Letters

Letters 05-30-2016

Oaks & Moths All of last week’s letters regarding recommendations for the best native plants from “Listen to the Experts” from the previous week were right on target. Those who are interested in learning more about native plants, and their importance to birds, bees and butterflies, would do well to read Dr. Douglas Tallamy’s wonderful book, Bringing Nature Home...

Poor Grades On Standardized Testing We have been enduring standardized testing for the last few weeks as our district isn’t allowing for opting out without student removal. I think other parents need to know and the district needs to address their own inconsistencies in policy...

Beware Trump  To describe Trump: hubristic, narcissistic, misogynistic, sociopathic. There are more descriptors. Should we pity this misfit or fear that his values attract such a large segment of our society? Hitler was spawned in the ferment of economic unrest...

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4Play: Gomez, Marianne Faithfull, Bon Iver, Jill Scott

Kristi Kates - July 4th, 2011
Gomez - Whatever’s on Your Mind - ATO/Red
With members that live in the UK and the U.S., Gomez convened in - where else? (huh?) - a recording studio in Virginia to work on their seventh studio set, which they produced with producer Sam Farrar (Maroon 5, Phantom Planet.) Written in large part by internet correspondence, the songs here carry through with Gomez’ trademark sound, whether it’s the acoustically-based resignation anthem “Options”; the piano-festooned title song; the uber-catchy “Place and the People”; or what is perhaps the most alt-rock track on the set, “Equalize.” It’s nothing unusual, but that’s not bad - it’s simply another set of solid new Gomez tunes.



Marianne Faithfull - Horses and High Heels - Naïve
Faithfull’s 19th album finds the singer in her mid-60s and in the same quirky form of voice that her vocals have always resided in since her early days. This album is pretty equally divided between new songs for Faithfull and a half-dozen ‘60s cover song versions; both approaches work well for the singer, most effectively on the title track, which she co-wrote about places she’s been, and the Dusty Springfield number “Goin’ Back,” which she rearranges a little and gives her own vocal twist. Other highlights include “Love Song,” “No reasons, “Past Present and Future,” and the poppiest track here, her light take on “Gee Baby.”




Bon Iver - Bon Iver - Jagjaguwar
A direct contrast to Bon Iver’s previous effort, this set finds singer-songwriter Justin Vernon with a host of musical guest collaborators, and an approach that pushes his songs out of their folky comfort zone and on to musical experimentation, especially in the percussion and “world instruments” divisions. “Perth” opens the set with marching drums fighting for space with the vocals, while “Hinnom TX” introduces ‘80s-style synthesizer runs; “Towers” and “Holocene” are perhaps the two songs that keep more of Bon Iver’s original sound while still infusing them with some new and interesting elements that actually work well.


Jill Scott - The Light of the Sun - BB Records
Scott’s latest is less produced and more “jam-like” than her other albums, as produced by Scott herself along with Faith Evans collaborator J.R. Hutson. “Blessings” opens the collective on an upbeat note, as Scott sings and speaks her way through a grocery list of the things she’s thankful for on “Blessings.” Most of the up-tempo songs are on the album’s first half, from the Donna Summer-like “So In Love” to the horn-synths of “All Cried Out Redux” and the funky “Shame”; the rest of the set, including ballads “Missing You,” “When I Wake Up,” and the jazz-inflected “Rolling Hills” lower the beats to a more mellow approach.
 
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