Frankie: Band of Skulls - Baby Darling Doll Face Honey
I fell in love with Band of Skulls almost begrudgingly; the song “Light Of The Morning” was featured on a Ford Mustang commercial in 2011 and my family is the kind that always has a television on. I remember I almost not liking the song because it was always stuck in my head. How many times would I have to listen to that commercial!? Eventually, after constantly humming the staccato tune, I looked the song up and the rest is history. “Baby Darling Doll Face Honey” is the first studio album for Brit rock group Band Of Skulls. “Brit rock” is the only thing I’m willing to classify them as because of their eclectic changes in sound throughout the album. Some songs are clearly influenced heavily by blues, while others come off as pop-rock. “Baby Darling Doll Face Honey” is eclectic and not at all an easy listen, but when you put into perspective that this is a first album from group of college friends fresh out of experimenting in their dad’s shed, it’s incredibly impressive.
My favorite song on the album is by far “Death By Diamonds And Pearls” with its bluesy vocals backed by a simple yet hard-hitting rock guitar and a peppering of tambourine. Like most of their songs, the inclusion of a dizzying guitar solo is tucked in towards the end. “I Know What I Am” is our first real taste of female bassist/vocalist Emma Richardson as more than just backing vocals. She has a strong voice that is just as interesting and complex as guitarist/vocalist Russell Marsden’s. Honestly, when I grow up I want to be just like Emma Richardson, but I think I will say that about every female rock star I ever encounter. Richardson and Marsden’s voices blend so well and create such a unique harmony; with some songs clearly led by Richardson and others led by Marsden, its hard to say whether that have a definite front man/woman.
This isn’t necessarily my favorite Band Of Skulls album, as their second album “Sweet Sour” is untouchable, but it is the first Band Of Skulls I’ve happened upon while flipping through albums at record stores. I picked this one up during a huge sale at the Athens Ohio record store Haffa’s before its untimely close. It came with a sweet poster that, as well as the cover art, is based off the artwork of Richardson.
Michael: Built to Spill - Untethered Moon
In my young alt fandom, Built to Spill were one of the first bands to draw me into the genre. I just love the mashing, prominent guitars juxtaposed against Isaac Brock’s more relaxed vocal style. Also, Brock has a method of story telling that always hooks me in. They have had so many fantastic albums that have been critically acclaimed from their cult status, but today I’m talking about their most recent release Untethered Moon.
In Untethered Moon, Brock and his new members of BTS give listeners a tour of the bands signature sound. That is there are songs that have driving melodies with ripping guitar solos like “All Our Songs”, while they also have more softer and melodic offerings such as “Never Be the Same”. One thing that stands out about BTS’ sound is that no matter the song they are always strong on melodies. This is likely due to Brock starting his composition of his songs on acoustic and working his way from there, adding melodies later.
This album is definitely one you should pick up if you’re unfamiliar with BTS or if you haven’t been listening in a while. It holds a special place in my vinyl vault.