Thursday, July 22, 2010

ruining a good thing

I went to see Tea Leaf Green the other night at Mexicali Live in Teaneck (great venue for live music).  I could only stay for the 1st set (they played 1 hour and then took a 45 minute break...???) but they sounded very good.  They always mix up their setlists and at Mexicali they didn't play anything from either of their excellent last 2 discs ("Taught To Be Proud" and "Raise Up The Tent").  Instead, they focused on their newest release "Looking West".  The songs from the new disc sounded really good....what I can't understand is why they chose to ruin them on their studio release.  I downloaded "Looking West" hoping to hear more great piano based rock (with some great guitar) similar to what's come before, as they've been a very consistent band.  But this new release is beyond a disappointment.  The songs are basically good, it's the production that's awful.  I understand bands wanting to try new directions and mix it up a bit, but what they've done here is ruined a potentially excellent album.  I don't know what they were going for on this...strange attempt at "atmosphere"?  Some of the songs are just unlistenable, as they've added ridiculous echoes and reverb that makes zero sense.  I've heard many attempts at bands looking to try new sounds by hiring producers from outside their comfort zone, and the results are hit or miss, usually miss.  "Looking West" isn't even close, it's a disaster and if you're a TLG fan I'd advise you to find these songs on live recordings instead.  At Mexicali they played "Jackson Hole" a new song that is almost listenable on the new disc, but in concert sounds transformed into a great rock tune.  I ran into Josh Clark the bands' lead guitarist (excellent player) coming out of the men's room and was tempted to ask him why the disc came out so bad, but I thought this wasn't such great timing, as the band hadn't yet taken the stage.  They were also in Teaneck, NJ on a 90 degree Tuesday night, touring in support of the new disc, so I let discretion be the better part of valor that night.  But I think they realize their mistake, as does the record company that's currently NOT promoting the disc.  They need to find a new producer for their next record.  Here's a clip of them doing the title track of their new disc:

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