Daniel Martin Moore had no idea that he would be signed to Sub Pop when he submitted his demos to them the old fashioned way, via mail. Kentucky is not a place where many great songwriters come from, but we now have one to add. Being a nomad, he was contacted while working in Costa Rica in a bed and breakfast. If he had regrettably not submitted his work, we would not have this masterpiece we have today.
He is the shining star or golden folk child for Sub Pop. The album Stray Age features his vocals and guitar primarly as traditional folk albums of the 60’s and 70’s did. He may be the next James Taylor, Paul Simon or Bread of this generation. Sub Pop allows streaming of his album (click here (Note: You need to sign up for a free account)). Check out this video:
Daniel Martin Moore follows the traditional folk line with the use of traditional acoustic folk guitar (no electric guitars are present) and warm / gentle vocals. He uses the old trick of using a capo similar to James Taylor “Fire And Rain”. However, it doesn’t sound like he uses alternate tunings (a-la Joni Mitchell), but I could be wrong. The songs flow one into the other with only a few points where you will notice a difference all while keeping the feeling the same.
Antony & The Johnsons new album The Crying Light is a somber set of songs. With such a unique vocal style, you will find an interesting sound. The albums theme revolves around the theme of mother nature and mortality. Antony delivers a beautiful, yet annoying album at the same time. The music is very atmospheric and seems to be the strongest thing the album has to offer.
He seems to draw from a lot of sounds for his vocals. Some people claim he sounds like Jeff Buckley, but he sounds more like a Tiny Tim, T. Rex, Nick Drake and Nina Simone and not as good as any of them. If you like Nick Cave, then imagine that sound with a more lispy singer. His vibrato sounds so flamboyant you can’t but help laugh. Ali-G would call this guy a “batty boy”. He does draw influence from his musical influence Boy George and Culture Club, but doesn’t come away with it as cheeky. It sounds like he’s trying to be serious, but that’s the same as imagining Saddam Hussein as a comedian. Looking at this picture to the right, it looks as if he’s pretending to be a rooster (he must’ve got picked on as a child). The album is dedicated to a dancer called Kazuo Ohno.
As terrible and annoying the vocals are, he does feature some great lyrics. Generally of a somber tone, his lyrics from “Aeon” (or a long period of time or age) for example are :
“Aeon’s eyes forlorn
He contains the storm
He’s the pasture of my dawn”
In the single “Another World”, Antony sounds like he’s writing a farewell letter to the world and saying how he’s going to miss everything in the world such as bees, trees, snow, things that grow and the sun to name a few. He describes his world is nearly at end, but the way it’s sung it sounds like he’s going to a different dimension like heaven. On
“Cut me in quadrants
Leave me in the corner
Oh now its passing
Oh now Im dancing”
Franz Ferdinand new album Tonight : Franz Ferdinand rehashes their groovy Gang Of Four dance vibe, but it comes with a mellower laid back groove. They wanted to ditch their electric guitars for synthesizers. Although synthesizers are present as well as guitars, the foundation for Franz Ferdinand has been their extremely talented rhythm section. Like Steven Adler (former drummer of Guns N’ Roses), I believe if they ditch their drummer they would be making a huge mistake (unless they can get the drummer from Blondie or Gang of Four). In either case, the guitars are present so don’t worry if that’s what you’re looking for besides that’s not why we even listen to them.
There are more synthesizers spread out throughout the album. “Ulysses” already sounds different than the typical Franz Ferdinand song, but not so much so you can’t tell it’s not them. The lyrics deal with drugs a bit with “C’mon let’s get high” and “What’s a matter there, feeling kinda anxious?”. “Turn It On” includes a break that sounds like a rave/techno with the that familiar annoying siren sound. “Send Him Away” bridge sounds like something of a Doors album. However, the guitar solo features a 12-string guitar and the rhythm section seems to sound like it’s about to fall over at first, but ends up tightening up towards the end. The first break in “Live Alone” sounds like Blondie’s “Heart of Glass”. “Dream Again” features very little guitar and creates a dream like sound with the echo of the shaker. The chorus features a few synthesizers, shaker and is followed by an eerie 50’s Sci-Fi / Mystery Science Theater 3000 movie – like synthesizer break. “Lucid Dreams” second half features a moog or according to Franz “Russian Polyvox synthesizers”. It seems to give a nod to the Nine Inch Nails song “Ringfinger” or something you would hear in a club. This song could have been split into two, but it seems to work as one like a great story.
Morrissey (formerly of The Smiths) new album (titled Years of Refusal ) appears to continue with his themes of despair, loneliness, loss. Morrissey brings his all with giant hooks, cynical lyrics, a decent backing band and a great voice to top it off.
This album does have the feel of Your Arsenal, since they feature distorted guitars like the beginning of that album. You’ll get that sense most notably in the first and last songs. For me it’s always been his sense of melody intertwined with his words that really sell get me to listen. Anything that sounds like The Smiths and I can’t but help listen to it, but if thats what your looking for then make sure to skip the tracks mentioned.
Years of Refusal is filled with Moz’s dark humor. Tracks like “Sorry Doesn’t Help Us” with words like “Sorry will not bring my teen years back to me (any time soon)” you can understand his sarcastic genius and natural sense with words. On “How People Grow Up”, he sings “I was driving my car, I crashed and broke my spine. So yes, there are things worse in life than never being someone’s sweetie”. So it takes some physical pain for Moz’s character to get over the mental anguish of never having been in love. And on the last track, Morrissey wants death with words like “Then came an arm around my shoulder, well surely the hand holds a revolver”.
John Frusciante (of The Red Hot Chili Peppers) new album is called The Empyrean which is the highest point in heaven. With tracks like “God” and “Heaven”, it seems like John has found a place of peace musically and mentally. The album goes through many moods and is constantly changing. It demonstrates John Frusciante’s ability to compose and produce at the same time. Thank you to Flea for playing on this album. His playing is like jelly to John’s peanut butter.
Laden with pianos and guitars heavy with reverb, the album does have an earthy aura. A cover of Tim Buckley “Song to the Siren” sounds close vocally. The basis is there, but John adds keyboards and airy guitar effects that give it more of a Pink Floyd and spacey feel. Anyone that would try to sing like Tim must have balls. On the track “God” he continues with his spacey emotions, but then goes into a more Medeski, Martin, & Wood jazz type of groove. He continues to build upon the groove with some heavy guitar and then a beautifully plucked melody in the background. “Dark Light” begins with keyboards and John’s voice engulfed in reverb. Again John decides to travel into a completely different direction by going into a groove with Flea and singing in his falsetto voice a-la “Under The Bridge” but with more of a gospel sound.
John plays some of his best solos on this album. The album starts off with a track (“Before the Beginning”) which builds from a single guitar to an insane guitar solo. It sounds like if Eric Clapton and The Velvet Underground got together. “Unreachable” sounds like a hark back to his former song “Going Inside”, but with drums and more upbeat. The solo sounds like Jimi Hendrix rose from the dead. Filled with trills and Hendrix wah sounds, the guitar solo builds into a beautiful melodic ending.