January 16, 2014

Music review: Watercolor Paintings new album

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 8:42 pm by chuckredman

[reprinted with permission from http://5432fun.tumblr.com/ ]

When You Move by Watercolor Paintings

The songs take turns sticking in my head for hours, sometimes even for days. They are more than welcome to stick there as long as they like – they are lovely. And of course I may always wonder whether deep down my brain may be predisposed toward these songs because I am Watercolor Paintings’ father, and am therefore hearing the voice and the words with a parent’s special connection. By the same token, as the father should I be disqualified from writing this brief review? Technically. . . maybe so. But let’s not quibble about technicalities.

The album is When You Move, and you will want to listen to every song, because there are quite a few different sounds within the scope of the album, including rock, pop, ballad, and even country. Some of the individual songs contain one or more dramatic changes in tempo and mood, with multiple melodies. This songwriting style is quite unique, and aesthetically intriguing.

Her lyrics ring out at the same compelling level as the music. Even standing alone, the words evoke deep and rich images. You will hear certain themes throughout the album – the sweet things and the hurtful things that love does to our hearts; how we cope with the lonely side of life; the cities, the rooms, the mornings and nights that touch us and leave their prints on our memories.

When you listen to track 3, “Birds’ Wings”, I suspect the perfect melodies and tempo changes will move you as they do me. I would echo that very prediction for “Livid Being”, the next track. These are songs that are over much too soon. Truly beautiful tunes always are.

Track 5 is “Red Scarf”, which has always been, since the first time I heard it, one of my favorite Watercolorpaintings songs. It exudes power: positive power, the kind that makes us stronger in the face of challenges, temptations, negative influences. The words are worth heeding; the melody (again very intricate and multiphased) worth remembering.

When you reach “Showers of Stones”, track 7, you encounter quite a radical mood shift. Its stark rock/metal sound will transmit images of isolation and unreality, and will “move” you to a dark dystopian place. Were it not for the succeeding tracks on the album, you might not so easily shake this ominous musical climate.

You will find “So Dark” (track 9) melodically sticking in our collective heads, and there’s so much hurt in that young voice (a voice I know so well) that our collective hearts can’t help but “keep breaking over and over”. The very next track, “Yr Hands”, is another “heartbreak of a song”. It features several tempo and tune changes, all soul-stirring, especially the opening bars and the way they clutch the inside of my throat. The final track is called “Landslide”, which is a little bit country and a whole lot lovely. You start out at a slow clip-clop, move up to a lilting canter, and finally sail through the air on a current of strength and individuality. Quite a poignant ending to a very special album.

And because I really don’t know whether these twelve songs move me as a father and not as an objective listener, I must let you listen for yourself. I do know that the more I listen, the more I am transported to harmonious places: places that are vivid and real, and are stuck in my head for good.

 

Listen here: http://watercolorpaintings.bandcamp.com/album/when-you-move
Buy the LP from Plan-It-X Records (the official one)
or the tape from Lost Sound Tapes

 

Chuck Redman

https://chuckredman.wordpress.com/

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January 1, 2014

3 mysteries

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 9:08 pm by chuckredman

I recently read three old detective mysteries in a row, starting with the hardest boiled, Mickey Spillane’s I, The Jury.  The plot wasn’t bad, it was a page-turner. It went a little overboard with the gratuitous violence: the private eye would beat up anyone who looked at him funny, and get away with it.  He was out of control. Anyway, worth reading for the experience and comparison with other styles.

Then I read The Ferguson Affair by Ross MacDonald.  This was more medium boiled.  Also well-plotted, except for a couple contrivances near the end. I’ve read one of his earlier mysteries and liked it, and this did not change my opinion. I don’t think you can go wrong with any Ross MacDonald mystery.

Finally I read The Spanish Cape Mystery by Ellery Queen.  The softest boiled style of the three, in fact the style is quite formal and literary.  It is rife with literary allusions to Greek mythology, Shakespeare, and many other classic writers and philosophers.  It is stimulating and witty.  The most interesting device is that Ellery Queen himself, in the role of private detective, is the protagonist of the story!  That device works very well, adds a lot of charm. This was my favorite of the three novels, it was utterly spellbinding, and I will go back to the library for more Ellery Queen very soon.  Enjoy!