Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Ludo - You're Awful, I Love You

Saint Louis based rock band Ludo are set to release their major label debut on February 26th. They recorded the album in L.A. over a stretch of approximately two months. Matt Wallace who has worked with artists such as Faith No More, Maroon 5 and Blues Traveler produced.

One thing many of the artists Matt Wallace has worked with have in common is they feature well crafted songs. Ludo is no exception to this. You’re Awful I Love Youis full of terrific harmonies and hooks. Imagine songs as catchy as the jangly guitar pop Fountains of Wayne creates, and lyrics as cynical as Warren Zevon’s. That would give you an entry point to understand Ludo’s sound. They are however, much more than that.

Their stated motto is to “entertain people without making them dumber.” They achieve that goal on their major label debut. “You’re Awful, I Love You” is an incredibly entertaining, catchy, easily accessible album to listen to. But it has a ton of substance and not only bears but rewards repeated listening. Beneath the amusing lyrics there are layers of musical complexity. On some tunes, guitar is out-front. In other cases the guitar takes a back seat to the Moog Synth that Tim Convy plays to great effect. On every song they manage to create wildly catchy melodic rock with great harmonies and darkly amusing lyrics. If that sounds like your cup of tea I recommend marking the February 26th release date on your calendar and grabbing “You’re Awful, I Love You” before everyone else on your block has it. Ludo sounds like they’re poised for great things. Don’t be the last one to catch on.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Alone: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo

Alone: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo does a good job answering the question, “What kind of songs does Rivers Cuomo write?” The eighteen tracks that make up this release run the gamut of piano ballads, punk infused numbers and jangly guitar pop to name a few of the styles he tackles. There are also a couple of covers on the album. Most notably “Little Diane,” the Dion & The Belmont’s chestnut. It’s recorded with Sloan as his backing band.

One of the great features of this CD is the extensive liner notes that Rivers Cuomo provides. They give the sort of insight into the songs, performances and inspirations that’s usually reserved for box sets.

There are many fascinating tracks on “Alone….” One of them is “Dude We’re finally Landing.” It’s less than a minute long and performed Acapella. It works perfectly.

The last track, “I was Made For You” was intended for the next Weezer album. However the band voted on a different composition instead. It’s filled with melancholy and yearning, a tremendous closer.

“Alone…” works on several levels. On one hand it’s a fascinating look into the creative process of the mind composing Weezer’s music. Additionally it works well as a stand alone piece, even if you’re unfamiliar with Weezer. The Tunes are fleshed out enough that this doesn’t sound nearly like nearly the demo reel it seems like it might be at first blush.

This album is a great choice for fans of melodic, well-constructed pop music. Rivers Cuomo displays what can be achieved when the primary goal is writing a good song.