lifeblood: listlogs: 2008v10n140-news

ig-news-digest         sunday, august 17 2008         volume 10 : number 140

today's subjects:
  [ig-news] didn't it feel kinder review from washington blade  [sherlyn koo]


date: sat, 16 aug 2008 18:26:31 +1000
from: sherlyn koo <>
subject: [ig-news] didn't it feel kinder review from washington blade

hi folks,
here's a review of "didn't it feel kinder" from the washington blade.  online here:
- ---begin forwarded article---
music |
indigo girls' ray out with fourth solo release
new album features more rock than duo's material
by rebecca armendariz
aug. 15, 2008
shades of the lazy, bluesy sound of the indigo girls pepper amy ray's new solo album but there's also a more processed rock sound that proves "didn't it feel kinder," which dropped last week, isn't just another addition to the legendary folk rockers' discography.
ray, 44, is half of the indigo girls. "kinder," her fourth solo release (including a live album), was released on her own label, daemon records, which she founded in 1990.
she begins with "birds of a feather" with the echo of lo-fi guitars and eerie tap of a single snare drum. she repeats the question of a chorus, a clever metaphor, her voice echoing: "if we are birds of a feather, why can't we migrate?"
this is the first solo album ray produced herself. greg griffith, who's also worked with le tigre and vitapup and plays bass guitar on the album, helped ray break through a more tired folk-rock pattern and explore the genre by adding heavier instrumentation.
"she's got to be with me" follows, sounding like a jazzy '80s lounge tune. the accompanying video should include jean jackets and alleyways. the bass line crawls throughout the verse, and ray's voice, a percussive whisper, follows it. only when the chorus hits does the song become redeemable, as she allows her throat to open and carry notes over harmonizing backup vocals.
"bus bus" enters faster than one would expect, and as it continues, ray steps out of the persona she's built and tries hard to regress in age, to "fit in" with mainstream radio. the fast-paced tempo of the track and her rush to push out repeated vocals don't fit her signature sound.
"hey baby my baby sweet baby/i'm on the bus tour bus bunk/i got my headphones on and i'm listening to/elliott rock rock rock rock/rock me to sleep/i got my phone on vibrate in case you call me/rock me to sleep," she spurts.
ray and bandmate emily saliers were part of the original athens, ga., college rock scene that included other queer-friendly acts like the b-52s and rem. songs like "bus bus," sadly, have no apparent root in that period. "cold shoulder," however, is more like it  acoustic and clear storytelling with a short, raucous chorus.
on "who sold the gun?" ray channels doo wop for her background chant while she wails overtop, wondering what drove the student at virginia tech over the edge while comparing the tragedy to a blind society in a seemingly endless iraq war.
the political undertones ray includes in her writing stem from the variety of causes she's undertaken. she's an activist for gays, women, native americans, the zapatista movement in mexico, environmental protection, anti-death penalty legislation and gun control. much of the gay community sees she and emily saliers as champions of the movement.
"slc radio" is ray's ode to the diverse younger generation of salt lake city, and how, in general, the kids are growing up and breaking away from traditional conservatism. the anthem rings with choruses in unison and escalating guitars.
ray reaches into her higher range for "stand and deliver" and creates a heavenly tone with the help of musician brandi carlisle, whose harmonies are scattered throughout the album. ray rounds out "kinder" with "rabbit foot," a stripped-down showcase of her voice, highlighted by the light, tribal tapping of drums.
it's apparent that when ray sticks to what she knows, it works. trying to make her sound a little "fresher," more "hip," doesn't quite work  it's too strained. playing slightly updated versions of her folk-rock staples, though, exceeds expectations.
c) 2008 the washington blade | a window media publication
precedence: bulk

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end of ig-news-digest v10 #140

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