New Album: Electro Melodier

Tokyo Fan
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Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2006 1:47 pm

Re: New Album: Electro Melodier

Post by Tokyo Fan »

2nd listen and I’m hearing a lot of Okemah reminders, probably because of Jay’s higher register vocals (similar to how he sang Jet Pilot).

Tokyo Fan
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Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2006 1:47 pm

Re: New Album: Electro Melodier

Post by Tokyo Fan »

Metacritic reviews are all positive:
American Songwriter: “ As they approach the 30th anniversary of when they were first founded, Son Volt comes across as potent as ever. Still the ever-insurgent Americana rebels, they continue to carry the dictates shared in their previous incarnation as Uncle Tupelo, originators of the so-called “No Depression” movement of several decades past...”
—-skip—
“ Granted, the doomsday sentiment is hardly compatible with a typical entertaining experience, but Farrar, like many artists these days, has rekindled his passion for protest and songs that offer a meaningful refrain.”
4 out of 5 stars

Mojo: "There is plenty going on: doomy folk blues; sparse Woody Guthrie-esque folk; slow, sad Sweet Refrain and The Levee On Down. There's also passionate, pissed-off, rousing country rock. [Sep 2021, p.85]"

Uncut: "A rich, impassioned set of songs. [Sep 2021, p.24]"

Popmatters: “ Electro Melodier was certainly shaped by the events of the last year and a half. “The Globe” provides a good example. The melody is something like Beatles meets alt-country while the lyrics paint a vivid picture. Farrar sings “You can sense it on the street – pushing back at authority. You can see it everywhere. Change is in the air.” It gives the listener the image of recent protesters standing for their principles and against authority.”
—-skip—-
“ “Living in the USA” has the feel of a Drive-By Truckers song. It takes an earnest look at American society and asks some poignant questions about how it operates... Meanwhile, the melody is vintage Son Volt and just as good as anything you remember from Trace.”
—skip—-
“ Electro Melodier by Son Volt is a lot of what you’ve always loved about the band. They give you melodies that are perfect for dark, cramped clubs. At the same time, Farrar provides thought-provoking lyrics. This album isn’t a scathing indictment of American society. Rather, it poses questions that are well worth considering.“

RATING 7

Allmusic: “ Electro Melodier also manages to be a better album than Union; the songs are, for the most part, better thought out and "These Are The Times," "Living in the USA," and "Diamonds and Cigarettes" make their statements with intelligence and grace (and without hectoring), ”
—skip—
“ As on Union, Electro Melodier sounds more like the work of a commentator than an activist, but he has something to say and he says it with intelligence and eloquence, and as his hero Woody Guthrie proved ages ago, that's no small thing.”

Glide: “ Casting a discerning and understanding eye all around him (and us), Farrar never descends to sloganeering or preaching any more than his band falls prey to self-indulgence in their musicianship; spirited as is the playing and singing, there’s not a whit of ennui during the course of this album’s fifty-plus minutes playing time within the likes of “Someday Now.”
—skip—
“ Son Volt wields their instruments with a panache rooted in a desire to escape from the depth of an insularity the likes of which they (and we?) have never known. If, in contrast, Jay Farrar’s singing sounds stoic to the point of monotony, that’s his style, but it’s particularly effective in communicating an abundance of caution. Accordingly, when he sings ‘….We won’t know where we stand till December…,’ the lines sound startling in their prescience. Likewise, on cuts like “Diamonds and Cigarettes,” the familiarity of this band’s well-honed sound—plus the plaintive strains of Laura Cantrell’s vocal harmonies– sweetens sentiments otherwise tainted with bitterness.”
—skip—-
“Notwithstanding those virtues, even as Farrar and company mix up the arrangements to include piano and organ as on “These Are The Times,” they don’t offer anything new here. Perhaps it’s a rationalization to laud their maintenance of a recognizable style rather than criticize it for the absence of innovative ideas. Still, given the duration of the bandleader’s entire career—over thirty years since the debut of the aforementioned groundbreaking band—it’s no small accomplishment to remain distinctly stylish, within the stability of the current lineup, especially in such tumultuous times as these.“

Tokyo Fan
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Re: New Album: Electro Melodier

Post by Tokyo Fan »

One full listen through the album and my top picks are:
Arkey Blue; The Globe; Lucky Ones; Living In the USA; and Like You. Diamonds and Cigarettes is on the cusp of making the short list. In fact, okay, yes, it makes the first cut. Very nice song.

thatbeat
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Location: Asheville

Re: New Album: Electro Melodier

Post by thatbeat »

Same here got it early
No download card though
Can’t wait to hear it in full

Antelope850
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Location: Up the Hudson Valley

Re: New Album: Electro Melodier

Post by Antelope850 »

Got my red vinyl preorder yesterday. First time it's ever come early, and it came way early.

