Album Review: Jenny Lewis – On The Line

A few weeks back I listened to Zane Lowe interview Jenny Lewis about her new album On The Line – an interview in which he spent most of the time discussing the men featured on this record, rather than Jenny herself. Even after everything Jenny Lewis had achieved she was still being considered in terms of who she was working with, rather than on her own merits. The recent revelations about one of the producers of this record have threatened to further overshadow this release. So it is pretty wonderful to report that most of the reviews and features written about On The Line have focused on Jenny’s music, life and legacy (unsurprisingly most of these have been written by women).

The fact that Jenny’s music has been so universally celebrated is important. Not every women artist gets that recognition and attention. What then can the humble blogger really contribute to this discussion you might wonder, when there are so many incisive and illuminating discussions of this album already out there? To be honest I have spent the last week wondering the same thing myself. I recently reviewed the new album by The Wild Reeds (whose music owes a debt to Jenny for sure) and I felt confident that it was important I wrote about an album that had received few other online reviews. In contrast there doesn’t seem much more I can add to the already determined facts about On The Line: this is indeed a brilliant album and some of the best work of Jenny’s career. But then I heard Jenny’s voice singing to me ‘do something, while your heart is thumping’ so I decided just to write anyway. Continue reading “Album Review: Jenny Lewis – On The Line”

Album Review: The Wild Reeds – Cheers

The Wild Reeds released one of my favourites songs of 2017 – an ode to how music can save your life. The three voices and songwriters which make up the band are Kinsey Lee, Mackenzie Howe and Sharon Silva, all of whom understand how to convey a special kind of melancholic euphoria. Their terrific new album Cheers continues in this same vein, exploring anxiety, illness and how to cope with the crushing reality of life. Continue reading “Album Review: The Wild Reeds – Cheers”

Album Review: Potty Mouth – Snafu

Rock music is dead they say, and one glance at the charts or a festival lineup might lead you to believe the same thing. Funny that when I look for a rock album to listen to I can always find loads of good stuff, usually sung by women – from Honeyblood to Bully to Lucy Dacus to this new album SNAFU from alternative punk pop queens Potty Mouth. Rock music is alive and it still sounds fucking great. Continue reading “Album Review: Potty Mouth – Snafu”

Album Review: Juliana Hatfield – Weird

I first started listening to Juliana Hatfield when I was thirteen, when I didn’t know who I was quite yet but I knew who I didn’t want to be, and what kind of music I didn’t want to listen to. I hated anything perfect, anything normal – I gravitated towards the damaged, the delicate, the fragile, the odd. I heard something in Juliana’s music that spoke to that loner soul I had inside of me. Twenty five years later and I still feel the same.

In the last two years we’ve been lucky enough to have two brilliant new Juliana albums released – the politically charged Pussycat and her tribute to her own childhood idol Olivia Newton John. The third album in as many years is more personal, concerned with what it means to be a little Weird. Continue reading “Album Review: Juliana Hatfield – Weird”

Album Review: Sharon Van Etten – Remind Me Tomorrow

The last time I saw Sharon Van Etten play live she hid behind her hair and sang a set filled with brutally honest songs, many of which detailed the reality of an abusive relationship and its aftermath. To get on stage and share this kind of pain was visibly difficult for her. Not long after she announced a shift in focus away from music – she went to college, began acting and recently became a mother. The break became the inspiration behind her new album Remind Me Tomorrow, a step away from the shadows of her past into a different light. Continue reading “Album Review: Sharon Van Etten – Remind Me Tomorrow”

Album Review: The Watson Twins – Duo

It’s been over ten years since The Watson Twins worked with Jenny Lewis on their classic album Rabbit Fur Coat. I feel incredibly privileged to have heard the twins sing live with Jenny a few times and was delighted to see they had released this new album called Duo. The album is produced by Russ Pollard and the excellent backing band includes Vanessa Carlton, members of My Morning Jacket and Mickey Raphael, who has worked with Willie Nelson. On these eight Americana-inspired songs Chandra and Leigh meld their voices together to create a truly heavenly sound. Continue reading “Album Review: The Watson Twins – Duo”

Album Review: Cat Power – Wanderer

Cat Power has always been a singular artist, someone who walks her own musical way. Being a distinctive stylist means she can create evocative widescreen moments within the simplest of arrangements. Her voice makes original songs and covers all sound like they were born from the same moment of pain and joy which is uniquely her own.

Her last album Sun was something of an outlier in her catalogue. At the time it felt like she was experimenting with new sounds and synths in an intriguing way. Listening to it now, years later and the layers of sound feel like she’s stretching at times, trying to navigate the confusion of life through musical experimentation. When it worked it was exhilarating (like on Nothin But Time and Manhattan), but you had to wonder if she was entirely comfortable with this new direction.

So it is unsurprising to hear her new album, Wanderer, strip things back to basics. Gone are the kaleidoscopic electronics, and the soulful jazz flourishes, now replaced with simple guitar and piano. Together the introspective songs sound like one glorious lullaby.  Continue reading “Album Review: Cat Power – Wanderer”

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