The Griff

Review: every CD we found while cleaning out our old office

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Review: every CD we found while cleaning out our old office

A couple of times a year, an up-and-coming band or artist will send the griff their most recently produced commodity for us to review. While we understand that music enthusiasts across the country spend the days after each new album release patiently awaiting the griff’s authoritative stamp of approval, we simply do not have the time to get around to all of them. In fact, the majority of the albums sent to our office over the past decade have ended up collecting dust on the seldom-used bookshelf in the corner of our office.

While cleaning out said, bookshelf in preparation for our move into the new building, we found a total of 16 CDs. Here is — “finally,” you cry out — a review of each of them.

Album: Cosmic Troubles

Artist: Faith Healer

Genre: ‘60s beach festival rock.

Review: Sounds as if Jefferson Airplane wasn’t on LSD while writing all of their songs but still wanted it to sound like they were, which makes for pretty good music anyway.

Album: High and Dry

Artist: Melissa Payne

Genre: City people’s country.

Review: There is no way this wasn’t designed from the beginning to be played on road trips taken by people who think they’re in a movie.

Album: Carey’s Cold Spring

Artist: Frog Eyes

Genre: Forgetting Sarah Marshall 2 Soundtrack contender.

Review: Each song would make a great music video of a guy with a leather jacket walking somberly through the woods circa 2008.

Album: Toska

Artist: Vogue Dots

Genre: That type of electronic that isn’t really all that good for dancing.

Review: If you often post about “good vibes” on your social media, you would probably like this album, at least as something to play for your normal friends when they ask you what you’re talking about.

Album: Volume vs. Voice

Artist: Chris Page

Genre: Whatever genre Wilco is but less cool.

Review: “This was the soundtrack to my summer,” said a guy who bought a convertible just so he could catcall pedestrians with greater efficiency, probably.

Album: Formative Years

Artist: Dale Boyd

Genre: Sad guitar guy who sings too.

Review: It sounds like the type of album that would come in one of those generic disc cases that are sold in bulk, with a handwritten song list on the front — which it did.

Album: Vieux Loop

Artist: The Acorn

Genre: Alternative with ghost noises.

Review: There are weird ghost-like sound effects in the background of most songs, and the singer kind of sounds like he’s a ghost too. Pretty good if you’re not scared of ghosts.

Album: Blue Canvas

Artist: Brandi Disterheft

Genre: Jazz for people who like having a good time.

Review: I don’t know anything about jazz but I feel like a cooler person for having listened to this.

Album: Notes

Artist: Johan Agebjӧrn

Genre: Classical music that’s desperately trying to appeal to a wide audience.

Review: Agebjӧrn looks like a Swedish version of Beck, and he throws in a lot of random sound effects and samples like Beck does.

Album: The Gloaming 2

Artist: The Gloaming

Genre: Irish folk music (the sad kind).

Review: Irish folk music is only ever designed for one of two scenarios: to be played at a funeral, or performed spontaneously in a bar. This album would get some strange looks in a bar so save it for when your great uncle dies.

Album: Tattered Rose

Artist: Rebecca Lappa

Genre: Folk music but with no rich traditions to refer to because it’s Canadian.

Review: The happier type of Irish folk music is mostly just songs about tattoos. While this isn’t strictly in that genre, it does have a Celtic harp, and so the artist decided to compromise by having just one song about tattoos, which is the first one and also the best song on the album.

Album: Desert Dreams

Artists: Autopilot

Genre: Indie rock that’s mostly about reminiscing teenage years.

Review: When all your band members are in their early 30s but you want to market your music to teenagers, one way to do it is to lie about how much fun you had at their age, which is what a lot of this album is doing.

Album: The Tempest of Old

Artist: Gabrielle Papillon

Genre: Sad but has a banjo.

Review: Needs more banjo and maybe to be less sad.

Album: For One to Love

Artist: Cécile McLorin Salvant

Genre: Quiet but angry jazz.

Review: What elevator music would sound like if the elevator was the set of a Tennessee Williams play about a girl in a bad relationship (so, any of them).

Album: Symphony of Ghosts

Artist: Dan MacCormack

Genre: Indie rock for people who are into mythology.

Review: Some of the songs have a trumpet, which is good, but not all of the songs have a trumpet, which is less good.

Album: Bravery

Artist: Poor Nameless Boy

Genre: Acoustic music where the squeaking sounds of fingers sliding along guitar strings are left in on purpose.

Review: I was very tired of sad lyrics sung wistfully over a quiet folksy accompaniment at this point, so I didn’t really get to enjoy this one, but it seemed like one of the better-written albums of that type.

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