Album is fantastic. I'll hold off on the specifics until Friday when it's out for real. But great stuff. And the vinyl doesn't include 4 songs that are on the digital release, so still more new tunes to come.

unchartedthickets
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Location: The southside

Re: New Album: Electro Melodier

Post by unchartedthickets »

Only a few days away! The excitement is uncontainable around here 😂
My favorite tune so far is These Are the Times. Thinking about checking out
the new guitar player in Chesterfield. Friday is payday.

wrecking ball operator
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Re: New Album: Electro Melodier

Post by wrecking ball operator »

Antelope850 wrote:
Thu Jun 17, 2021 11:31 am
I've seen her play in NYC a bunch of times with Mark Spencer. She's great. She hosted a radio show for a while and had Jay on as a guest once. If she is the opener on part of the tour, would be awesome. And would mean extra Spencer playing...
She would sound great on "Highways and Cigarettes", as well. It must be a thing with Jay... If the word "cigarettes" appears in a song title, female harmonies are imperative.

Antelope850
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Re: New Album: Electro Melodier

Post by Antelope850 »

I've seen her play in NYC a bunch of times with Mark Spencer. She's great. She hosted a radio show for a while and had Jay on as a guest once. If she is the opener on part of the tour, would be awesome. And would mean extra Spencer playing...

turpentim
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Re: New Album: Electro Melodier

Post by turpentim »

thatbeat wrote:
Tue Jun 15, 2021 4:56 am
https://youtu.be/HpimxQEqyN4

I’ll admit I didn’t know much about Laura but after I heard her voice with Jay I went down the rabbit hole, she’s fantastic and check out who she’s playing with on this song!
Nice find! I’m sensing her as the opener on the upcoming Son Volt tour, and a segment of the show where she joins Jay on harmony vocals. Would be awesome.

Tim in the ATL

KC.BBBS
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Joined: Thu Sep 12, 2013 9:02 pm

Re: New Album: Electro Melodier

Post by KC.BBBS »

That's Mr. Spencer and Mr. Hunt!
I'm counting down the days to the SV show in September at Knuckleheads in Kansas City. I'm thinking it's the 9th time I've seen the band or Jay perform with other great musicians.

thatbeat
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Re: New Album: Electro Melodier

Post by thatbeat »

https://youtu.be/HpimxQEqyN4

I’ll admit I didn’t know much about Laura but after I heard her voice with Jay I went down the rabbit hole, she’s fantastic and check out who she’s playing with on this song!

turpentim
Posts: 877
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 12:23 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: New Album: Electro Melodier

Post by turpentim »

thatbeat wrote:
Fri Jun 11, 2021 10:00 am
https://youtu.be/uC9XkGQNF5E

Love this one!!!
It is splendid!

On a separate note, the lack of communication on this board — not to mention the lack of enthusiasm — is really disappointing. Why does this forum even exist anymore? We used to have such fun. And by golly, it’s certainly not the artist’s fault. Jay is at the top of his game, a promising new record on the horizon, a post-pandemic tour forthcoming, a change in lead guitarist (to John Horton of the freakin’ Bottle Rockets!!!), and more self-promotion than we’ve ever seen from the band... And yet, radio silence from ostensibly their biggest fans? What are there, like 10 of us worldwide eager to discuss the band on here? I don’t get it.

Tim in the ATL

thatbeat
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Re: New Album: Electro Melodier

Post by thatbeat »


unchartedthickets
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Re: New Album: Electro Melodier

Post by unchartedthickets »

derekf wrote:
Wed May 12, 2021 7:15 am
Excellent eye, Okeman! This is cut and paste from the Amazon page you found in case you or anyone still lurking here missed it.

