Tag: 2002

Laura Cantrell – When the Roses Bloom Again

ARTIST: Laura Cantrell       220px-when_the_roses_bloom_again

TITLE: When the Roses Bloom Again

YEAR RELEASED: 2002

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: None

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: It was a hidden gem

LINEUP: Laura Cantrell, Jay Sherman-Godfrey, Jon Graboff, Jeremy Chatzky, Doug Wygal, Kenny Kosek, and other session vocalists.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Second full album from rising alt-country / regular country singer shines with originals and appropriate covers.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Still employed as a VP at Bank of America, Laura Cantrell’s second album sounds more confident, breezy, and complete than her fine debut album.

Her sound is more rooted in the traditionalist country where there’s no sweetening strings, syrupy backing vocals, nor does it sound like a southern rock band. It’s got a sweetness to it, but also has a genuine country sound.

Cantrell’s work doesn’t fit into Nashville, since it’s not big and bombastic and loud. It’s traditional country, meant for small rooms.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: She married the founder of her small record company.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.

 GRADE A-: Another solid traditionalist country album for your collection.

Pretty Girls Make Graves – Good Health

ARTIST: Pretty Girls Make Graves           220px-Good-health-by-pretty-girls-make-graves

TITLE:  Good Health

YEAR RELEASED: 2002

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Speakers Push the Air, Sad Girls Por Vida, By the Throat

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Oh nope

LINEUP: Andrea Zollo, Nick Dewitt, Derek Fudesco, J. Clark, Nathan Thelen

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: It’s a retro blast of post-punk / early 90’s punk.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: A Seattle band that looks to the past for inspiration? Say it isn’t so! But this quintet leaps back to the raucous side of post punk and the early Chapel Hill sound, with some Drive Like Jehu thrown in for good measure.

Translation: it’s loud, angular, feisty, intense, and something that shook up the underground a bit in 2001. PGMG-Ep

Their 2001 EP definitely set the stage for this album, which rolls along with the same fury and clang as that EP (it’s appended here). The band is tight and on top of their game. The final song, “By the Throat” caps the record off and makes you want more.

At times, it may be a bit repetitive, especially with the EP thrown in there at the end. Still, it’s righteous noise and fury, and that’s OK by me.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: When Matador re-released this in 2003, they added the EP they put out in 2001.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: See above

 GRADE: A: Quite a discovery for me. Just a great record that gives you the fire and energy you require.

Matt Pond PA – The Green Fury

ARTIST: Matt Pond PA                                220px-Matt_Pond_PA_The_Green_Fury

TITLE: The Green Fury

YEAR RELEASED: 2002

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: None none

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: No, sir. None either.

LINEUP: Matt Pond, Steven Gunn, Jim Hostetter, Jim Kehoe, Mike Kennedy. Josh Kramer, Brian McTear, Eve Miller, Matt Raisch

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Baroque / classical pop artist releases second album of sneakily hummable and inventive chamber pop tunes .

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Sometimes an artist will use strings and classical-type arrangements to make a grandiose and pretentious statement. This isn’t one of those records. This does have a few of those moments, but most of the record is reflective and tasteful.

Matt Pond and his band roll through an album that’s somewhat a cycle about neighborhoods and yards and suburbs, and using vocals, arrangements, and pop sensibilities it slowly reveals itself to be memorable, if not melodious.

Some of the tracks seem more experimental in nature, and they don’t always work (“Crickets” for one). Still, it’s an admirable album by an ambitious leader and his band.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Pond took on a job writing music for the Oxygen Network around this time.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No 

GRADE: B+: A good record to chill to, or be immersed in.

Ryan Adams – Demolition

ARTIST: Ryan Adams            220px-Ryan_Adams_Demolition

TITLE: Demolition

YEAR RELEASED: 2002

CHART ACTION: #28 US, #22 UK

SINGLES: Nuclear (#37 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Hallelujah, Tennessee Sucks

LINEUP: Ryan Adams. There were 15 other musicians on here because the songs came from leftovers of three other albums. Ethan Johns plays on many, along with Bucky Baxter

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Splitting up three completed albums that were rejected or unfinished into one record, it sounds like an odds-and-sods record.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: There were four album sessions contained in these tracks, and it definitely sounds like it. Adams’ projects usually have a unifying sound or theme – but here it is scattered.

