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.
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.
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
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.
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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