Tuesday, February 2, 2010

New To Know: Wakey!Wakey! + Tom McRae + Fink

Almost Everything I Wish I'd Said The Last Time I Saw You... is the long awaited first full studio album from Brooklyn's Mike Grubbs a.k.a. Wakey!Wakey! After cutting his teeth with a free covers album (something that I have parsed and spread through numerous mixes and playlists), a live album and an EP --not to mention a slew of gigs and a spot on One Tree Hill--Grubbs has really refined his sound achieving stellar status on my indie pop scale. Numerous times, while listening to the album, I found myself paused by his lyrical prowess. Often anchored by his piano playing on previous recordings the introduction of more complicated arrangements on AEIWISTLTISY only serve to build the emotion in each song. The Oh Song mans up with the addition of a burly male chorus while Take It Like A Man weaves in the shrill of the violin to push it off the starting block. It is a great "beginning" for Wakey!Wakey! one that is sure to be followed by even more touring so be sure to catch him when he pass through your surrounds.  

Some folks with musical chops interpret the burden of such talent as a calling to fuss and refine until every element of their product is perfect. Tom McRae is no such artist. He is the kind of musical talent that takes great delight in the process; prefers to bask in the experimentation and possibility. On his fifth studio album Alphabet Of Hurricanes his product is the direct outcome of quite a bit of play and shaped by a lot a bit of craft. It's a mixed bag -- as one might expect -- Me & Stetson representing his pop sensibilities whereas American Spirit is a little more alt country. Despite the scatter the assortment is enjoyable as a whole mostly due to the thread of joy in the creation that is found in every track.
Out Of The Wall  

There is a steady cool to Fink's music that plays off so cleanly you feel as though you're listening to lead man Fin Greenall's private musings. Without hiding behind all the wit and wile of many of today's artists he plays it as it lays. Having spent a number of years as a DJ dabbling in trip hop and acid jazz it isn't surprising his recent work tends towards the understated. With Fink he has been focusing on a slightly more traditional approach to songwriting. The spectacular Distance And Time has a folkier waft while last year's Sort Of Revolution marks a happy medium between folk and acid jazz. The tracks maintain the cool Fink has come to be known for but there is an touch of soul that cannot be ignored. The title track from Sort Of Revolution spreads smooth crooning vocals over a minimal, but propelling, arrangement. The rest of the album plays out in a similarly chill manner making this the perfect soundtrack for your wind down time.
Sort Of Revolution

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