That’s not to say it’s not unlistenable – several tracks are quite good and a couple of them are his most popular. Yet while the divergence of styles shows his versatility, it doesn’t make a cohesive record.

All in all, this is a minor record in his oeuvre, which some moments but nothing that will make you listen to the whole thing. Of course, it was his highest charting album until 2007.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Now, Adams doesn’t like it since it split up three whole albums and used other sessions as well. I don’t blame him.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, in Japan. More odds and sods for a jumble.

GRADE: B: I may be too harsh on it, as it does have some of my favorite Adams tunes, but it’s not really a cohesive project.

Justin Timberlake – Justified

ARTIST: Justin Timberlake             220px-Justified_-_Justin_Timberlake

TITLE: Justified

YEAR RELEASED: 2002

CHART ACTION: #2 US, #1 UK

SINGLES: Like I Love You (#11 US, #2 UK), Cry Me a River (#3 US, #2 UK), Rock Your Body (#5 US, #2 UK), Senorita (#27 US, #13 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Still on My Brain

LINEUP: Justin Timberlake, with Pharrell, Bubba Sparxx, Timbaland, Vanessa Marquez, and a lot of session folks.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: First solo album shows that Timberlake was more than a pretty face in a boy band.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Hooking up with Pharrell Williams, Chad Hugo, and Timbaland, among others, Justin Timberlake broke out of the perception that he was just a pretty face with a high voice, and started to establish his own solo persona on this debut album.

The strength of the album is his vocals, and his commitment to sounding like an old school soul / R&B vocalist in a modern context. Songs like “Rock Your Body” could have filled dance floors in the 70’s and well as today.

The ballads get a bit much, and there’s a bit of album bloat, but this is a decent debut for Timberlake and sets him up for entertainment domination.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Yes, “Cry Me a River” is about Britney

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: In Australia and Japan

GRADE: B+: The start of the Justin Timberlake empire, as it were.

The Mountain Goats – Tallahassee

ARTIST: The Mountain Goats       220px-Tallahassee-Mountain_GoatsX_The_480

TITLE: Tallahassee

YEAR RELEASED: 2002

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: See America Right

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Doubtful

LINEUP: John Darnielle, Peter Hughes, Franklin Bruno

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: After several lo-fi independent albums, John Darnielle releases a non-hissy major label record and finds a greater audience, and more collaborators.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: It was a one-man band (with a couple of helpers) and a boom box that made the Mountain Goats early work. (I didn’t review it because they’re basically for super-fans and there’s a shit-ton) Here, his first 4AD album, he works with Peter Hughes as a collaborator and turns the singer-songwriter genre on its ear for all to hear.

Always known for his lyrics and song titles, he wows with “Game Shows Touch Our Lives”, “The House That Dripped Blood”, and “International Small Arms Traffic Blues” among other ditties of note. It’s a concept album about the Alpha Couple (a character study like most of Darnielle’s work). His wordplay and imagery bring the story to life, clearly, and is the end of the tale.

Darnielle’s songs and stories are an important part of the new folk, singer, storyteller movement, even if he doesn’t quite resonate with the public as a whole. This is a good album for the curious.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Before this, Darnielle released six full albums, six cassettes, 12 singles and EPs and other tracks in compilations.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: A:  Even if you’re not always a fan of the concept story-song, this, this is something to listen to.

Gossip – Arkansas Heat

ARTIST: Gossip                                            220px-thegossip-arkansas_heat

TITLE:  Arkansas Heat

YEAR RELEASED: 2002

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: None

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Prolly not.

LINEUP: Beth Ditto, Brace Paine, Kathy Mendonca

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: An EP that moves the band from total noisy clatter to a more polished outfit.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The six songs on this EP are a bit of a transition for the band. Brace Paine can still raise a ruckus with his guitar, and Kathy Mendonca’s drumming isn’t exactly subtle, but the songs are coming through nice and clear now.

Beth Ditto’s vocals demand to be heard above the grind – they’re compelling and powerful. The only flaw is the final track – at over 10 minutes it starts slowly and outlasts its welcome. But the first five are good enough for any fan of garage rock fun.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Brace Paine was still known as Nathan Howdeshell at this time.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: B:  Good tracks, but the last cut brings it down.

