Friday, May 11, 2007

Justin Roberts

Justin Roberts:
"One Little Cookie"
(from Yellow Bus 2001. Buy/download)
"Day Camp"
(From Way Out 2004. Buy/download)

Well, I definitely did not expect to get scooped on this by Scan, but Rick Cornell had a very nice post about Justin Roberts, who performs at the Carrboro ArtsCenter tomorrow (5/12) at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Rick's exactly right -- Justin makes kid-themed music that adults will get a lot out of as well. His most recent albums -- Way Out and especially Meltdown! -- are really wonderful pop with sophisticated and interesting arrangements and production. Whereas on the early albums he was sort of a kids' music James Taylor, he's developed into more like a kids' music Brian Wilson. (Honestly, I think he's gone about as far as he can go in that direction -- I love Meltdown, but if he goes any further in that direction, it'll be overdone.)

Rick even called out "One Little Cookie" which has always been one of my favorites as well. One of my wife's favorites is "Day Camp", which has a nice Violent Femmes feel to it. Click here to launch Justin's radio player, where you can hear a couple of other songs, starting with the excellent "Our Imaginary Rhino" from Meltdown!

I'll be at the 11:00 show tomorrow, the third one we've seen at the ArtsCenter. Justin puts on a great show even when it's just him and a supporting musician. (I'd love to see the full Not-ready-for-Naptime Players band someday, though!) The early show's sold out, but it looks like you can still get tickets for the afternoon show. If you've got kids, go see this show!

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Friday, May 04, 2007

Un Deux Trois

Un Deux Trois:
"Everything That Is Happening Is Happening"
(from Lovers EP 2007. Buy it here.)

Just a quick post to say how much I've been enjoying the newish EP from Un Deux Trois. It's a low-key set of songs from Heather McEntire of Bellafea and Jenks Miller of In the Year of the Pig. I don't know either of those bands terribly well, but this sounds nothing like I'd expect from a combination of the two. While they both strike me as far more raucous, Un Deux Trois is stripped down and acoustic. The casual nature of the music belies the fairly somber tone of the lyrics, which are generally either regretful or angry (though the last song, "45 rpm", offers rueful acceptance of a less-than ideal situation: "We're not in love but it sure feels nice.")

I'm glad I spent some time considering the lyrics, since they are pretty poetic. I'm especially fond of the scene depicted in "Everything That Is Happening Is Happening", with its heat-weary refrain of "I just want you to come clean" and the marvelously ambiguous closing line: "There's nothing like regret to keep you on your knees."

McEntire and Miller are playing separately at 305 South in Durham tonight as part of a big CD release show for Burly Time Records, a label launched by the Indy's Grayson Currin. Burly Time has new CDs from Miller as Horseback, Bowerbirds, and Megafaun (seemingly the remnants of DeYarmond Edison, a band I enjoyed but never got to write about). A very nice lineup, and I'm looking forward to hearing them. Also on the bill tonight, Des_Ark and Pykrete. That's a lot of great music -- and a free show to boot!