In Brief: It hurts to give a favorite band an average review, but there are several moments on this album where I’m tempted to call them “Running Out of Ideas Vail.”
In Brief: Birds & Cages is a solid follow-up that scores just a few points shy of the five-star glory of Deas Vail’s first album. It ain’t for lack of trying.
We’ve reached the end of the list now. These are the albums that represent the cream of the crop in the ginormous stack of CDs I’ve accumulated over the last ten years – the heart and soul of the things that get me most excited about music.
Picking up where I left off in Part I… this is still the best of the “B plus” material from the last decade.
The end of 2009 is upon us, friends. It was a year that many of us didn’t look forward to, already knowing to expect financial woes and potential job losses (if not already realized ones) going into it – a year where the unexpected road ahead seemed to promise more hardship than exciting new possibilities to explore. but a poor year for the world was a rich year for music – either because artists channelled their angst into some of the best songs they’d ever written, or because more and more of them were jumping ship on the big labels and finding freedom to go where their imaginations would take them even if the audiences weren’t as big as a result. Some found artful ways to downsize while others played it as over-the-top as they could in defiance of expectations. In the end, it was a more exciting year than I could have anticipated, one that has left me with a lot to look forward to.
I was really optimistic at the end of 2008. It had been a tough year, but things appeared to be changing for the better. Still, I think I was more aware of a lot of the turmoil in the world around me than I had been before. I can sort of see a cycle in these songs that I picked back then, which starts out with hope – perhaps hope that was placed in imperfect humans who meant well but couldn’t fix everything we wanted them to fix all at once – and then it moves into a sequence of frustration, jadedness and cynicism, fear, conflict, war, and even death. Ultimately, with the arrival of the Christmas season, it comes right back around to hope again… but it’s tempered with a lot more grace and patience and wisdom than the first time around.
In with the New:
Annie Moses Band
Out with the Old:
Listen on Spotify:
Artist: Deas Vail
Album: White Lights EP
In Brief: An excellent appetite-whetter for the group’s second full-length album.