I will be going on Amazon later today as soon as they have a pre-order page for Clockwork Angels!!!

I have been following them since I first heard Presto back in 1989. Not gonna lie … it wasn’t my favorite CD at the time. I was in to Metallica, Van Halen, and other bands over them. I wish I could go back in time and tell that kid to appreciate them for what they were then and are now–talent beyond comparability. I even remember Rick Burton lauding the praises of Hold Your Fire and talking of how Neils completely electronic drum set was “revolutionary.” I remember where I was sitting on the bus, where Rick was sitting, and even what he was wearing (which isn’t hard … he *always* wore a gray hoodie over whatever other t-shirt he may or may not have been wearing).

Rush got me through my college years. Rush has been a part of my marriage. Up until 2010, I was severely afraid that I’d never get to attend a Rush concert with my wife. She came on board the Rush train with Vapor Trails, quickly latching on to “Earthshine” as her favorite track.

I think of the sheer joy their music brings me. I think of the incredible quality of their music. The camaradarie the 3 of them share as band mates for almost 40 years. I think of the chance I have to share their music with my kids … and it leaves me breathless, misty-eyed.

I can wait 2+ more months. I may not like waiting, but I have 18 other studio CDs, 9 official concert CDs, and countless bootlegs to keep me company.

AGAHHGHHHGHHDHGHS!

 

New Music Friday

Well, it’s back. The much-vaunted “New Music Friday” has returned! I’ve been racking up new stuff over the course of the last month, but … well, you know the story–no way to post it. With the website fix though, we’re back in the saddle.

Stopped by the great folks at the Ogden Graywhale and picked up some good stuff. Here’s the list:

  • Rainer Maria – Anyone In Love with You (Already Knows)
  • Eleni Mandell – Artificial Fire
  • The Snake the Cross the Crown – Cotton Teeth
  • Comets on Fire – Blue Cathedral
  • Aberdeen City – The Freezing Atlantic
  • The Chapin Sisters – 2

And that was just at Graywhale. Through Amazon and other places (e.g. Kickstarter-backed projects), I got this list:

  • Ane Brun – A Temporary Dive
  • Jonathan Coulton – Artificial Heart
  • Jonathan Coulton – Smoking Monkey
  • Jonathan Coulton – Thing a Week (AWESOME!!!)
  • Edie Brickell & the New Bohemians – Stranger Things
  • Edie Brickell & the New Bohemians – Volcano
  • Edie Brickell & the New Bohemians – Picture Perfect Morning
  • Peachy Keane – Self-Titled EP
  • Peachy Keane – When We Collide
  • Beach House – Teen Dream
  • Fay Wolf – Spiders
  • Pomplamoose – The Album You Bought at Our Show (Thanks for That!)
  • Sean Croft – The Storm
  • The Comas – Spells
  • Naked Fiction – Shiny Things

The Edie Brickell stems from the fact that I had Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars back in high school, and I *loved* it. I had Picture Perfect Morning as well, but I remember so little of it. Then I got to checking her discography, and realized just how much more she has out there. Also, she’s married to Paul Simon.

The Jonathan Coulton was because of the They Might Be Giants show we went to last weekend. He opened, and we loved everything we heard. I went back to the merch table and loaded up. 🙂

I know there’s more, but I have no idea where everything has been scattered to. Anyway, that’s the list.

 

CD Review: St. Vincent – Strange Mercy

I love days like today. New music abounds, blu-ray releases are all over the place … and I get to listen to the new St. Vincent CD. Sweet lemonade in ice form–the girl’s gone and done it again.

When last we left our ravenous NYC brunette, she had left us reeling from her at-the-time most recent release of Actor. A venerable tour de force of layered electronica and pscyho-blazing instrumentation, mixed with her searing and smoldering vocals.

2 months shy of 2.5 years have come and gone. The Packers have returned to the top of the NFL, the Bruins, Blackhawks and Penguins all won Stanely Cups, I got a new 58″ plasma TV, and I have worked in 3 different positions. In relative terms, it’s only been a short while. However, when it comes to music of Annie’s quality and talent, 2 and third years might as well seem like  an entire millenium.

