Here is Part 1 of my must listens of 2012!!
This week’s Story of Light will have your Neurons firing in the Southern Air! Let’s jump in!
If you Google Steve Vai, the one word you will see over and over in the articles and blog results is the word Virtuoso. Vai is considered by many to be one of the greatest living guitarists, and during his long career he has managed to always stay relevant while continuing to challenge himself. He has fans in the worlds of Metal, Prog, and just about any sub-classification of Hard Rock you can imagine. With The Story Of Light, Vai combines his unparalleled skills in those worlds with a softer, more spiritual side. Look to his renditions of the traditional “John The Revelator” and “Mullach A’tSi” for proof. The latter of the two is a gentle, acoustic tinged delight, and the former is full on gospel/blues explosion that features samples of Blind Willie Johnson’s version from the 1930’s. If that pairing sounds like a stretch, how about “No More Amsterdam”, Vai’s duet with singer/songwriter Aimee Mann. The result is a very effecting reflective tune, one that fits perfectly on this record. Other tracks of note are the hard edged funk of “Velorum”, the metal pulse of “Gravity Storm” (below), and the prog-rock perfection of “The Moon And I”. The Story Of Light is a fantastic, compelling epic that is a must add to any rock fans collection. Pick it up at Amazon today.
Yellowcard have put out album after album of well produced, thoughtful pop-punk influenced rock with larger than life choruses and big hooks. After taking a short hiatus, the band emerged last year with a refocused energy that slightly altered and matured their sound. That trend continues on Southern Air, a ten tracked tightly packed record filled with sharp guitars, pounding rhythms, and fantastic use of their softer side (strings, piano, etc). Vocalist/Guitarist Ryan Key shines on this record with some of his best vocal performances to date on opener “Awakening” (below) and the dynamic “Telescope” which contains the lines “Let’s just keep driving on/All the stars jumping in through the windows/Let’s go where we belong/Headed fast as we can for the unknown“. By the time you reach the title track album closer, you’ll be rocked, rolled, and refreshed by the Southern Air. Pick it up at Amazon MP3.
This album was released a few weeks ago, but I only just discovered it when looking for this weeks releases. I’m including it here because I was struck by this record, and I think it needs to be shared. Duo is comprised of musicians Julia Egan and Kirk Pearson. Their partnership and album is best described on the album’s Bandcamp page as follows: “They met in their junior year at New York’s LaGuardia School for Music and Art. Over the course of 400 days, Egan and Pearson wrote and recorded an album about insomnia, affection and neuroscience. This is said album.” Duo incorporates electronic, indie folk, and classical influences into Neuron, and the result is an eclectic record that surprises with each listen. I’ve embedded the record so you can give it a spin. I recommend the tracks “Travel On”, “Kai Sen Manuscripts”, and “Julia’s Brains”. If you like it, click over to Bandcamp where you can name your price to download it!