we have band: ternion

We Have Band - Watertight
We Have Band - Where Are Your People? (Kinema Remix)

Though it appears to have been available digitally for the past month, We Have Band‘s sophomore effort Ternion was finally released today. I will admit that I had initially written off the trio as a blog-driven buzz band. If we’re being completely honest with one another, and we shall be, all I heard was a bunch of noise and excessive hullabaloo the first time I listened to Ternion.

Alas, the feeling didn’t last very long.

With each subsequent listen, I began to let my guard down and peel back the layers of the album. “What’s Mine, What’s Yours” (as heard in the video above) was my gateway drug, shortly followed by “Visionary” and “After All”. Even then, I wasn’t sold on the full package until the acceptance of these “softer” tracks led to an appreciation for the complexities of the project’s darker songs.

Eventually, light was seen in the dark on “River of Blood”. The noise from “Steel In The Groove” suddenly translated to “interesting percussion”. Weird Muppet-like breakdowns (see “Watertight”) added a charming element to an otherwise serious collection of songs. If anything, my only problem was left with the all-too-mellow closing track “Pressure On”. While it might be necessary to wind you down after the adventurous ride of Ternion, it doesn’t quite live up to the expert craftsmanship and fuller sound of the nine preceding offerings.

But, uh, nine out of ten ain’t bad, right? If you’re willing to exercise your patience and dedicate some time to Ternion, I’d highly recommend giving it a few spins. All ten songs (albeit, out of order) can be streamed on PureVolume, or you can take a chance and (gasp) order the album before you hear it.

I’ve told you what you need to know. Now, make the right decision.

joseph arthur: redemption city

Joseph Arthur - I Miss The Zoo
Joseph Arthur - Travel As Equals (Radio Edit)

Those who are only familiar with Joseph Arthur‘s poppier, soundtrack-friendly offerings—“Honey and the Moon” (American Pie 3, The O.C.), “In The Sun” (Saved!, The L Word, Scrubs, The Bourne Identity) and “You’re So True” (Shrek 2)—might be taken aback by the direction of his latest project Redemption City. The majority of the record’s lyrics are delivered in a spoken-word style, falling somwhere between Lou Reed‘s “Walk On The Wild Side” and Paris Hilton‘s lowbrow masterpiece “Drunk Text”.

Redemption City is a concept album of sorts, with a history that spans a whole decade. Back in 2002, photographer Peter Beard made a comment that Arthur’s Redemption’s Son sounded “too religious”, suggesting that he change the title to “Redemption City”. Unfortunately, the record was already on its way to stores, so it was too late to make any changes… Sad face!

The name haunted Arthur for years, until he eventually began writing and self-recording a project inspired by the title. “What would a city of redemption sound like?” he asked himself. “What kind of characters would inhabit it?” You can find out the answers (or something) by downloading the double album for free through his website (with the option to make a donation or purchase a limited-edition vinyl).

This is FOR REAL free. You don’t have to sell your soul to Satan or join any lame mailing lists.

Admittedly, sitting through the entirety of Redemption City can be a bit of a chore, depending on your mood. I’d recommend zeroing in on a few tracks and then expanding your horizons as you move along. “I Miss The Zoo” may not be the best place to start, but it’s a personal favorite. Maybe you’ll like it too? The world may never know (unless you leave a comment and tell me).

lera lynn

Lera Lynn - Good Hearted Man
Lera Lynn - Bobby, Baby

Have You Met Lera Lynn? It’s both a legitimate question, as well as the title of her debut solo album on Slow Records. The ten song set came out back in March 2011, which may leave you wondering, “Why are you writing about it so late?” To which I reply, “Well, have you met Lera Lynn? Because, if you haven’t, that’s why I’m writing about it so late.”

Also, there’s another reason! Lera and her boys will be releasing their first 7″ vinyl EP on March 2nd* at a show in Athens, GA (details here). Presumably, the EP will be available for purchase on future tour dates**, though you’ll soon be able to download it for free through her website. The release will include a cover of Johnny Cash‘s “Ring of Fire”, as well as an original B-side entitled “Don’t Make Me Wait”.

For the uninitiated, “Good Hearted Man” is a good starting point for your soon-to-develop Lera Lynn obsession. It’s got the charm of classic Dolly Parton with a dash of modern polish. Plus, it’s only two minutes and ten seconds long (not nearly long enough), officially falling into the “too short to suck” catalogue of American songwriting.

Of course, if you prefer country songs that tread on darker territory, you might want to start with “Bobby, Baby”, “Whiskey” or my personal favorite “Gasoline”. Last but not least, if you’re one of those people who listens to “everything but country!”, please stop saying things like that forever. It’s wildly inaccurate, because I highly doubt that you’re listening to shit like this or this or even this. Give country a chance, you big jerky jerk!

* That’s the same date as the BIG QUEER ROCK SHOW! Have I mentioned that yet?

** Boston-area folks! There is a show on March 23rd in Cambridge at Club Passim.

Click through (or look below) for the “Good Hearted Man” music video:

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