Rooting against Ryan Adams is practically impossible. Look beyond the antics and the tomfoolery. Look beyond the self-aggrandizing, egomaniacal rants. Look beyond the sophomoric foolishness. Such a prolific songwriter deserves to be indulged.
The consistency of the songs on Easy Tiger harkens back to the pop gems of 2000's Gold. And the quality may be most attributable to the vocal strength Adams displays over the entirety. "Pearls on a String" dabbles in bluegrass, perfectly balancing the prominent banjo and the vocals. "The Sun Also Sets" is a piano-driven dirge that resonates across the faintest snare taps. And he makes having a "Halloween Head" sound cool. Until the "guitar solo" shout at the guitar solo, that is.
The album's maturity shines. "I Taught Myself How to Grow Old" showcases an unguarded moment, an indication that as Adams grows more settled with himself and his art, he will no longer need the shenanigans.
-- CAREY MURPHY
DOWNLOAD: "Goodnight Rose"
Stones Throw Compilation
Chrome Children Vol. 2
Your boys at Stones Throw Records have done it again. Available digitally for a while but just now released physically, Chrome Children Vol. 2 is the sequel to the original brilliant Chrome Children comp of 2006. The album runs the genre gamut from slow, soulful instrumentals to fast-paced lyrical beatdowns at the hands of Stones Throw heavy hitters like Percee P, Guilty Simpson and MED.
One of the stars of Chrome Children Vol. 2 is Guilty Simpson's smoked-out "Money-Motivated Movements." Guilty tears the track up in true Stones Throw fashion, sans chorus and with a lyrical style that leaves the faint smell of ganja in the air. Spokane's James Pants contributes an excellent, bass-filled experiment entitled "Murder." While you might not love each and every track, on this album you just might find your next favorite artist laying down a jazzy instrumental or kicking a creative verse.
-- JEFF SACHA
DOWNLOAD: "Rhymes With an I"