Archive for the 'Singer-Songwriter' Category

Fionn Regan

Ah, there’s so much that could be said about Fionn Regan… but I don’t feel like saying any of it, so I took this from Last.fm:

“The Irish singer-songwriter who hails from Bray, Co Wicklow enjoyed a warm response from the media and general public alike with the release of his ‘Hotel Room’ EP in 2004, which highlighted the captivating rawness of both his songs and his performance in a way that was both refreshing and inspiring. Better still, Regan has repeatedly proved that he can better his records when he plays live.

Citing his musical influences as Leadbelly, Howling Wolf, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Neil Young, The Velvet Underground, The Pixies and Nirvana, Regan has drawn comparisons to Young, Woody Guthrie and John Lennon. He has supported the likes of American Music Club, John Prine, Turin Brakes and rising newcomers Joanna Newsom and Willy Mason, to name but a few. Turin Brakes’ Olly Knights has said that Regan’s “ability to paint weighty and sublime imagery with words is untouchable and very rare, yet it’s combined with a sweet charm that renders all cynicism impotent.”

With his debut album, “The End Of History”, Fionn has taken a DIY approach to the sessions, using analogue equipment and recording in houses, a shed and a barn to try and capture a live sound.

On February 15th, 2010 Fionn Regan swept all expectations with the release of his sophomore effort, the more rock influenced “The Shadow Of An Empire.”

The End Of History [2006]: DOWNLOAD

The Shadow of an Empire [2010]: DOWNLOAD

He’s one of my favorite artists — The End Of History is my most played album (according to Last.fm). Great songwriting, intricate guitar, and great music overall. Give him a shot, he deserves far more recognition than he gets (his newest album isn’t even being released in the US, for now). I’d say more, but I am le tired.

-Brennan

Ted Leo & The Pharmacists – Hearts of Oak

Ted Leo

Ted Leo may be one of the best accidental secrets to hit the rock scene in the past decade or so. While he has successfully evaded much mainstream attention (with the possible exception of single “Me and Mia”), Leo continues to pump out album after album of great, catchy, pop-driven rock sing-alongs. Having dabbled in dub reggae, alternative rock, folk, and other genres, Leo has mastered the art of constructing well-written melodies into undeniable anthems.

This is largely evident on Hearts of Oak, the band’s third proper album (although their first release [tej leo(?), Rx / pharmacists] was largely a solo effort). Here, we get to see Leo’s potential as a songwriter and a one-man music machine, proving the power of a singer’s voice paired with a jangly guitar. With one listen to “Where Have All The Rude Boys Gone?”, you’ll be hard-pressed not to get your toes tapping. Go ahead, try it out.

“Where Have All The Rude Boys Gone?” by Ted Leo & The Pharmacists

With a constantly-growing number of fans, it’ll be a miracle if they’re not playing to massive crowds in a couple of years. Until then, Ted Leo and crew will keep rocking the basements and smaller club shows for those lucky enough to experience it.

DOWNLOAD TED LEO & THE PHARMACISTS

If you’re interested, I’d recommend checking them out on tour in the coming months (dates posted below), and don’t forget to keep an eye out for the new album, The Brutalist Bricks, due out March 9th.

DATE CITY STATE VENUE
3/11/2010 Cleveland OH Grog Shop
3/12/2010 Pontiac MI The Crofoot
3/13/2010 Chicago IL Bottom Lounge
3/14/2010 Madison WI High Noon Saloon
3/15/2010 Minneapolis MN First Avenue
3/19/2010 Seattle WA Neumo’s
3/20/2010 Portland OR Doug Fir Lounge (21+)
3/21/2010 Portland OR Doug Fir Lounge (all ages matinee)
3/23/2010 San Francisco CA Great American Music Hall
3/27/2010 Los Angeles CA Troubadour
4/4/2010 Atlanta GA The Masquerade
4/5/2010 Carrboro NC Cat’s Cradle
4/7/2010 Philadelphia PA First Unitarian Church
4/8/2010 Washington DC 930 Club
4/9/2010 New York NY Irving Plaza
4/10/2010 Boston MA Paradise

-Alex

Regina Spektor

As my first post to this Blog, and as the first post from a girl, I figured it would be appropriate to post a female artist. Girl Power. (p.s. I’m not a feminist) So therefore I introduce you to, or reacquaint you with, Regina Spektor. She is not incredibly unknown, but not always seen in the public eye. This unique singer/songwriter grew up in Moscow and eventually made her way to America’s east coast. Her striking features combined with her pure and endearing voice make her incredibly charming. (I read she once worked on a butterfly farm…adorable right?) From what I know she speaks, Russian, Hebrew and some Latin and often times incorporates these languages into her music. It is hard to classify her music in one genre, but some of the styles she incorporates in her songs are Alternative, Folk, Jazz, Russian, Jewish, and Classical. Occasionally she alludes to literary works or figures like Fitzgerald (“Poor little Rich boy”) or Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”. (You can thank Wikipedia and my geeky English major side for that) Her piano playing is always innovative, sometimes sounding like the simple tune of a music box (like in her song “music box”) or even a sort of Russian Dance song (Like 2 minutes into her song “The Flowers”) Besides her outstanding piano skills, the true unique and engaging element of her music is the inventive and broad use of her voice. From beat-boxing to the buzzing of her lips, she utilizes all sorts of unorthodox vocal techniques to add the subtle nuances that make her songs so great. While all her albums are great, her three latest albums, “Soviet Kitsch” (2004) “Begin to Hope” (2006) and “Far” (2009) are my personal favorites. I posted the album Soviet Kitsch. I recommend the songs “Ode to Divorce”, “Us” and “Chemo Limo”.  Enjoy.

-Courtney

DOWNLOAD HERE

Jeff Buckley – “Live at Sin-é”

Jeff Buckley. I honestly have no idea where to start – there’s so much you could say about his music, but it would be like describing food: you can tell someone in great detail how something tastes, but it doesn’t come close to capturing the experience of eating a perfectly seared filet mignon. Jeff Buckley is that filet mignon.

This is a genius who died young. He only released one studio album before his untimely death in 1997, at the age of 30 (he drowned while going for a swim in the Wolf River in Memphis, TN). Beyond a shadow of a doubt, 1994’s “Grace” is my pick for best album of that decade; it’s absolutely flawless. His distinct and incredible vocals soar on each track, his guitar work and composition is insanely original yet familiar, and he manages to go everywhere from a 1504 Middle English hymn to crushing grunge. His recording of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” is one of the most iconic and emotional recordings of all time; you’ve heard it before, trust me. All in all, “Grace” is a perfect studio album in every single way.

This is not that album. I’ll write about that album some other time, but this is Jeff Buckley, the man, captured on two discs.

“Live at Sin-é” is a recording of a gig he played on July 19, 1993 at a café in New York’s East Village called Sin-é (Irish for “That’s It”). The most endearing thing about Jeff is the rawness and conviction of his voice, and there’s no better setting for it or recording of it than this album. No band here; just Jeff strumming a borrowed Telecaster in a small café. Most of the tracks from “Grace” are performed here in their early states, along with covers of everyone you’d never think of: Van Morrison, Nina Simone, Billie Holliday, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, and Led Zeppelin. His guitar playing is simple, emotional, and controlled, while his vocals will send shivers down your spine. He sings a traditional Pakistani Qawwali devotional, in Urdu, for God’s sakeI feel that Jeff Buckley was always at the peak of his short-lived career. This recording, then, captures him at the very top of that peak.

If this doesn’t give you goosebumps, I give up.

-Brennan

DOWNLOAD DISC 1

DOWNLOAD DISC2


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