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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Red Heart the Ticker - For the Wicked

Name: Red Heart the Ticker
Album: For the Wicked
Year: 2005
Style: Indie, Folk
Similar Bands: Grandaddy, The Thrills, Mazzy Star, Rilo Kiley
One Word Review: Fragile Morning Peacetime
Based Out Of: Marlboro, VT
Label: Poorly Bird
For The Wicked - Cover & Back
For The Wicked - Liner Notes, Tray & CD
For The Wicked (2005)
  1. For The Wicked 0:36
  2. Go-Cart Thrills 3:31
  3. Racing Stripe Winter 3:57
  4. Steel Toe Drinking 2:47
  5. Where Are You Nashville 0:26
  6. Pilot Eyes 3:47
  7. Slightly Under the Weather 3:35
  8. Blinking 2:59
  9. Leather Boots 3:30
  10. Gravestone 2:46
  11. Depression 5:53
  12. Jackknives 3:17
  13. One Last Tear 1:51
  14. Drinking Cup 2:53
Album Rating (1-10): 6.5

Members & Other Bands:
Robin MacArthur - Vox, Acoustic Guitar (Joshua Marcus)
Tyler Gibbons Vox, Upright Bass, Electric Bass, Guitars, Glockenspeil, Percussion, Recording (David Berkerly, Dark Side Of The Cop, Joshua Marcus, Marco Panella)
Thad Debrock - Guitars, Dobro, Pedal Steel, Synth (Sharon Corr, Kina Grannis, Virgil Moorefield. Itaal Shur, Chromeo, Sarah De Bono, Kayleigh Leith, Rebecca Jordan)
Andy Eggers - Drum Kit, Percussion (David Berkerly)
Scott Ray - Accordian, Piano
Tyler Wood - Fender Rhodes (Glass Ghost, Joan as Police Woman, It's Official)
Frisbay - Trombone, Piano, Synth  (David Berkerly)
Chris Vatalaro - Drum Kit (Antibalas, Steve Reich, Elysian Fields, Bat For Lashes, Karl Hyde)
Bill Esses - Production, Mixing
Steve Kadison - Mastering
Ethan Murrow - Cover Art & Design
Claire Iltis - Cover Art & Design
Forrest Adzapfel - Photograph
Karen Scott - Managment

Unknown-ness: I feel like I may have heard of this band before, but where, when and why, I'm not sure. I imagine it to be a very hipster, indie album, with fey melodies and eccentric instrumentation. The base of the group is just the first Gibbons & MacArthur, so some sensitive lyrics will probably be heard too.

Album Review: This is the first of three albums for this currently active band composed of husband and wife duo that live in a (now electrically converted) cabin in the VT woods with two kids. They received a Creation Grant from the Vermont Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. Robin’s grandmother was also an artist, releasing 9 folk albums, and collecting many more via reel to reel live recordings, some of which have appeared on later albums. This album was recorded in a barn. Three-Fourths of this record has sparse, minimal construction, leaving lots of moment for reflection.

“For The Wicked” begins the record with hushed whispering vocals and a gentle acoustic guitar with a sleepy melody.
“Go-Cart Thrills” picks up the pace a little more, but the fragile female vocals have a mystical tone to them, and roll along with the stepping, strobe melody. Toward the end as the chorus repeats, there is a strained vocals that companies the lead in recess.
“Racing Stripe Winter” employs the male vocals for this song, which feel like a strained, sleepy Grandaddy presentation. The tempo marches forward via the drums, taking its time.
“Steel Toe Drinking” starts with a fading up acoustic guitar, and haunting female vocals, similar to Mazzy Star. The vocals are supported by the male vocals in minimal fashion, and the song creeps along like a nighttime canoe ride.
“Where Are You Nashville” is just a fade up of backwards played music.
“Pilot Eyes” begins with classical country style female voice floats along the pulsing stripped down music. This feels la little like Rilo Kiley. The vocals and music are not naturally matched, but they do work well together.
“Slightly Under the Weather” has barely audible fret change sounds and creeks up as the volume slowly increases. An ambient daybreak hum supports the hushed playing as if trying to not wake the rest of the household on a cold early spring morning. Guitar is then added and the home is awake, but is still slow to move, with one note played at a time. The supportive rhythm sections halt suddenly, letting the guitar hook play its way to a fade out.

“Blinking” is another male lead song, where it feels like the singer has to struggle to get his vocals out. It is another quiet song, where it feels like the melody is just stumbled upon without any effort or trajectory. The female vocals pick up the second run through.   
“Leather Boots” feels more like a mellow Thrills song, with a more lively melody (relatively speaking) played by the guitars and percussive tempo. There is a little bit of Shins melody in this song. And after the first section of the song runs through, it almost rocks out. But it retreats back to the thin vocal styling.
“Gravestone” takes a step back to the introspective, quiet vocals and minimal acoustic guitar. The solemn melody drifts along like a conversation you forgot you were having.
“Depression” is a light, sentimental instrumental melody for the first minute. Slightly echoing female vocals break the instrumental theme with a somber reflection. They later cry out for the recipient of the song to “talk to me,” which seems like might be a hopeless request.
“Jackknives” peps up the mood with a country style melody. The vocals fit well with the style, which feels a little like a local train traveling the tracks through snow tipped hills.
“One Last Tear” continues with the country theme, but this is a sad song rather than a chugging train song sung by Robin.
“Drinking Cup” wraps the album up with a side to side stumbly ballad, starting out with male vocals, with the female vocals in for support. It picks up the tone and intensifies ever so slightly, but it continues to grow right into a brick wall, and stops to end the record.

Stand Out Track: Leather Boots

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