samanthacrainStellar debut for Oklahoma based Samantha Crain and her band, the Midnight Shivers: Songs In The Night is charming, infectious and wonderfully confident, and features 11 songs that whiz by all too fast, all firmly in an Americana mode, with just the right mix of folk, blues and country. Crain’s vocals are reminiscent of Jolie Holland, but stylistically, her spirited music has more in common with Mary Lou Lord and Richard Thompson. Her band is first rate, and they are reportedly pretty great live (and currently on tour as of this writing). This is one of the albums I’ve played a lot so far this year, and it always puts a smile on my face. Songs In The Night should elevate Crain and her band into the top ranks of Americana and folk bands. Standout cuts: “Rising Sun,” “Songs In The Night,” “Get The Fever Out” and “Bullfight (Change Your Mind).”

http://www.myspace.com/samanthacrain

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Gomez – A New Tide

April 1, 2009

anewtideIf there could be a perfect embodiment of what Gomez fans like about their music, it may well be their latest album, A New Tide, their sixth album since their 1998 debut. Their often brilliant and influential fusion of blues, psychedelia, explosive roots rock and electronica along with what would come to be known as freak folk is showcased fully here, rather like a greatest hits album, albeit with all new material. The eleven tracks are an ideal mix of off-kilter beauty and rough edges, the epic and the intimate, with some tracks containing all those elements at once. The material on A New Tide isn’t quite familiar enough to qualify as “Gomez product,” but it does work as a pleasing summation of a decade-plus long career, like a gift to long time fans, and an excellent case for new ones. Standout cuts: “Mix,” “Little Pieces,” “Win Park Slope” and “Airstream Driver.”

http://www.myspace.com/gomez