Posts Tagged ‘Take Care’

CityColourAlbumIt’s certainly been interesting watching Dallas Green’s progression since his early days as part of post-hardcore outfit Alexisonfire. After disbanding AoF to focus exclusively on his solo career under his pseudonym City and Colour, Green seems to have garnered a larger and more respecting fan base than he ever did in the post-hardcore world. In my mind, City and Colour has allowed Green to convert the American Eagle-types who are drawn to the pop sensibilities, while, thanks to his background, retaining the respect of hardcore fans who loved Alexisonfire’s scream-sing pummeling.

His latest album, 2013’s The Hurry and the Harm, shows Green incorporating even more of the full-band sound that he flirted with in previous albums. It’s a far cry from his first record as City and Colour, 2005’s Sometimes, which was much more early-Dashboard Confessional-oriented with just an acoustic guitar and Green’s pretty voice. Personally, I prefer that era a little bit more than the backing band aesthetic Green uses now, but that doesn’t mean The Hurry and the Harm is a bad record.

The title track leads off the disc in a slow-rolling manner, complete with Southern organ swells and swinging drums. This is the type of sound that makes a large portion of the disc: very open, expansive tunes, all with Green’s smooth vocals driving it along. Next is “Harder Than Stone,” which features one of the strongest and catchiest choruses on the album. A cool acoustic version of the song is included on the deluxe version of the album.omg-i-3-dallas-green-wait-whos-on-fire

“Thirst” and “The Lonely Life” are jauntier high-energy pop songs. “Of Space and Time,” “Commentators,” “Two Coins,” and “Ladies and Gentlemen” make up the bulk of the rest of the disc, and are decent enough, albeit a bit formulaic, tunes.

“Paradise” and “Take Care” harken back a bit to the Sometimes era, which I appreciate—somber acoustic lines blend in behind Green’s subdued contemplations in a similar way to the City and Colour of 2005. The Hurry and the Harm ends on a high note: the excellent “The Golden State” and solid “Death’s Song” are a good way to round out the disc before the bonus acoustic tracks come in.

Modern City and Colour is more spaced-out, more rollicking and rolling, more full-band and folk-pop oriented. If you enjoy that, you’ll like The Hurry and the Harm. Even fans of the older singer/songwriter/acoustic City and Colour can find something to like about this disc—there’s a little something for any fan of Dallas Green.

~ J.M.

Beneath+Medicine+Tree+hq+pngAhh, Beneath Medicine Tree. An album instrumental in ushering forth what I call “the Spill Canvas Era.” What is the Spill Canvas Era? It’s those couple of years from—roughly—2002 to 2008 where 19- to 24-year-old girls wearing floppy beanies and hemp Toms stroll into their local Best Buy, pick up the newest Spill Canvas album, and proceed to bask in the feminine-voiced indie-rock lusciousness with their heavy-rimmed-glasses-and-leather-bomber-jacketed boyfriends as they drive home in their dark blue latest-model Honda Civics.

I might just have that all wrong, but I like to think it was an actual trend. It might still be going on, for all I know. Whatever the case, Copeland’s 2003 debut album, Beneath Medicine Tree, came out exactly ten years ago today, and it’s definitely one of the hallmarks of that era (even if I just made that era up).

A song like leadoff track “Brightest” finds Copeland at their most delicate and vulnerable. Moments like these are not really why I like Copeland; it gets a little too mushy even for my taste. Luckily, they redeem themselves quickly with songs like “Testing the Strong Ones” and the classic “Take Care.” Copeland is—oops, was, they called it quits by 2010—at its core a guitar-based indie-rock band, and the guitar riffs shine through excellently in these tracks.

Next is one of my favorite Copeland tracks, “When Paula Sparks,” written for singer Aaron Marsh’s grandmother. It blends wonderfully into the slow-building “California,” which concludes in an epic—epic by indie rock standards, that is—outro section bolstered by simple but tasteful drumming. More stellar tracks come along later, including “She Changes Your Mind,” “Walking Downtown,” and fan-favorite “Coffee,” which pretty much sums up the Spill-Canvas-Era mentality here with lines like “If it’s not too late for coffee / I’ll be at your place in ten / We’ll hit that all-night diner / And then we’ll see.” Those Spill-Canvasers love all-night-diner java runs, and “Coffee” is their mantra.

On album-closer “When Finally Set Free” the band treads into a more electronic-based aesthetic that would be featured more prominently on later Copeland records like Eat, Sleep, Repeat. It probably shouldn’t work as well as it does. In this song and throughout Beneath Medicine Tree, Aaron Marsh’s high-register wails soar over the guitar foundation, a combination that was really the root of Copeland’s success. Marsh’s voice is one of the most solid aspects of the record and of Copeland in general, if one can get past the “prettiness” of it.

Happy Birthday, Beneath Medicine Tree, and rest in peace Copeland. The band’s 2003 effort is both a sturdy debut release and an important fixture in indie-rock subculture of the mid-2000s. All of those beanie-toting Spill Canvas-types probably moved on by now to Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes, but we can hope they still give credit where credit’s due. If you ask me, that stuff wouldn’t be as popular as it is now without the hard work of bands like Copeland and solid albums like 2003’s Beneath Medicine Tree.

~J.M.