US - Illinois - Full Moon 210 - 10/19/13
50 Songs 50 States
Netherfriends (digital album)
Here's part II of our guided tour through the USA; 50 Songs 50 States (well, it's actually 51 since Washington DC is included) was a yearlong project where Netherfriends, A.K.A. Shawn Rosenblatt wrote and recorded a song and performed a show in every state in the US, with lyrics inspired by the cities/states visited. And, mind you, he has been inspired to try out a new idea: biking to each show!
"Gas is expensive. I am sick of paying for it. I am sick of driving and feeling like a slob".
Visiting Netherfriends' home site you can click and check out each song. Most pages/windows include a video for each track as well, plus funny short stories from the tour - a diary, sort of. In addition Netherfriends recommend a list of bands from the state he has/they have visited. For this review(s) I will go through the "album" in tens, of which Part 1 was launched a couple of moonths back. Now, here is Part 2 of the musical journey, this time taking us to and through: New Orleans, Louisiana; Keene, New Hampshire; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Asbury Park, New Jersey; Atlanta, Georgia; Boone, North Carolina; Murfreesboro, Tennessee; Casper, Wyoming; Denver, Colorado; Fairbanks, Arkansas.
Netherfriends' emotional psych-pop spans a wide range or spectre of musical colours and emotions. As I said last time, not all tracks capture my interest. However, quite a few are charming and of good mood. The problem this time is that too many songs sound the same. Maybe it is just me, maybe I am too harsh. Not that the songs are bad, because they are not. "Murfreesboro" is one that stands out, also due to its more up-tempo drive. First track out, "New Orleans", is enjoyable, sounding a bit influenced, or maybe just related to
Sufjan Stevens. "Keene" is a laidback stroll in the park, while "Albuquerque" isn't quite Breaking Bad. It is another comfortable ride. Nothing more. "Asbury Park" and Atlanta" glides by, while "Boone" raise the temperature a bit, being quite good. "Casper" seems to be sort of a key track, with its text line '...fifty songs, fifty states...'. OK, we've (I've) been through 20 states so far, and I've enjoyed the journey so far. Enough to hang on further on the route. Even though I've been thinking of dropping off, finding some exciting and tempting attractions off route. However, Netherfriends score a lot on the eccentricity and creativity of a project like this. I'll keep on going through the US guided by Rosenblatt & co next moonth. Even though the album was released this summer.
After the 50 States... project, leaving an exhausted Rosenblatt (from traveling, mixing and recording songs), Netherfriends recorded (during the summer) and put out a new album last month called Kind of Buzzed. Said to be inspired by Miles Davis' Kind of Blue and the live video from the Beatles' "All You Need Is Love", Netherfriends' ...Buzzed features three long tracks, being
fully instrumental live improvised beats with Chicago rappers adding freestyle word flows live. Sounds like an interesting record... It might be a curios experience only - for both players and listeners. I will check in on it.
Copyright © 2013 Håvard Oppøyen