Gil Ray, best known for his superb drumming for Game Theory, The
Loud Family, and Rain Parade, made this album, his only solo album, in 2006.
The music is solid, unpretentious, lo-fi indie rock. Ray has a lot of fun here
with the guitars, but doesn't use drums, only drum machines that sound organic
and are still played great.
Lyrically it’s the retro sci-fi of your dreams, the kind that
appeared in the 50s and 60s with its visions of what the future might be like.
The lyrics are fun, but serious fun, the kind where everyone is in on the joke,
but the jokes never turn sour, so a good time is had by all. And that is, in
the end, what the album is about: a good time, a futuristic time, one that
Gil lost his battle with cancer on January 24th of
this year. This review is my tribute to him, a really nice guy and wonderful
Joyful Noise has a subscription series.I subscribed just out of curiosity.I like them and I don’t think music
should be obscure either.This
series, “White Noise”, runs for a year, with a different known musician curating
each of the twelve releases.Up
first:Yoni Wolf’s selection, The Ophelias, an all
woman, all teen band from Cincinnati.
This blend of chamber pop/folk rock is wonderful.Quiet, understated, sad, yet with a dry
wit, the band shows much promise.I hope they stay together.Such a good start shouldn’t be wasted.I especially like their take on "These Days",
closer to the Velvet Underground’s version than the original.Jackson Browne wrote this when he was
19, so who better than a band of teens to cover it, make his cynicism their
own, and turn the lyrics into wry humor?
I had the tape of the
original Columbia album, with a different cover. They wore long, colorful
skirts and seemed to be floating in the air. I like the cover of this reissue
too, just the two of them in tank tops, sitting on a couch.
The album is still as
wonderful as when I heard it last, decades ago. I wore out the tape with
repeated playings. The songs are terrific. The sisters already had their
harmonies down. The lyrics are, by turns, heartbreaking and funny, with wry and
dry humor. While the music is very much of its time, it has timeless qualities,
so it's still accessible today. You could even say its a prototype for indie
folk, or indie, period.
But it’s the lyrics, their
sexual politics, counterculture consciousness, and flashes of 70s
non-ideological feminism that make it a lost classic at the very least, and one
of the greatest albums of all time at the most, because the subjects are
handled in a way that still rings true, giving them a universal appeal.
I love the Roches as a
trio. Suzzy is way cool, but Maggie, with her great alto, and Terrie's
soprano--there just isn’t anything like it. If you know their song “We” from
their first trio album, with its line “guess which two of us made a record,”
this is the record that song is referring to. If you love that album, I think
you'll love this one, too. And long live Maggie, who lost her battle with
breast cancer on January 21st 2017. This review is my tribute to her.
Todd Fancey’s first album since 2007’s Shmancey finds the
guitarist for The New Pornographers in fine form. This album is excellent from
start to finish.
I’m old enough to remember listening to 70s soft rock on AM
radio. "Love Mirage" is neo-70s soft rock at its best: no irony here, just a
great tribute to the past that makes me remember why I have a soft spot for
this type of music.
This album also is a tribute to the softer end of disco, so in
spots it sounds like the Bee Gees and their ilk. He gets this type of music
right, using vintage instrumentation, and no loops or overdubs.
Great melodies, and some wonderful backing vocals form Angela
Kelman and Olivia Maye, who sounds way older than 13, make this album a lot of
fun to listen to, whether you find this type of music a guilty pleasure, a
tribute to the past, or just good, period.