Ann James Jr – The Rain
As you read this, please spare a thought for the thousands of young poets scribbling away in their notebooks in some lonely, dingy, little room, dreaming of one day getting to perform their poetry together with musical accompaniment, in front of an audience.
The fact of the matter is that the best songwriters share a few traits more often than not. They’re shy. They can write but have a hard time expressing themselves in public, let along leading a musical ensemble. They dress as if a thrift-store landed on their head. And, they make some of the most interesting kinds of music, that the cool, hipster, indie lads can only dream about bitterly. Most of the time…
Oakland’s Ann James Jr is one of those writers who got the nerve to perform his songs with rock backing. His voice still trembles while he utters his poetry, and we like him all the more for it. The Rain is a touching song loss whispered honestly and with despair hidden in the singer’s voice.
ØZWALD – The Alibi
During the 1980s, MTV would organize raffles for which the prizes were an opportunity to spend an entire day with your favourite rock star. In one such media-savvy promotional campaign, Van Halen, then featuring Diamond David Lee Roth, took two unsuspecting teenagers on the road, filled them up with enough booze to sink a cruise ship, and recorded it all for posterity.
That seems very entertaining, but, if anyone has the interest to revive this television format, I’d like to suggest modern hippies ØZWALD. We’ve covered them before on our website, and we remain of the opinion that they are great pickpocketers of terrific, sunny melodies, able to bend and adapt their methods to grab these glistening wonders of pop music from whatever source feels most appropriate.
On The Alibi they find a love for the Southern-pop majesty of My Morning Jacket. A beautiful mellotron sound and a guitar riffs that sounds like they’re moving backwards power the tune, while the production engulfs the song into a gentle mist. If Bob Dylan should suddenly think of revamping his sound, and we have no reasons to assume he won’t, he may consider ØZWALD for his backing.