Mar 21, 2011

Lift To Experience - The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads

In 2001, Lift To Experience released what we at In(High)Fidelity like to call a Stone-Cold Classic: an album that transcends time and place; an album that we listen to just as much now as we did when it was first released. Joshua T. Pearson, the group’s singer/songwriter/guitarist, is about to release his first solo album since the band’s untimely demise, so we would like to take this opportunity to reflect on one of our all-time favorite albums.
Championed by John Peel, Lift To Experience were a three-piece band from Texas. Their one and only album is an epic song cycle built around the idea that Armageddon is on its way and God has called upon three Texas boys to lead his people to the Promised Land. In the hands of Pearson – the son of a preacher – the band addresses the religious themes in a manner that is both poetic and bad-ass – the music drenched in beautiful squalls of guitar,waves of feedback and hard-hitting drums.
There is an air of mystery about The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads that has only grown in the years since the disintegration of the band - not long after the release of the album - and Pearson’s retreat from the spotlight. Perhaps it is the Catholic guilt that I carry around that draws me back to this album again and again, however I’m more inclined to think it is just because it is an amazing album.

Listen to Lift To Experience: Down Came The Angels (The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads)

JOSH T.PEARSON (LIFT TO EXPERIENCE) - down came the angels by rocktympans

Mar 20, 2011

Avi Buffalo - Avi Buffalo (2010)

Hailing from Long Beach, California, Avi Buffalo have a sound that hints at a childhood spent listening to Built To Spill, Nels Cline-era Wilco, and Neil Young. Of course, I have no idea what Avi Buffalo's main man, Avi Zahner-Isenberg, listened to growing up and am merely projecting the sounds bouncing around my head onto these altogether fresh new musical works (everyone likes a reference point).
The songs on this album were written across a three year period, beginning when Avi was only sixteen years-old and still in high school. To recollect the horrible school-boy-full-of-angst poetry I was spewing into my journal when I was sixteen is beyond cringe-inducing at the best of times; but when I listen to what someone like Avi is able to put to paper (and then to wax with beautiful music to accompany it), I want to go back in time and destroy all of sixteen year-old me's writing tools.
The music on Avi Buffalo's self-titled debut is upbeat and poppy, with some rather excellent guitar-work woven through many of the tunes (particularly the excellent Remember Last Time). The tunes are both rootsy and whimsical, with Avi's sweet falsetto croon creating an otherwordly feel. This is music to get lost in.

Listen To Avi Buffalo: Remember Last Time (from the self-titled album, Avi Buffalo)

Avi Buffalo - Remember Last Time by subpop

Sharon Van Etten - Epic (2010)

A girl in Tennessee wants to write music and sing songs but her boyfriend is unsupportive of said girl’s creative endeavors (very unsupportive). Girl leaves boyfriend, writes songs about the end of a relationship; heartbreak and sorrow abound. Girl records songs and releases her first album – a plaintive affair which combines girls beautiful vocals with a lone acoustic guitar. People begin to take note.
Girl begins to heal from aforementioned heartbreak (as much as one can heal from heartbreak, I suppose) and writes a new batch of songs. This time she is not singing about her boyfriend as much as stepping out from an oppressive relationship into a world full of possibility (though a world still fraught with relationship struggles); a little wiser and a little stronger than before.
Instead of just a guitar, the girl works with a producer who augments her songs with more sounds: some drums, some slide guitar, multi-tracked vocals and a little echo here and there. The album is a departure from the earlier work – albeit a slight one – and the girl playfully calls the seven song mini-album Epic. Her voice is powerful and fragile all at once. Her songs are excellent and stay with you long after the final note has been played. The girl’s name is Sharon Van Etten.

Listen to Sharon Van Etten: Don't Do It (from the album Epic)

Sharon Van Etten - Don't Do It by skipsterus

That Was Then... This Now.