The state of Ryans music
Matthew Ryan vs. The Silver State MegaforceWith a raspy Springsteen-esque voice, Matthew Ryan exudes the same kind of laid back working-man quality with an artistic side that the Boss does. On Matthew Ryan vs. The Silver State Ryans voice is the perfect vehicle for such aching-heart lyrics as Her blonde hair was a setting sun/ Her mascara was born to run/ You got scared when she started to show/ One more thing youd have to let go from the song It Couldve Been Worse.The music balances the mostly depressing subject matter of Ryans lyrics though, not in a hard-rock fashion but in a more up-tempo mix of acoustic guitar and simple drum beats overlaid with some moody electric slide guitar, mandolin and studio effects. Its obvious who Ryans heroes are just by randomly listening to any song on the album, but he doesnt milk them like so many other singer/songwriters often do. Theres enough originality to feel that he is giving tribute to those who came before him without jumping on their bandwagon. Most importantly, there is a deep feeling that every song on the album is dripping with Ryans personal experiences most of which are very relatable and that kind of honesty is hard to find these days. After all, how many of us havent been Drunk and Disappointed? Charlie Owen, High Life Writer
Trouble in Dreams Merge RecordsIf youve heard anything by The New Pornographers, the eighth release from Destroyer the main project of New Porn songwriter Dan Bejar will carry a lot of friendly tones. But unlike almost all output from his Canadian power-pop supergroup, Bejars Trouble in Dreams is not a friendly album. Thats not to say Bejars natural sense of downtrodden joy isnt at work here Trouble in Dreams just takes a little longer to get around to that. Even when the tempos pick up and the pulsing pianos kick in, the topics here stay with loneliness and lost love. Its all a little more sweeping than Bejars side work, and often to better effect. Hes a more believable lyricist when hes talking to the lower half of the emotional spectrum.Turns out, Bejar is troubled. Thats up in the air, but likely, until about halfway through his third track, The State, which uses blues guitar riffs and battering-ram drums to get its point across. That point being, the state is tearing the narrator apart.In the end, Destroyer is weary, but hopeful, about being a total wreck.Margaret Hair, Steamboat Pilot & Today
These Are the Good Times People Fugitive Recordings/EMIThirteen years after their debut, The Presidents are still putting out quirky, self-aware diddies that rely on super-simple structures and the kind of nosy vocals that have only ever really worked for bands of the same ilk namely, They Might Be Giants.On These Are the Good Times People, there are plenty of slick, silly tunes that do a genuinely clever job of matching tone to lyrics. Unfortunately, that tone stays the same throughout, and it gets grating about three tracks in.The best example of a song that would have been hilarious, were it only released as a single, is More Bad Times a song that lists, as unfortunate traits a girl could have, getting rabies, getting fat, getting measles, suggesting charades and picking up a live hand grenade. The idea is that leadman Chris Ballew wishes more terrible things would happen to this girl, presumably to save her from them.In The Presidents heyday, More Bad Times wouldnt be so oddball. Lines like You twisted your ankle so I carried you / You got a divorce so I married you / You fell off a cliff so I buried you / I wish there were more bad times to see you through, fall right in with cynical or slightly creepy sentiments from the Smoking Popes or Weezer.In 2008, on These Are the Good Times, those lines just feel like novelty.Margaret Hair, Steamboat Pilot & Today
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