#reviewoftheweek / "Wish I Was Here" soundtrack

Zach Braff hasn't directed a ton of movies, but the ones that he has directed have contained killer soundtracks. Case in point: "Garden State," which helped to launch the career of Cary Brothers and bring The Shins into the spotlight in a huge way. The same is to be said for Braff's latest "Wish I Was Here," which is both a drastically different movie and it's soundtrack is a different sounding compilation. This movie and music is very different from Braff's first, imparting a very introspective and somber quality. The soundtrack features two great new tunes by Bon Iver and The Shins as well as a terrific collaboration between Coldplay and indie songstress Cat Power. In addition to the new tunes, Braff digs deep into the archives for classics from Paul Simon, Gary Jules, and Badly Drawn Boy, and even includes Bon Iver's hit "Holocene" as well. Newcomers, Hozier and The Head And The Heart also contribute to the album, with The Head And The Heart's song closing out the album and summing up the compilation in the best way. The only (albeit minor) miss of the compliation is the lack of the inclusion of "Tangled Up In Blue" by Bob Dylan, which appears in the film, but not on the album. Zach Braff knows how to curate music and this album is proof that not only is he a great actor, writer, and director, but has a great ear for music and how it contributes to a film, driving it forward and developing emotion and connection to the visuals on screen.


#reviewoftheweek / Jon And Roy - By My Side

Hailing from north of the border in Canada, Jon And Roy bring their folk sound south mixing elements of the beach and the campfire through their acoustic stylings and sing-a-long storytelling. Their latest release is an abbreviated collection, however, it's packed full of great tunes. From the first single "Where'd My Light Go" to the title track, each song showcases how simplicity can seem complex through straightforward music and lyrics. This album can be both a great introduction to Jon And Roy's music or a welcome addition to their catalogue for the season fan. Either way, Jon And Roy continue to show their talents are at pace with even the most popular artists.


#reviewoftheweek / John Butler Trio - Flesh & Blood

John Butler Trio has always brought a unique twist to rock and roll and folk music since they formed and began putting out music. Their latest incarnation features a new drummer, but they're doing everything fans have come to expect from their music. This time around, however, they've left the harder stuff behind for a more rootsy and folksy sound. Each song tells a story, many from John personal life, while mixing lyrical excellence with some of the funkiest and, at time, mellowest instrumentation. "How You Sleep At Night" and "Spring To Come" are excellent specimens of the lyrically driven folk songs on this album. The funky stuff comes on the form of "Livin' In The City" and the first single "Only One." JBT bring elements of reggae and some killer electric guitar solos together on the album's longest song "Blame It On Me." The album is titled well as the band and it's namesake's flesh and blood are connected to each and every song on the album, and is a solid, and possibly the most connected, set of songs JBT has released to date.


#reviewoftheweek / Conor Oberst - Upside Down Mountain

The Bright Eyes singer is fully involved in his solo career, and this latest album has him transforming into a full blown modern singer/songwriter with roots in indie, folk, and a bit of jam rock. Conor Oberst is not an emo indie kid any more. This new album is a masterpiece in it's own right, drawing influences from his own career of excellent tunes and bring in a bit of rootsy folk rock similar to the likes of bands such as Dawes, The Head And The Heart, and The Lumineers. The best thing about the album is the connection the listener can make to the lyrics, drawing themselves into Oberst's world with his vivid imagery and witty observations. The standouts on the album are the radio-friendly "Zigzagging Towards The Light" and "Hundreds Of Ways" which showcases an excellent horn section. Conor Oberst is all grown up on this album and is securing his place amongst this generations top singer/songwriters. It is truly one of the year's best collections of music with some of the year's best compositions as well.


#reviewoftheweek / Matisyahu - Akeda

After being dubbed the Hasidic reggae superstar, Matisyahu is turning the tables once again. On his latest, he mixes his reggae with everything from sweeping spiritual melodies to hip hop and jam rock. The debut single, "Watch The Walls Melt Down," is sure to become as popular as his previous hit "King Without A Crown," simply because it is catchy and has pop rock reggae energy. There are surprises around every corner including songs like "Broken Car" and "Hard Way" which are less in your face and more in your soul. "Black Heart" and "Surrender" are sure to be great live staples as they showcase every aspect of Matisyahu's live energy in the studio. "Confidence," which features guest vocals from Collie Buddz, is the album's heaviest reggae tune, and reminds us why Matisyahu is who he is in the music world. Matisyahu has proven once and for all on this album that he is the real deal when it comes to his music, and there is certainly nothing gimmicky about it.


BURN THIS / July 2014

  1. O.A.R. "The Architect"
  2. Phillip Phillips "Alive Again"
  3. The Wind And The Wave "With Your Two Hands"
  4. Johnnyswim "Home"
  5. Jamestown Revival "Golden Age"
  6. Ben & Ellen Harper "A House Is A Home"
  7. Shovels & Rope "The Devil Is All Around"
  8. Nathaniel Rateliff "Nothing To Show For"
  9. Ray LaMontagne "Drive-In Movies"
  10. St. Paul & The Broken Bones "I'm Torn Up"
  11. Paolo Nutini "Iron Sky"
  12. Will Dailey "Sunken Ship"
  13. William Fitzsimmons "From You"
  14. Bahamas "All The Time"
  15. Matisyahu "Surrender"
  16. Phish "555"
  17. moe. "Annihilation Blues"
  18. White Denim "Come Back"
  19. The Revivalists "When I Die"
  20. G. Love & Special Sauce "Weekend Dance #2"