Monday, April 19, 2010

Parlor Hawk, "Hoarse and Roaring"

Listening to “Hoarse and Roaring” is like driving alone down a long, open road off into a sunset tinged landscape, leaving plenty of time to contemplate life’s hopes and struggles. Parlor Hawk’s distinct brand of Americana folk-rock permeates the effort with a tight sound featuring steadily strummed guitars, an achingly bluesy twang and frontman Drew Capener’s desperate vibrato on every track.

The band successfully creates a contemporary take on an antique sound with a salt of the earth vibe — but that’s not to say there’s anything ordinary about this music. The evenly-paced drum beats and clean harmonies are both intimate and personal in their everyman quality. The sound produced is at times melancholy but more often contemplative — simultaneously nostalgic and forward-looking. Utilizing instruments such as a pump organ and slide guitar, Parlor Hawk generates its vintage sound. The music and lyrics are unpretentious and fervent; simple yet rich and layered. Stylistic comparisons can be easily drawn to artists like Damien Rice, Ryan Adams or an early Wilco.

“Home,” the album’s opener, has a catchy chorus and sparse percussion with the duo of a bass drum and tambourine that eventually break into handclaps at the peak of the action. Capener careens in and out of the guitar riffs, channeling an old-timey, saloon feel as you envision an antique piano being played in the corner. Parlor Hawk’s country roots show through in “Every Bone,” a track laden with the twang of a steel guitar as the reluctant rhythm trudges forward with a message of love lost. “Julian,” the album’s most melancholy tune, well utilizes Capener’s wounded voice as he croons about faded love; “I’ll give you my canvas/Paint cracked and dry/Might lead you to question/But reason can’t ask reason why.” The album’s dream-like, “Lark,” is a swaying melody that plays like a bittersweet lullaby with the ethereal chorus floating in the night sky as Capener’s voice intertwines with the female harmony. The more upbeat “Flowers” contains a bluesy guitar hook and a steady, toe-tapping beat. “Saddest Song,” is a melancholy campfire sing-a-long, featuring only vocals and an acoustic guitar.

All in all, “Hoarse and Roaring” is an album that you’ll want to pick up and sing along with, no matter what mood you're in. Check out Parlor Hawk's MySpace page here and listen to some tracks.

Check out the official article at Rhombus Online Magazine

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Cycle.

What a whirlwind. Like the tail end of a draining bathtub.

I know what happens from past experience, but every time I’m faced with a new challenge, I lose perspective all over again and have to re-learn what I formerly thought I was better for—that impossible challenges slowly turn to manageable experiences which become great ones and inevitably end too early and I’m left with a feeling of gratitude, wondering where the time went.

This past week has been somewhat of a proverbial blur: finishing up my last stories, celebrating my birthday, dealing with controversy in the newsroom (specifically on my desk) and now concluding a semester that would receive the superlatives of “hardest,” “most intense” and “most rewarding” all at once.

It’s my last day in the newsroom, and as I type this entry on a computer I’ll probably never walk by again in desperation to get another source for an impending story I have to do, I contemplate the past few months as well as my immediate future simultaneously. It’s really a mixed bag of emotions—fear, worry, hope, anxiety, confidence and an unexpected sense of sadness leaving my home for the last four months.

Thank you to everyone who has helped me—my editors (Spencer and Kaye), fellow reporters, professors, friends and family who have supported me and given me encouragement and anyone else who has aided me along the way. As hard as this has been, I’ve loved every second of it and am eager to take the next step in bridging the gap to a career and begin my internship for The Daily Herald this summer.

Goodbye Daily Universe. It’s been a good ride.