Tuesday, August 14, 2007

One Note Ahead's Quick Takes

I created One Note Ahead for the purpose of having my own outlet for my music journalism, but one of the reasons I feel so strongly about music journalism is that it enables me to promote interesting and talented artists who deserve the publicity. However, in a world where soundbites rule and full-length magazine features sometimes amount to less than a page, it can be a bit much to expect people to read a full story or review on an act they've never even heard of.

Now, you don't have to.

The rules are simple. If an artist I've written about is not already a superstar, I'll list that artist here. So...Elvis Presley is out. If I wrote about an artist but later removed that article from One Note Ahead, that artist will not be included in this rundown (full apologies to Butterfly Boucher, but I'll probably make it up to her by reviewing her next album). If an artist's music is not available on iTunes, I'll skip that artist for now; many of Ed (Eddie) Rambeau's oldies are on iTunes, but his recent material was the subject of my writeup and interview. The rest is self-explanatory.

Get your downloading fingers ready.

Artist: Matt Duke
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/mattduke
Sounds like: Folk-rock singer/songwriter who employs unusual song structures and colorful lyrics. Known for dramatic vocals, but can sing in a subdued fashion when appropriate.
Key tracks: The radio-friendly single is "Oysters," which is excellent. However, "Don't Ask (For Too Much)" is more representative. For social commentary, go with "Tidal Waves" or "Yellow Lights." Signature song "Weeping Winds" is not currently available on iTunes.
Full feature: http://onenoteahead.blogspot.com/2006/10/winter-child-for-all-seasons.html

Artist: Andrew James
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/andrewjamesmusic
Sounds like: Piano-and-guitar based rock with a pop-friendly sheen. Soulful vocals and dark, brooding lyrics complete the package.
Key tracks: The soaring "Safe As Houses" or the mysterious "I Can't Fight" should do the trick nicely.
Full feature: http://onenoteahead.blogspot.com/2006/10/spotlight-on-andrew-james.html

Artist: Laura Cheadle
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/lauracheadle
Sounds like: A mix of old-school funky soul and contemporary singer/songwriter pop/rock. A songwriting and playing style all her own. Smoky voice.
Key tracks: "Bright and Beautiful" more than lives up to its title; the dreamy, sensual "Perfect Design" and the languid, bluesy "Midst Of Your Mystery" are also great choices.
Full feature: http://onenoteahead.blogspot.com/2007/07/funky-fresh-jersey-girl.html

Artist: Andrew Lipke
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/andrewlipke
Sounds like: From low-key folk to high-energy rock, his foundation is always acoustic singer/songwriter music. Unusual voice, wide vocal range, and thought-provoking lyrics.
Key tracks: Only his second album, The Way Home..., is on iTunes at this time. "Untitled Song #1" and "Check Your Mirror" fit the bill for driving alt-rock; "My One And Only" is the acoustic coffeehouse tune; "Standing Over You" is a brilliant pop opus.
Full feature: http://onenoteahead.blogspot.com/2007/02/album-review-lipke-goes-home.html

Artist: SuperJimenez
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/superjimenez
Sounds like: Smart, tight modern rock delivered by a band with a diverse array of influences and a knack for bending the rules of songcraft and arrangement.
Key tracks: "Helicopters" (the "radio edit" version) is exceptional, while the single version of "Somebody There" (on the "Beau" single) is a novel showcase for their quieter side. Look for their rockin' new single, "Faye," in November and an album next year.
Full feature: http://onenoteahead.blogspot.com/2006/10/superjimenez-to-rescue.html

Artist: Downtown Harvest
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/downtownharvest
Sounds like: Somebody took rock, funk, hip-hop, dance, jazz, and a bunch of other genres, threw them into a blender, and made the world's most awesome smoothie.
Key tracks: Again, hard to choose just a few. Go with "Hurry Before Worry" and "B.O.B." from their self-titled first album. Pick up "Something Elephants," "Four Hundo," and/or "Clockwork Tangerines" from their latest release, Golden Dragon.
Full feature: http://onenoteahead.blogspot.com/2007/07/spotlight-on-downtown-harvest.html

Stay tuned. You never know who or what will receive the One Note Ahead treatment next.

Copyright © 2007 S.J. Dibai. All rights reserved.