Category Archives: Best New Music 2010

Album Review: Blair, “Die Young”

Album Review: Blair, “Die Young”

Two and a Half out of Three Headphones Album: Die Young

Artist: Blair

Year: 2010

 

The artist and human being known as Blair has had a busy couple of years.  She spent most of 2011 touring as a supporting act for Eric Elbogen and Say Hi, finding herself her own following from cities around the country.  This all came after the release of her album Die Young at the beginning of 2010.

I reviewed Blair’s performance at the EARL in Atlanta earlier this year and you can read that here.  What I didn’t expect after writing that review was the number of times I would return to Die Young in the months following her show and how ingrained this album would become on my consciousness.

Now, I’ve said before, there’s something about girls who play guitar (and I mean, actually PLAY guitar, not just hold guitar) that gets me every time.  That was what initially attracted me to Blair’s performance, but after listening to this album over and over again over the course of four or five months, I’m becoming convinced that Blair has some magic to her that goes beyond her obvious guitar-playing ability.

Die Young is an appropriately titled album.  Blair’s voice is sweet and generally wispy.  Its not exactly that she sings prettily, but she sings like a young girl with a lot on her mind.  In general, the music echoes her child-like singing.  Each song is straight-forward and never overly complicated and while the tracks are somewhat sparse lyrically, the electric guitar adds a welcome grit to repeated lyrics.

A great example of this effect is on “Hello Halo” where Blair literally sings the words “kittens, rainbows” over and over before the somewhat desperately sung line “I don’t know what I’m saying”.  Her voice is sweet, but pleading and the grungy guitar playing backs up the listener’s hunch that “kittens, rainbows” isn’t the full story of what this young girl is trying to say.

Overall, Die Young manages to have a unique sound all to its own.  While it is fitting that she toured with Say Hi, she is no Elbogen rip-off.  Neither does her girl with guitar act make her a new millennium Joan Jett.  Blair is much too subtle a lyricists and performer for any kind of punk comparison.  What she has achieved on Die Young is nothing to sneer at.  She has crafted an album that the honors the best of the indie past while simultaneously bringing indie-girl-rock into the future.

Album Review: Black Dub, “Black Dub”

Album Review: Black Dub, “Black Dub”

Album: Black Dub Artist: Black Dub Year Released: 2010 There are voices and then there are voices.  Trixie Whitley is a young girl with some powerfully soulful pipes and she is the voice of the new group Black Dub, headed up by all-star record producer, guitarist and composer Daniel Lanois.  Lanois produced albums for suchContinue Reading

Album Review: Miniature Tigers, “Fortress”

Album Review: Miniature Tigers, “Fortress”

Album: Fortress Artist: Miniature Tigers Year Released: 2010   Every band had influences and very rarely is there any sound that is truly original. That said, sometimes, a band can sound very much like what has come before them, but in a way that is not derivative and old. There is a skill is takingContinue Reading

Album Review: Avi Buffalo, “Avi Buffalo”

Album Review: Avi Buffalo, “Avi Buffalo”

Album: Avi Buffalo Artist: Avi Buffalo Year Released: 2010 I listened to the new album from band Avi Buffalo a few times in a row, just because I liked it that much.  It wasn’t until later that I looked into the band’s story a little and found out that these are some seriously young kidsContinue Reading

Album Review: Siskiyou, “Siskiyou”

Album Review: Siskiyou, “Siskiyou”

Album: Siskiyou Artist: Siskiyou Year Released: 2010   I love it when musicians, especially indie rock musicians, have a solid grasp of dynamics.  No, not interpersonal dynamics, though that’s nice too, but the dynamics of an album.  While its great when one song has some variance of loud to soft, slow to fast, its evenContinue Reading

Album Review: The Walkmen, “Lisbon”

Album Review: The Walkmen, “Lisbon”

Album: Lisbon Artist: The Walkmen Year Released: 2010   I’ve liked the Walkmen for a while. A great live band, they’ve opened for Spoon and other indie rock names, but hadn’t, until now, really come out on their own. That all changes with Lisbon, their newest album.  Lisbon is a fully realized piece of art. Continue Reading

Album Review: One Eyed Jacks, “In Memory… EP”

Album Review: One Eyed Jacks, “In Memory… EP”

Album: In Memory… EP Artist: One Eyed Jacks Year Released: 2010 Score one for the little guy. One Eyed Jacks, formed in the summer of 2009, is a new band out of London with a name taken from the little-known cult television show Twin Peaks.  One Eyed Jacks are even less well known than thatContinue Reading

Album Review: The Roots, "How I Got Over"

Album: How I Got Over Artist: The Roots Year Released: 2010 As you can tell from the albums I choose to review, I don’t listen to that much hip hop. When I do venture out into the world of rap, and hip hop, my expectations are sometimes a little too low. That said, How IContinue Reading

Album Review: S. Carey, "All We Grow"

Album Review: S. Carey, "All We Grow"

Album: All We Grow Artists: S. Carey Year Released: 2010 S. Carey, the musical moniker for Sean Carey, is not a household name.  Those who have heard of him know him best from his work as the drummer for Bon Iver, headed up by Justin Vernon.  All We Grow is Carey’s first attempt at goingContinue Reading

Album Review: The Capitalist Youth, "At the Campfire"

Album: At the Campfire Artist: The Capitalist Youth Year Released: 2010 The Capitalist Youth have a band name that sounds like it should be an ironic punk band.  Instead, what you get on At the Campfire is the sound of earnest, silly, folksy young singers, who sound like they are having a great time together.Continue Reading