Battle Studies

The first single "Who Says" from the forthcoming album by John Mayer titled "Battle Studies", left me wondering what he had done. The track strongly hinted at guitar riffs from one of his previous tracks "Heart of Life" unfortunately accompanied by weak-minded lyrics. You can't deny his talent as a song writer and guitarist, in many ways he is the best we have. The dedicated and close eye of drummer Steve Jordan is apparent throughout the album, laying down absolute bedrock for Mayer to work his melodic magic.

Aside from the disappointment in the first single, this album is full of great tunes like "Assassin", "Edge of Desire", and the echoey guitars of "Heartbreak Warfare". Mayer's vocals come across stronger and smoother than in previous albums. Battle Studies is an experiment gone right. Despite the less than perfect reviews, time will certainly afford Battle Studies what it does all great art, a crescendo of appreciation.

Chutes to Narrow

I first heard this song by The Shins while watching the movie Garden State. Obviously, they owe much of their commercial success to Zach Braff. There is a scene in Garden State where Natalie Portman's character claims "You gotta hear this one song, it'll change your life I swear" referring to a song by  The Shins.

The quintessential  indie\alternative band, a unique sound, as far as one can be unique with a traditional band lineup. Many songs are very modern and trendy, while other tracks including Saint Simon dipped to a 60's Beatles sound.

The Weight is a Gift

I began listening to this band a few weeks ago and have enjoyed their album, The Weight is a Gift. I know they've been around for a long time, and I'm just coming on board, but there are too many bands to listen to everything as it comes out. As you read this blog you will learn I have an issue with listening to the same thing over and over again, so naturally, it takes me a while to get to the next band. I'm alright with that, because when music is especially good, I like to enjoy every part of it and just take it all in.

Anyway, I'll start with the cover art. I was drawn to their use of color and the understated, old-school animation. We've seen this recently on other works as its become a bit popular, but I like it still the same.

This album is filled with catchy phrasing and memorable melodies. Singer Mathew Caws has a likable, tenor voice.

The best known track "Always Love ", contains great message and a catchy tune, easily my favorite track. This song is the reason I looked up the band and bought the album. Like most albums, I found  a few other quality supporting tracks. I also recommend "Concrete Bed", a catchy upbeat number. "Do It Again" a song with a great bass line and where I really got a sense of how this band can play, when they play together. The bass line and the drums are very well done, simple, together. I also loved the transition into the second movement. "Comes a Time" is also a song worth listening to, melancholy. The first time I heard it I was flooded with very specific, old memories.

This album does have some downside, like most. A trio band can be great, but it can also be limiting. This band doesn't strike me as musically diverse, some of the lyrics are off-putting  (see Blankest Year, or don't actually, trust me) and diminish some of the well thought out, meaningful songs.

Upon researching this band, I learned they put in a lot of work and saw a lot of rejection before receiving  any real success. Even after being signed, they encountered disagreement with their label and had to fight to keep songs and albums they believed in. I admire the bands who have to fight to get their music heard, they fought and I listened.


So, this is it. I've been thinking about doing a blog for a while. Shandi has been maintaining our family blog and doing a great job. I've started to enjoy writing more and more the last few years so  I thought  a blog would be a good way for me to practice my writing as well as share my thoughts on, you know, whatever. Maybe I'll review movies, books, and music or write about art and photography. I also enjoy electronics and new technology, so we might see a bit of that as well. Feel free to leave comments.