(picture i took from my camera phone at the Earl) I listened to the first Band of Horses album, Everything All the Time, when it came out and I thought it was good but really just another indie rock album. A few songs stuck out to me on that album and those kept me coming back to the album and the band. When their second album came out a few months ago I hesitated to buy it because I assumed that it would be more mediocrity. I was wrong! My brother, a huge fan, finally convinced me to take a listen to Cease to Begin. The album is more than I ever could have expected. The album is a complete piece of art. I never find myself wanting to push the next button on my iPod when I’m listening to this album. I think a main reason for this success is the band’s move from Seattle to South Carolina. Mat Brooke, from Seattle, and Ben Bridwell, from South Carolina, founded the band and were signed by Sub Pop. Brooke left the band after Cease to Begin so Bridwell moved the band back to his hometown in SC. Everything All the Time seems to be a happier, more energetic, and more complete album than their first. Perhaps it is my bias to the sounds from the south, but this album is near perfect for me. I had the chance to see the band at one of their four sold out performances at the Earl in Atlanta over New Years. The live show was intimate and fun. The songs sounded tight and the band looked as if they were having a great time playing for a crowd of people shouting the lyrics back into their faces. Check this band out RIGHT NOW if you have not.
The new Drive-by Truckers album came out last week. I was really nervous to listen to the album because of the departure of Jason Isbell. Isbell was my favorite writer for the Truckers and I was very afraid that his absence would be the end of the band. Brighter than Creation’s Dark was way more than I expected. I knew Patterson would have his three or four great songs on the album but other than that I did not know where it would go. While Mike Cooley stepped up in a huge way by filling some of the song writing void left by Isbell, I was most surprised by the songs written by Shonna Tucker. Shonna hasn’t written any previous songs for the Truckers that I am aware of. Her voice is really great and her songwriting skills are on point. I don’t understand why she has not been a bigger focus on past albums. Her soothing, feminine voice really adds a new level to the Truckers sound.Check out Purgatory Line and I’m Sorry Huston. Perhaps it took Isbell’s leaving for Shonna to feel like she needed to add something more to the band. The future looks like its going to be okay for the Truckers.