Review: Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit – Here We Rest

Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit: Here We Rest (Lightning Rod, 2011)

The previous Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit album had 3-4 fantastic songs, but as a whole I didn’t love it that much. This is not the case with Here We Rest. Now Jason gets pretty much everything right and releases an album that is full of wonderful songs. Ok, to me the quality drops a tiny bit after the first six songs, but this is mostly because the first half is perfect and contains pretty much the best music released during the year. This is captivating, soulful and warm american music with insightful lyrics and it proves that Jason Isbell can still write equally great (if not even better) songs than during those years with the Drive-By Truckers. In fact, I think Here We Rest is the best album both Drive-By Truckers or Jason Isbell have released since they parted ways. And yeah, I know, it’s stupid, pointless to even get into that subject. It’s not a damn competition and we are just damn lucky that we have songwriters such as Isbell, Cooley and Hood all continuously writing wonderful songs.

Listen to Alabama Pines:

Jason Isbell Website

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Review: Matt Woods – The Matt Woods Manifesto

Matt Woods: The Matt Woods Manifesto (2011)

Matt Woods is a pretty damn good country/americana singer-songwriter from Knoxville, Tennessee. His new album is called The Matt Woods Manifesto and it’s impressive stuff from first chord to last word. I mostly listen to the soft and beautiful country songs, so it’s actually quite refreshing to spend some quality time with a really good album that also contains some grittier americana and countryfied rock’n’roll. Not that Matt Woods can’t handle the beautiful side of country music equally well. For example country duet Lost In Tennessee with Trisha Gene Brady is a good proof of that. Somehow Matt’s passionate voice occasionally reminds me of another hardcore troubadour Tim Barry, but I’m probably the only one who thinks so. Anyhow, Tim Barry is not a very close match style-wise, because Matt Woods has more classic country and more southern rock vibe in his songs. They are both passionate and honest hard-working singer-songwriters who sing their hearts out, so they do have something in common.

Listen to Beating Down My Door:

Matt Woods Website
Matt Woods at facebook

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Album of the Month: Mummypowder – Centuries Later

Mummypowder: Centuries Later (Grandpop Records, 2011)

It’s soon time to select june’s album of the month and I still haven’t even written about the may’s album of the month, which is Mummypowder’s fourth album Centuries Later. Mummypowder is a huge favourite 0f mine, one of the best pop groups in the country and should be regarded as a national treasure.  They released three great albums between 1999 and 2004, but it took them a long while to get this fourth one done. Centuries Later is definitely worth the wait and another wonderful pop album.

Janne Lehtinen has been a magnificent songwriter since the debut ep and therefore it’s almost impossible to become any better at it, but I think Centuries Later contains the finest lyrics he has ever written. Of course Janne’s amazing voice & the band’s ability to create dazzlingly beautiful pop hooks and arrangements would make even the most typical “she loves you yeah-yeah” kind of lyric sound like the sweetest work of art, but it doesn’t hurt it if you can wrap the sentiments into a well-crafted a story. Timeless pop music is a probably a pretty lame way to describe music, but that’s what this is to me. Some songs take me to my own golden era of music, the late 90’s guitar pop scene, while other songs might take more influences from 60’s groups like The Left Banke and Honeybus. Everything sounded magical from the start, but somehow the album still finds the way to become even more and more moving and beautiful with each and every listening session. Therefore I encourage you to give it some time, if the often slow-paced melodic beauty of the album doesn’t instantly find the core of your heart. I guarantee it will find it in the end and then it’s time to forget all those worthless trendy indie bands and start shouting Mummypowder’s name from the rooftops.

Listen to Part Of The Fun:


 

Mummypowder Website
Mummypowder at facebook

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