Ron: Death Cab For Cutie – Thank You For Today
On their 9th studio album, Ben Gibbard & band continue the sound that started bringing them fans 20 years ago. Rich Costey’s ethereal production keeps Ben’s light & dream-like vocals out front so we can hear the nuances in his thought-provoking lyrics. Change and departure are common themes throughout songs like “When We Drive,” “Autumn Love” & “You Moved Away,” showing the effect leaving has on those left behind, while the passage of time is hard to miss on “60 & Punk.” A liner-note surprise: Ben’s co-writer on “Gold Rush,” a tune about the money to be found in urban development, is Yoko Ono. And for those of you from The 206, don’t miss their Seattle-home reference to Dyes Inlet in “Northern Lights.”
Stacy: Cautious Clay – Blood Type/Resonance EPs
Brooklyn’s Josh Karpeh (aka Cautious Clay) is a 25-year-old artist with a very clear sonic vision. He made a splash earlier this year with his debut EP Blood Type and a quick follow up with the Resonance EP in June. Although Josh has been producing other artists and songwriting for six years, these are his first forays into his own music. The releases are lush, layered pieces, seamlessly crossing genres from R&B to EDM with the lyrical street-smarts of Hip Hop. Classically trained as a kid and studying jazz saxophone at George Washington University set the stage for this artist to explore all sorts of soundscapes, citing influences ranging from Kendrick Lamar to Joni Mitchell. This producer/songwriter cum performer is just coming into his own and I can’t wait to hear what’s next from Cautious Clay.
Benji: Charley Crockett – Lonesome As A Shadow
Charley Crockett is a troubadour in the truest sense of the word. Crockett left home in his teens, hopping railroad cars and busking on the streets to earn his keep. He even spent a year in Paris before returning to his native Texas. Difficult to describe, Crockett is a self-taught musician who plays Blues, Honky Tonk, Gospel, Soul and even some Cajun Jazz. For his latest album, Lonesome as A Shadow, Crockett ventured to Memphis and recorded at Sam Phillips’ legendary Recording Service studio. The album was recorded live to tape, giving it a raw, energetic feel. You’ll hear just how eclectic a musician Crockett is via the straight-ahead Rockabilly burner “Lil Girls Name” and the very soulful “Ain’t Gotta Worry Child.” If you want a record with a little bit of everything and a whole lot of realness, check this Shadow out.
Chris (Digital Producer): The Rock*A*Teens – Sixth House
In the late 90’s and early 2000’s, The Rock*A*Teens were a band you liked so as to be cooler than your Pavement & Liz Phair-loving friends. Over their 5 albums, no band has combined the ethos of indie rock, rockabilly, and punk better. Hailing from the thriving music neighborhood of Cabbagetown in Atlanta, GA, their influence has been crucial to indie rock. Their first studio full-length since 2001, Sixth House kicks off with the no-looking-back anthem, “Billy Really.” It’s classic Rock*A*Teens, full of reverb and southern pastiche. On “Turn and Smile,” band leader Chris Lopez sings: “Oh, I wouldn’t have it any other way.” And why would they? Dan Bejar of Destroyer and formerly The New Pornographers, has said The Rock*A*Teens “were arguably the best American rock ’n roll band of the ’90s.” With Sixth House, they’re making a strong case for that title again.