Letters

Letters 07-21-2014

Disheartened

While observing Fox News, it was disheartening to see what their viewers were subjected to. It seems the Republicans’ far right wing extremists are conveying their idealistic visions against various nationalities, social diversities or political beliefs with an absence of emotion concerning women’s health issues, children’s rights, voter suppression, Seniors, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid...

Things That Matter

All of us in small towns and large not only have the right to speak on behalf of our neighbors and ourselves, we have the duty and responsibility to do so -- and 238 years ago, we made a clear Declaration to do just that...

An Anecdote Driven Mind

So, is Thomas Kachadurian now the Northern Express’ official resident ranter? His recent factfree, hard-hearted column suggests it. While others complain about the poor condition of Michigan’s roads and highways, he rants against those we employ to fix them...

No On Prop 1

Are we being conned? Are those urging us to say “yes” to supposedly ”revenue neutral” ballot proposal 1 on August 5 telling us all the pertinent facts? Proposal 1 would eliminate the personal property tax businesses pay to local governments, replacing its revenue with a share of Michigan’s 6 percent use tax paid by us all on out-of-state purchases, hotel accommodations, some equipment rentals, and telecommunications...

Fix VA Tragedy

The problems within the Veterans Administration identified under former President Bush continue to hinder the delivery of quality health care to the influx of physically wounded and emotionally damaged young men and women...

Women Take Note

I find an interesting link between the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby and the crisis on the southern border. Angry protesters shout at children to go home. These children are scared, tired, hungry and thirsty, sent to US prisons awaiting deportation to a country where they may very likely be killed...


Home · Articles · News · Music · 4Play: AMOS LEE, THE DECEMERISTS,...
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4Play: AMOS LEE, THE DECEMERISTS, BIGHT EYES, COLD WAR KIDS

Kristi Kates - February 14th, 2011
Amos Lee - Mission Bell - Blue Note
Melding the vocal stylings of Bill Withers and James Taylor together into a soulful American roots-music mix, Lee’s latest (his fourth album) includes a wide range of guest musicians and amps up his arranging skills with more complexity than previous releases. He brings Lucinda Williams in for a duet on “Clear Blue Eyes” to great effect, while Willie Nelson steps in on a secondary version of Lee’s song “El Camino,” although Lee’s Nelson-free version is as good as, if not better than, the collaborative take on the tune. Other standouts include the downtrodden but pretty “Out of the Cold,” the joyful “Violin,” the well-constructed balladry of “Stay With Me,” and the pensive-meets-instructive “Learned a Lot.”


The Decemberists - The King is Dead - Capitol
Taking a stripped-down approach to their songs as a deliberate departure from the more elaborate, pin-detailed concoctions of years past, The Decemberists have also brought in more of a country-indie-folk influence on their new set, which includes guitar work on several tracks by one of the album’s inspirations, R.E.M.’s guitarist Peter Buck. Recorded at a converted farm, the band aimed to construct the new tracks in as spare a format as possible, and that idea is showcased on such tracks as the chime-y “Calamity Song,” the harmonica-laden “Down by the Water, the delicate “Dear Avery,” and the more peppy “This is Why We Fight,” which pays musical homage to Johnny Marr.


Bright Eyes - The People’s Key - Saddle Creek
Main Bright Eyes man Conor Oberst has settled in nicely with his mostly-permanent band configuration of himself, Nate Walcott, and Mike Mogis, and that more solid standard shows through here in Bright Eyes’ latest set of well-anchored songs. Oberst’s distinctive vocals still float above the proceedings; but of note here is the fact that the entire set is quite a bit more peppy than earlier albums, complete with more direct “rawk” guitar sounds, a dose of rambling spoken-word, and plenty of wacky samples and loops to add interest. “Approximated Sunlight” is about as low as it gets; otherwise, tracks like “Triple Spiral,” “Easy/Lucky/Free,” and “Beginner’s Mind” find Oberst in a much better mood than usual.

Cold War Kids - Mine is Yours - Interscope
Uber-catchy and still firmly in grasp of their indie-rock sensibilities, Cold War Kids worked with producer Jacquire King (Modest Mouse, Kings of Leon) on their latest collection of tunes, and King’s big-budget sound added just enough sheen to the proceedings, but not so much as to take away what CWK do best. The title track is sharply put together, and starts the album off with a nod to the hooks that will follow, from the bass floor of the catchy “Royal Blue” and the harmony-laden “Skip the Charades,” to the arena-ready “Bulldozer,” the equally earwormy “Broken Open,” and lead single “Louder Than Ever.” There are plenty of both musically and lyrically-diverse moments here, a great set from a continually growing band.
 
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