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Music Review: Johnny And The Moon

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Indie rock fans should celebrate as ex-Hot Hot Heat member, and current Wolf Parade guitarist, Dante De Caro and Canadian friends release their self-titled debut Johnny And The Moon album on Devil Kill Records. Supposedly, the band’s name comes from the one the Beatles used to go by in 1959, Johnny and the Moondogs. This CD might just be the most disorderly folk-indie rock album I have heard in a long time.

When I first looked at the CD, I had no idea what I was in for. The cardboard sleeve that contained the CD has artwork that I thought for sure was techno. I never heard of Johnny And The Moon before, so I was very shocked if not pleased to hear what type of music they offered when I played track number one.

Imagine if Beck teamed up with The Band and had an occasional vocal style of Mike Ness and you would have one of the many sounds that Johnny And The Moon can be compared to. Mind you that is not really an accurate description but it is what came to mind while listening to the CD. Harpsichords, harmonicas, and wind chimes fill each of the unpredictable songs for a really interesting listen. The songs range from traditional to almost an experimental approach.

Starting off the eleven track CD is “Green Rocky Road,” a song from the '60s written by Robert Kaufman and Len Chandlera that has been covered by the likes of Emmylou Harris and many other folk artists over the years.   This was the first time I have ever heard this song , but I would say they did a good job on it though I really should try and find the original before I can make such an association. All in all though, I thought the song was a great introduction to the CD.

“Kid Heaven” started and I immediately thought of The Incredible Moses Leroy or Death Cab For Cutie. The song is full of pop rock and highly addictive. I really enjoyed the surprise as after the first song I thought the whole CD would be folksy indie rock. The Mike Ness vocal style I mentioned earlier can be heard in “When You’re All Alone,” one of the more interesting tracks on the CD mainly thanks to the screaming and bellowing horns.

Another track I really got a kick out of was “The Ballad Of Scarlett Town” as it almost reminded me of something Bob Dylan might have done. Other tracks worth giving a listen to are the Beatles-esque “Little Red Cat” a folk piano tune and “Tamed A Lion.”

I am not the type of person to use big words when I give my opinion on what my ears have to say about what I listen to. This CD was good quality, entertaining, and definitely not what I was expecting. I am not that on the ball with the indie scene but I know what I like. Johnny And The Moon is a well put together CD with plenty of melody change ups guaranteed to fill your musical taste buds.

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