bright eyes

Content tagged as bright eyes.

Richard Swift: Dressed Up For the Letdown (Secretly Canadian) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Richard Swift: Dressed Up For the Letdown (Secretly Canadian) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

The previous album by this Californian singer-songwriter -- actually a double disc collection of his previously released singles and EPs -- made an appearance on Elsewhere many months ago and I hailed it to the skies. And I've played it with alarming frequency ever since a first hearing. This is his fully-fledged debut album proper, and...

Andrew Bird: Armchair Apocrypha (Spunk) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Andrew Bird: Armchair Apocrypha (Spunk) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Years ago this Chicago singer-songwriter-violinist helmed his band Bowl of Fire through strange back-alleys of music which referred to blues and jazz of the 20s, circuses and travelling shows, low-rent bars and brothel music of old time New Orleans, and a bit of Tom Waits. After a while I gave up telling people how good he was. It's that...

Bright Eyes: Cassadaga (Polydor) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Bright Eyes: Cassadaga (Polydor) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

A couple of years ago -- around the time Bright Eyes (Conor Oberst to his parents) broke biggish with the two 2005 albums I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning and Digital Ash in a Digital Urn (the former of songs, the latter electronics) -- I was in Tower Records in Seattle. I spotted a seven album Bright Eyes box set (yes, all vinyl) for some...

Martin Craft: Silver and Fire (Longtime Listener/Rhythmethod)

Martin Craft: Silver and Fire (Longtime Listener/Rhythmethod)

Okay, let's just hear what the British press had to say about this, the debut album from an Australian singer-songwriter now living in London. "Simply captivating" --- The Sun "A refreshing breeze to ruffle all preconceptions" -- Time Out "Divine!" -- The Observer "Pop never had it so good" --...

Devendra Banhart: Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon (XL)

Devendra Banhart: Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon (XL)

Widely credited as the figurehead of the neo-folk movement (which owes more to early jazzy folk-rocking Donovan than Dylan in its encompassing vision and musical ambition), Texas-born Banhart has delivered a series of fascinating albums notable for their diversity. Drawing on traditional folk, world music and trippy psychedelic styles (and...

Josh Ritter: The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter (Shock) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Josh Ritter: The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter (Shock) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Elsewhere has been around long enough to do a bit of bragging about bringing certain people to your attention long before anyone else: one of them being this American singer-songwriter whose previous album The Animal Years (see tag) was such a gem. I just kept bringing it back and named it as one of the Best of Elsewhere 2006. Then he was...

The Eels: Meet the Eels and Useless Trinkets (Geffen/Universal)

The Eels: Meet the Eels and Useless Trinkets (Geffen/Universal)

Wherein cult band the Eels get the kind of re-issue/repackage usually reserved for Major Big Name Acts: Meet the Eels is a 24 track compilation of 10 years from 1996 with a 12 clip DVD collection (with commentary option) and an informative booklet; and Useless Trinkets is a 50-track double disc collection of B-sides, soundtrack pieces, rarities...

Dawn Landes: Fireproof (Shock)

Dawn Landes: Fireproof (Shock)

Located somewhere between alt.folk and alt.country (sort of the urban/rural crossover) this Kentucky-born, New York-based singer-songwriter has supported the likes of Andrew Bird, Jose Gonzalez and Suzanne Vega, and overseas writers say if you like Cat Power, Beth Orton or Regina Spektor then Landes' subtle and intimate style is for you....

Beck: Odelay Deluxe Edition (Universal)

Beck: Odelay Deluxe Edition (Universal)

This cornerstone album from '96 confirmed that Beck was going to be something much more than the one-hit wonder for Loser and even the "Dylan of his generation" as some writers had it. Odelay was good enough in itself to stand some kind of re-issue/repackaging, but this Deluxe Edition (some unreleased tracks, another disc of remixes...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Beck: Modern Guilt (DGC)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Beck: Modern Guilt (DGC)

For my money there are only two indispensible Beck albums: Odelay of '96 and Mutations of two years later. That said, there are another couple I'd prefer not to live without -- and this one produced by Danger Mouse shapes up to be one of those, and is still climbing in stature on repeat plays.As always this gifted, musical changeling and sonic...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Micah P Hinson and the Red Empire Orchestra (Inertia)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Micah P Hinson and the Red Empire Orchestra (Inertia)

This slight American singer-songwriter impressed hugely on a brief New Zealand tour a few years ago when he delivered his reflective acoustic songs and wry between-songs banter to very small but appreciative audiences.Cult figure then -- and much the same today I am guessing.Here with a small string section (and his own impressive catalogue of...

