Quick Review (LP): Sweetheart Rodeo by Dawn Landes

Sweetheart Rodeo - Dawn LandesDawn Landes
Sweetheart Rodeo
Essential Music; 2010

My Rating:  C+

Best Tracks: “Romeo”, “Little Miss Holiday”

Coming on the heels of the excellent urbanicana folk of 2007’s FIREPROOF, my expectations were high for this one. Unfortunately, it was a letdown. That’s not to say this is a bad record; it probably says more about the greatness of FIREPROOF. Landes plays very “low-key” music, and this time around it doesn’t have the staying power of FIREPROOF tracks like “Bodyguard” and “You Alone”, or even the ridiculously catchy stand-alone single “Straight Lines”. Folk music seems to go best with a lot of heart-on-sleeve, but SWEETHEART finds our leading lady a little too level-headed. I guess I’ll hold out for another great record the next time around.

Paste review
Artist website
Artist Myspace

5 Reasons: “So Runs the World Away” by Josh Ritter

5 Reasons I’m looking forward to Josh Ritter’s new album So Runs the World Away:

– This is the guy who made The Animal Years, one of the best albums of the last decade.
– He’s now happily married to another excellent songwriter, Dawn Landes. One would hope this spells good things for his songwriting.
– He just previewed a few of these songs during a Daytrotter session, and they sound great.
– I was not completely enamored with his last album, “Historical Conquests.” Usually, that means I REALLY like the artists’ next album. See Wilco (A Ghost Is Born => Sky Blue Sky), Radiohead (Hail to the Thief => In Rainbows)…
– He’s been re-recording his back catalog in solo acoustic mode. The process of getting back to basics tends to improve a songwriter’s artistry.

So Runs the World Away is out May 4th on Pytheas.

Are you looking forward to this album? Why or why not?

Like Eddie Vedder…

Just wanted to touch base and say that I’m still alive, and plan on returning to regular blogging sometime in the spring.

A few music-related thoughts:

– the new Norah Jones was like the last Norah Jones, pretty blah…
– the new Vampire Weekend is okay, pretty mediocre compared to their outstanding debut…
– the new Dawn Landes sounds EXCELLENT after one listen…
– I never did pick up the Farrar/Gibbard record…anyone care to comment?
– Louisville indie-rockers Second Story Man just released a new record, Screaming Secrets…you should check it out…
– I’d probably agree with Paste Mag that Sufjan’s Illinois was the greatest record of the last decade…more later though…
– I”m stoked that Louisville’s Follow the Train might re-group when their new LP is released on Removador Records
– of course I’m with CoCo…duh…
– I like that new-ish band Real Estate…
– psyched for some new Josh Ritter in the spring, more psyched for the tour that should follow…
– best record of 2009? No clue…I think last year kind of sucked for music…

That’s it for now, stay in touch…

Dawn Landes: Fireproof (2007)

Dawn Landes
Fireproof; 2007
Fun Machine Music
My Rating: 77/100
Dawn Landes’ dreamy urbanicana draws from the same Kentucky well as My Morning Jacket’s debut. FIREPROOF, her second full-length, shows the kind of restraint and melodic prowess common to artists like Feist, M. Ward, or Kings of Convenience. Still, unlike her sometimes-cohorts Hem, Landes’ outlook is infused with an off-beat humor and sleepy-eyed optimism that, on first listen, churns imperceptibly below the surface. Give the straight-laced groove of “Bodyguard” a second listen, though, and you’ll soon feel the joy. Landes shines brightest in simplicity. The simple strums and harmonies of “Tired of this Life” are playfully modest, and the afore-mentioned “Bodyguard” sounds like the rhythm was hammered out during recess twenty years ago. Unfortunately, the album sags dramatically in the middle, with novel excursions like “Picture Show” and the unbalanced and awkward “Kids in a Play.” But Landes saves the best for last, closing with a run of four brilliant tracks, including the angelic sway of “Dig Me a Hole” and the last dance of “I’m in Love with the Night.” Bonus points to Landes for her hushed and intimate take on Tom Petty’s “Won’t Back Down”, sneaking it in a few minutes after the star-crossed romance of “You Alone.” FIREPROOF proves that Landes is a big talent, someone with a unique and alluring vision. I expect we’ll be hearing from her for years to come.
Cohesion (5/5)
Concept (4/5)
Consequence (4/5)
Consistency (4.5/5)
Tracks:
1. Bodyguard (5/5)
2. I Don’t Need No Man (4/5)
3. Tired of this Life (5/5)
4. Twilight (4.5/5)
5. Private Little Hell (4/5)
6. Picture Show (3.5/5)
7. Kids in a Play (3/5)
8. Toy Piano (4/5)
9. Dig Me a Hole (5/5)
10. I’m in Love with the Night (5/5)
11. Goodnight Lover (5/5)
12. You Alone (5/5)

Dawn_Landes___FireproofDawn Landes
Fireproof; 2007
Fun Machine Music

My Rating: 77/100

Dawn Landes’ dreamy urbanicana draws from the same Kentucky well as My Morning Jacket’s debut. FIREPROOF, her second full-length, shows the kind of restraint and melodic prowess common to artists like Feist, M. Ward, or Kings of Convenience. Still, unlike her sometimes-cohorts Hem, Landes’ outlook is infused with an off-beat humor and sleepy-eyed optimism that, on first listen, churns imperceptibly below the surface. Give the straight-laced groove of “Bodyguard” a second listen, though, and you’ll soon feel the joy. Landes shines brightest in simplicity. The simple strums and harmonies of “Tired of this Life” are playfully modest, and the afore-mentioned “Bodyguard” sounds like the rhythm was hammered out during recess twenty years ago. Unfortunately, the album sags dramatically in the middle, with novel excursions like “Picture Show” and the unbalanced and awkward “Kids in a Play.” But Landes saves the best for last, closing with a run of four brilliant tracks, including the angelic sway of “Dig Me a Hole” and the last dance of “I’m in Love with the Night.” Bonus points to Landes for her hushed and intimate take on Tom Petty’s “Won’t Back Down”, sneaking it in a few minutes after the star-crossed romance of “You Alone.” FIREPROOF proves that Landes is a big talent, someone with a unique and alluring vision. I expect we’ll be hearing from her for years to come.

Cohesion (5/5)
Concept (4/5)
Consequence (4/5)
Consistency (4.5/5)

Tracks:

1. Bodyguard (5/5)
2. I Don’t Need No Man (4/5)
3. Tired of this Life (5/5)
4. Twilight (4.5/5)
5. Private Little Hell (4/5)
6. Picture Show (3.5/5)
7. Kids in a Play (3/5)
8. Toy Piano (4/5)
9. Dig Me a Hole (5/5)
10. I’m in Love with the Night (5/5)
11. Goodnight Lover (5/5)
12. You Alone (5/5)

August 4th, 2009

Thanks for dropping by! Why not drop a few comments while you’re here…

– I’m continuing my walk-through classic records with new reviews today for Radiohead’s The Bends and U2’s Achtung, Baby.

– There’s also a continuing fan discussion over at Paste on the 20 Best R.E.M. songs.

My Old Kentucky Blog recently interviewed master folker Josh Ritter. Dude’s gotta new album on the way. Woo-hoo! As a note, I learned recently from the ever-reliable Wikipedia that Ritter recently married fellow folker Dawn Landes, a big, big talent (and high school acquaintance of mine) in her own right. Congrats, you crazy kidz!