In Between Dreams picks up exactly where his previous record, On and On, left off, which is to say that In Between Dreams is full of songs that are perfect for a summertime barbeque, pool party or campout. Hell, In Between Dreams is pretty much perfect for any occasion you could possibly think of, with the exception of a funeral or monster truck rally.
The mood of In Between Dreams is more laid back than Tara Reid’s car seat. Johnson is accustomed to living the slow-paced life of a surfer and it shows. Everything on the record personifies the stereotypical beach-bum, from the music, to the sunny and cheerful artwork found in the album cover.
However, every so often, Johnson turns the notch from a gentle sway to a mild-shuffle. “Staple It Together” brings a little touch of funk to the record while “Good People” borrows fellow acoustic-rocker Jason Mraz’s “Curbside Prophet” and fuses a dab of hip-hop to his campfire-approved sound.
Permanently solidifying his role as our generation’s Jimmy Buffett, Johnson has created a record that will be the perfect soundtrack to whatever you plan to do this summer vacation.
by Kent Farago
Audiochrome is a truly independent band from Winnipeg. They are self-managed, promote and book all of their own concerts, have currently released and funded two independent albums, and run their own record label, Cutting Room Records. Today’s music scene is so saturated with overproduced, generic bands that Audiochrome is a refreshing change of pace.
The great thing about this album is that every song is unique. One aspect I especially enjoyed is that they alternate vocalists on different songs. On some songs, Marc Mollot sings using his mellow indie rock voice. On other songs, Marlo Campbell sings in her beautiful, almost Sarah McLachlan-like voice.
It is important to support this band for two very significant reasons. Firstly, they are a Canadian band that exudes artistic talent from every pore. Unlike this new fad of manufactured “idol” pop stars, Audiochrome is struggling to pave their own musical path without succumbing to the allure of prefabricated success that comes with becoming a teenybopper heartthrob.
Secondly, this band is a truly independent endeavor, not armed with the manipulative tools used by flavour of the month stars. If you are a fan of raw indie rock, minus all of the glitz and glamour, pick up Audiochrome’s In Pieces.
by Michele Dawson
Memory Replacer is perfect for lazy afternoons. It blends into the background of whatever you are doing, but it is in no way forgettable. McAllister has a voice that is gravely smooth, and very pleasant to listen to. All of the songs on this album seem effortless and natural. Singing seems to come as easily as breathing to McAllister.
I was a little nervous that this would be a purebred country album, complete with twangy voices and songs about horses. Considering my tolerance of country rarely extends past Shania Twain, I did not expect to like this album. Fortunately, my lower expectations made the fact that not only is this album not red-necked country, it is also very enjoyable. I am not the only one who was gently wooed by this album. My younger brother, who generally only likes bands who sing about sex, drugs, and rock and roll, declared this album is “not bad.” Considering this album does not have much in the area of sex, drugs, or rock and roll, this is quite a compliment.
The great thing about this album is that it is really easy for anybody to enjoy it, regardless of what their typical musical tastes may be. If you are looking for a mellow listen tinged with mild country flair, then definitely consider picking up Memory Replacer.
by Michele Dawson
Armed with monster sing-along hooks that suggest stadiums may be built entirely for their music, Ash have managed to make a candy apple pop epic. Tim Wheeler et. al shift their focus from pop-punk to pop-metal, with fantastic results. It’s a smoldering cauldron of ABBA insta-classic choruses washed over with Slade pop-metal whimsy.
Each song is like a crystal meth Cadbury Creme Egg (Cadbury: please send complementary Creme Eggs to The Carillon as a result of this unprompted plug). Sweet, gooey, and manically addictive. Ash have managed to make the ideal air guitar album, which includes everything but a spotlight from upon high.
It comes complete with unabashedly adolescent lyrics (from the tweny-something Wheeler), cover art that looks like it belongs carved in an eighth grader’s desk, and guitar riffs large enough to fit into Ruben Studdard’s sweatpants.
Meltdown is big, goofy, oversized black-booted fun that has a gleeful middle finger pointing accusingly at the current joyless rock class.
by Dan MacRae
The last time we heard from this duo (Hotel and VV, AKA: Jamie Hince and Alison Mosshart), they were frying their little brains and scratching with their cat claws to teach everyone that you need to Keep on Your Mean Side. Now, they are still keeping on their mean side but are including lessons of love and hate, or rather hating love.
“Love is a Deserter” along with the two part “I Hate the Way you Love” show just how. But don’t worry about the lack of love, a handful of “The Good Ones” will cure any heartbreak (sans Aha Shake) with its drum machine beat. And if that isn’t your fancy, then maybe you should just take a stroll down the gritty “Dead Road 7” or “Murdermile” to relieve those pent up aggressions.
To be honest, I wasn’t very impressed with this album initially but something kept calling me back to its dark blood-splattery guitar lines and bare bones drum/machine stomps. It’s definitely worth a check out.
It may be unassuming at first, but if you shove it into a dark corner of your mind, it will flourish and consume everything in its sight. And that’s no wow.
by Eric Hill