The Alternate Routes: Lately


RIYL: Gabe Dixon Band, Matt Nathanson, The Damnwells

New England based alt-pop band the Alternate Routes have flirted with modest success – their breakthrough, Good and Reckless and True, was produced by Jay Joyce and their 2009 album was released by indie giant Vanguard. But like many talented bands these days, they’re back to doing it on their own again. Led by Eric Donnelly and Tim Warren, the Alternate Routes and their acoustic-driven, slightly twangy alterna-pop are back with a fourth studio album called Lately. The band is road-tested and still has above average songwriting chops, but there is a bit of magic missing based on previous work. As with most work from the Alternate Routes, there is a nice balance between guitar-driven, beer-soaked rockers (“Rocking Chair”), rock anthems (“Kiss Me” or “Tell Me Your Name”), and pretty ballads (“Shame” and “Lollapalooza”). But if you’ve been digging on these guys since the beginning, you’ll no doubt appreciate the straight-up driving pop of “Still Can’t Get Enough.” No matter where they are in their career, The Alternate Routes are still making relevant, easy-to-listen-to music – that and the compelling vocals of Warren should keep them on the road for a little while longer. (Alternate Routes Records & Soundwave 2010)

The Alternate Routes MySpace Page

  

21 Century Breakdown: Mike Farley’s Top 10 Albums of the 2000s

The past decade to me was less about musical trends and styles, and more about how I listen to music. I’ve always been a mix tape guy, and as the ‘90s moved to Y2K, I was entering the world of burning mix CDs. But then around 2004, everything changed, and changed for the better, when I discovered iTunes. Now I could not only make up my own playlists from my music collection, but I could order single songs for 99 cents and add those to my collection. Suddenly I was re-discovering songs from my childhood and teen years, and basically every phase of my music-listening life. And I could arrange all those songs any way I liked…playlists galore and, as I described them, “kickass mixes.” Every four to six months, I make a new play list of what I’m currently listening to, and date that as a new Kickass Mix, something I can go back to that makes me remember what I was doing and feeling at that point in time.

As for the actual music I’ve been listening to and enjoying, there are a few acts that have entered my iTunes world this decade that have become favorites that I can’t get enough of, no matter how many times I listen: The Damnwells, the Silver Seas, Ari Hest, Jason Spooner and Butch Walker, to name a few. I know that radio is basically a shell of its former self and we find and listen to music in so many different ways, but I, for one, have fully embraced the digital world of music.

Here are my picks for top albums of the decade.
1. The Silver Seas: High Society
2. Jason Spooner: The Flame You Follow
3. Ari Hest: The Break In
4. Stereophonics: Langauge, Sex, Violence. Other?
5. The Damnwells: Air Stereo
6. The Southland: Influence of Geography
7. The Damnwells: One Last Century
8. Josh Rouse: 1972
9. Butch Walker: Left of Self Centered
10. Paddy Casey: Addicted To Company

  

The Damnwells: One Last Century

For Alex Dezen, who for all intents and purposes, IS The Damnwells, to release an entire album for free download on the Paste Magazine website was a stroke of genius. It’s not like the guy isn’t already revered in sub-radar pop/rock circles, but now he’s given those in said circles every reason to preach the gospel of the Damnwells to anyone who will, you know, damn well listen, and for them to spread the word with no repercussions of piracy. But by no means is One Last Century devalued, nor is it a bunch of crappy B-side recordings that Dezen dug up from his basement. It’s more of the same brilliant melodic, heartfelt and smartly arranged songs we’ve come to expect, a continuation of sorts from 2006’s Air Stereo. He only wanted to release this one for free a) because he wants more people to discover the band, b) because today’s economy makes free stuff attractive, and c) because he can. On One Last Century, you’ve got the gamut that runs from sugary pop (“Bastard of Midnight” or “55 Pictures”) to beautiful acoustic (“Soundtrack” or “Say”) to riveting mid-tempo (“Like It Is” or “WWXII”). Go ahead, try and find something you don’t like here – you won’t find a better value anywhere. (LABEL: Paste Magazine)

The Damnwells MySpace page

Link to Download One Last Century for Free

  

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