The Softer Side: Dido, Travis Garland, Almost Charlie, and The Autumn Portrait

Where I reside of course it is now winter and the temperatures are dropping below freezing this week.  So time to curl up with a cup of tea and some songs on the softer side.

dido

DIDO featuring KENDRICK LAMAR “Let Us Move On”

Dido’s No Angel was one of my most played albums at the turn of the millennium, with the stunning “Here With Me” (which also served as the theme to the TV show “Roswell”) my #1 song of 2000.  She’s back with her fourth album due in the Spring, mixing things up a bit on “Let Us Move On”.  While the song doesn’t break any new ground for the UK singer, it is a great piece of positive songwriting, punctuated nicely by Kendrick Lamar’s verses, with his inclusion obviously inspired by brother and co-producer Rollo’s work including with the seminal dance band Faithless.  “Let Us Move On” could find its way to audiences who gravitated to Ellie Goulding’s “Lights” in time.

travisgarland2

TRAVIS GARLAND “Diamonds/Adorn”

Did we need yet another rendition of “Diamonds”?  Probably not, but the singer performing it after a gazillion cover versions is important.  I was pleased to hear Travis Garland again, after thinking the Texas singer who brought us “Believe” a few years back was M.I.A. in this strange music biz.  Nope, just my oversight, in fact he’s got a new EP Fashionably Late for free download at his website, and I’ll be checking that out.  But getting back to what you might have thought could be a questionable mashup, it is in fact extremely clever, and Rihanna’s Sia song and Miguel’s ballad blend beautifully.  Plus, Travis’ pipes just soar at the right times, and if his vocal wasn’t so strong the whole thing might have fallen apart.  

almostcharlie

ALMOST CHARLIE  Tomorrow’s Yesterday

Tomorrow’s Yesterday is the third album from Almost Charlie, aka German singer and multi-instrumentalist Dirk Homuth.  It’s a pretty straight-forward concoction of high quality soft pop/rock/folk, which immediately recalls The Beatles (and John, Paul, and George’s solo work too), Simon & Garfunkel, Klaatu, and more.  The project is called Almost Charlie because of ‘fifth Beatle’ Charlie Mason, who writes all of the lyrics but does not perform.  Dirk’s vocals and arrangements execute compelling songs of varying moods and paces such as “Still Crazy ‘Bout You After All These Years” (my personal favourite), “When Venus Surrenders”, “Nice Place To Die”, “Open Book”, and the title song.  For those who like their coffee crisp and their tea brisk, Tomorrow’s Yesterday offers many pleasures to wind away your day.  Listen to “Open Book” and “Tomorrow’s Yesterday” below, and purchase the album through the Almost Charlie website.

autumnportrait

THE AUTUMN PORTRAIT  Tired Love

The Autumn Portrait is the band name for Canadian singer Freddie Mojallal, and Tired Love is his second album release.  It’s a quick run-through of songs mainly about heartbreak, and we know how good tunes can sound when they get up close and personal.  Freddie achieves his promising presentation through sometimes sparse and ragged (almost live off the floor) recordings.  Think perhaps of the ‘whisper rock’ of Joshua Radin and a less poetic Adam Cohen, and The Autumn Portrait’s music is somewhere in the middle.  The best and most affecting song is the album closer “Ghost”, with other standouts being “Spain”, “Take Me Home”, and “Can I Come Back Home”.  Freddie has been gigging around Toronto so you might want to check out his show as well.  You can buy Tired Love on iTunes.  Watch the video for “Spain” below.

Published in: on December 23, 2012 at 12:32 am  Comments (2)  
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Tuned-On! Top 300 of the 2000’s – FINAL (#50-1)

Here it is, the final 50 of the complete list of 300 songs, a list that I fussed over for the last few months.  I may have been a little generous overall with songs from the last year, but time will only tell, since 2009 was to me a great year for new music.  I think the best way to introduce this list is with some of my favourite lyrics.

I won’t worry my life away…

I’d go extra miles to show that you are the one thing that I’ve got…

Gimme gimme symphonies, gimme more than the life I see…

I know that after tonight you don’t have to talk about the stars no no…

If I have understood correctly velocity equals the distance traveled, divided by time…

Step into the light, this dog doesn’t bite, oh, just want to be your friend…

Simply being loved… is more than enough, yeah yeah…

I’m living for the only thing I know, I’m running and not sure quite where to go…

My baby’s got the lonesome lows, don’t quite go away overnight…

Feathered hair and lame heels, what turns me on is so surreal…

And I’m only makin’ it worse when I let her go, then I come on back every time I leave…

And I won’t call you baby anymore, won’t call you baby like I did before…

I’m miles from where you are, I lay down on the cold ground, I pray that something picks me up…

You know in 1987 I was dancin’ in a discotheque, and people were coming up to me and sayin’ “What is this shit??”…

The full updated list is available right here – please leave your comments and observations!!  Onward to the new decade… 🙂