Interpol – Turn on the Bright Lights

ARTIST: Interpol            220px-interpol_-_turn_on_the_bright_lights

TITLE:  Turn on the Bright Lights

YEAR RELEASED: 1988

CHART ACTION: #158 US, #5 US Indie, #101 UK

SINGLES: Obstacle 1 (#72 UK), NYC (#65 UK), Obstacle 1 (#41 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: PDA, Say Hello to the Angels

LINEUP: Paul Banks, Daniel Kessler, Carlos Dengler, Samuel Fogarino

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Either paying homage or borrowing from Joy Division, the NYC band becomes the leader in cool, post-modern dance-rock.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Coming out of the same scene as the Strokes, the National, and others, Interpol occupied the ‘Joy Division’ revivalists of that scene. But while they clearly had influence by that dour UK group, and bassist Carlos Dengler was inspired by Peter Hook in both sound and style (detuned down to a D, slung low and picked), Interpol didn’t just ape the band.220px-interpol_-_precipitate

Singer Paul Banks does have a melancholy timber to his voice, and he normally sings in a monotonic baritone. The music, though, has complex layers and chording and breaks through the normal torpor that bands usually find if they’re writing in minor keys. Plus, at times they decide to go up-tempo and while not sunshine and light, there’s something to it that allows some optimism. Just a couple of cuts wallow too much in the sadness.

This debut was a critical success and set the stage for commercial success to follow.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: This was rated the 15th best album of 2002 by the Village Voice.interpol_-_fukd_id_3

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, in several forms. They released two EPs (Fukd ID#3 and Precipitate) of their demos and those are appended.

GRADE: A-: While not everything is a great song, and some go on too long, most of this is good stuff, especially for those on a downer.

 

Two Cow Garage – Please Turn the Gas Back On

ARTIST: Two Cow Garage                  MI0001496614

TITLE:  Please Turn the Gas Back On

YEAR RELEASED: 2002

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES:  None

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: No, unless you saw them live. They tour relentlessly.

LINEUP: Micah Schnabel, Dustin Hargle, Chris Flint, Shane Sweeney

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Hardscrabble, gruff alt country blends a lot of influences but makes their own sound.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: There’s some Uncle Tupelo, a bit of Drive By Truckers,  a bit o’ Blue Mountain, a smattering of Ass Ponys and a pinch of the Bottle Rockets. But this record – it turns into Two Cow Garage.

Micah Schnabel’s voice sounds like he’s 40 and smoked three packs of Luckies a day, but he’s a young whippersnapper (at least in 2002). The band is raucous at times, but their use of a pedal steel and fiddle at times helps soften the coarseness.

The stories and songs talk about what seems like a regular alt-country theme – living in a dying small town and trying to figure out what’s going on besides drinking and trying to get laid, and then how to get outta there. Good stuff, especially for small town kids.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: During the tour to support this record, the band traveled 300,000 miles. Yikes!

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: A-: If you pinch good parts from all of your influences, it’s not derivative. This sounds fresh and new, even though you’ve heard parts of it before.

The Avett Brothers – Country Was

ARTIST: The Avett Brothers  Country_Was

TITLE:  Country Was

YEAR RELEASED: 2002

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES:  None

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: If you know these songs, you’re a superfan

LINEUP: Seth Avett, Scott Avett, Bob Crawford.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: After the breakup of their punk band, Seth and Scott Avett make their move toward acoustic, down home music, and come out with a winner on first go-round.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: After the breakup of Nemo, who released three albums before their demise, the Avett Brothers coalesced around a guitar (or piano), banjo and stand-up bass lineup for their first few recordings.

This album features some songs that are in a definite good-time back-porch mode, but what the real winner is how the Avetts and Crawford already are in sync with great harmonies and spirited playing.

It’s a short album (8 songs) but it sets the table for the Avetts to come.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Their first studio album (The Avett Bros.) was more of a Nemo album, and it’s disappeared. So has, unfortunately, their live album Live at the Double Door Inn.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.

GRADE: A-: A genuine, fun record.