Monday, January 28, 2008

It's OK to admit you didn't know about them 'back when'

I, like many, first heard José González when he cleverly (and beautifully) covered The Knife's hit song 'Heartbeats'. You may have heard it on that Sony TV commercial, or you accidentally downloaded it while drunkenly trying to get The Knife version at the last frat party. Either way - you loved it. It's a great song. What most of you didn't know, however, is that he (as most artists do) has a great body of work, put out before he 'made it'.

He has released two solo albums ('Veneer', 'In Our Nature') in '06 and '07, and, to my surprise, also released a five track EP with his band, Junip in '05. The Swedish trio released 'The Black Refuge EP' as a taster for their anticipated full length LP dropping (hopefully) in early 2008.

'The Black Refuge EP' amazed me. I love the simple honesty and chemistry of Gonzalez and his guitar - so the idea of a band threw me off. The EP, instead, is a smooth mix of folk and pop, brought together by Jose's melodic voice.

The album consists of one instrumental track, a cover of Bruce Springsteen's 'The Ghost of Tom Joad', and three other originals. I couldn't be happier with the mix of sound on this album. It isn't overly produced (which is refreshing), and as an EP, contains no filler. If i had it my way, I'd prefer artists put out albums with 5 or 6 songs, and excluded the throw-aways. This album does just that.

Do yourself a favor and pick it up for five bucks on iTunes (despite B's hatred). Roll yourself something nice and throw on your headphones. I'll expect the thank you note next week.

Junip - Chickens

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