Barely a year after forming, Portland band Crow and the Canyon sound like a tightly-knit unit on their debut album Leaving Soon. Highlighted by the dual harmony vocals of Ben Larsen and Leigh Jones, their sumptuous, gently rustic folk music hearkens back to another much more innocent time. Indeed,, it feels like you’re swept back decades when you listen to the new track “Gentle on My Mind”.
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Adrien Begrand: When you have the gall to declare an album one of the best debuts by a woman auteur since Kate Bush’s The Kick Inside you’d better hope like hell the artist follows that up with something special enough to prove they’re not a flash in the pan. This track from FKA Twigs’ forthcoming new EP is indeed a stunner. Structurally it builds from the skeletal, minimal R&B of LP1, but there’s even more darkness before, not only in the skittering beats and the shockingly simple three-beat riff, but in the roars of noise that blast into the track as if Khanate is sitting in. Toss in some wicked, pitch-shifted rapping to offset her tasteful and highly sexual vocal acrobatics, and you’ve got another major statement by an artist who’s looking more and more like a visionary with each passing year.—[9/10]
The electronic leanings near the song’s opening scared me at first, but this song is relatively enjoyable. I’m still not the biggest fan of the synth that was invoked into the vocal at most points, but McGraw handles himself well given his dealings with the modern country devil – at least it isn’t thematically encompassing trucks, or, you know, turning a cornfield into a party. A mellow, everyman love song that I’m sure could light up country radio pretty strongly given McGraw’s status as a mainstay. I wouldn’t ever outwardly choose to listen to it, but I wouldn’t necessarily change the dial if it were to come up either. Like the song’s disposition, my reaction is nondescript towards it all.—JONATHAN FRAHM [5/10]
Nashville artist Steve Lewis is set to release his latest album Creepers & Vines, and if it’s anything like its opening track “Off This Rock”, it’ll be a must-hear when it comes out in three weeks. With roaring guitars that echo Neil Young and Crazy Horse, sparkling harmonies reminiscent of glam David Bowie, and an undeniable sense of fun, it’s a blast of rock ‘n’ roll that shames any white male indie rock that’s come out this year. Crank it with the windows down.
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