Reissued by Brushfire Records, Bahamas' debut album is a simple display of what it means to make outstanding stripped down music. Guitar, drums, and vocals are all it takes to make great music. In fact, you don't even need to have songs that are any longer than 3 minutes. Most of the tracks on this album clock in at less that 3 minutes, with one of the best coming in under 2. That song is "Sunshine Blues" and the title itself sums up the entire feel of the album. It's quietly upbeat and subdued throughout, yet you still get a sense of the complexity that goes into creating simplicity. "Already Yours" is by far the album's cornerstone track, with it's accessible lyrics and radio friendly vibe. The album closes with an obscure cover song, "Whole Wide World," which is also where the name Bahamas came from. You can try to draw comparisons to all kinds of indie and acoustic folk artists from all corners of the globe, but the bottom line is there is no other like Bahamas, and this is just a taste of what is immensely possible in with such a simple musical idea.
Sam Roberts Band has come full circle in their career with the release of their latest album. This album is the band's best since their major label debut "We Were Born In A Flame" and contains the band's best song since "Brother Down." That song is "The Last Crusade" and it leads off an album that, from front to back, is a study in sonic artistry and lyrical mastery. Enlisting the assistance of an established saxaphone player (Antibalas' Stuart Bogie) and percussionist (Califone's Ben Massarrella), Sam and company deliver songs that are as rockin' as ever. The addition of the additional musicians brings sounds into the mix that are unfamiliar to SRB fans, but elevates their already unique sound and adds an incredible element of funkiness. Quite possibly their most funk filled song ever, "Let It In" just plain makes you want to dance. "I Feel You" is the song on the album that bridges their entire career, showcasing their rock core, and the aside from the lead track, "Streets Of Heaven (Promises, Promises)" is possibly the best on the album from a lyrical standpoint. They did things differently while making this album, and the end result is an elevated version of a familiar sound. Sam Roberts Band has returned their music to a youthful yet mature form, and it shows just why these Canadians continue to blow fans away.
Kate Voegele has been leading a double life as of late, playing herself in real life and her alter ego, Mia, on the television show "One Tree Hill." Mia is basically Kate Voegele in fictional form, but Kate still makes time to be Kate and do what she does. Her latest album is her most mature. She has come a long way since her days as an indie songstress, flirting with major label success, a go-around with backing by MySpace, and now finds herself making her most artistic and musical album at her new home, ATO Records. Songs like the title track showcase her skills as a lyricist, and her pop roots are evident on "Heart In Chains" (which she performed as Mia on TV) and "Sunshine In My Sky." This is the album that Kate Voegele set out to make when she began down her path to a career in music. With this she will solidify herself as the true artist that she has always been and not get lost in an endless sea of pop princesses.