Album Review: Nick Drake – Pink Moon

Nick Drake’s album Pink Moon shines as a highly influential folk album

Released in 1972, Nick Drake’s third and final album saw Drake take a more personal approach to composing a folk album, choosing to only feature his singing along with his fingerpicked acoustic guitar. This stands true for all but the first song on the album, “Pink Moon”, which features a simple piano melody throughout. Nick Drake’s previous two albums, Five Leaves Left and Bryter Layter, had more traditional folk rock instrumentation, featuring drums guitars and other staples of the genre. But while these albums did feature Drake’s acoustic guitar, it played more of a background role. However, in Pink Moon it takes center stage. This gives the album a much more personal feel to it, compared to his earlier work.

Drake’s soft singing and beautiful fingerpicked guitar stand strongly on their own, and the individual songs themselves include some artful lyricism. In “Place to Be” he sings of viewing his past unbridled self through the viewpoint of his current self, and in “Which Will” he sings about the choices people make when faced with the many unknowns of life. Sadly, Nick Drake never got to witness his final albums success. After he released this album he withdrew from recording any new material or playing live, and later passed in 1974 after overdosing on a prescribed anti-depressant.

The space in musical history that this album occupies is a special one. In the 1970’s there was an explosion of styles and genres in western music. And for this album to be remembered as a classic, and a highly influential too, along with much more flashy or pop appealing albums speaks to its excellence.

Cover Photo: Keith Morris/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images Nick Drake

Written By: Ethan Zaro

Now Listening: AJJ

Hey, hi, hello and welcome to another edition of Now Listening with Lala!

To some, Andrew Jackson Jihad is just a funny name for some farm boy that lives in the Midwest. However, it is not just the name of that poor poor boy. Better known as AJJ (formerly Andrew Jackson Jihad, they actually just changed the name last week), they are a wicked folk punk band from Phoenix, Arizona. Formed in 2004, the band encompasses a free-wheeling combination of both Americana and alt-punk sounds.

One of the most notable features of AJJ is the lyricism of their tracks. Known for addressing social anxiety, humanity, politics, and religion, AJJ covers themes that most bands of the punk genre choose to ignore. The unique talking/yelling tones of vocalist Sean Bonnette has also drawn attention to the band. A sound that is not necessarily folk or blues, or pop or punk, AJJ is the kind of band that you cannot completely place into a single genre.

The quality of such a band is far and few between. A highly prolific band in the early years of their formation, AJJ’s most recent album was released in mid 2014. Christmas Island is a fluid and versatile representation of what AJJ has created in the past and (hopefully) a foreshadowing of what is to come in the future. Some personal favorites of mine include Kokopelli Face Tattoo, which is full of fuzzy synth and heavy guitar. In addition, Temple Grandin is a notable track, with vastly different, off-the-cuff acoustic composition. Aside from the most recent album, People Who Can Eat People are the Luckiest People in the World is a wonderfully accurate representation of all that AJJ has been and can be.

AJJ just played a show last weekend at the North Park Observatory along with Joyce Manor (One of my all time favorites EVER). The show was, for lack of a better term, OFF THE CHAIN. The precision of AJJ was impeccable and I had trouble telling whether I was listening to a recorded album or not. The powerful lyrics of their tracks allowed for quite a performance, and while sorta dorky dudes, they were definitely rockstars that night. As usual, Joyce Manor gave an intensely awesome and fun performance as well.

Listen to some of the new and best of AJJ below! ❃


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Mackie Dre’s Submissions Highlights: Ed Ghost Tucker

Ed Ghost Tucker – Sofia

Ed Ghost Tucker

So. If you know me, then you know I have a love affair with the music of Ed Ghost Tucker (or EGT for short). In fact, if you check out my staff page (linked in the doobilydoo below), you can check out one of their songs.

Imagine my surprise when I found out the other day that they released a new song called Sofia and a companion video. EGT is unsigned, and if you know anything about the music industry and labels and how recording works, you might know how difficult it is for unsigned artists to come up with fast funds for some recording time.

Sofia is chirpy and melodious, instrumentally accompanying some darker lyrics. Partially based on Good Morning, Midnight, EGT ties literary worked and lyrical loveliness together once more to enchant listeners. No stranger to dark lyrics, EGT released Devils last year, a creeping, crawling gorgeous song that disgusts and enthralls. It is my personal favorite of the band’s, but Sofia is most definitely up there as well. You can find all of their music for sale here (some for free!) and the new video for Sofia here. Don’t forget to like the facebook page for updates!

EGT is playing the Soda Bar on April 6th and Porter’s Pub on April 16th, both here in San Diego.

You know what’s coming. The following deserve all your perfectly poetic repeats.

17 March Highlights

SEACATS – Firewood

Sputnik – Midnight Rose

Yard of Blondes – Requiem for a Lover

Photo credit