Album Review Saturdays 2024 Episode 15

Welcome to Album Review Saturdays 2024 Episode 15!  We find an artist that has a broad soundscape of folk-electronica meets low-sonic pop, and manages to swirl it around herself majestically!  Then, we go into a cleverly titled album from a Los Angeles garage blues band from 1965 that peaked so long ago it’s crazy to even think they have a 2024, new album!  But they freakin’ do, so we just had to give their final (Finyl) one a really good spin and review!  Then it’s on to an underscored guitar legend, who always serves up intriguing classic solo rock albums with a signature sound and artistic vocal delivery that entices the ear.   Time to get “deep” into these three Album Review Saturdays 2024 albums!

 

LINK TO OUR YOUTUBE VERSION
[Mark Kuligowski & Panelists DAHM and The Grateful Dude discuss these (3) albums + adds three (3) more reviews!]

 

Jane Weaver – Love In Constant Spectacle

When you first hear Weaver’s sound, you have this feeling that you’re into some young-ish low-fi indie personae.  Then, if you’re an investigator in the music multiverse, you find out that woman at the helm of this interesting folk-electronica, tempered pop album is a creator from 1993.  Do you remember, Kill Laura?  Probably not, as it was an obscure British grunge-pop band headed by Weaver.  And then, there was also Misty Dawn, which you probably didn’t hear either because her bandmate disappeared without a trace, and Iced To Mode (2003) never really saw the light of day either.  But, Jane Weaver, persevered into a solo career that’s been steady and underground (per se) since 2006’s Seven Day Smile.  So, this is a veteran in scope of the industry, and she actually is in charge of her own label, Bird Records, which is predominantly geared to folk female artists, like herself.  So, there you go!  A new rabbit hole to go down, as with her leading the way, there’s some great opportunity for true discovery, and that’s where Love In Constant Spectacle leads the way (today anyway).

Love In Constant Spectacle is an album immersed in subtle electronica that can come in contemporary format, like Hooverphonic, or it can have a subtle progressive natures like Portishead.  But, that is not the front of her albums.  Folk, in the alternative, pop or low-fi realm is truly the ingenious lead here, and in the past records that I got to prior to writing this.  The album is so very pleasant to the ear, that the first listen you don’t truly have the experience that the author and producer probably intended.  In the first listen, you’re trying to decipher where this lies in the music landscape, rather than embracing the sound, the pull and ebb within vocal and music accompaniments, and then of course — the electronica dimensions creeping, wisping and angling into the score and song-writing.  That’s the real spectacle of the recording, and Jane Weaver delivers it wonderfully within range and production.  It falls more into contemporary, but the places where it does escape to jazz and alternative folk-rock are welcomed earfuls that don’t mess hard with the flow and musicianship.  It also doesn’t hurt that John Parish (of PJ Harvey fame) is on the record!

If you do not know the multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter, this is a great starting off point.  In fact, it might be the most broad-range of albums that she has done (although please realize I didn’t get to all of them).  And no, she’s not Perisian or young.  She’s my age.  So nowhere near uncreative and/or incapable.  In fact, more capable than mos that have gloriously shitty sound careers that are being gobbled up by ear-challenged drones that seem to plague the record buying population (and I’m not talking about Taylor Swift).  Hey, Taylor Swift, might even list Jane Weaver as an influence, so you might want to check it out!  Albums like Evermore and blah blah blah under Ocean Boulevard don’t happen without folking independent road pavers!

The band

  • Jane Weaver – lead vocals, synthesizer, guitar, keyboards, handclaps, piano, drum machine
  • Joel Nicholson – guitar, shakers, twelve-string guitar, synthesizer, handclaps
  • Andrew Cheetham – drums, percussion
  • Matt Grayson – bass guitar
  • John Parish – tambourine, piano, handclaps
  • James Trevascus – drum programming

Love In Constant Spectacle Tracklisting

  1. Perfect Storm
  2. Emotional Components
  3. Love In Constant Spectacle
  4. Motif
  5. The Axis And The Seed
  6. Is Metal
  7. Happiness In Proximity
  8. Romantic Worlds
  9. Univers
  10. Family Of The Sun

 

 

Canned HeatFinyl Vinyl

Color me intrigued.  The band from 1965 with one surviving member (the drummer, Adolfo “Fito” de la Parra) gets a new album release after nearly 60 years in the business, and not truly having released a new album (not that Christmas thing) since maybe Friends in the Can (although I would prefer to drink by Coca-Cola here and not in the bathroom).  This blues lovin’ band, that deliberately draws attention to historic blues, covering them sincerely for the masses to appreciate, has made a lifelong musical career to be revered.  It’s perplexing, but when you get right down to it, it’s the blues baby, and that is the solid foundation of all kinds of genres!  They play it well, and the deliver it with a soulful intention that is ever-so-evident.  And, that hasn’t changed in fifty-eight years, so Finyl Vinyl will probably be no different!

This album, not only has the great Joe Bonamassa, but it has Dave Alvin and Jimmy Vivino writing on this album and delivering.  Jimmy, you might know from Conan O’Brien late night.  There is not going to be song that blows your blues mind.  But, what you do get, is signature, newer and well produced blues and boogie that is as close to mainstream ear-candy that you can get these days!  You can’t pitch this kind of material to a record label without a heavy scoff.  It’s hard to sell this vintage a sound in any market with the monotonous, displeasurable and often disgusting display of supposed musicianship or audiology of today’s trending streaming(s).  It’s true.  But, whomever it was that had the courage to make Finyl Vinyl a reality – kudos!  It’s a fun bluesy boogie filled recording that puts sound and past into context, and serves up a deservedly good farewell album.  And, this one, considering the title, should probably be purchased on vinyl, right?

The Band

  • Adolfo de la Parra – Drummer
  • Jimmy Vivino – Vocals, guitar, keyboard
  • Dave Alvin – Vocals, guitar
  • Dave Spalding – Vocals, Harp
  • Richard Reed – Bass

Finyl Vinyl Tracklisting

  1. One Last Boogie
  2. Blind Owl
  3. Goin’ To Heaven (In A Pontiac)
  4. So Sad (The World’s In A Tangle)
  5. East/West Boogie (Instrumental)
  6. Tease Me
  7. A Hot Ole Time
  8. You’re The One
  9. When You’re 69
  10. Independence Day
  11. There Goes That Train

 

 

Mark Knopfler – One Deep River

Ten albums, and a lifetime of signature guitar marksmanship, makes Mark Knopfler worthy of exploration.  The title, One Deep River, just harkens to the flow and delivery of one of the world’s most underappreciated classic rock guitarists still around today.  Think Jeff Beck in originality and you have a very good idea of the talent, creativity and complete uniqueness that streams from his fingers to the strings.  Not only that, it seems to have a deep connection to his vocal delivery and the song-writing that subtly bubbles storytelling to a greater surface.  Yes, this is the man from Dire Straits, but he has become so much beyond that wonderful rock band moment, and One Deep River is a continuation of the guitar man’s storytelling legacy.

The album is steeped in his childhood and memory of places and times.  He is, afterall, a journeyman of sorts, and the sounds and lyrics here echo that position against the marvelous riffs that encapsulate the record.  Knopfler describes, licks and embellishes with the greatest of ease.  Why?  Well, because he’s the daring man, storyteller flowing like the breeze (I tried).  Whether it’s a guitar strung to banjo, or a rock riff with production flares, he swings the delivery where it needs to be to enrich the characters or imagery within.  And, while it may not be your native experience, you find a place within it to identify, appreciate and connect with.  Whether it’s in the seediness of gambling, boxing, or, like in song ‘Janine,’ the roughnecks and truck drivers, pipeliners and engineers, the shifting musical choices are sculpted to bring each to life throughout the album.

Another triumph in the consistent catalog of Mark Knopfler, especially those that truly understand his greatness, and one for new followers to pick up on.  One Deep River showcases how a guitar can be used in rock to different degrees in skill and exquisite delivery.  With a hint of Celtic and soft jazz compliments within the smoothie whipped guitar and vocal, it’s not hard to fall deep and hard for this record against the barrage of heavier and tonal recordings buzzing throughout the years.

The Band

  • Mark Knopfler – lead vocals, electric guitar
  • Ian Thomas – drums
  • Danny Cummings – percussion
  • Guy Fletcher – synthesizer (tracks 1–4, 6, 7, 9–12), Mellotron (5), harmonium (6)
  • Richard Bennett – electric guitar (tracks 1, 2, 11), acoustic guitar (3–10, 12), bouzouki (9)
  • Glenn Worf – bass guitar (tracks 1, 3–9, 11, 12), upright bass (2, 10)
  • Greg Leisz – lap steel guitar (tracks 1, 4), acoustic guitar (2, 3), pedal steel (3, 5–12)
  • Jim Cox – digital piano (track 1), piano (2, 3, 5, 7–11), organ (4), Wurlitzer electric piano (6), Hammond organ (12)
  • Emma Topolski – background vocals (tracks 3, 5–8, 10–12)
  • Tamsin Topolski – background vocals (tracks 3, 5–8, 10–12)
  • John McCusker – fiddle (track 11)
  • Mike McGoldrick – uilleann pipes, whistle (track 11)

One Deep River Tracklisting

  1. Two Pairs Of Hands
  2. Ahead Of The Game
  3. Smart Money
  4. Scavengers Yard
  5. Black Tie Jobs
  6. Tunnel 13
  7. Janine
  8. Watch Me Gone
  9. Sweeter Than The Rain
  10. Before My Train Comes
  11. This One’s Not Going To End Well
  12. One Deep River

 

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