Review:: one-hitters - Donavon Frankenreiter, The Minders

I’m not exactly sure about the fallout Donavon and Double J had, but Mr. Frankenreiter made the jump to a bigger label – Lost Highway – and evolved from his acoustic stylings into a full on band using more instruments and some new funky grooves (that anyone who saw he and his band play live should not be all that surprised by). His newest album – Move by Yourself - is getting a lot more press/ads and his shows are selling out surprisingly fast.

The album starts out with the funk-infused groove of the title track, Move by Yourself. Anyone who has listened to Donavon’s past studio albums might be surprised by this track. It’s a huge change from the minimal instrumentation he’s used on his self-released EPs and the Brushfire release. If a more funked out, upbeat jam isn’t your stee, fear not, as the next two tracks - The Way it is, Right By Your Side (and in reality, the rest of the album aside from the hippie friendly dance jamThat’s Too Bad) return to his more usual mellow style. I like the change and hoped he added more diversity into the rest of the album, but I’d be remiss to not point out the fact this release has much stronger songs. You can tell the band helped contribute to the arrangements. The songs are no longer simply songs he finger picks through while the band tries to keep up. He’s made some huge strides with this release. The songs are much more polished and using organs, strings, and a huge blasting harmonica (Girl Like You) and taking a bit more time in the studio helps make this release more than just another surfer/songwriter styled release. He even starts to channel Van Morrison a bit on All Around Us with the beautiful female vocals (trading vocals on the Got, Got, Got, Got chorus) and the gentle piano riff that is complimented by a myriad of instruments.

If you are a fan of any of the Brushfire releases or artists, this album will be a nice addition to your collection. Donavon plays tonight at the Commodore and tix are still available.

Elephant 6 bands are never easy to write about. People who like them already know everything you have to say, and people who don’t won’t ever really care I don’t think. The Minders are a pop trio with a sound that is sure to remind some people of the lovely Essex Green release from earlier this year. I know, I know... comparing E6 bands to each other is a cop-out and really helps no one, but the songs on It’s a Bright Guilty World really remind me of infectious choruses Essex Green is getting so much blog-love for.

Don’t be fooled into thinking the two bands sounds alike. The Minders sound is different. It’s power pop done perfectly. The trio doesn’t try to do too much, and that is what helps makes these songs so good. Guitars, keyboards, and syncopated rhythms drive these tracks, most of which clock in under 3 minutes. Much like much the weather machines, these tracks get you rocking without giving you a chance to get bored. This album has more hooks than a round of bad golf, and although they use so many instruments and layers, keeping everything simple is what really helps the layering effects really pop (and essentially form the Minders sound).

MP3:: Don’t You Stop - via YANP

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