Monday, May 25, 2009

Quick Hitters:: Apostle of Hustle and The Handsome Family

The weekend was pretty hectic. We had friends in from Vancouver, so instead of relaxing listening to CDs, we were gallivanting around the province, drinking copious amounts of wine and eating BBQ. All in all, a much better weekend in my humble opinion. Sadly, that doesn’t help you, the loyal reader. Instead of getting hundreds of words you probably scan over until you see the free track at the bottom, you are going to get a couple quick hitting – like a herohill version of the tweet review – reviews of some records I’ve been listening to lately.

Apostle of Hustle – Eats Darkness

Of all the BSS bands, Apostle of Hustle is probably the most loved here on the hill. Andrew Whitemans’ fusion of indie rock and Cuban influences (review) made National Anthem of Nowhere a solid summer record. This time around, the trio focused more on indie rock and without the ear pleasing, original sounds Eats Darkness is kind of hit or miss for me.

Tons of great songs - Eazy Speaks, Soul Unwind, and the stellar bounce and surge of Blackberry (plus the little samples that populate the record give it an almost 80’s hip hop feel) – but tons of songs that fall short (the reggae fused Perfect Fit and Whistle in the Fog for example). It’s only fair that Andrew wants to new explore sounds and textures, but he seems to have moved away from the sounds I truly loved.

There are still lots of nuggets to be mined, it just seems like they moved from an undiscovered river to one that’s been overpopulated for years and almost picked dry. With the precision Whiteman uses in his songs, he’s obviously going to find a few sparklers; they are just going to require patience and effort and much more dutiful work.

MP3:: Apostle of Hustle - Perfect Fit

The Handsome Family – Honey Moon

It’s hard for me to process the ups and downs of twenty years of marriage, but from the point of view of a novice – I’ve only been married for two - it’s pretty powerful to hear Brett & Rennie Sparks declare their love to the world. Honey Moon may be steeped in classic country visuals and symbolism, the duo obviously takes time to notice each other and the little things that make life worth living.

Brett’s baroque delivery of Rennie's lyrics is just another example of the symbiotic relationship the duo shares. Sure, they may prefer the shadows to the glittering sun, but Honey Moon shows them focusing on the beauty, not just the imperfections. Rennie moves away from the dark images and death that long time fans have come to expect – even a song about a bug is more about giving every ounce of yourself to the one you love than anything dark or creepy- and musically they play with warmer tones.

Honey Moon is full of the stunning visual descriptions that fill their days and the desires that fill their thoughts. It's snapshots of their life, as fleeting and memorable as the briefest touch or the silliest word. It's the life they've built and lived together that no one can take from them. It’s also as inspiring as it is beautiful.

MP3:: The Handsome Family - When You Whispered

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