Luke Ellingson – Keep a Light
I used to play the local folk circuit. There’s hardly ever been a more sorry sight, let me tell you. By the end of my brief, and not too successful excursion into the world of, mostly second-rate, poetry and acoustic guitar playing, I felt much like John Belushi’s guitar smashing character in Animal House. I swear if I hear one more bozo playing an open G chord…
Well, the time has passed, I’ve gotten acquainted with Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen collections, and I’ve come to judge soft, folkish music less harshly. It isn’t that this kind of music is bad. It’s simply that songs about loving the fatherland, your mother, or frivolous love musings, tend to make up the lion’s share of bad folk music.
In the hands of an ambitious artist with the ability to marry genuine poetry to good melodies and interesting playing, the result can be great. Case in point, Luke Ellingson’s Keep a Light. Here’s a well-written folk tune, with large Albatross-like guitar solos and the kind of cry in the singing delivery that makes you think this guy has really done his share of suffering. That’s unlike my old folk buddies who merely inflict suffering on their minuscule audiences.
Arcadian Rhythm – Good Words
The original, true blue punks that embraced not only the music but also the lifestyle that came with it and made it an element that defined their personalities usually scoff at groups like blink-182 or Green Day. To them, these are mallrats that managed to make pop music and infuse it with enough elements belonging to their culture in order to make the world pay attention.
I can understand part of the reasoning and why the punks might feel anyone else less committed is likely to be a poser. At the same time, it’s easy to understand why hardcore California punks band stood less of a chance of having a mainstream hit than their pop-punk equivalents of the 1990s. Big hooks, tight production, and nice vocals are all, like it or not, elements that most people want to hear.
Arcadian Rhythm’s Good Words sounds like the kind of tune that the original punks are unlikely to take a shine to, but one which modern pop-punks will take notes from. The band pushes itself to the commercial extremes of their sound and aesthetic, but the result is a highly pleasing yet moody radio track. I can’t argue with good intentions, but I certainly can’t argue with talent, vision, and the ability to gain an audience.