Josh Rouse Country Mouse City House Josh Rouse's vocals are understated. They're not 21st century understated - he's not mumbling or whispering - they're 1970's understated. Steely Dan's "Peg" or Jackson Browne's "These Days" understated.
Rouse is famous for wearing his seventies influences on his sleeve, but that's all they are - influences. He can get away with this older sound because he's not mimicking it, he's updating and building upon it. That way his music avoids sounding stale or dated.
The music that backs Rouse's voice could also be called understated but it still manages some surprises, like the Herb Albert horn vibe that keep popping up throughout the album. If you want some good, unobtrusive dinnertime music, County Mouse fits the bill. But it's actual full of complex and catchy songs if you pay it some attention. Listening to it this morning with the headphones on, I counted four or five songs (out of the disc's nine songs) that could very easily become Adult Alternative radio favorites. There might even be one or two that gets some mainstream attention. Good pop music that sneaks up on you.
G. Love A Year and a Night with G. Love and Special Sauce Even after he shilled for Coke, and even after hearing his "Hot Cookin'" day and night on the Food Network, you've still got to love G. Love. Seriously, - here in Philadelphia you must love G. Love. That's the law. The man wrote a song that manages to praise both the 76er's and the Philly shortcut know as Route 676. Lately G's been eclipsed by his protege, surfer-turned-singer Jack Johnson, but if you want both laid-back coolness and some Fishtown funk, you've got to go back to the real thing. A Year and a Night is the companion disc to a live DVD, taped last year right here in the City of Brotherly Love. While I can't say that the former Garrett Dutton III has changed his style all that much since his first disc came out way back in 1994, he's still a lot of fun to listen to - and he sounds like he'd be a lot of fun to see in concert, too.
AOL is streaming G. Love's live disc all this week.
This week's list:
- KELLY WILLIS Translated from Love
- JOSH ROUSE Country Mouse City House
- TEGAN AND SARA The Con
- SPOON Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
- RYAN ADAMS Easy Tiger
- THE WHITE STRIPES Icky Thump
- WILCO Sky Blue Sky
- SUZANNE VEGA Beauty & Crime
- BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN Live in Dublin
- TEDDY THOMPSON Up Front and Down Low
- G. LOVE A Year and a Night with G. Love and Special Sauce
- KIM RICHEY Chinese Boxes
- THE NATIONAL Boxer
- ALBERT HAMMOND, JR. Yours To Keep
- VOXTROT Voxtrot
- AU REVOIR SIMONE The Bird of Music
- PETER BJORN AND JOHN Writer's Block
- THE CLIENTELE God Save the Clientele
- FEIST The Reminder
- IMMACULATE MACHINE Fables
- THE POLYPHONIC SPREE The Fragile Army
- RUFUS WAINWRIGHT Release the Stars
- GREAT LAKE SWIMMERS Ongiara
- THE SHINS Wincing the Night Away
- LOUDON WAINWRIGHT III Strange Weirdos
- TRAVIS The Boy With No Name
- BRIGHT EYES Cassadaga
- MY MORNING JACKET Okonokos
- FOUNTAINS OF WAYNE Traffic and Weather
- SON VOLT Search
Dropping off the list this week:
- ROSIE THOMAS These Friends of Mine
- WARREN ZEVON Preludes