Sunday, April 11, 2004

Artist: Jens Lekman Album: Rocky Dennis EP
Label: Secretly Canadian Rating: 4.75 *s out of 5

Wow. You can see the label sticker for more information about the artist. This little record though is a real jewel: very small, very pretty. What the label doesn't say is that Lekman is very influenced by 70s singer-songwriters, and the music depends mostly on his (gorgeous) voice and soft-worked piano, and the lyrics themselves are moving and personal. I suppose it goes without saying this is down-tempo stuff, perfect for rainy days and sighing.

Recommended Tracks: 3 and 4. Track 2 is a brief (~1 min) instrumental.

Site: Here
Artist: The Hidden Tracks Album: The Sweet Sound of Excess
Label: Disposable Pop Revolution Rating: 3.75 *s out of 5

It's worth noting this album has a little pink juicebox straw in the jewelbox and came scented. Yes, the CD case smells like pop.
That and the garish pink color should tell you something: This is sugary, sweet stuff. One of the song titles says it best: "Catchy like a cold".
The writing is clever enough and the music (guitar-based pop) is fun... but like a sugar rush, you sort of wonder what the point was afterwards. Not surprisingly, these guys are from California.

Play if you like... PAS/CAL? Logan Whitehurst? the Pancakes? I dunno.
Site: Here

Artist: Ambulance, LTD. Album: LP
Label: TVT Records Rating: 4 *s out of 5, with the option to increase

Some stuff is just dense. It takes a while to tease out all its subtleties and meanings. Waiting for Godot is like that. The Basic Eight is like that. Ambulance LTD is like that.
I've had the album for a week and listened to it maybe five times. Each time, I find more stuff about it to like. The songs -- which are all fairly long -- are thought-out and deliberate, the lyrics well turned out.
Other than that, the album is a bit difficult to describe because the sound varies so much: not in the schizophrenic "we don't know what we sound like, so we'll sound like everything" kind of way first albums often do, but in a pleasing, "we need this kind of sound to explore this kind of feeling" way.
Also, these boys have pretty eyes. Actually, the rest of them is pretty as well. There's a picture inside.

Site: (With pictures!) Here.