Music

Daniel Martin Moore: In the Cool of the Day

Photo: Michael Wilson

Do you feel inspired?


Daniel Martin Moore

In the Cool of the Day

Label: Sub Pop
US Release Date: 2011-01-18
UK Release Date: 2011-02-07
Amazon
iTunes

Please allow me to state that this is a gospel record and that I am an atheist, or non-religious, or whatever. I don't believe in anything. That said, my personal lack of beliefs does not mean 1) it is not appropriate for me to critique this album, or 2) that I cannot view it as objectively as I need to. Carrying on...

Moore is a Kentucky boy, like me. He has an affinity for rural Appalachian folk and vintage gospel recordings (like a lot of people I know). He sent his first record, a secular affair, unsolicited, to Sub Pop (a big no-no for these put-upon labels), and someone listened. The label picked him up on the strength of it (I haven't heard it, but seriously, note to self: Don't listen to labels when they say they don't accept unsolicited material). For his second excursion on Sub Pop, he takes on six traditional numbers, re-works another two, and offers up three originals, all in a swift 30 minutes, and without any bombast whatsoever. If the word "gospel" conjures the soulful sounds of beefy black ladies in your head, buy a Mahalia Jackson LP.

God didn't give Moore much vocal prowess, and it's not the sparsely arranged renditions that bring the album down -- it's his voice. As a singer-songwriter, it's not a good sign when the best song on your album (in this case, "Lay Down Your Lonesome Burden") is an instrumental. For example, the "Sweet Georgia Brown"-ified "Up Above My Head" is great musically, but hearing Moore trying to sing like he's got a pair makes it just okay. The same can be said for "In The Garden" (where, specifically, his reedy voice doesn't fit the 1940's-style piano and upright bass groove) as well as "Dark Road", for which I wrote in my notes, sardonically, "great music at least".

I understand this is supposed to be a laid-back affair, but also detrimental is how many of the tracks seem sloppily thrown together on a whim, namely the putrid bore "It Is Well With My Soul" (not mine, O brother), and "O My Soul". Moore keeps mentioning the soul, but where's the goddamn soul?

Thankfully, it's not all so bad. A handful of tracks lead you out of the aural purgatory into what might be a bit of sonic heaven. The title track is so sparse and dark, and the sparse intimacy works for it, not against it, with gorgeous results. "Softly and Tenderly" is one we all know and is hard to fuck up, which Moore does not, and while it doesn't exactly stir the soul, it's quite pleasant nonetheless. "Set Things Aright" is a Moore original and sounds more secular than hymnal -- I could confirm that if I'd taken the time to pay attention to the lyrics.

As you can see, I've given In the Cool of the Day a rating of 6, which on the PopMatters scale means "good". Good isn't bad. But I don't really have time for good. And dammit, this is gospel, which is supposed to lift your spirits and fellate your soul, and Moore's covers and originals simply don't do that. He came up with a good set of songs, but failed to achieve what I perceive this type of music is supposed to.

6

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

Keep reading... Show less

Pauline Black may be called the Queen of Ska by some, but she insists she's not the only one, as Two-Tone legends the Selecter celebrate another stellar album in a career full of them.

Being commonly hailed as the "Queen" of a genre of music is no mean feat, but for Pauline Black, singer/songwriter of Two-Tone legends the Selecter and universally recognised "Queen of Ska", it is something she seems to take in her stride. "People can call you whatever they like," she tells PopMatters, "so I suppose it's better that they call you something really good!"

Keep reading... Show less

Morrison's prose is so engaging and welcoming that it's easy to miss the irreconcilable ambiguities that are set forth in her prose as ineluctable convictions.

It's a common enough gambit in science fiction. Humans come across a race of aliens that appear to be entirely alike and yet one group of said aliens subordinates the other, visiting violence upon their persons, denigrating them openly and without social or legal consequence, humiliating them at every turn. The humans inquire why certain of the aliens are subjected to such degradation when there are no discernible differences among the entire race of aliens, at least from the human point of view. The aliens then explain that the subordinated group all share some minor trait (say the left nostril is oh-so-slightly larger than the right while the "superior" group all have slightly enlarged right nostrils)—something thatm from the human vantage pointm is utterly ridiculous. This minor difference not only explains but, for the alien understanding, justifies the inequitable treatment, even the enslavement of the subordinate group. And there you have the quandary of Otherness in a nutshell.

Keep reading... Show less
3

A 1996 classic, Shawn Colvin's album of mature pop is also one of best break-up albums, comparable lyrically and musically to Joni Mitchell's Hejira and Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.

When pop-folksinger Shawn Colvin released A Few Small Repairs in 1996, the music world was ripe for an album of sharp, catchy songs by a female singer-songwriter. Lilith Fair, the tour for women in the music, would gross $16 million in 1997. Colvin would be a main stage artist in all three years of the tour, playing alongside Liz Phair, Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joan Osborne, Lisa Loeb, Erykah Badu, and many others. Strong female artists were not only making great music (when were they not?) but also having bold success. Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill preceded Colvin's fourth recording by just 16 months.

Keep reading... Show less
9

Frank Miller locates our tragedy and warps it into his own brutal beauty.

In terms of continuity, the so-called promotion of this entry as Miller's “third" in the series is deceptively cryptic. Miller's mid-'80s limited series The Dark Knight Returns (or DKR) is a “Top 5 All-Time" graphic novel, if not easily “Top 3". His intertextual and metatextual themes resonated then as they do now, a reason this source material was “go to" for Christopher Nolan when he resurrected the franchise for Warner Bros. in the mid-00s. The sheer iconicity of DKR posits a seminal work in the artist's canon, which shares company with the likes of Sin City, 300, and an influential run on Daredevil, to name a few.

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image