Saturday, January 20, 2007

album review: America - Here & Now

America - Here & Now
Out of the onslaught of new releases recently, one of the best surprises is this new double set from America, their first major label effort in twenty years.

Produced by long-time fans Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne and Smashing Pumpkin James Iha, Here & Now features a boatload of guest players not exactly known for any affiliation with the kind of laidback acoustic-y songs America has based their career on, including Ira Elliott and Matthew Caws of Nada Surf and Ryan Adams.

The album includes a great batch of newly written songs and a few covers, including a beautiful collaboration between the band, Ben Kweller, and My Morning Jacket's Jim James and Patrick Hallahan on MMJ's haunting "Golden".

Thankfully, the inclusion of these indie-rock musicians does not radically change the band's trademark sound, but updates it just enough to stave-off any sort of nostalgic vibe. Fans of any of those artists, who are by default fans of well-written rock music, will undoubtedly enjoy this album which is exactly that...well-written rock.

A second disc is included in this set which includes a complete live "greatest-hits" concert America performed for XM Radio last year, making a nice primer for new fans and a great addition to any old-schooler's collection.

America on MySpace

America - "Ride On" featuring Ryan Adams, Ben Kweller and Adam Schlesinger wma real

America - "Sister Golden Hair" wma real

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