Monday, April 09, 2007

Review: Kurt Hagardorn's "Ten Singles"

I was lucky enough to get my hands on a copy of Kurt Hagardorn's new CD, titled "Ten Singles" when he came up to play the powerpop night at Mars Bars about six weeks ago. I'm only now getting around to doing a review. But, I'd recommend you not be so lax about picking up a copy, because it's a really solid release.

Kurt assembled this album over the course of about eight years, primarily recording whenever inspiration and time would allow. Usually when you pick up an album it reflects a small portion of an artists mindset -- typically a year or so of their songwriting life. The interesting thing here is we get insight into Kurt over a longer period of time.

The results are pretty wide in terms of genre and production value. But, rather than coming across as uneven or inconsistent, it plays as interesting and varied. The perfect example of this is the transition from song one to song two on the disc. The opener, titled "International Travel Advisory" has a Beatles-march feel with a slab of Elephant 6 on the side. Kurt somehow manages to have this song lead comfortably into "You Are My Girl," replete with pedal steel opening and laid back Bakersfield vibe.

And there you have it, a mix of indie/powerpop and Of course, this reflects Kurt's own background, having spent time in both of those worlds (he was in Chapel Hill band Gumption and played guitar for Thad Cockrell).

Of course my favorite tunes are the ones that fall down on the powerpop side of the fence, and songs like "Rock Scissors Paper," "Leanne," and "Last Time Rewind" all fulfill my harmony jones quite well. Interestingly, if you visit Kurt's myspace page, you only hear the quieter, more acoustic side of what he's doing (including a cover of Harry Nilsson's "lifeline."). I'm not sure why none of the more rockin' tunes are represented there.

But, the disc is out now on Bladen County Records, who have some other interesting artists like Montauk Ghosts that are worth hearing.

Blogger's update: You can hear Kurt's more powerpoppin' side by vising the CD Baby site that has the disc for sale. Not sure why I didn't think of that before!!

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