Review: Just Like Shadows by Anders L.A.

Just Like Shadows by Anders L.A. (9/10): Anders is a 21 year old singer-songwriter who is based in Copenhagen, Denmark who released his first album in 2009. Now with a fresh album released May 17, 2013, Anders is breaking onto the scene with a calming sound.

Just Like Shadows

Just Like Shadows gets its name from a Bruce Springsteen song. Fittingly, Anders counts Springsteen among his influences, along with Neil Young, George Harrison, and Dire Straits.

Anders L.A.

What I love about this release from Anders L.A. is that the sound is very minimalistic, yet the lyrics are thought-provoking. Some of my favorite lyrics on the album come off the song ‘Truth,’ “The lie may hurt but the truth it kills.” The album as a whole is wonderful when you just need to crack open a beer and unwind; it’s difficult to restrain yourself from tapping your foot to the beat. Believe it or not, my favorite instrument on the album is the tambourine; every time it comes in, I find my head bobbing up and down.

One interesting thing about the album is that the track ‘Stages’ is fully a capella. Normally, I hate a capella, but Anders L.A. pulls it off very nicely here. Overall, this is an excellent album that nearly puts itself on the level of Amos Lee and other acoustic albums of recent years (but falls just short) and is definitely worth a download.

You can find Anders L.A. on:

Bandcamp

Facebook

Itunes

Advertisements

Review: One Mile An Hour by One Mile An Hour

One Mile An Hour by One Mile An Hour (9.5/10):Headed by Jeff Kightly’s hauntingly beautiful vocals, One Mile An Hour is an incredibly impressive debut album. The self-produced album sets forth an ethereal tone that draws the listener deeper into the carefully crafted lyrics. At some points on the album, I am reminded of Simon and Garfunkel (particularly on “Sunken Ships”), Ray Lamontagne (as on “Trouble’s Roots”) and even of Bon Iver. But do not be fooled, these guys do not fall into the trap of trying to copy the success of others; there is a uniqueness about this album that sets it apart from others.

One Mile An Hour

Normally, I try to say what my favorite songs on the album are so that you readers can check those out first, but I really can’t choose a favorite for this album. The only song that really doesn’t tickle my fancy is “Nine Eight” if only for the fact that I’m not a fan of instrumental songs and this one is about 9 hours long (that may be a bit of an exaggeration, it’s only 10 minutes long). Overall, I think that the album is masterfully crafted and could be at the top of the folk charts. I hope that these guys get the credit that they deserve for this album that is easily within my favorites that I’ve discovered this year. 

You can find One Mile An Hour on:

Bandcamp

Amazon

Itunes

Their Website

Facebook

Interview: Aaron Gabriel

Over the past couple weeks, I’ve become acquainted with Aaron Gabriel, an under-the-radar singer-songwriter. He recently released his debut album, An Uninvited Guest. This week, I asked Aaron a few questions about his band:

An Uninvited Guest

Tell us a little bit about your background.

Growing up in a house with a lot of older brothers, I was exposed to a lot of different types of music.  As a result, I’ve been influenced by a rather wide range of bands and musicians: Don McLean, The Replacements, REM, Van Morrison, Todd Snider, Great Big Sea…the list goes on.  I’ve done some time in bands in the past, but I decided I wanted to make my own music the way I wanted to make it.  True, it doesn’t always go the way I play, but it’s nice being the one in control.  Sink or swim, it’s all on me.

 Who is your biggest musical influence?

Don McLean, for his poetry.  Paul Westerberg, for his honesty.  Chris Trapper, for his sincerity.

Describe your style.

I think the best way to describe my music is alternative folk with hints of acoustic pop here and there.  I am a big fan of harmonies, because I love how they fill out a song.  I also have a strong emphasis on songwriting — I want my songs to say something.  The way I see it, every song is meant for someone, even if we’ve never met.

Who is the most interesting current artist/band in your opinion?

While she isn’t exactly current, I have a tremendous amount of respect for Loreena McKennitt.  She is an amazing singer and musician, and has made a successful career without compromising anything on the way.

What is your biggest goal for your music?

I’ve never expected to go far with my music.  People who have heard it, for the most part, really seem to enjoy it.  And while it would be nice to make a little money, I’m just as happy playing small shows and meeting that one person who had never heard me before but who walks away a fan.

How do you feel about the new-found appreciation for folk and Americana music in the public’s eye?

Personally, I’m thrilled.  Good music, good songwriting…popular music on the radio really starts to sound the same after a while.  It’s a nice change!

What can we expect in the future from you?

The future looks like it could be busy for me: I’m in the process of entering songwriting contests, working on a Christmas album that’ll (hopefully) be done this summer, finishing my next solo album, writing a musical based on a horror movie that was made in my hometown, and trying to come up with A Prairie Home Companion-type radio show for my local radio station.  There is a lot of scary good talent in my hometown.

Would you rather tour or be making new music?

Both, really.  I’d love to go to new places and meet new people — it’s a great way to expand my music, and it’d be a great way to get fresh ideas and inspiration for writing new songs.

Any plans for touring?

I live in Chewelah, which is a tiny town in northeast Washington state.  There aren’t really a whole lot of touring opportunities around here.  And since I work full-time (the sad reality of the independent artist), I can’t afford to take time off to tour.  But what I’m hoping to get started doing is a series of house concerts: small, intimate performances in people’s homes to friends and family.  That could be a nice avenue around these parts.

You can find Aaron Gabriel on:

His website

Blogspot

Amazon

Facebook