Au Revoir Simone, Verses of Comfort, Assurance & Salvation (XX) Describing Au Revoir Simone as a Brooklyn low-fi bedroom electronic trio may turn some of you off –- used to turn me off, for sure –- but don't let it: ARS have produced a sumptuous mini-debut album, 30 minutes of sleepy music for staring out the window on a cloudy day, when you're not unhappy just quietly at peace. "Through the Backyards" opens with a gentle steamship-beat and the fluttering sound of electronic butterflies, a natural accompaniment for the flat female vocals, like a female Jose Gonzalez. At their more upbeat, like on "Hurricanes", the electric organ whirls around like Postal Service or, more appropriately, Decoder Ring –- though Au Revoir Simone are less experimental and in the end, less compelling with their la-la-la choruses and major melodies. And when they start singing "This message is for all the people / The people who are always waiting," it sounds like an attempt at Architecture in Helsinki-like spontaneity, but one that doesn't quite work out. Most of the time, though, Au Revoir Simone spin quiet-eyed wonder, with confident sophistication (you don't hear rubato in electronic music very often, it's really refreshing). Au Revoir Simone spin their bewitching melodies in gentle arcs, a melancholy soundtrack for you to float to on your own.
"Through the Backyards": [MP3]
multiple songs: [MySpace]
Indie / Pop / Electro
Au Revoir Simone - Tour de Brooklyn Teaser
Dave Stoops, Spill Your Drink (Sevrin Songs) Some artists are so influenced by others that they lose themselves in those influences. And while Dave Stoops comes off at times like a protégé of people like Westerberg and Davies, songs such as "Burn Too Bright" seem a hair forced. But Stoops hits a better note with the lush, horn-tinted "Cricket Scores" that is different and almost a classic pop style. From here he sets his own high quality tone with the rudimentary but hook-filled "Satellite Star" and the slower, melodramatic "Carlysle Hotel" that sounds like an Americanized Pulp. And after these pleasers he can go back to the initial stuff without any bumps in the road. Not too rich for anyone's palette, a number such as "Wintergreen" brings to mind a contemporary Echo & The Bunnymen. However, the simplistic "Invisible Again" does nothing to make any impression on the listener. And if he wasn't inspired by Brit groups, take a second or ninth repeated listen to the head-bobbing "Pounds & Quids". And the Strokes-ian "Godless Ghost" isn't too shabby either.
[Insound | CD Baby]
"Cricket Scores": [MP3]
"Satellite Star": [MP3]
"Carlysle Hotel": [MP3]
multiple songs: [MP3]
Pop / Britpop
Jovina Santos Neto, Roda Carioca (Adventure Music) Born in Rio de Janeiro, long based in Seattle, as flautist and/or pianist the composer Santos Neto has performed a wide range of Brazilian and "Legit" music, as well as jazz. classical, as composer and pianist and flautist. He doesn't just play a little bit, he's a strong jazz pianist, here presented with a solid trio as on the opening "Estrela do Mar", augmented pretty expertly with various not altogether guests: he dubbed the melodica on "Marfim", and his solo swings like the clappers; as does Hamilton de Holanda's mandolin on "Gente Boa". Fabio Pascoal is added on percussion on these and a couple others, and Fabio's pappy, Ermeto, Santos Neto's sometime boss, plays melodica and various informal odds and ends on a tune of his own. The one title with vocal has some gutsy, real jazz singing from Joyce, who (if you didn't know) calls herself just that. She has left her guitar at home. For all that this is wider appeal music, not aggressive but often vivid -- like the first tracks mentioned abovem and the perky samba for trio, "Festa de Ere", to give another example. Nothing's watered down, and there's nothing gimmicky about "Coco na Roda": with Fabio Pascoal and the trio's bassist and drummer Rogerio Botter Maio, and Marcio Bahia, the leader provides the rest of the band, dubbing his own flute (twice) and accordion. This isn't one of the cases Klezmer enthusiasts and Hispanophiles can complain about, of an aggressive notion of jazz elbowing out or enslaving ethnic music. It's not even a marriage, it's a coexistence in one. The liner notes feature a glossary of Portuguese cultural and musical terms, as if the gentler samba "Homeopatia" had some deeper meaning in its title. Marcos Amorim's acoustic guitar is perfect in the ballad "Rancho Azul", and the two harmonicas on the harmonically rich "Bach-te-Vi" are both Gabriel Grossi, who thought he was recording two takes from which one would be chosen for dubbing over the piano trio track. Santos Neto used both, don't call him the slightly compromising "clever": ingenious is truer, alongside senstitive, vivacious, play it again.
Robert R. Calder
song samples: [MP3]
jazz / Brazilian Jazz / Post-Bop
Daniel Cirera, Honestly I Love You (Cough) (Tommy Boy)
Daniel Cirera tries to be what could be loosely termed as a shock singer-songwriter. Playing by one's own rules are okay at times, but the jazzy pop opener "Motherf*cker-fake Vegetarian Ex-Girlfriend" sounds like something a bitter 13-year-old teen would hum but never put down on paper, let alone expect people to pay for. While the arrangement is fine, it's an average song at best. But "Roadtrippin'" is a much deeper and evolved effort, showing Cirera's folksy talent that brings to mind Eagle Eye Cherry. And the tension-building "She Rules The School" is another strong arrangement with less than impressive lyrics. The sparse "Sorry, SORRY, Sorry" sounds like a bland James Blunt. And "1992" refers to New Kids, Madonna and Faith No More in the vein that flash in the pan LFO did a few years back. Perhaps if there were instrumental versions of these songs it would be an improvement, but "Castle" manages to work by hook or by crook. The same can be said for "Dog". There are too many dogs on this record though, particularly the folksy cover of the Sex Pistols' "Anarchy in the UK". Okay, dog, I'll stop before I get Randy Jackson-itis....
multiple songs: [MP3]
Emo / Indie / Acoustic
Daniel Cirera - Motherfucker Fake Vegetarian Ex-girlfriend [Live in Hamburg]