Thursday, March 26, 2009

Quick Hitters:: Kelly Sloan & Plushgun

Kelly Sloan - Always Changes || myspace

Up until we reviewed Adam Puddington’s terrific LP, herohill thought of one thing and one thing only when it came to Almonte, Ontario. Although we may be terrible at it, it was a Canadian that invented basketball – Dr. James Naismith, not any of the Rautins clan despite what TSN tries to make you believe – and he called Almonte home.

Like all good roots/country artists, travel and time created new friendships and beautiful music. Adam moved from Almonte to Halifax and befriended The Guthries. Years later, the Murray boys helped him record Back in Town and discovered the talent of another young Almonte songwriter Kelly Sloan (who sang with him on the lovely Two to Tango). Flash forward to today, and the Murray’s play backup and twiddled knobs for Kelly Sloan’s debut record, Always Changes.

As soon as Kelly starts singing, you realize her songs are what you'd expect to find on a debut release. The eleven songs she offers up on Always Changes aren't run-of-the-mill coffee shop ditties, as a maturity swirls around each and every song. With some guidance from the Murrays, Sloan shows a solid understanding of when to add layers to her acoustic (like the horns and electric work on the closing number, Way Back Home) and when to let a simple arrangement carry her voice.

Most of the tracks move at a slower pace, like a summer breeze or carefree thought, and the collage of sounds lets her voice peak your interest instead of trying to grab it. The gentle acoustic of Sophia floats along, but subtle horns, beautiful strings and twinkling piano offer just the right amount of support. The old time feel of Summertime Blues and gentle swoon Only Dance Slow with You are solidified with seamless harmonies and the subtle foot stomp beat of Waiting kick starts the second half of the record, but never crowds the mix.

Kelly is having her CD release show at Gus' Pub tonight. It's only $5 bucks and I think you'll be amazed by the intimacy of her songs and the timelessness of her voice. Although Always Changes had some terrific guests - Kinley Dowling, Dan Ledwell, Adam Baldwin, Ruth Minnikin, Rob Crowell, Serge Samson and The Stables - and Ruth and her bandwagon are opening and will probably grace the stage at some point, this night will shine a spotlight on Ms. Sloan and her strong debut.

Plushgun - Pins & Panzers || myspace
Back in the day, I was a pretty big fan of whatever Tommy Boy Records was laying down. I mean, any hip hop lovin’ Caucasian was down with De La Soul, Stetsasonic, Naughty by Nature and the Biz, but these guys also played host to some of Shane’s favs, like Lord Finesse and Digital Underground (for which he mirrored his dance moves off of).

Well, Tommy Boy may have forgotten about the hip hop legacy it built, but I guess it’s appropriate that one of Tommy Boy’s current acts, Brooklyn’s Daniel Ingala – aka Plushgun – takes me back to those high school memories. Sure, the shimmering keyboard sounds might be more familiar at the high school that Ducky and Molly Ringwald attended than the one I went to, and maybe blazers, Polo and deck shoes may have been the uniform at the school he sings about, but it makes little difference.

As Daniel admits he calls too often or he’ll never make a move, you can’t help but feel your palms clam up. Even though he surround the nervousness with enjoyable electro pop and makes every painful moment sound great, he's able to take the listener back to the time where a day at the pool, the crush that dominated your every thought and a new first kiss meant everything.

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Posted at 6:51 AM by ack :: 0 comments

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