Matthew Ryan: Dear Lover

RIYL: Bruce Springsteen, Josh Rouse, Ryan Adams

Singer and songwriter Matthew Ryan is one of the most prolific musical artists out there, as evidenced by the fact that his new release, Dear Lover, is his twelfth album, and his sixth since his last major label effort, 2000’s East Autumn Grin. Since then, Ryan has been refining and re-inventing his sound, enjoying the fact that he can make music his own way without the “input” a major label tends to impose on its artists. On Dear Lover, the same smoky, Americana-tinged vocal that is Ryan’s trademark is there, and the subject matter is personal and profound yet universally appealing. Musically, however, Ryan seems to have stalled a bit this time around, as if he’s been running on the same treadmill for a while and can’t get off of it. That doesn’t mean it’s awful; it only means that the music is not much different from recent efforts, and there is a bit too much similarity in tone, tempo and arrangement. If you’re a fan of Ryan’s, chances are you’ll find something to like here, particularly, the mid-tempo but raunchy title track, the piano-laced “We Are Snowmen” or the dark and introspective “The End of a Ghost Story.” But if you’re just discovering him for the first time, you might want to jump back into his catalog a bit for perspective. (The Dear Future Collective 2010)

Matthew Ryan MySpace Page


Butterfly Boucher: Scary Fragile

The story of Nashville-by-way of Australia’s Butterfly Boucher is an all too common one these days. Her debut on A&M Records, Flutterby, was well-received by fans and she later had a song placed on a critical scene of “Grey’s Anatomy.” But A&M couldn’t figure out how to maximize her potential, and didn’t really try hard to do so, so Boucher was granted her freedom, which she embraced with the vigor of someone who wanders the desert to find an oasis. Her new album, Scary Fragile, on her own imprint, Situation Operation (she is managed by alt-pop powerhouse label Nettwerk Music), reflects the last few years of trying to make music for the right reasons. This woman can write songs really well, and it’s just mind-boggling that labels can give up on talent like her’s so quickly. Boucher sings in an endearing Australian accent and her voice is unique and easy to pinpoint – and she’s hip without being hipster, melodic without being predictable. The album kicks off with “I Found Out,” which is clearly an anthem of liberation that flat-out rocks. And on a mostly solid sophomore effort, the other standouts are “Gun For a Tongue,” which may remind you of Luscious Jackson; the summer rock feel of “Keeper” and the haunting beauty of “Bitter Song,” which is the same track used by “Grey’s Anatomy.” (LABEL: Situation Operation)

Butterfly Boucher MySpace Page