Usher in the newest epoch of St. Vincent music. We may now add to her illustrious timeline a new achievment–Strange Mercy. Feel free to thank your lucky stars. Or, better yet, thank her yourself. Of course, this is just my opinion, and you’re welcome to agree or disagree, but I think this is her strongest work. Very personal, very emotionally evocative.

One of the stand-out tracks for me is “Cruel.” The juxtaposition of up-beat, dancy music with the depressing lyrics caught me really off-guard. Reminds me of 9o% of The Smiths discography. 🙂  “Hi, I’m alive. Does anyone notice? Care?” Apparently not–not even with flares waving. Yah. Upbeat music, tragic lyrics. Sad.

The next track immediately after “Cruel” is “Cheerleader.” It kind of grabs me as someone who loves her land, but is tired of trying to play the apologist. On a more “in the weeds” analysis, it also strikes me as someone who is tired of people milking tragedy for everything they can, be that sympathy, financial gain, or whatever. But musically, it’s just great. “I-I-I-I-I don’t want to be a cheerleader no more …” which repeats a couple of times. On each “I,” there’s this off-key keyboard sound that’s absolutely beautiful in its dissonance. Great.

Big fan of “Champagne Year,” too. A little more minimalist start on this track. Some bass drum samples, some synth, and Ms. St. Vincente’s sultry intoxicating vocals dangling on the edge of sadness. The track evolves into some very Sarah Fimm-style music and vocals. For anyone who’s read my take on Sarah Fimm’s music, See what I mean?

The best news about this CD release is that she’s going on tour, with a date in SLC at the Urban Lounge on October 11th. Pretty good place to catch her live. Small, intimate place, no bad seat in the place … yah. That’ll be a great show.

So yah. Time to get out and buy this. Or sit at your desk and download it from iTunes. or … from your phone ….. sheesh. Is there any place left where you can’t get new music anymore?! Well whatever your outlet of choice is, go get this immediately and improve your quality of life. GO! NOW!!

 

Weekend Music Ripping, Part 2

To be fair, I’m just glad I posted something. I totally miss writing on a daily basis. I wish this were my full-time job, but alas–actual work gets in the way. However, actual work pays pretty damn well, so I’m not complaining. Especially when I’m working overtime. 🙂

Anyway, to continue the last post’s theme, I still have a stack of CDs to rip. So, backing up, I believe I mentioned that I had won a few eBay auctions a couple of months ago. The one auction “only” had about 50 CDs in it. The list read like a who’s who of current straight-up rock bands: AFI, Panic! at the Disco, Good Charlotte … bands that I’m familiar with in name, but not really musically. Seem like a lot of radio bands. Guess we’ll find out.

Here’s what I plan on working through today and tomorrow:

  • Unwritten Law – Self Titled
  • Panic! at the Disco – A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out
  • The Zutons – WHoo Killed … The Zutons
  • Converge – You Fail Me
  • Emme Packer – Dirty Street
  • Emme Packer – Better Luck Next Time
  • Liz Janes – Poison and Snakes
  • Todd Stedman – Burn
  • Liars Academy – No News Is Good News
  • Jennifer Gentle – Valende
  • Good Charlotte – Good Morning Revival

And of course, wife wants to watch “Psyche.” I can support that! More ripping later.

Weekend Music Ripping

I have a stack of CDs sitting behind me that I’m in the process of ripping. Two stacks, actually. Had to split it up cuz my daughters kept knocking over the one stack. Don’t ask how … they just did. I didn’t realize how much I had accumulated over the last couple of months until I started counting. Ha ha ha.

Skip ahead two weeks. No new stuff, other than a couple of iTunes purchases. While we were in Yellowstone, my wife had a hankering for They Might Be Flood CD, so I downloaded it for her. Yah–I’m that nice.

Anyway, so tonight is actually CD ripping night. It’s actually going to be CD-ripping weekend, but whatever.

I NEED NEW CD SHELVES IN THE WORST WAY.

