Neutral Milk Hotel is a rather difficult band to describe to the average bear. In effect, society can be divided into two camps: those who think of something like dead batteries in their Wheaties when they hear the name, and those who don't happen to be idiots and like the band. For those of you who fall into the former category (though maybe you should just leave before you hurt yourselves), I'll do what I can to help.
So, to comment that Neutral Milk Hotel is some sort of acoustic indie band is tantamount to asserting that Nirvana is “just some 90s grunge band.” Neutral Milk Hotel is THE acoustic indie band, and Aeroplane is THE album. Don't believe me? The album was the sixth best selling vinyl from 2008, a full ten years after it was released. Sixth.
At any rate, Aeroplane is a... Read More
Neutral Milk Hotel - Holland, 1945
I've been professing the graces of Grace for a long time. She has been a pioneer in the craft of intense blues music with a female vocalist – not a crowded playing field.
The 2010 release of the band's self-titled album is produced with grit, a polarizing parameter for some listeners. Much of the vocals and guitars are processed with over-driving filters and lots of layering. Throughout the album, we hear guitars stacking on top of each other with dense incipient polyphony. Much of this polyphony is happening on both right and left channels, creating a very immersive, if not crowded, environment to the content.
The album opens with a remake of Paris, a song from their previous album (This is Somewhere – 2007, also on Hollywood Records). I enjoyed this song very much the first time I heard it on This is... Read More
Grace Potter - Hot Summer Night
I’m sitting at the University Of Pittsburgh Greensburg’s coffee house with a handful of students that are hoping to find the most entertaining thing in Westmoreland County on a Tuesday evening – not an easy task.
John Farley approaches the microphone and says “I’m going to play a little song by the Reverend Gary Davis”. I see a few eyebrows rise amongst a majority who clearly were not familiar with the gospel-blues guitarist that died almost 40 years ago. A few fellow music elitists voice their support, making sure to display their superior, esoteric taste in music.
Before he performs, many of the students appraise him at face value. Farley, an acoustic guitar virtuoso is humble, just like his blues. His horned-rimmed glasses and beret do not make for a daunting presence in the room. But this is only before his... Read More
David Ryan Harris is everything that John Mayer fan's think John Mayer is…
Harris is a cross-genre guitarist that sings soulful acoustic rhythm and blues. In a music environment where R&B is defined by synthesized bass riffs, digital drums and shallow 'booty-thumpin' lyrical themes, Harris throws a lasso around the genre and reels it back in to the domain of superior musicianship and honest song-writing.
David Ryan Harris is probably best known for his studio work as a guitarist and vocalist for many albums of more acclaimed artists: Alicia Keys, Mark Broussard, John Mayer (ironically), Mariah Carey (regrettably). He also has his name credited as a producer, recording engineer and keyboardist for a slew of other underground artists. However, I'm utterly impressed with his solo studio albums,... Read More