Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pick of the Week #21: Howie Beck - How to Fall Down in Public

I've never really listened to Howie Beck before. I mean, I have listened to him before, I've seen him open for Hayden at least once, maybe twice, but I've never heard a Howie Beck album. I guess I always just assumed it was kind of generic singer-songwriter fare, but after seeing him on the cover of the National Posts' Arts section I made a mental note to check it out, then, of course, I promptly forgot about him. But, I got an email from a PR company which included his name, I emailed them, they got me the CD and here we are...

How to Fall Down in Public, Beck's 4th album, I think has hit me just at the right time. The weather in the past week has turned and become really nice (except today), and HtFDiP has been a terrific album for walking up to the library (although, I suspect that leaves a little to be desired in terms of description). The album is a little reminiscent of M. Ward's post-War inasfaras the production kind of takes you to a 'golden age of radio' sort of place.

That said, the album is sonically deeper than post-War, where pW relied exclusively (as I remember it) on the acoustic guitar to drive its songs; HtFDiP mixes the keys, horns, and guitar up and generally has a more complete sound. This kind of variety is evident on songs like the instrumental 'Fin', the synth in 'La La La', the clip-clop on the smooth, cool 'If I Ever Come Home' really differentiate this album from the thousands and thousands of singer-songwriter albums that come out every year. And while the CD boasts a great deal of depth and variety, its fun, and I suspect it'll feature prominently in my summer drive rotation.

The executive summary: How to Fall Down in Public is certainly one of the better singer-songwriter albums released during this (2008-2009) Polaris calendar. It has a kind of nostalgic, golden age sound that reminds me of driving up to a beach with my parents in the 80s.

[mp3] Howie Beck - Watch Out for the Fuzz
[mp3] Howie Beck - Flashover

"Don't Be Afraid"

Pick of the Week #1:
Ketch Harbour Wolves
Pick of the Week #2: Rah Rah
Pick of the Week #3: Glasvegas/Animal Collective
Pick of the Week #4: Bruce Peninsula
Pick of the Week #5: The Antlers
Pick of the Week #6: The Darcys
Pick of the Week #7: Ohbijou
Pick of the Week #8:
Gentlemen Husbands
Pick of the Week #9: Chris Whitley
Pick of the Week #10: Alela Diane
Pick of the Week #11: K'naan
Pick of the Week #12: TOR/Sufjan Stevens
Pick of the Week #13: Timber Timbre
Pick of the Week #14: Justis
Pick of the Week #15: Hibiscus & Rosehips Compilation
Pick of the Week #16: Patrick Watson
Pick of the Week #17: Olenka and the Autumn Lovers
Pick of the Week #18: The Liptonians
Pick of the Week #19: Sunparlour Players
Pick of the Week #20: Black Hat Brigade

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