Friday, January 04, 2008

The Angels Hung Around

Best of 2007

Song: The Angels Hung Around
Artist: Rilo Kiley
Album: Under the Blacklight

Because of the panic at major labels, indie acts are finding the chance to flourish and find new audiences with the help of the file-sharing blog community, MySpace, and well… interest from people tired of the corporate pop landscape. Rilo Kiley found themselves with each release, most likely because of this, with an ever-expanding fan base… a “word-of-blog” (of sorts) endless posts and discussions that helped find their 2004 release “More Adventurous” on top of the “new alternative” indie rock scene. But it wasn’t until lead singer Jenny Lewis’ solo record “Rabbot Fur Coat” (2006) that I started paying attention… a Southern-ish blues meets country record that was steeped in abstract religious imagery and story songs about various people with various problems. Despite what was being built with her band, “Rabbit Fur Coat” was her “A Star is Born” moment.

With the admission that “the songs on ‘Rabbit Fur Coat’ are the kind I really want to write,” fans of Rilo Kiley were wondering what the follow up would be like, especially after the official move on to major Warner Brothers Records. As indie fans do, they cried sell-out, but the surprise is confusing, as it seems that “Under the Blacklight” is exactly what we all should have expected… though it far surpassed what I thought they were, as a band, capable of.

“The Angels Hung Around” is one stand-out, an at-the-grave summation of life (and death) while a former lover is put to final rest. Lewis gets right inside a lifetime of hurt at the tender age of 31 (32 on the 8th… Happy Birthday!) and it becomes a somewhat Springsteen-esque pumping sing-a-long. It’s a stunner.

The rest of “Blacklight” is wildly varied in style and approach yet works as a whole. Fleetwood Mac is the obvious touchstone, 70’s Cali-rock where each song has it’s own movie waiting to be written. This kind of rock music (despite how catchy and melodic it is) just doesn’t find a wider audience like it should, not to mention “Breakin’ Up” has left-field-hit written all over it.



Silver Lining

Breakin’ Up (Live)

No comments: