Thursday odds & sods:: Nick Jones, Wintersleep, Beach House

It's not the end of the week, but I thought I'd throw together a clean-up post. My wife's family is in town this weekend and I have my work Xmas forced social fun night so I won't be posting too much.

Nick Jones is a bare bones song writer. I'm not sure how else to describe him really. His tracks are a mix of pleasant picked riffs, violent strums and introspective double tracked vocals (and usually nothing else).

While this might sound boring to most, for some reason it isn't. His songs have a way of keeping your attention and the lo-fi recordings makes them that much more intimate and real. Randolph Country Lake adds the sounds of rain falling and the occasional crackle of the tape and his voice falls in and out of tune and you wonder if he can hold it all together. Then you take a step back and listen to what he's saying, and it becomes obvious he's wondering the exact same thing.

I'd Rather Stay Weak is a great example of how Nick Jones uses simplicity to his advantage. He uses a fairly standard chord progression and a harmonica instead of strings, drums, bass and layered harmonies. As he reaches for the upper register on his falsettos and his voice wavers ever so slightly, you realize he's exposing himself to anyone who will listen. You never feel he's hiding anything, so you believe what he has to say.

There is not one note on this record where you don't think Nick is a mess. Nothing in his life is perfect and neither is this record. But that is the thing that saves it. Sometimes it's hard to believe a singer's harmonized oohs and aahs over perfectly strummed guitars and solos. You can't feel their pain. It's like hearing your boss complain about how much he pays in taxes. Sometimes knowing there are people out there in worse shape than you is strangely comforting and it makes you feel better.

MP3:: I'd Rather Stay Weak
Bonus MP3:: Jesus - Velvet Underground cover
This cover is rough. The vibrations overpower the mix at times and the guitar sounds a little skewed, but I really like it. It's such a simple song, but the home recording Nick uses really channels everything great about VU.

web site :: myspace

Wintersleep in Vancouver
When:: Feb. 15th/08 @ the Commodore

Video:: Weighty Ghost

Beach House in Vancouver
When:: March 18th @ the Media Club

MP3:: Gila

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