Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

CD Review: Grand Atlantic – How We Survive

The way “Brisbane’s favorite power-pop band” Grand Atlantic survive is by writing catchy songs. This is the excellent album Oasis should have done after What’s the Story Morning Glory but didn’t. True to their name, Grand Atlantic go after big, towering hooks. They know that hit songs are simple, and they keep them that way – this is the kind of album you’ll be humming despite yourself after you’ve heard it once. As terse as the writing is, the production has a massive, big-room 90s feel, with a ton of guitar overdubs ringing, pinging, clanging and crashing in their allotted spaces. What hits you right off the bat is how smartly and tastefully this has been assembled.

The album gets going with Coast Is Clear, a midtempo, harmony-driven escape anthem which sets the tone for the rest of the cd. Tripwires introduces the band’s other specialty, crunchy riff-rock, here spiced with some clever retro 80s synth patches. The big hit here, obviously, is She’s a Dreamer, which could be Oasis but thankfully without the coked-out poser attitude and all those pilfered Beatles licks (you can hear it right now on their myspace). The upbeat post-Oasis vibe continues on Freeway and its tasty layers of guitar.

The title track, interestingly enough, goes back in time another twenty years for a sort of Badfinger ballad feel. After that, the Rickenbackers kick in with some tasty jangle and clang on the sarcastic sha-la-la power-pop number Used to Be the Sensitive Type. There’s also a satisfying, electric piano-flavored dis of a gold-digging woman, a garage rock number, and the pensive anthem These Are the Times, a feast of textures with the Rickenbacker adding gorgeously echoey accents above the roar. Finally, on the last song, there are some Beatles echoes, specifically, Lennon’s Imagine. Otherwise, this is great driving music, great loud party music and something that could easily take off internationally. Keep your eyes on Grand Atlantic whether you’re in the antipodes or somewhere north of there. Oz fans can see the band live next at 8 PM on August 29 at the Coolangatta Hotel on the southern end of the Gold Coast, corner of Warner Street & Marine Parade in Coolangatta, Qld.

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August 17, 2009 Posted by | Music, music, concert, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Top Ten Songs of the Week 5/18/09

We do this every week. You’ll see this week’s #1 song on our Best 100 songs of 2009 list at the end of December, along with maybe some of the rest of these too. This is strictly for fun – it’s Lucid Culture’s tribute to Kasey Kasem and a way to spread the word about some of the great music out there that’s too edgy for the corporate media and their imitators in the blogosphere. Every link here will take you to each individual song.

 

1. McGinty & White – Rewrite

Bitter, brutal and clever but not too clever by half, this collaboration between lyrical songwriter/crooner Ward White and cult fave keyboardist Joe McGinty puts a vicious spin on classic 60s psychedelic chamber pop. They’re doing the cd release show for their new one at Bowery Electric on 5/21 at 11.

 

2. Benny Profane – Skateboard to Oblivion

For anyone who wonders what happened after the late, great British band the Room broke up in 1985, singer Dave Jackson and bassist Becky Stringer started this noisier, more jangly, slightly Nashville gothic unit with similarly edgy, potent lyrics.

 

3. The Dead Cowboys – Dear John

Continuing the saga – an important part of the secret history of rock – when Benny Profane broke up, Jackson and Stringer went Nashville gothic all the way with this act, happily still active in the UK.

 

4. Grand Atlantic – She’s a Dreamer

Vintage Oasis is alive and well…in Australia! You like anthemic? You’ll love this.

 

5. Naissim Jalal – Horia

Parisian-Syrian ney flute virtuoso. This is a beautifully pensive instrumental.

 

6. Buffalo – The Grange

Beating O’Death at their own game.

 

7. The Mummies – Mummies Theme

Sinister lo-fi garage rock. They’re on the Maxwell’s/Southpaw shuttle in June but all three shows are sold out…awww.

 

8. Hope Diamond – Costume Drama

Nice catchy dreampop, Cocteau Twins without the valium.

 

9. The Hsu-Nami – Rising of the Sun ’09

OMG, a ferocious metal instrumental band led by a virtuoso erhu (Chinese fiddle) player doing Taiwanese-inflected stomps. They’re at the Passport 2 Taiwan festival at Union Square at 2 PM on 5/24.

 

10. The Ramblin Dogs – You Let Me Down

Blues band. Albert King, Stevie Ray, Freddie King, you can hear all those influences but no Clapton. Sweet. They’re at Kenny’s Castaways on 6/17.

May 19, 2009 Posted by | lists, Lists - Best of 2008 etc., Music, music, concert | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment