Ned Raggett reviews “Free & Easy”
Windblown Kiss was a lovely way for Lovespirals to make a clear move away from the days of Love Spirals Downwards, but Free & Easy is the best evidence that the duo of Ryan Lum and Anji Bee is now distinctly its own creative team. With Lum’s guitar playing and arranging now focused on, indeed, free and easy jazz/lounge grooves, Lovespirals here are much more in the creative vein of an act like the Thievery Corporation instead of the Cocteau Twins, say, without specifically cloning either group’s sound. Bee’s singing is a perfect counterpoint, a blend of classic mid-century jazz- pop flow and a bit of ’60s cool in a French or Brazilian sense — some low-key scatting here, some warm, playful crooning there. The gently hip-shaking title track kicks things off and sets the mood all at once, and from there Lovespirals work through a total of nine songs, all of a piece but each with its own gentle joys. Lum’s interest in DJing and techno can readily be heard throughout, more overtly on songs like “Deep in My Soul,” which quickly builds into a politely propulsive dancefloor filler, and “Just Trouble” but in subtler ways as well, as listens to “Hand in Hand” confirm. But the overall tone of the album is best captured with songs like “Walk Away,” a slow and lovely late-night mood-out with some great keyboard work from Lum to go with his guitar, and “Abide,” with its sassy but gentle strut. Concluding song “Sandcastles” might actually be the strongest of the bunch, easygoing and danceable all at once, concluding with a lovely overdubbed a cappella chorus from Bee.
To celebrate the holiday season, Lovespirals are holding a sale now through
New Year’s Eve at their official webstore. New CD, Free & Easy is now just
$9.99 while the 2 CD gift set of both Free & Easy and 2001’s
Windblown Kiss is just $15.99. Band members, Ryan Lum and Anji
Bee, will personally autograph the CDs, too – even ones for your friends and
family. Folks in the USA placing orders immediately have a pretty good shot
of getting them by Christmas because the band will ship them out ASAP.
Man, FINALLY I got the audio files working on LastFM. I couldn’t get anyone to respond to my requests for help until just this week. He suggested what I had already considered doing, which is simply reuploading everything again. Hopefully the tunes will start populating into the various radio streams and getting out to the listeners. LastFM is a cool site, but they have so much going on over there that sometimes the system gets overburdened and wacky. Anyway, glad to see it’s finally working, a month and a half later.
Check out the Reviews page to read the first 2 reviews of Free & Easy from All Music Guide and Music Tap.
Lovespirals’ 2001 recording of John Denver’s Christmas classic, “Aspenglow,” is now available for free download on their MySpace page. Love Spirals Downwards’ 1997 recording of the Dr. Seuss classic, “Welcome Christmas,” from The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, is now available for free download on their brand new MySpace page. Both tracks are included on Projekt Records’ Excelsis Boxed Set.
No, that’s not my new DJ name, though it would be a cool one!
Man, I actually woke myself up saying, “I can’t find the records fast enough” in my sleep last night. I was dreaming about being at a rinky dink radio station and having the DJ ask me to take over suddenly without explaining the setup to me. They were using a crappy all-in-one stereo with only one turntable, so I couldn’t figure out how to switch records smoothly for segues, and the mic system was hard to figure out as well, so I was just making a mess of things. Then I couldn’t find where they kept the vinyl at, and it was so dark that I couldn’t really see anything. I found what seemed to be a light switch, but when I flipped it on, nothing happened – ala Waking Life. (Do you think it’s really true that you can’t turn a light on in dreams?)
So, anyway, the first song was ending and I was digging through a cabinet of badly filed 45s, and somehow came accross a magazine with a flexi disc in it (boy does that give away my age!) so I ripped it out and threw it on the turntable only to hear “Hey Ya” come on really loud! The other DJ was sitting on a beatup couch in the station lounge, and I ran out and said, “What do I do? This is supposed to be a jazz station!” thinking that I needed to flip Outkast off mid-song. The DJ replied, “Did you find this record at the station?” I said yes. “Then I guess you can play it,” he surmised. Now, if only that had been the case at KUCI, where all of my DJ anxiety stems from… Isn’t it funny that 6 or 7 years later, I’m still having nightmares about my first experiences as a college radio DJ? Sheesh!
International distribution of Lovespirals’ new album will begin soon. CDs are already en route to Monitor, in Hong Kong. Noise Kontrol should follow with distribution throughout Mexico in the next few weeks. The band hopes to tour Mexico sometime in 2006.
I think I’ve been a teensy bit carried away the past month by The Daily Source Code. On the most recent Chillin with Lovespirals, I was about to say, “You know what? I think I could have recorded 2 or 3 podcasts in the time I spent recording, converting, and uploading my audio comments for DSC,” but Ryan cut me off before I finished. Oh well, it’s been really fun contributing to Adam’s show and I have to admit I’ve been flattered by the attention. Ryan’s been teasing about it, but that’s what I get, I guess! But come on, how cool is it that Adam was driving around in his brand new Jaguar while listening to “Abide” and telling the world he wished I was there with him? Oh, and strangely enough, I’ve been laying down the vocals for “Welcome to the Machine” which has the line “He loves to drive his Jaguar” – pronounced in the English way, how Adam says it!