Archive for November, 2007
In recent years, the Colorado music scene has seen the nationwide success of several local groups, a testament to the hard working musicians living in the state. Fort Collins band Ride Your Bike recently released their album Bad News From The Bar on independant label Deep Elm Records. The record is a big step forward both lyrically and musically, when compared to Ride Your Bike’s earlier EP They’ve Got Plans. Lead singer/songwriter Mike Getches tells the story of two childhood friends, their falling out, and eventual realization of what is truly important in life.
As far as instrumentation and overall sound quality go, Bad News From The Bar sounds fantastic. Rather than sticking to one specific instrument pattern, Ride Your Bike experiments with a variety of strings, horns, percussion, and keyboards. Everything sounds clear and mixes together well. Getches sings in a distinct tone, something that sets Ride Your Bike apart from many pop-indie bands on the national scene.
The first track, “We All Have Our Own Shoes,” mixes guitars, strings, and vocals to establish a confident tone. “This Car Is Hot As Hell” shifts from simple acoustic parts into a full band sound. Upbeat distorted guitars fill “So If We,” a rock anthem that has potential as a radio single. Lyrically, Getches avoids unnecessary emotional overtones, but sticks to telling the story. There are some great lines such as, “You’re smart like the fish that stays off the hook,” a lyric that appears in “Sense of Things.” Overall, Ride Your Bike has created a record that is unique and shows that the Colorado music scene still embraces quality.
Bad News From The Bar is available at http://www.myspace.com/rideyourbike and http://www.deepelm.com
In The Spotlight: Rilo Kiley’s Under The Blacklight
In 2006, Rilo Kiley’s Jenny Lewis debuted her solo album Rabbit Fur Coat. The album received more attention and press than any of Rilo Kiley’s older works.
This placed the band in an odd situation, either breakup or change their style to appeal to Lewis’s newfound fame. Fortunately for fans, Rilo Kiley did not break up, but instead produced Under The Blacklight, released earlier this year.
The record departs from Lewis’s soul and country sound, focusing more on dance beats and instrumentation.
Catchy guitar riffs and Lewis’s distinct female vocals drive tracks such as “Silver Lining” and “The Moneymaker,” the first single from the disc. Electronic-pop elements find their way into the mix on the track “Under The Blacklight.”
The title track is really a treat, every part fits together to form solid harmonies, showcasing the real talent Rilo Kiley possesses as a band. Lewis’s work with The Postal Service may offer some explanation for the electronic-dance sound, but Rilo Kiley continues to expand their sound into new areas on the rest of the album.
“Dejalo” features lyrics both in Spanish and English, giving the track a Latin twist. Speaking of lyrics, Under The Blacklight tells some great stories about life and loving, while subtly sending messages about appearances.
In recent years, the popularity of dance music has caused some bands to cheapen their sound to appeal to the status quo.
This is not true of Rilo Kiley, their re-worked dynamics are enjoyable and fresh. They’ve gambled with their style and come out on top.
The lines between “indie” and “pop” are being blurred; this is most obvious on the new Say Anything two-disc record In Defense of The Genre.
Hailing from L.A., Say Anything has slowly gained popularity since the release of their breakthrough album …Is A Real Boy in 2004 and are now co-headlining the MySpace.com Music Tour with Hellogoodbye.
The record, heavily influenced by singer Max Bemis’s personal experiences, showcases a wide variety of musical styles slightly tinted with a sarcastic tone.
A heavy mix of electric guitars and robust vocals begin the first disc with “Skinny Mean Man.” “That Is Why” shifts into a show-tune style and seems somewhat out of place amid the overall the punk-pop tone of the record.
However the style shifts yet again at “Baby Girl, I’m A Blur,” the first single from In Defense of The Genre. Dance beats, slightly distorted guitars and electric keyboards take over for the rest of disc one.
Disc two sounds similar to Say Anything’s earlier works, combining simple melodies and multi-layered guitar parts. The track “In Defense of The Genre” signals a return to Say Anything’s trademarked sound. The rest of the record follows a similar format.
A slew of guest vocalists appear on In Defense of The Genre, a move which has mixed consequences.
On one hand, singers such as Chris Conley (of Saves The Day), Chris Carrabba (of Dashboard Confessional), and Hayley Williams (of Paramore), have tremendous talent that adds constructively to the record. However, at some points the amount of extra vocals becomes distracting.
Although it is unclear what genre is being defended, In Defense of The Genre is entertaining both musically and lyrically and is a good listen despite its length (1 Â½ hours!) and jumpy musical style.
Say Anything has found a place outside of the indie scene where the influence of pop music is evident in their approach. This may alienate some traditional Say Anything fans but will also appeal to a broader fanbase.