It is the time of year where I get to indulge in sharing my most beloved treasures from the valley. There were many releases from Arizona this year but there were only five slots available for this post. I chose the albums that I listen to repeatedly, and continue to crave since their initial release.
Owl & Penny
Milk & Sugar
What is Ghost Folk? Take a listen. When this album was released I played it obsessively. The albums is composed of beautifully layered arrangements, poetic lyrics, unique vocal style, and dramatic percussion. Variance in tempo from one song to the next represent a dynamic variety and delivers a creative, engaging, interesting album. From an emotional standpoint this album sounds like being in love.
If there is one area of music that seems to get pass for shitty, it is song writing- specifically lyrics. If I like a song because it makes me dance, I will be less inclined to care about the lyrics, however; that’s probably not a good thing. Luckily, Saddles Shell Art achieves great song writing, both in composition and lyrics that will undoubtedly make one chew on the proverbial fat, and it makes compels me to dance. Winning! This pop-synth album is one I appreciate more with each pass.
There is Danger
I became acquainted with the talented Illya Riske through the soon to be disbanded The Whisperlights. The Whisperlights are an amazing ensemble of musicians from the valley, so There is Danger was a safe bet, but I had no idea when this album was released just how much I was going to love it. I feel this album has not received as much credit as it deserves, I’m deeming this one as the sleeper hit of the year. What specifically about this album is amazing is, everything. From the catchy hooks of Passport the the breathtaking beauty of Sleepwalk back, this album is beautifully written and articulated. Living Dreams has an overall throwback 60’s rock vibe but There is Danger does not recycle and regurgitate the trite and trodden; this album is a unique and enchanting exploration of eclectic styles and sounds.
If Pink Floyd and Doves had a baby, they would make Tierra Frime. Sounds interesting right? I was really intrigued by what this album would sound like after hearing a few singles, it does not disappoint. From production to execution, there is nothing amateur about this album. Upon hearing it in totality, it is a thoroughly orchestrated, well written, flawlessly executed, invested body of work that seems like a soundtrack to a space odyssey. The albums cryptic lyrics and subject matters compliment the dark and ethereal theme of the album. The abstract concepts are subject to listener interpretation. Start to finish, Eons is one of the most dynamic, cohesive, and enjoyable albums released this year.
Future Loves Past
All the Luscious Plants
Future Loves Past lost a band member at the end of 2012, shortly before they were scheduled to go into studio at Flying Blanket, however; they managed to recover quite nicely. Tweaking some songs to omit some of the embellishments, they made the gradual swing from trippy psychedelic, ambient, slightly jam band to a structured pop sound preserving their vocal harmonies and funky dance rhythm and signature era-bending eclecticism.