Feature Friday The Third

This will be the last Feature Friday of the December because I will be working on finishing my end of the year music list(s).  Due to the mass quantity of excellent music that has been released this year my head is spinning at the thought of trying to numerically list albums.  I think I may try to, but I'm certain to find a way to make it easier.  It also means that when Feature Fridays return, I'll be drawing from my entire collection rather than just 2010 releases.  I figure that I can still note 2010 releases but since they just appeared in the Best Of list(s) I won't need to emphasize them quite as much.  Enough uninformative chatter, let's move on to the music.  Oh, and I'm going to do three bands this week.

River City Extension - The Unmistakable Man (iTunes link)

Courtesy XOXO Records
River City Extension are one of those bands that caught me completely by surprise.  You look at the picture and you can see your basic hipster band complete with a female back-up vocalist, bad haircuts, bad sweaters, and one hell of an unruly beard.  Fortunately for the world as a whole the band doesn't produce the sounds that one would except for such a troupe.  RCE instead combine folk, indie rock, and world-beat with a bit of punk flare.  The resulting songs tend to be dynamic combinations of percussion, guitars, trumpet, and vocals that waiver between smooth croons and elevate to gritty snarls (raw vocals as the band describes it).  Each song is so distinctive that I continue to be unsure of how to describe the overall feel and sound of the album.  Start to finish The Unmistakable Man is backed with quality music that often basks in elation or drunkenly reflective and raucous.

River City Extension - Something Salty Something Sweet from Chris Loupos on Vimeo.

AM Taxi - We Don't Stand a Chance (iTunes link)

Smoking is bad, kids.
I guess today's theme is "big surprises of 2010" because AM Taxi are another band that I wasn't excepted to strike me like they did.  First of all, I think this is the first album featured on my blog that was released by a major record label, specifically Virgin Records.  After listening to We Don't Stand a Chance I can easily see why AM Taxi got tagged and signed to a big ol' deal.  Overall this album sounds huge and simply rocks from start to finish.  Every song is built around a massive, hook-laden chorus that had me singing about by the time it rolled around for the second time.  The driving force behind the sound is bold combination of accessible modern pop-rock with some old-school traditional punk rock sounds.  The result is just over forty minutes of fist pumping awesomeness.  Highlights for me include The Mistake, Tanner Boyle vs. The 7th Grade, and Champagne Toast, but every song has its merits and, again, the massively huge hooks and choruses

AM Taxi - The Mistake from Down on Vimeo.

Dessa - A Badly Broken Code (iTunes link)

I don't profess to know a lot about hip hop beyond knowing what I like.  Years ago I was turned onto punk rock rapper P.O.S. and his Minnesota based Doomtree crew and self- and socially conscious sounds.  After getting totally swallowed up by rhymes and rhythm totally unlike the mainstream sounds, and I quickly digested much of their catalogue.  Dessa had a few guest spots and an EP length release, all it did was create anticipation for her first full length.  Fast forward to 2010 and A Badly Broken Code.

A Badly Broken Code features Dessa with the most mature, literary, and beautiful music that she's ever produced.  Her smooth, sometimes sing-song, flow melds beautifully with her strong, but pensive, singing.  Dessa is really more of a poet who raps than anything else.  Like I said, I'd like to say more, but my hip hop knowledge isn't really what it could be.  Instead I'll finish by saying that this is a beautiful, moving, rawly emotional album that's just a treat to just sit back and let it wash over you.

Dessa "Dixon's Girl" from Doomtree Records on Vimeo.


willn's said...

Link,such a good collection and I enjoyed listening to the tracks especially Am Taxi.,Good job wht inspired you..,?

Link said...

Inspired me to post these three artists?

willn's said...

Yes, besides your good taste, what triggered you to rest on these;ie the feel objective and fundamental insight.

Link said...

I listen to a lot of different sounding music, and that is something that I wanted to bring forward for the Feature Fridays. Every week I want to present a few bands with very different sounds not only to show some diversity, but also to offer potential readers options. I'm fond of saying that I can guarantee that anyone will find at least one artist in my collection that he/she would love, likely more than one.

When I start to reach further back in my collection you'll probably see a lot more punk-centric bands since that's the bulk of my collection, but I hope to continue to offer a variety.

I picked RCE and AM Taxi because these two haven't left my album rotation for several months and fit into this week's unofficial "break out" theme. I picked Dessa's album because I'm still so baffled by the praised being ladled on Kayne West that I wanted to feature a complex, literary, highly skilled singer/rapper that I think demonstrates my low opinion of West's album.

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