Monday, June 9, 2008

Monday Album Roundup

Carole King: Tapestry (Legacy Edition reissue with additional live versions)
Looking back at the best-selling albums in pop history, not all retain their emotional impact. Tapestry however, plays just as powerfully as it did in 1971. With a wealth of Brill Building hits behind her, King created a masterpiece with these dozen timeless tunes, including "You've Got a Friend" and "It's Too Late." She might well be the finest songwriter of the modern pop era. A second disc, with live renditions, is included.

Love: Forever Changes (reissue released April 2008 with outtakes and alternate versions)
Mysterious lyrics, intricate arrangements and lead singer Arthur Lee's urgent vibrato helped make Love one of the most innovative psychedelic folk-rock bands. Rhino's two-disc release includes previously unheard material from this landmark album

Richie Havens, Nobody Left to Crown ( will be released July 2008 )

From Richie Havens: Ageless folk legend still making art for the here and now:
"I can't believe I'm doing it still," he says through infectious laughter. "It's so much fun to be allowed to do this. I'm being allowed and I really know that."

The 67-year-old folk-rock legend is talking about his still very much ongoing career, which includes a new CD, "Nobody Left to Crown," his 27th album to be released in July on Verve, and a seemingly endless tour which not infrequently finds him in New England.

Weinland, La Lamentor
Portland-based five-piece Weinland sophomore release, La Lamentor (Badman Recording Co.), is a really nice album and proves the old adage that pain equals art. Darker in feel and heavily influenced by the struggles front man, John Adam Weinland Shearer, faced in relationships and at work in a flawed and troubling mental health system, La Lamentor portrays life's misfortunes with dark-hued tones and moving lyrics while bearing the heart of Neil Young, the thoughtfulness of Nick Drake and the beautiful sorrow of Elliott Smith.

Listen on iTunes

"The arrangements uncover delicate surprises throughout this record-a light washboard shuffle with an easy-going acoustic hook, well-placed lap steel, and occasional piano clamoring-the effect is perverse springtime listening that reminds you the fall is just a season away." --Crawdaddy

"La Lamentor follows and expands upon the warm, folky songs we've come to love and expect from this band." --Muzzle of Bees

"To rock or not to rock? That has long been the question facing Weinland frontman Adam Shearer. But the real issue at hand for this solo songwriting project-cum-three piece-cum-folk ensemble is how big a sound to have. La Lamentor has an answer." --Willamette Week

"An album that announces itself as a classic from beginning to end." --The Portland Tribune

"An amazing & intimate collection of hauntingly beautiful folk lullabies-the kind that are so good they give you goose bumps." --The Portland Mercury

"It's clear from the first word that Weinland have created a special album-it's a little bit country, it's a little bit rock and roll, upbeat melodies with tormented lyrics alongside quiet poignant songs with messages of hope. It's like Dylan always having been electric, or like Neil Young putting out an album of indie-rock covers." --MOG

"Weinland provides a sound reminiscent of Hayden and Iron & Wine's group efforts, with roots in folk, rock, and a touch of the Bakersfield sound." --AuralFitness

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Rajaton: Finnish a cappella

Adapted from
I'm guessing that not a lot of people have heard the sound of finnish a cappella music, and it's time to change that, as far as I'm concerned. Vocal ensemble Rajaton, founded in autumn 1997, is a professional a cappella group with six singers (SSATBarB) most of whom have studied singing either at the Sibelius-Academy or at the Pop/Jazz Conservatory in Helsinki, Finland. They primarily perform music written for the group. As its name shows (rajaton = boundless), its musical scale ranges from sacred music to pop and from folk music to contemporary concert music. At the moment, their repertoire consists mostly of settings of texts by Finnish and foreign poets written for the ensemble by young Finnish choral composers. Rajaton also performs new arrangements of Finnish and foreign folk songs.

Give a listen to Mita kaikatat, kivonen? ("Wherefore Grumblest Thou, O Grindstone?") which I discovered via Said the Gramohpone blog.