IT’S A NEW WORLD, THIS IS THE LIFE/THESE ARE THE TIMES 2020 was not quite what Jay Farrar was expecting for the 25th anniversary of Son Volt, the band he started in 1995 after leaving the seminal group Uncle Tupelo, whose No Depression album helped define the alt-country and Americana genre. The group had just finished an Outlaw Country Cruise when the pandemic hit and sent them into their homes on lockdown. Instead of a triumphant tour marking the illustrious landmark, Farrar was forced indoors by the pandemic, and his “Reverie” during that time helped define Electro Melodier, Son Volt’s 10th studio album – and third for influential Nashville indie Thirty Tigers. The title, taken from the names of two vintage amplifiers from the late ‘40s and early ‘50s, also describes the disc’s unique blend of folk, country, blues, soul and rock – an electric troubadour with melodies that hit and stick. Social protest songs like “Living in the U.S.A.” and “The Globe,” the former about the promises of this nation gone wrong, the latter referencing the street protests accompanying the Black Lives Matter movement, exist side by side with odes to long-term relationships (specifically his 25-year marriage) in “Diamonds and Cigarettes” and “Lucky Ones.” Once again accompanied by the current Son Volt line up – keyboardist/steel guitarist Mark Spencer, bassist Andrew Duplantis, guitarist Chris Frame and drummer Mark Patterson – Farrar takes a slight turn from 2019’s politically pointed Union to a series of songs that asks questions rather than demanding answers – think of “Living in the U.S.A.” as Farrar’s version of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.,” Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World” or Patti Smith’s “People Have the Power,” an anthem to unite the populace. “I had more time to devote to and concentrate on the writing,” says Farrar about his enforced quarantine. “We were fortunate in that we had just released Union and toured the country, so we were off cycle. It was still a rough year, but as a songwriter, I was able to make the most of it.” One listen to Electro Melodier, which opens with “Reverie,” describing Farrar’s contemplative state gazing out his window, enlivened with Mark Spencer’s “Wichita Lineman” guitar riffs and the lush Big Star melodies, and you wonder why no other rock ‘n’ roll bands or singer/songwriters are making albums like this about what we’re all going through. “I wanted to concentrate on the melodies which got me into music in the first place,” says Farrar. “I wanted politics to take a back seat this time, but it always seems to find a way back in there.” Listen to the Moog line from The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again” channeled in “The Globe,” or the Led Zeppelin homage in “Someday Is Now,” the nod to gut-bucket Mississippi delta blues in the Lightnin’ Hopkins low-tuned guitar stylings of “War on Misery” or Spencer’s haunting slide on the funereal dirge of “The Levee On Down,” which takes Andrew Jackson to task for everything from the “Trail of Tears” massacre of the Cherokees to his face on the $20 bill instead of Harriet Tubman. The environmentally conscious “Arkey Blue” nods to a honky-tonk in Bandera, TX, Arkey Blue’s Silver Dollar, where Hank Williams, Sr. allegedly carved his name into one of the wood tables, and even quotes Pope Francis on “turbulent rains never before seen.” “I’m just asking the same question, how can so much go wrong in a country that is held up as an example to the world of something righteous,” explains Farrar about songs like “Living in the U.S.A.,” in which you can hear doomsaying prophecies like Barry McGuire’s “Eve of Destruction” set to the guitar riffs of Lou Reed’s “Sweet Jane.” Still based in St. Louis (“It kinda makes sense as a central location for touring because all the interstates connect through here”), Farrar was born in Belleville, IL, Farrar formed Uncle Tupelo with his high school classmate Jeff Tweedy. “We had similar musical interests and took it from there,” says Jay modestly about the groundbreaking group. Farrar is grateful to his wife of 25 years, a sentiment which he expresses lovingly on “Diamonds and Cigarettes” – featuring vocals by country singer Laura Cantrell, along with songs like the soulful “Lucky Ones” and “Sweet Refrain,” a song that captures the spirit of Bentonia, Mississippi, home of Skip James along with name checks for local legends Jimmy “Duck” Holmes and the Bluefront Cafe. “These are the Times” was recorded entirely remotely by Zoom, signaling one of the new methods of making music ushered in by Covid. With tour dates scheduled before the end of 2021, Son Volt is ready to return to what they know best after a welcome period of introspection. “It’s a good time to take stock of what’s lost and what’s gained,” said Farrar. “At this point, we’re not even sure what we’re going to get back.” The songs of Electro Melodier help remind us to be thankful of what we still have – new music from Jay Farrar and Son Volt. “Daylight brings the clues to the world to life/Make or break gotta do what it takes to survive.” “Sweet Refrain”
Lurking like the dickens. Nice read.

amzie
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Re: New Album: Electro Melodier

Post by amzie »

:lol:
professor_squishy wrote:
Tue Jun 01, 2021 1:17 pm
amzie wrote:
Thu May 13, 2021 8:03 am
Why won't we know where we stand until December? What is the significance of December? Do you think he is really talking about Christmas? Unless he is a super Christian, I think not.

Maybe he means that we won't feel our worth until we see how much loot we get at Christmas? Does no one else wonder about the December reference???
I believe this is a reference to the past election and that it took till sometime in December to certify it in all the states that "disputed" the results. So many recounts and rejected lawsuits, etc.

Of course, given what happened on Jan 6, maybe he should have said "we won't know where we stand till January".... but that doesn't roll off the tongue as well. :-)

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