Josh Rouse: Best of the Ryko Years, 1995-2005 (Ryko/Elite)

Josh Rouse: Best of the Ryko Years, 1995-2005 (Ryko/Elite)

Some artists may always be the private passion of a few, and you sense this American singer-songwriter is hailed by some and utterly unfamiliar to most, many of whom would like him if they only knew. Rouse has been a regular at Elsewhere and his albums like Under Cold Blue Stars (02), the slightly troublking 1972 (of 03 when some said he'd...

Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band: Outer South (UN SPK)

Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band: Outer South (UN SPK)

You don't have to get too far into this album -- maybe just a few chords in fact -- to click that this isn't the Conor Oberst (aka Bright Eyes) of previous releases, the guy who started by juggling electronica dabbles with folksiness, then moved into alt.folk and bent pop. This time out with a bunch of friends who share an affection for...

Monsters of Folk: Monsters of Folk (Spunk)

Monsters of Folk: Monsters of Folk (Spunk)

Given who these people are -- Conor Oberst aka Bright Eyes, M Ward, and Jim James of My Morning Jacket (aka Yim Yames) -- you might be forgiven for thinking this is some kind of neo-folk meeting on the mountain top, or possibly a younger, more serious and sprightly version of the Traveling Wilburys. But in the hands of producer -- and fourth...

Blitzen Trapper: Black River Killer (Sub Pop)

Blitzen Trapper: Black River Killer (Sub Pop)

This sextet from the Pacific North West hasn’t made much of an impact here, despite three albums which have drawn critical comparisons with Neil Young (in his acoustic and rock personae), Fleet Foxes and Wilco (both of whom they have opened for), folky Dylan and even Rubber Soul-era Beatles (albeit with a country-rock skew). They are...

JUDEE SILL (1944-79): The disappearing crayon angel

JUDEE SILL (1944-79): The disappearing crayon angel

There seem an alarming number of women musicians written out of popular culture: Doris Troy, Minnie Ripperton, Laura Nyro, Judy Henske, Mireille Mathieu, folk-rocker Cindy Lee Berryhill . . . And who these days even cites Janis Joplin either as an influence, or simply as someone worthy of serious critical or popular attention? These (and...

J Tillman: Year in the Kingdom (Shock)

J Tillman: Year in the Kingdom (Shock)

Possessing the same kind of intimate, engrossing voice of Nick Drake and with an equal interest in hushed, dreamlike ballads where death, and the transitory nature of life and love are themes, Josh Tillman offers his sixth album where the songs are barely fleshed out but the sinew and strength are immediately apparent. With discreet...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Midlake: The Courage of Others (Inertia)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Midlake: The Courage of Others (Inertia)

This quintet from Texas -- now on their third album -- has only appeared once previously at Elsewhere, a wonderful track on the collection Secret Love 4. That piece (the sample track posted with that album) was so impressive their name imprinted itself on my memory -- and then this album turns up. In the absence of hearing much else by them...

Phosphorescent: Here's to Taking It Easy (Dead Oceans)

Phosphorescent: Here's to Taking It Easy (Dead Oceans)

The last album by this band -- the vehicle for Matthew Houck -- was their tribute to Willie Nelson, but this time out it is all original material and the energy levels are kicked up, notably on the Band/Black Crowes/E Street opener It's Hard to be Humble (When You're From Alabama). Rolling steel guitars and a country-rock mood propel Nothing...

Blitzen Trapper: Destroyer of the Void (Sub Pop/Rhythmethod)

Blitzen Trapper: Destroyer of the Void (Sub Pop/Rhythmethod)

More so than their previous releases, this band from the Pacific Northwest seem to ladle in dollops of trippy glam-adelica in the opening overs of this thoroughly enjoyable outing. It's as if a thinking person's band from the late Sixties or mid Seventies has beamed down into the post-grunge pop world (or vice-versa) of Portland and whatever the...

Peter Wolf Crier: Inter-Be (Jagjaguwar)

Peter Wolf Crier: Inter-Be (Jagjaguwar)

Peter Wolf Crier are an electro-acoustic duo out of Minneapolis (not to be confused with this guy) and this is their modest debut album. I say modest because while they utilise all the lo-tech vehicles at their command (loops, filters) they aren't intent on breaking free as a duo like the White Stripes or Black Keys. Their hearts are closer...

Simon Lynge: The Future (Lo-Max)

Simon Lynge: The Future (Lo-Max)

Singer-songwriter Lynge's story may be more interesting than his lowkey acoustic folk-pop: born in Denmark, childhood in Greenland (where his father is the local Bob Dylan apparently), back to Denmark, then to Los Angeles and Nashville, debut album Beautiful Way to Drown recorded in LA in Copenhagen in 2005 . . . Hard to top that in...

Isbells: Isbells (Zealrecords)

Isbells: Isbells (Zealrecords)

In which former rocker Gaeten Vandewoude of Belgium discovers his inner Jose Gonzalez and with a few friends and some multi-tracking also realises he had Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel lurking in there too. This is not an unfamiliar path (Gonzalez did the rock thing first, so did Findlay Brown, and Fink used to deal in hip-hop) but it leads to...

Kelley Stoltz: To Dreamers (SubPop)

Kelley Stoltz: To Dreamers (SubPop)

Let's say this for San Francisco's Kelley Stoltz, he's done his homework: his thoroughly enjoyable album Circular Sounds (here) came off like a potted history of pop for them what missed the classes on UK 1965-68 and the Beginners Guide to Songwriting (with special reference to Boyce and Hart, Harry Nilsson and Paul McCartney). This time out...

Various Artists: Late Night Tales; Midlake (LateNightTales/Southbound)

Various Artists: Late Night Tales; Midlake (LateNightTales/Southbound)

The Late Night Tales mix-tape series continues with this especially interesting and quite lovely collection put together by Midlake who had a Best of Elsewhere 2010 album with The Courage of Others (and were instrumental in John Grant's Queen of Denmark, also a winner that year). The chief feature here -- aside from the coherence of the...

Bright Eyes: The People's Key (Polydor)

Bright Eyes: The People's Key (Polydor)

Weird, but in a strangely compelling way  . . . like the best sci-fi. Last time out Bright Eyes/Connor Oberst located his album in a Florida town Cassadaga which is apparently famous for the implosion of spiritualists there – and this one opens with a long and odd spoken word it about the spheres, Sumerian tablets and reptiles...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Fleet Foxes: Helplessness Blues (Sub Pop)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Fleet Foxes: Helplessness Blues (Sub Pop)

A propos of not much, Fleet Foxes' chief songwriter Robin Pecknold recently recorded New Zealand singer-songwriter Chris Thompson's Where is My Wild Rose? for an EP and it appears on You Tube (just with stills) here. But . . . to the matter in hand. If it's fair to say FFoxes' debut album was unexpected, then we might also observe...

Josh Ritter; The Animal Years (V2/Shock) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2006

Josh Ritter; The Animal Years (V2/Shock) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2006

From Moscow -- the one in Idaho -- Ritter has been championed by New York mainstream and American indie press for his literate and passionate singer-songwriter style, and here that is combined with gripping and memorable songs with lyrical and melodic hooks which grab like a gaff. Latterly he's been wooing them in Ireland. The album is...

The Handsome Family; Last Days of Wonder (EMI) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2006

The Handsome Family; Last Days of Wonder (EMI) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2006

At first I didn't fully get this one from a duo I've long admired for their slightly wonky take on traditional country which sounds like it was made by post-graduates who got lost in the Appalachians after a seminar on contemporary poetics. But repeat plays and scouring the lyrics reveals what the title (taken from a line in a song) states...

M Ward; Post-War (EMI) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2006

M Ward; Post-War (EMI) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2006

Matt Ward could easily be a musicologist's research assignment: this album -- his fifth -- roams effortless from hushed balladry to guitar work which sounds like the Shadows on a surf-rock kick, and from alt.rock to something Paul Simon would be proud of. And in many places he sounds like someone a few decades older -- and blacker -- than he...

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