Tag: acoustic

The first thing I ever heard about New Zealand’s Liam Finn was that he was trying to be the happy version of Elliott Smith. Whenever someone is compared to Mr. Smith, I feel an obligation to check out their music, though it’s always matched by my expectation that it won’t be up to par. However, in Mr. Finn’s case, there is actually some merit to these comparisons. If his voice was more similar to Smith’s, it probably wouldn’t be too hard to pass off the song Second Chance as an obscure Smith b-side. But regardless of comparisons, this is a pretty strong showing for a debut album. With songs like Second Chance, Energy Spent, and Music Moves My Feet, he is certainly one of the more talented songwriters I’ve come across this year.

From I’ll Be Lightning
Second Chance – (MP3, 3.4 MB)
Remember When – (MP3, 2.8 MB)

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I read about Reed KD on 3hive a week ago, and since then he has caused a bit of a blogging buzz. Once again, it seems that I am too late in writing about a band! Maybe I’ll have better luck next time. Anyway, the song Empty Bottles bears more than a passing resemblance to Elliott Smith‘s music, what with it being a slow, acoustic number about how times are hard. Then there are songs like Even If I which is more upbeat, although I can’t think of any legitimate musical comparisons for it! I guess I could be like every other blogger in the world and say “oh, it has a harmonica, he must be really into Bob Dylan!” Oh well, they’re both enjoyable tunes in their own way, and all the useless crap I write won’t change that.


From The Ashes Bloom
Empty Bottles – (MP3, 2.9 MB)
Even If I – (MP3, 3.5 MB)

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Oh ho ho, the prodigal father returns. It has indeed been a long time since I have traversed the great halls of this website, and so my writing prowess will be sub-par at best. But to reverse a life lesson from Conan O’Brien, if you can’t have quantity, you should have quality. So it only seems fitting that I’ll welcome myself back with an album review of Elliott Smith‘s second post-humous album, New Moon.

There is a double-appeal to this two-disc set, each of which serves a different type of fan. For the fans who enjoyed his music over the years but didn’t devote their lives to it, there are 24 songs to be had here, and excluding some alternate versions of both his solo work and some songs from Heatmiser, 20 of those will likely seem brand-new.

Then, for the truly obsessed fans like me… there are 24 songs! And while I’d heard all but three of them, a lot of the tracks on the actual album are cleaned up, including some of my favorites like Angel In The Snow and Going Nowhere. The best song on the entire thing is the alternate version of Pretty Mark K; the original was my least favorite song on Figure 8 and one of my least favorites of his songs overall, but this alternate version is amazing!

So, yes. This review is all about telling fans what they already know while telling nothing to the people who’ve never heard his music. But if you’re not a fan already, you should be, so check out some of his songs while you’re at it.

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We love the classics here at either/or. While the term classic is certainly a most ambigious one, I generally classify it as stuff written or released before I was born (pretty sure my comrade in crime, Hugh, disagrees). Anyhoo, since we love the classics, we’ve decided that we’ll be taking time out once a month to bring you up to speed on some of those great old, well-known (and maybe not so well-known) classic artists of yesteryear, and what better artist to kick it all off than the legendary George Harrison.

Most of you are probably aware of ol George-y boy. If not, shame! While he was most famous for his role in The Beatles (and yeah, they’ll be here one month), his solo work was his chance to come out and shine, and boy did he shine bright. Having contributed songs like Here Comes the Sun with The Beatles, he revealed a wonderful flair for great tunes. From My Sweet Lord to What Is Life?, he garnered a pretty huge fanbase until his untimely (and sad) death.

In my opinion, he played a well evolved version of The Beatles music, particularly in their later days, but he didn’t shy away from some good old fashioned country twang either.

And so we pay our respects to Mr. Harrison!

I know what you’re all thinking: either/or is really scraping for some content. Perhaps yes, but hey, these are some of the origins of today’s music peeps! Embrace it!

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Pandora is certainly the most interesting Internet radio station I’ve come across; the songs it plays for you depend on your opinions of the last songs it’s played for you. It still can’t really pinpoint your tastes, since you can only tell the site if you liked the song or you didn’t. No in-between answers (outside of not answering), and no answers like “the guitar bits sucked, but the singing was good.” So when it played Jeff Hanson, a fellow described on last.fm as “Elliott Smith if he came back as a 16-year old girl,” I can’t help but wonder if the site played him for me because of his decidedly feminine voice, or because of his music. I would hope it’s both. Anyway, if you can wrap your mind around his voice, then you should have no problems enjoying this.


From Son
Hiding Behind The Moon – (MP3, 3.5 MB)
Just Like Me – (MP3, 3.3 MB)

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I’m never content with my attempts at minimalism, so while 3hive can write such a description of Elliott Smith, I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if I attempted such a thing (and I’d be a plagiarist to boot).

While his first three albums featured largely acoustic songs with sparse accompaniment, the accompaniment on XO grew along with his budget, leading to Figure 8 which had a more diverse mix of songs – some slow songs that would fit on his older albums, and then the epic pop songs that wouldn’t. What all his albums have in common, however, is his extraordinary lyricism, a voice that gives new meaning to the word haunting, and instrumentation that is simplistic, yet unpredictable.

Considering we named the site after one of his albums, and you’re reading this blog because you like what we like (I’m assuming!), it is hereby decreed that you download Mr. Smith’s tunes, straight away. Since he’s into file sharing, I might as well direct you to this page that has an inordinate amount of demos and b-sides – I recommend starting with the “Basement II” Demos if you are unfamiliar with his work.


From From A Basement On The Hill
Memory Lane (MP3, 3.5 MB)
Twilight (MP3, 6.1 MB)

From Either/Or
Between The Bars – (MP3, 2.1 MB)

From Some Songs
Some Song – (MP3, 2 MB)

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It’s not often that I get the opportunity to step out and get some music that I happened to stumble across, but hey, here I am! Eva Cassidy was recommended to me by a friend and woo nelly, she sure was right in recommendin’ her! Cassidy has quite a striking voice, beautiful but powerful at the same time, seen in the very accomplished album Songbird. Covers are her forte surprisingly enough, as she definately has (or had unfortunately – she passed away in 1996 as a result of melanoma) the talent to make the songs her own.

Ranging from soul (People Get Ready), to jazz (Wade in the Water and Wayfaring Stranger) to quiet, acoustic/piano combos (Autumn Leaves), this 1992 release is still a joy to listen to.

Combining jazz and soul with such a pure voice? A winner, I say!

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