It’s been pointed out to me that I have yet to mention that Josh Ritter‘s new album, “The Historical Conquests Of Josh Ritter,” is fantastic. Every song front-to-back is amazing. It’s the best thing on a major label this year, and, I daresay, it’s the most indie major label recording I’ve ever heard. It sounds indie without trying to sound indie. Death Cab For Cutie maintained their integrity after getting a contract, and Josh Ritter kept his. So, it is possible.
You listening, Kaiser Chiefs and Killers?
Sadly, because he’s on a major label, I won’t post any of his songs. But you can find them on hype machine–posted by bloggers far braver than I. Or go to his site for streams. Other than that, you’ll have to take my word for it: It’s awesome.
October 2 – Portland, ME – Space Gallery
October 3 – Northampton, MA – Pearl Street Night Club
October 4 & 5 – Somerville, MA – Somerville Theater
October 6 – Westport, CT – Westport Arts Center
October 9 – Washington, DC – 9:30 Club
October 10 – Pittsburgh, PA – Diesel Club Lounge
October 11 – Cleveland, OH – Beachland Ballroom
October 13 – Lewisburg, WV – Carnegie Hall
October 14 – Charleston, WV – Mountain Stage Radio Show
October 15 – Ann Arbor, MI – Blind Pig
October 16 – Chicago, IL – Park West
October 17 – Minneapolis, MN – Cedar Cultural Center
October 18 – Boulder, CO – Fox Theater
October 20 – Boise, ID – Egyptian Theater
October 21 – Seattle, WA – Showbox Theater
October 22 – Portland, OR – Aladdin Theater
October 24 – San Francisco, CA – Bimbo’s 365 Club
October 25 – Los Angeles, CA – El Rey Theater
October 27 – Tucson, AZ – Plush
October 29 – Austin, TX – The Parish
October 31 – Birmingham, AL – Workplay Theatre
November 1 – Atlanta, GA – Variety Playhouse
November 2 – Nashville, TN – Exit/ In
November 3 – Louisville, KY – Headliners Music Hall
November 4 – Newport, KY – Southgate House
November 5 – Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle
November 7 – Philadelphia, PA – World Café Live
November 9 – New York, NY – Webster Hall
RAVENS AND CHIMES-“Reichenbach Falls”
“This Is Where We Are” begins with a bang. It immediately pulls you into action and tension, like the best Arcade Fire songs, and then at the halfway point it slows down, gets quiet, and commences the kind of slow build you usually find at the beginning of an indie rock anthem. Okay. Ravens and Chimes are not your typical band. I get it.
Yet every track is not like the first.
“The Faraway Sound of Cars,” for example, is more odd than anthemic. “The House Where You Were Born” alternates between crashing collisions and gentle strumming, constantly knocking the listener off balance. It sounds more Montreal art rock than New York indie. The songs on this album lack pretension, but sound important without trying to.
Lead vocalist Asher Lack has great range, and knows When to inflect and when to back away. Musically, there are no real hooks here. No particular instrument stands out, in fact. They all seem to meld together into a single organism, turning and tangled together in twisty tunes, creating a signature sound like no other I’m familiar with.
There’s definitely a few misfires here, as there are with any work as experimental as this one. The instrumental pieces don’t hang together well, and sound like stoner filler (“Candles,” for example). A few other songs sound incomplete. Why they offer “General Lafayette! You are not alone!” for download escapes me, but perhaps it is just an indication that this new band doesn’t know itself very well yet.
But for every misstep, the band gets it right. “Archways” is an attempt at pop that fails, but “Saint Jude in the Village Voice” succeeds magnificently,
recalling the best of XTC and 60s nuggets like The Hollies or The Rasberries.
Reichenbach Falls is an extremely promising debut. I hope the blogosphere picks up on it, because I’m very curious to hear this band grow. You might recall that Arcade Fire’s first demo/album was quite uneven, and it wasn’t until their ’07 release that they finally perfected, “No Cars Go.” We should all give Ravens & Chimes the same opportunity.
Myspace page has streams.
General Lafayette! You are not alone!