The CHIRP Blog
Entries categorized as “Album Reviews” 20 results
by Josh Friedberg
No one swung a song like Ella Fitzgerald. The “First Lady of Song” earned her reputation as a “musician’s singer” because of her unparalleled facility with scat singing and her relentless rhythmic attack on songs like “Blue Skies” and “How High the Moon.” She could, of course, also sing with a sweet, lovely tone that could make you melt on a ballad.
But by the mid-1970s, her voice had lost some of its legendary pristine clarity. But she could still swing like nobody else. And on Ella in London, recorded live at Ronnie Scott’s nightclub in 1974, the adoring audience and the first-class material spur Ella on to create an exceptionally enjoyable live album—on par with the more well-known Mack the Knife: Ella in Berlin from 1960, and perhaps even more consistently surprising than that classic.
by Craig Bechtel
Someone (not me!) should do a study on the commonalities in bands that break up before releasing their final album, and now we can add to that pool of relevant research subjects Ultimate Painting, the London-based duo comprised of Jack Cooper (Mazes) and James Hoare (Veronica Falls).
Originally, UP! was scheduled for an April release, but Cooper announced on February 12 that the group was breaking up and he had asked their current label, Bella Union (run by Simon Raymonde of Cocteau Twins fame) to not release it.
When announcing their “irreconcilable breakdown,” Cooper indicated that his partnership with Hoare (both of whom are songwriters, vocalists and guitarists), was always “a very fragile thing” and even on their three original releases, that delicate sense of fragility was an intangible, ineffable through-line that made all of their music something wonderful to hear.
by Sophie Holtzmann
Just as a happenstance of exposure, I usually only write about Chicago music, but it’s time to pay tribute to some amazing folk punk coming out of the Michigan DIY scene. In January 2018, Rent Strike released IX, a 9-track masterpiece fit for endless replay.
James Chunga, who you may know as the bassist from another Chicago band, So Pretty, has released a solo album under the name Grumble. Tough Times on Oakwood Demos, released this month, is funky, folk punk that warrants your full attention, because the songs are just so damn pleasant to listen to both in the musical quality and witty lyricism.
Ironically, one reason his sound is so unique is that it revitalizes older components of folk punk. A lot of the themes of introspection, battling demons, and finding meaning in an unraveling life are themes that gave folk punk so much traction as a rallying point for the disenfranchised from The Pogues to Johnny Hobo and the Freight Trains.
If you have not heard of the Chicago band No Men, truly I weep for you. This band relocated from Texas and has done a lot in the years since they’ve been on the scene.
This three-piece act is angry, femme-fronted, vocal supporters of LGBTQ, and are just fantastic artists with a unique sound. Preferably you’ll pause reading this, and listen up on their discography so that you can fully appreciate the importance of their new release, Cut, with Let’s Pretend Records.
This newest release is right on trajectory for our hopes and expectations. Consistent with the sound we know and love, Cut is characterized by a driving percussive pace and diverse melodies. It’s a two track cut and both songs hit that happy balance between aggression, tongue-in-cheek, and empowerment.