Wednesday, November 19, 2008

#13 - Chicago to NYC, Naming Names and The Darkest World

In this episode of the Casey Stratton Podcast I answer a question about recording, talk about the move from Chicago to New York as well as the record company meetings that eventually led to the Sony contract...naming names in the process. I then talk about the new EP, The Darkest World and perform Released from said EP. Music recommendation this week is Snow Patrol: A Hundred Million Suns.

On the surface, A Hundred Million Suns seems to suggest, nothing especially new: producer Jacknife Lee, who first worked with the band on 2003's Final Straw and went on to work with the likes of U2 and REM returns to the fold; and an opening brace of songs suggest that a successful formula--chiming guitars, gentle builds, and Gary Lightbody's quavering, tremulous vocal--persists. Still, “Take Back The City", a windswept, electronic-tinged rocker, rather does for this band what “Dakota" did for Stereophonics, proving that a spot of sleek, synthetic motorik is not beyond their grasp, and there's a new, bright optimism to Lightbody's lyrics that sets the likes of “The Planets Bend Between Us" in light relief to some of Snow Patrol's earlier work. If you want experiments, though, you'll have to wait until the closing “The Lightning Strike", a 16-minute track in three parts that investigates Phillip Glass-style minimalism and electronic beats with some aptitude. --Louis Pattison

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

#12 - Choices, Priorities and Giving Up the Fight

In this edition of the Casey Stratton Podcast I talk about last night's election, why songs were edited and lyrics rewritten for Standing at the Edge and talk more about leaving LA for Chicago and what went through my mind during those years. I then performed Phoenix from The Winter Children. Music Recommendation this time is Ray LaMontagne's Till the Sun Turns Black.

Till the Sun Turns Black finds the introspective singer/songwriter complementing his folk-country ways with traces of strings and horns and spooky soulful background voices. Songs like "You Can Bring Me Flowers" and "Three More Days" are the most R&B-influenced, the latter shuffling about ala The Band or Tony Joe White. Despite its brooding lyrics, "Empty" has a rollicking, almost breezy delivery, a perfect balance to either the hushed title track, the unnerving "Be Here Now" or the horn-fortified waltz, "Gone Away From Me." Throughout the 11-song sequence, and especially on the final song "Within You," LaMontagne’s voice remains the record’s most crucial element, as vibrant as it is tattered and as harsh as it is flawless. --Scott Holter

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