Ruth Gerson: This Can’t Be My Life


RIYL: Aimee Mann, Heather Nova, Fiona Apple

As if there needed to be proof out there that trying times can lead to the most inspired music, singer/songwriter Ruth Gerson hammers that point home again on her latest, This Can’t Be My Life. The album was recorded and ready for release in 2007, but a divorce and sudden single-momhood put the project on the shelf for a few years. Lucky for us, Gerson finally did release it, and the painful time period she endured shines through loud and clear on This Can’t Be My Life, her first full-length effort since 1998. Gerson writes music with heart, and delivers it with equal parts bluesy brood and rocking growl. It’s also melodic enough to be accessible to the masses, but still unique and cool enough to be considered alternative. Right from the title track, a piano anthem that sets the tone for the rest of the set, Gerson tells her story with simple yet powerful lyrics: “I made two lefts / I shoulda gone right / If I made one more left, it would have been right / It can’t be, can’t be my life.” This and the singsong “Bulletproof” have a falsetto melodic bent a la Aimee Mann, while “Fresh Air” and “Someday Soon” have a dark yet powerful pull akin to Fiona Apple. Add the jazzy, rainy day feel of “Hazel” and the guitar-picking “Take It Slow,” which will remind you of a female Nick Drake, and you’ve got a very complete, damn good album here. Whether Ruth Gerson breaks out big or remains on a smaller radar plane doesn’t matter. What matters is that she’s shared her stories with us, and is doing what she does best – making great music. (Wrong Records 2009)

Ruth Gerson website

  

Jets Overhead: No Nations


RIYL: Snow Patrol, Keane, Radiohead

Dreamy, brooding alternative rock may have begun with Radiohead, but one thing is for sure – it’s never gone away. There are bands that have kept the torch burning, from Coldplay to Snow Patrol to Doves to today’s entry, Canadian outfit Jets Overhead, who have just released their latest, No Nations. If you have been a fan of any of the above mentioned acts, you’ll find something to like from Jets Overhead – pulsing bass, swirling synth and guitars, and that whole faux British accent that seems to be the perfect vehicle for the genre. But there’s more to Jets Overhead; the album is eclectic enough to keep you from getting bored, and the songs are catchy, too. There are tracks that are made for AAA radio, such as “Weathervanes (In the Way)” and “Heading for Nowhere,” and there are haunting, sparsely produced gems like the title track or “Fully Shed,” the latter of which features some psychedelic sounding harmonies. Somehow, it all works, and it keeps that dreamy, brooding, alt-rock train chugging along. (Vapor 2009)

Jets Overhead MySpace Page

  

The Trampolines: Between the Lines


RIYL: Toad the Wet Sprocket, Gin Blossoms, The Hooters

If you are a fan of well-produced, well-written, harmony-drenched power pop, you may have found a new favorite band in Denver’s the Trampolines. Back with their second album and first since 2005, Between the Lines, this trio delivers a solid set of material that deserves to be heard by those who champion the type of stuff that came out of the Aware Records camp and what today passes for AAA (adult album alternative). Think Train or Toad the Wet Sprocket, with throwback flavors from bands like the Hooters and the Eagles. Don’t let lofty comparisons like that make you skeptical either, because this stuff is as addictive as that bag of chips you pick up at a truck stop when you’re really hungry – and maybe that’s just it, that we’re all starved for good, melodic rock. Frontman Mark Sundermeier and his band mates have not only written extremely catchy material, but they also deliver it with conviction and with some exceptional vocals. Right from the start, the harmonies and guitar tones on “The Need” are very Toad-esque and then some of the other standouts are the breezy “Shelter” and “Green Lights,” as well as the rocking “Letter,” which effectively marries fuzzy guitar with some nice driving piano. If you’re into any of the acts mentioned here, you need to do yourself a favor and check out The Trampolines, stat. (self-released 2009)

The Trampolines MySpace Page

  

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