Once again I find myself swooned by a female singer songwriter. It happens periodically, a total enthrallment with a voice for a few hours – or days. That smokey, warm, Leslie Feist type voice that makes every word an impeccable sound. At this moment Kiersten Holine is providing the spine tingling music from her latest record Candescent, a minimalist, dream-like escape into a hushed world filled with vocal vibratos and slide guitar warm as June.
Although I could sing praise to Holine's singing for days, I found most of the record to be somewhat lifeless. Aside from the reverb and the stacked harmonies, and that slide guitar that I'm ever fond of, the other (limited) elements were not pulling their weight. Holine relied heavily on her voice and the current trend of creating airy, haunting, background melodies via oohs and aahs. This isn't something that I'm really complaining about, I just yearned for a little more variety throughout. Where I heard a distant trumpet or possible plunking piano, there was a slightly disappointing 'silence'. Disregard this statement for the opening track "Nomad", my personal favorite and the highlight of the record.
With my negativity out of the way, Candescent is a lovely collection I would categorize under "lonely music" and would be befitting of a night in with a bottle of your favorite. Whether it sparks fond memories or a melancholic mood, these lonely songs and Holine's beautiful voice will surely have some effect on you.
Rumspinga, derived from the Pennsylvania "Dutch" German term meaning "to jump around", it also can describe the period of adolescence of Amish youth. In the case of Rumpsringa, it can take on both meanings. This album released by Mississippi rock band, The Weeks, is a raucous and youthful combination of rockabilly, alt metal, and southern rock.
With a blending of genres unlike I've heard, Rumspringa is a refreshing, albeit loud, listen. Distorted southern rock licks fly over steady hard rock beats and rough and tumble vocals. Melodic breaks and solos are plenty, filling in on top of the thick strummed chords. The music is recognizable when broken down and The Weeks do a great job of pulling in many influences though it seems each instrument is going in its own direction. And to further show off their flexibility, each track sounds like it belongs on a separate album or by a different band completely. The vocals take on a different presence and attitude for every song and the lyrics are surprisingly poetic and thoughtful, impressive usage of imagery and clever quips litter the record.
At only six songs, Rumspringa is a fun, short, intriguing listen. With twists and turns at every break, The Weeks held my attention throughout, and gave us something we could really jump around to.