Aaaaaand it’s Saturday now. I ripped through 11 CDs before getting dragged away, kicking and screaming voluntarily watching our kids while my wife went to bunco. Here’s the stack:

  • Rabbi – Bulla Ki Jaana
  • Trembling Blue Stars – Exploring the Shadows
  • Slick Shoes – Far From Nowhere
  • Abigail Washburn – City of Refuge
  • Sarah Jarosz – Follow Me Down
  • Feral Phantasms – Polar Goldie Cats
  • Kate York – Sadly Love
  • Tam – Self-Titled
  • Johnathan Rice – Further North
  • Alex Wise – Front Porch
  • Pedro the Lion – Winners Never Quit

The sounds are pretty divers, too. Feral Phantasms is all instrumental stuff. Great mood music. Sarah Jarosz has one of those voices that leaves me all melty-drippy-swoony. Slick Shoes is kind of Dream Theater-esque, but not as technical and pretty good straight-forward rock-out music. Rabbi … man. Great middle-eastern-sounding stuff. Overall, a great mix.

 

New Music Friday

List isn’t incredibly long, but you know the phrase: quality vs. quantity. Picked up some gems that I thought I had, but upon an actual inspection,

  • Marissa Nadler – Saga of Mayflower May
  • Kate York – Sadly Love
  • Sarah Jarosz – Follow Me Down
  • Alex Wise – Front Porch
  • Tam – Ecstatic Peace
  • Polar Goldie Cats – Feral Phantasms

I like the instrumental sounds of PGC. Alex Wise was a pleasant surprise, while I was equally surprised to find that I didn’t have Miss Marissa’s Mayflower May CD. That’s been remedied. 🙂

 

CD Review: Marissa Nadler – Marissa Nadler

The first music I heard of Marissa Nadler’s was Little Hells. The thing that struck me about that CD was just how … I don’t know … mellowingly  meloncholy? haunting? Dare I say it–macabre? It was one of the most amazing CDs I had ever heard.

I wasted no time hunting down and acquiring everything she’d done to that point. Ballads of Living and Dying, The Saga of Mayflower May, and Songs III: Birds on the Water. All of it was provacatively haunting, and I listened to it non-stop for weeks.

It was a pleasant shock to discover that Miss Nadler Released her 5th CD this past Tuesday–a self-titled effort that elevates her music to a new benchmark that borders on heavenly. 11 tracks that clock in at right around 45 minutes, there isn’t a song on here that won’t leave you wondering how God let such an angelic voice slip out of earshot.

The longest track, “In Your Lair, Bear,” is 6 minutes long. It opens with Marissa gently plucking her guitar and musing, “Where did you go when the snow fell that year? You’re inside these wooden walls like a bear, eager child, for the end in your lair. For the end of the year. The old familiar fear creeps up your little arms and runs through your veins like blood through your songs.” After several listens, that’s what I’m hearing, anyway. Between her guitar, the strings arrangement, the low-key cymbals and percussion, you can’t help but swoon like a shark that’s been knocked on its back.

You see the 3rd track, “The Sun Always Reminds Me of You,” and you think, “Aww … a love song!” Yah. This is about as love-songy as “Every Breath You Take.” The only difference is that this doesn’t have the stalker feel to it so much as it has the “Shit … why must every ray of sunshine remind me of you? Curse my rotten luck.” You can hear her heart breaking with each strum and drum beat. I love the steel guitar at the end. Gives it just that hint of country flair to it without actually invoking Fords, dogs, shotguns, line dancing and cheating spouses. No, okay … seriously. You know how a lot of country has that “love lost” feel to it? That’s this song in a nutshell.

My favorite song on the CD is “Baby I Will Leave You in the Morning.” Hands down. The chords, arrangement, BPM, theme, lyrics … this thing is brooding, moody, depressingly gorgeous, and just frickin’ hot. For some reason, it has a very Pink Floyd vibe to the music. This makes it on my “desert island” top 10 list. That’s right. Love this song.

This whole CD is just breath-taking. I’m already wishing she would put out an new CD. Not because this one has grown stale (right … cuz that’s possible), but because her music is just that good. I crave, want, and desire more. Now.

File this under “shiver” cuz you will get the chills from listening to this.

 

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