Saturday, December 22, 2007

Kat Jones - He's The One I Need The Most (Christmas EP)

Label: independent
Release date: 12/2007
While being short and sweet, this little 4-song EP is definitely heartwearming and delightful as well. This Christmas EP is Kat Jones' first since her critically acclaimed debut La Rosa, La Calavera in 2004.

Track 1: "I'll Be Home For Christmas". This is a completely redone version of a song she included on a disc of demos a few years ago. This version is Richard Swift-esque, with a cascade of lively keys and horns.

Track 2: "He's The One I Need The Most". The title track is the best song on the disc as it taps into the true meaning of the season, which is a refreshing change in music today. It has a very catchy chorus that is beautifully sung by Kat.

Track 3: "Bring A Torch Jeanette, Isabela". It's a very mellow, stripped down tune with sparse guitar and dreamy vocals.

Track 4: "Without A Sound". This is the not-so-hidden track of the CD, mainly because it is included in the track list and has a title. Hidden or not, this song is worthy of attention. So fragile and delicate, this soft tune almost breaks as the light guitar and gentle vocals sweep you away.

After three years, it's nice to hear some new music from Kat Jones, just in time to make a great stocking stuffer for the holidays!

Friday, December 07, 2007

PLUGGED'S TOP 5 of 2007

Some people celebrate the new year by watching a ball drop. I celebrate by revisiting my favorite music releases of the past year.

5. The Rosebuds - "Night of the Furies"
(Merge - apr/2007)
This album is much darker and moodier than the previous releases, which is why
I like it so much. Listen for hints of New Order and The Smiths in these songs. Also, Kelly is singing more (which is a good thing!).

4. The Dark Romantics - "Some Midnight Kissin"
(Lujo - feb/2007)
Yes, this album was constantly playing in my house and on my mp3 player this year. I never get tired of it. We drove three hours to see a live show last summer so you know I'm not kidding.

3. Doug Burr - "On Promenade" (VBM/Spune - sept/2007)
Who? Do your homework and read our review. He's from Denton, Texas and is a new favorite of PLUGGED. This was the biggest surprise of 2007. Outstanding music.

2. Menomena - "Friend and Foe" (Barsuk - jan/2007)
It's infectious, dark, and off-beat indie rock. This album is the cure for the music doldrums. It doesn't get any better than "Air Raid" and "Rotten Hell".

Best album of 2007.....and the winner is:

1. Richard Swift - "Dressed Up For The Letdown" (Secretly Canadian - feb/2007)
If you haven't heard of Richard Swift yet, then you must not listen to indie music.

Cheyenne - The Whale

Release date: 12/2007
Label: independent

The Whale
is not just an album. It's a hand-clappin', foot stompin' good time that could easily be the soundtrack of a movie set in an old west saloon.

Cheyenne creatively fuses elements of indie rock, country, and folk to create a sound that is a unique and refreshing slice of "americana". This band breaks your heart with a ballad and then a beer bottle with the very next song.

The opening track "The Whale" gets the hands clapping quickly with a sound reminiscent of Wilco's Being There. "Broken English", "The Fashion", and "The Army Marching Past" get the feet stompin' while showing off Cheyenne's indie rock swagger.

"Big Weather" is the best example of Cheyenne's "riding in the back of the pickup truck" brand of indie rock with a big chorus of Beau Jennings singing ("baby one of these days we're gonna send the weather back").

Heartbreakers "Cimarron River", and "The Curtain" are drenched in sincerity and infused with somber vocals, keys, and harmonica. These songs prominently display Cheyenne's folk-country sensibility better than any other tracks.

The Whale
leaves a lasting impression that pays homage to Dylan and Wilco while still creating something brand new for those of us who love catchy melodies that make you think of the heartland.
- John M.