Sunday, July 23rd, 2006
Sunday Cleaning – Volume 42
|Guster / Ganging Up On The Sun (Reprise)
Massachusettsians (is that a word?) Guster have built up a tidy national fanbase over the course of over ten years and five albums, but before this record I’d never heard them. Heard of, yes, heard, no. But now that I have, the fact that they’ve managed to achieve the success that they have is somewhat perplexing to me – they play catchy, shimmering, harmony-laden and acoustically-rooted pop music that’s not vacuous or over-produced. And to top it off, they’re on a major label and yet seem to be plugging along without a “hit” (or has there been one that I don’t know about?). So how on earth has this found an audience in the greater public consciousness? I have no idea, but it challenges everything I thought I knew about music while getting my head nodding. Sunny, fun stuff.
|Ill Lit / Tom Cruise (independent)
Though their MySpace page namechecks quite a diverse list of influences – Mobb Deep, Rimbaud, Randy Newman and Liszt all helped shape their creative muse – Los Angeles’ Ill Lit aren’t nearly as eclectic or horrific as that particular cocktail might suggest. Instead, they’re almost laser-focused on their blend of countryish tunes and squelchy electronic textures. Singer-songwriter Daniel Ahearn’s voice is pure and plaintive and the musical backing tasteful and restrained though overall the effort might be a little too polite. And no, I’ve no idea what’s with the album title. More MP3s and an interview at Cloak & Dagger – click through to Features and then D. Ahearn.
|National Eye / Roomful Of Lions (Park The Van)
But if you’re looking for a technicolour pastiche of styles and sounds, look no further than Philadelphia’s National Eye. It’s got a folk heart but a psychedelic soul and is almost certainly unshaven and barefoot. There’s no shortage of sonic experimentation as befits a band as obviously enamoured with the recording process as National Eye, but the songs are solid and stand up no matter how they’re dressed up. Recommended for those who like a little more hippie in their Olivia Tremor Control.
np – DeVotchKa / How It Ends