The Last Royals – Twistification (2013)

lostTwistification is like a good jukebox found in the corner of your favorite neighborhood dive bar, full of a wide variety of sounds and songs ranging in style from indie pop, mellow bliss-ness, throwback 80′s sounding electronica, and right at you rock and roll. Though the duo is from New York, there is something very Brit-pop about the album, reminding me of Arctic Monkeys, early Killers, Elbow and The Kooks. There is also a little bit of alt-pop-rock favorites from the States, like My Chemical Romance and Imagine Dragons, with a dash of Postal Service thrown in for good measure, on this album.

mp3 320 kbps | 104 MB | UL

Danielle Miraglia – Box of Troubles (2011)

danA journey through the blend of darkness and light that life has to offer – barebones folk-blues recording that highlights strong finger-pickin, sweet whiskey vocals and stomping left boot. , with a little help from her friends on such instruments as upright bass, viola and a little bit of sax.

mp3 320 kbps | 86 MB | UL

Dean & Britta – Back Numbers (2007)

deanThe thoroughly excellent sophomore release by the two best-looking members of Luna should make any fans who bemoaned that group’s demise happy as hell with its lovingly crafted cocktail hour visions. Back Numbers offers up perfect rainy day music on every graceful, laconic song. The album recalls the sophisticated, decadent sounds of Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra throughout. Unsurprisingly, Hazlewood is covered on one song here but this is no cheesy retro exercise; in fact, no one has mined this type of material with such originality since Nick Cave approached it in the 1980s. Each song is imbued with a subtly different style, with nods to the hazy psychedelic folk-rock of Opal and Clay Allison on numbers like “Say Goodnight” and the steampunk synth washes of Sonic Boom (who performs on the album) and Suicide on “Singer Sing.” Other numbers like “The Sun Is Still Sunny”–awash in sophisticated strings, hushed dual harmonies, a dash of piano and Mr. Wareham’s warm and melodic guitar lines–don’t sound like anyone else, at all.

mp3 VBR~197 kbps | 65 MB | UL

John Renbourn – The Guitar Of John Renbourn (1976)

joIn 1976, John Renbourn was commissioned to record an album of instrumentals for use as what is called “library music” in the U.K. (i.e., soundtrack music that can be plugged into numerous films and television programs. Unknown even to most serious Renbourn fans in its original incarnation, The Guitar of John Renbourn wasn’t released commercially until 2005, when Castle issued it on CD with a historical liner note. With occasional help from Tony Roberts and fellow ex-Pentangler Jacqui McShee, Renbourn created a series of pieces designed to accompany certain moods. That’s apparent from both the titles (such as “Introspection,” “Summer Song,” “Deserted Streets,” and “Passing Time”) and the “remarks” column on the back of the original sleeve, whose pithy summaries — “gentle pastoral,” “relaxed, carefree,” “wistful, thought-provoking” — were presumably intended as shorthand aids for pros looking for specific musical backgrounds. By its very nature, of course, this couldn’t be considered one of Renbourn’s more essential works. That noted, however, it’s really quite good, and is performed with great care and genuine musical feeling. There’s a soothing (but wholly non-sappy) quality to most of the material, particularly the numerous pieces that also feature recorder, and McShee adds some delightful (if a little faintly mixed) scat vocals to “Portrait of a Village” and “Summer Song.” Renbourn’s guitar work is excellent and varied, usually in the placidly bittersweet British folk-rock style, though there’s some edgy strumming in “Light Traveller,” jazz blues on “Freedom Road,” and some pleasingly haunting spiky high reverberating notes on the guitar duet “Reflections (1)” (though it’s not made clear whether those are the work of Renbourn or his accompanist). Not at all a superfluous entry in the Renbourn discography, it’s heartily recommended to both Renbourn admirers and those who enjoy quality instrumental folk guitar music in general.

mp3 VBR~217 kbps | 65 MB | UL