RSL 2011 Music Picks
Best of the First-Half Nominee...
One of the Best New Albums of 2011:
Slow Runner - Damage Points
Slow Runner - Damage Points
The Spirit of Discovery - Whiskey is one of the most potent alcohols out there and heaven knows it has fueled adventures and caused its own set of unique events in my fun-filled explorations. Even as I prepare to share with you one of the best new projects of 2011, I think back of a particularly golden night of music and ambiance in which whiskey and music filled a particularly dark Boston night. The spirits of music exploration (and the whiskey) were in good supply the evening I witnessed singer Michael Flynn and multi-instrumentalist Josh Kaler completely light up a Hub audience. I stood there, with my mouth open (at least that's how I imagine it) stunned about what I was hearing. Flynn & Kaler, who go by the sound explosion moniker; Slow Runner, have a really great chemistry which compliments their challenging, shifting song structures. I am a guitar guy but even more than that I'm a piano guy. I hide it well, but couldn't this night. The most layered and looped of these Slow Runner tracks plays out like a live jam with a rapper and his crew. But these wild, electronic numbers are stacked right alongside gorgeous melodic presentations your girlfriend would love to receive on her next mixtape. It is just this versatility, talent and wit that caused me to explore their back catalog.
Slow Runner has toured with folks like Josh Ritter, The Damnwells, Say Anything, Built to Spill, Gomez, The Avett Brothers, and Evan Dando, as well as had their music featured on shows like Greys Anatomy and One Tree Hill. You wouldn't know it from talking to these guys. They shrug off the platitudes and would prefer to just play the songs. And play they do. Aided these days by Jonathan Gray (formerly of Jump Little Children) on bass and sometimes with Scott Baumil (formerly of The Young Republicans) on guitar, Flynn & Kaler are capable of creating even more unimaginable sonic landscapes.
Damage Points is Beautiful - This is an accomplished record - and one that keeps growing on you. None of this, of course, comes as a surprise. It's a natural trajectory album - Slow Runner has only improved since the last I have heard them and this album is the product of that rewarding process. The band and the sound have descended an elegant staircase and are now sipping whiskey with their listeners. The silky smooth, vibrant sounds echo a familiar past and an unknown future but it's an exciting ride I will be making many times this year. To make matters all the more interesting, our heroes have been on tour with the amazing William Fitzsimmons whose new album "Gold in the Shadow" also belongs on our list. This has been one powerful tour.
We find Slow Runner more experimental, more obsessed with beauty and emotion and generally just better in 2011. One of the Best new projects of the year is available for purchase now. Here is my favorite song: