One might say that there has always been a certain gravity about Amelia Curran’s music, and—pun-centric jokes aside—her latest, “Gravity”, would back these claims. Complete with bombastic horns and an earworm of a riff, the Newfoundland singer-songwriter, mental health advocate, and activist wistfully embraces female empowerment with this jubilant leap into the world.
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Cilantro Boombox‘s new single “Love For Money” begins life as a ska song with strong echoes of the English Beat and the Specials and then morphs into a straight-ahead funk tune before injecting some salsa into the mix. With all of those components, you might expect “Love For Money” to be too crammed full of ideas to work, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Cilantro Boombox are masters at blending genres into new combinations that sound organic and natural. “Love For Money” ends up being a hugely fun dance tune that will have you searching for more music from this talented Austin band. Well, you’re in luck as the band has a new album coming in March and “Love For Money” is the first delicious taste.
Andrew Paschal: The opening track and fourth single from Rennen is also its worst offering. The song is a contrived and affected attempt to meld some idea of bluesiness into his brand of so-called “PBR&B”. Its melody is uncomfortably familiar, sounding not so much like one song in particular as a whole slew of songs, each similarly caricatured and unsubtle. “My baby don’t make a sound / As long as her hard liquor’s never watered down,” he drawls in an on-the-nose attempt to recreate the feel of a seedy tavern. In addition to going for a postindustrial bar song, “Hard Liquor” also has a curious “heave-ho” kind of vibe to it, like a co-opted imitation of the songs people associate with tough, physical labor. Perhaps this is what you would get if you crossed Blade Runner with Holes. [4/10]
Curtis McMurtry has a famous Texas surname and, yes, he the son of legendary Texas singer-songwriter James McMurtry, but Curtis is very much his own man musically. If you can imagine baroque pop translated into Americana, then you’ll get an idea of Curtis McMurtry’s unique contribution to the ever-broadening definition of Americana music. McMurtry has been as influenced by great songwriting craftsmanship as he has by jazz, folk rock, indie pop, and orchestral pop.
Jordan Penney: Each element of “The Lost Sky” seems carefully executed to create a sense of tension. The arrangement consists of guitar and bass, and its relative simplicity and repetition create a gently propulsive rhythm. The vocal melody is an unbroken march through three lengthy verses, and until the chorus Hoop barely allows herself a moment to add a melodic flourish off the end of a word. It has a restless quality. The lyrics suggest the carrying of a haunting burden—“I walk the dark star, the lost sky / Searching for your signal, receive mine”—and neither asks for nor expects redemption. Even the video depicts a disturbing scenario played out again and again, no resolution in sight. A masterpiece of concise and thoughtful songwriting, “The Lost Sky” is also a straightforwardly memorable and appealing song. [9/10]