Danny Ross: One Way


RIYL: Sufjan Stevens, Wilco, Ben Folds

It’s one thing to say you sound different than everyone else. It’s another thing entirely to do it without trying. New York City-based singer/songwriter/pianist Danny Ross falls into the latter category, at least it seems that way on his latest, One Way. Sure, you can try to lump Ross in with the likes of Ben Folds or Sufjan Stevens, but he set out to add elements of the Who’s Tommy or Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, while also channeling his background studying jazz piano. The result is an exuberant batch of songs that may not grab you right away, but slowly do so after repeated listens, when you hear things you didn’t hear the first time around. Ross’ falsetto and unique melodies may also remind you of the late Jeff Buckley, but that’s just a point of reference because dude is clearly doing his own thing. If you like your music to have perfect structure and ear candy hooks, you won’t find much to like on here – but if you veer off the beaten path and like your music to do the same, you’re going to love Danny Ross’s music. The best tracks on this fine set are the literal opener, “Sleepy Dream;” “Stay Here with Me” and “And The Trumpets Sing” which both have melodic elements of ‘60s pop; and the driving, triumphant title track. Just do yourself a favor, and give this one a few spins with time to fully digest it. (Danny Ross 2009)

Danny Ross MySpace Page

  

21st Century Breakdown: Jim Washington’s Best Albums of the 2000s

As I compiled my list of the best music of the decade (a much, much longer list than you see here) one inescapable conclusion reared its shaggy head: the last 10 years pretty much belonged to Jack White.

How many other artists produced five stellar albums in the aughts, not to mention a couple of killer side projects and (that old rock critic standby) incendiary live shows?

No one, that’s who.

So, the best album of the decade really came down to which White Stripes album did you like more, White Blood Cells or Elephant.

Thankfully there’s no wrong answer. I first became enamored of “Fell in Love With a Girl,” totally fell for “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground,” became quite close to “We Are Going to Be Friends” and spent a lot of time in “Hotel Yorba” and “Little Room.”

On the other hand, Elephant had “Seven Nation Army.”

“Seven Nation Army,” motherfuckers. How could a song released in 2003 sound like it invented the bass line? Not just that bass line, but the whole concept of bass lines.

So as we recap our favorites of the decade, rock lives on into the new century in various forms, from low down and dirty to high and arty to pulsating and poppy, while what was once the cutting-edge hip-hop has devolved into auto-tuned disco synth. No doubt something new will emerge in the next decade to take our minds off it.

1. The White Stripes: White Blood Cells (or Elephant)
2. Wilco: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
3. Outkast: Stankonia (or Speakerboxx/The Love Below)
4. Green Day: American Idiot
5. The New Pornographers: Electric Version (or maybe Mass Romantic)
6. The Flaming Lips: Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
7. LCD SoundsystemL Sounds of Silver
8. TV on the Radio: Return to Cookie Mountain
9. Jay-Z: The Blueprint
10. The Strokes: Is This It?

Just a few of the runner-ups:

Queens of the Stone Age: Songs for the Deaf, Rated R
Belle & Sebastian: Dear Catastrophe Waitress
Drive By Truckers: Southern Rock Opera, Dirty South
Sufjan Stevens: Come On Feel the Illinoise
Arcade Fire: Funeral
Franz Ferdinand: Franz Ferdinand
Decemberists: Picaresque, Crane Wife
Radiohead: In Rainbows
Ben Folds: Rockin’ the Suburbs
Missy Elliott: Miss E…So Addictive
The Roots: Phrenology

  

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