Thursday
Feb142013

Review: Cuff the Duke 'Union'

Cuff the Duke's latest album 'Union' makes me wonder who the band loves, and continually listens to.  In the early moments of 'Live My Life' the band gives you a glimpse of where they're coming from on this record.  The first song sparks your interest, and made me wonder if I'd heard it before.  The beginning of a collection of music that makes sense.

'Union' came at a time where I didn't really know what I wanted from anybody's album when I picked it up.  It's plain to see that the rich tradition of North American folk music is carried on here.  The record triggers memories of songs I remember hearing as a kid, quintessentially Canadian in my mind.  It'd be easy to say that Cuff the Duke are standing on the shoulders of giants, but with 'Union' they have solidified their place among them.

'Side by Side' might be the favourite track on this record, but any attempt to make that distinction does the whole body of work a disservice.  Each song plays beautifully on it's own, make no mistake.  The true beauty of 'Union' is that all of the pieces of the puzzle fit seamlessly.  Elements are so eloquently woven together that listening anyway aside from beginning to end will cause the listener to miss something.

Experiencing an album like this brings two things to mind.  One, it is the culmination of people spending so much time writing and playing music together that it reaches a level of cohesion that you don't find everyday.  Two, the live shows Cuff the Duke will be playing in support of this record are going to be very special.

In the digital era of 2013 there's simply more music coming out, and it reaches us at a rapid fire rate.  'Union' provides lovely solace from that, creating something that is equally patient, and beautiful.  It requires a similar patience from it's listener, or they're doomed to miss a great deal.  You could take this record with you, and time travel and the 1970's wouldn't be able to tell it's an alien.  You can play this over and over again, making new discoveries of the nuances in the playing and songwriting with each listen.

Those that chase the 'flash in the pan' hype of the moment as they catch their fifteen minutes probably won't have much time for this.  It's not immediately telling you what it's about as soon as you press play.  The album's depth is not immediately apparent.  Such beauty is given more power, when it is subtle and not obvious.

'All I Want' is such an earnest song of devotion to the love of one's life.  It's tough to keep it from bringing up memories of that same love in your own life.  That song can trigger a music video's worth of memories in anyone who has ever loved before.  'Rise Above' is a triumphant song of a certain indescribable determination.  It should be your go to choice on your ipod during times of frustration.  Let it be said that the simplicity, and universality are what make this album truly great, and unforgettable.

-@yahohyah

 

 

 

More Cuff the Duke online:

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CufftheDuke.ca

Monday
Feb112013

Review: Toro y Moi 'Anything in Return'


This record sounds like a dream.  More specifically, the soundtrack to a dream. It plays almost as if Chaz Bundick sat down every morning and worked at this record until he fell asleep, and before long the dreams and the music started to merger.  The boundaries blur, and that's how something so relaxed, eloquent, and at times delicate can be made.

There's one thing that separates the sound from what one would associate with a bedroom producer.  Toro y Moi is beautifully composed, truly the work of a highly gifted songwriter.  From beginning to end it plays like it could be a document to any number of lives.  There's something emotionally universal hidden amongst the growing array of sounds that Toro y Moi employ on each record.

This album will definitely make you want to get up and dance, which isn't the first thing people associate with Toro y Moi.  On the right system the bass on 'Say That' will have you moving.  This isn't the first time that Toro y Moi hasn't gotten funked out on a track, but it is a favourite.

'Day One' is potentially our favourite track, and reminds us a bit more of the first Toro y Moi tracks we heard.  'Never Matter' is a prime example of how Bundick can weave elements together for one extremely catchy result.

This album has been on repeat since we first got it, and it'll probably stay that way for a while.  No one else can make a record quite like this.  In addition the title itself is as inviting and curiousity inspiring as the record.

 

More Toro y Moi online:


  • Official Site
  • YouTube
  •  

     

    Monday
    Feb042013

    Review: Serena Ryder 'Harmony'

    There's something very special going on with this record.  The songs are beautifully written, and impeccably played but there's no exact way to explain the magic that lies in between.  I remember on the first listen the sense of confidence and empowerment that the songs imputed.  There's no denying it, regardless of the genre you attach to it.

    The album is an adventure, it plays like the soundtrack to a film.  There's a journey, and a thousand experiences behind songs like these and in turn they will chronicle millions more for the listeners.

    'Stompa' is the first single, it's low down, dirty rock and roll if such a thing is still being made in 2013.  'What I wouldn't do' belongs on mix tapes.  The kind you make for your friends when things are rough.  That song is like a time machine.

    Most of them are evocative of memories of great singers from every era of popular music.  The key is that it's never the same one twice.  This is one of those records that comes along, and I hope that the world catches on.  Not simply because an incredible talent like this deserves recognition, but because I know a hell of a lot of people who could use an album like this now and then.

    When you get lonely and visit your friends at the record store, look for Serena Ryder and 'Harmony'.  Play 'Heavy Love' as much as I have for the past week, and don't look back.  Find yourself a walk and a pair of headphones, or get out on the road and give this record a chance.

    You'll get a lot more than that back.

     

    iTunes

     

    -By @yahohyah

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