Category Archives: Indie Rock / Pop

Torres, Self-Titled: Album Review

Torres, Self-Titled: Album Review

Best New Album

Album: Torres
Artist: Torres
Year Released: 2013

Of all the albums I’ve listened to in 2013, only one has clung to my consciousness and literally haunted my dreams.  The album, Torres, by Torres, the musical pseudonym of Mackenzie Scott, is emotionally and audibly raw to the point where it is sometimes painful to hear, and yet, the album reaches such subtle and delicate heights that the heartache it conveys feels somehow beautiful, true and strangely invigorating.

Don’t let the opening track, “Mother Earth, Father God”, fool you.  Torres is not trying to be Tori Amos or Sharon Van Etten or Cat Power or St. Vincent.  Yes, all of those voices can be heard somewhere in this album, but as each track unfolds, it becomes clear that Torres has her own unique and powerful style, both musically and lyrically.  Where the first track is almost symphonic in its scale, the songs that follow grow both more personal and more emotive.

Track number two, “Honey” was the first to really grab me.  Opening with simple fingering of Scott’s Gibson electric guitar, the song sounds delicate and almost sweet at first, but quickly moves into an almost bellowing cry.  The main repeated line, “Honey, While you were ashing in your coffee/ I was thinking ‘bout telling you, What you’ve done to me/ Oh Honey, pretending like it never happened/ come over here and let me/ put you back together,” grows louder and more dissonant with each repetition.

Mackenzie Scott Torres Album

This theme of melancholy longing and emotional co-dependence is both the set-up and the punchline to this album.  As Torres, Mackenzie Scott seems well aware of the dangerous line her songs walk between girlish infatuations and more serious adult dysfunction.  “To the Moon and Back,” about a letter written by a mother to the baby she gave up for adoption, demonstrates a kind of desperate compassion for a woman who drew “the shortest straw” in life and “Come to Terms” makes the wise observation that, “Just because the two of us/ Will both grow old in time/ Don’t mean we should grow old together.”  Although Scott herself is only 22 years old as this album is released, she has flashes of maturity in her writing that sound as though they come from a lifetime of heartbreak and recovery.

As for the music itself, Scott’s use of the electric guitar is somewhat elementary, but incredibly effective.  In an interview on The Creative Routine, she is asked why she chose an electric guitar over an acoustic one.  Her response is finally, “It screams in my hands” and I think that description couldn’t be more accurate.  While Scott’s voice has an incredible ability to be sweet and beautiful at one moment and then strangled and raw the next, the guitar and other instruments on the album serve to add a grungy, unfiltered layer that provides an immediate subtext to the lyrics themselves.

For an additional conversation with Torres, check out the Dead Journalist interview from January 2013.  Dead Journalist asks her what she was listening to in 2003 (when Mackenzie Scott was 12 years old) and her answer is pretty priceless.  There’s more in that interview worth reading, so check it out.

Finally, if you want to buy the album, please click on the link below.  This throws EA’s Brain a few pennies and helps us bring you more reviews.  Thanks!

The Henry Clay People, Twenty-Five for the Rest of Our Lives: Album Review

The Henry Clay People, Twenty-Five for the Rest of Our Lives: Album Review

Album: Twenty Five for the Rest of Our Lives Artist: The Henry Clay People Year:2012   It’s been a good summer for punk rock.  Bands like Japandroids, Deer Tick, and to a lesser extent, Gentleman Jesse are proving that hard rock as a relevant sound is far from over.  In the incredible heat of this July,Continue Reading

Dirty Projectors, Swing Lo Magellan: Album Review

Dirty Projectors, Swing Lo Magellan: Album Review

Album: Swing Lo Magellan Artist: Dirty Projectors Year: 2012   Dirty Projectors are a band I have listened to for years, but never honestly paid that much attention to, until now.  With the recent release of Swing Lo Magellan, Dirty Projectors have leapt up a few rungs of amazingness, in my estimation. Swing Lo Magellan, like mostContinue Reading

Gentleman Jesse, Leaving Atlanta: Album Review

Gentleman Jesse, Leaving Atlanta: Album Review

Album: Leaving Atlanta Artist: Gentleman Jesse Year: 2012   The idea of punk rock usually has more to do with it’s anti-establishment lyrics and short, fast-tempo music style than any other genre markers.  This leaves the door wide open for interpretation as to what does and does not qualify as punk rock. Leaving Atlanta, the newest release fromContinue Reading

Album Review: Don Rosler, “Rosler’s Recording Booth”

Album: Rosler’s Recording Booth Artist: Don Rosler and Various Artsits Year: 2011   In the world of indie rock, the concept album has become somewhat of a rarity.  As though to challenge this assumption, Don Rosler has released a true concept album- a collection of songs performed by various artists, all centered around the ideaContinue Reading

Album Review: Spottiswoode and His Enemies, “Wild Goosechase Expedition”

Album: Wild Goosechase Expedition Artist: Spottiswoode and His Enemies Year: 2011   The artist known as Spottiswoode hasn’t figured out his musical style, and from all accounts, he’s fine with that.  On Wild Goosechase Expedition, Spottiswoode and His Enemies move seamlessly from Leonard Cohen style folk singing to Nick Cave style dark post-punk to humorousContinue Reading

Album Review: Happy People, “HP-EP”

Album: HP-EP Artist: Happy People Year: 2011   Happy People, the duo of Steve Ortega and Jeff Widner, are picking up on what has become common practice in the tech-savvy music world of 2011.  Lacking members for a full band, the two simply play everything themselves, cutting together their own tracks and ending up with aContinue Reading

Album Review: Jenny O, “Home EP”

Album: Home EP Artist: Jenny O Year: 2011   Discovering new music is fun, no matter how it happens.  In this case, I was watching the bizarre-o black comedy, Wilfred on FX and during a fairly typical montage, this super catchy and charming song came on.  I tried to use my iPhone to identify it, but when thatContinue Reading

Album Review: Lykke Li, “Wounded Rhymes”

Album: Wounded Rhymes Artist: Lykke Li Year: 2011   I’ve always had a soft spot for power ballads, those sweeping emotive tracks that make you want to belt out lyrics along with the singer.  In my youth, the only real power ballads I knew were, in fact, pretty awful- manipulative drivel about faux female empowerment which usuallyContinue Reading

Album Review: Girls “Father, Son and Holy Ghost”

Album: Father, Son and Holy Ghost Artist: Girls Year: 2011   The trick of good music lies in the fact that every new song is built upon some music that already exists.  There are only so many notes, so many chords and so many ways to bang a drum.  The goal is not to comeContinue Reading