Missed Music

Music you didn’t know you needed…until now.

Hand-crafted melodic pop from Guster

One of the things I often comment on regarding an album is how many of the tracks I ripped to my iPod. So here’s a rarity for you today: an album from which I ripped 11 out of 11. Guster formed in 1991 and independently recorded and released their first two albums. Their second album was re-released after they signed with Sire Records. A year later, they got help in the studio from my favorite producer, Steve Lilywhite, and put out a brilliant album, “Lost and Gone Forever.”

I love good cover art.

Guster has an interesting sound. They were a 3-piece for years with 2 guitars (though both guitarists are multi-instrumentalists) and percussion played by Brian Rosenworcel with just his bare hands. In 2003, they added a 4th member so now the full complement of instruments they can play includes guitar, bass, keyboard, banjo, trumpet, piano, harmonica, ukulele, lap steel guitar, Appalachian dulcimer, and a host of percussion instruments. They’re great pop songwriters with clear voices and a good ear for harmony.  Get them into the studio with a talented producer and it’s wall-to-wall gold.

  • What You Wish For – A great track to kick off the album. A quiet intro explodes into pleasing harmony vocals and barehanded percussion. I like it when Ryan Miller and Adam Gardner sing different lyrics and even melodic lines at the same time.
  • Barrel of a Gun – The guitars attack but can’t overpower the appealing pop melody of the vocals. Pay attention to Lilywhite’s production. There are neat little flourishes tucked in the corners of this song.
  • Either Way – This is a ballad to a deeply troubled relationship. It is both moving and disturbing.
  • Fa Fa – I tapped this one for my Friday mix of gibberish songs last week and it reminded me what a great album this is. I love the bass line counter-melody throughout the song. I also like the instruments they mix in, trumpet in the middle, flute at the end.
  • I Spy – This evocative acoustic song might be my favorite on this album. I wish the whole thing was on YouTube, but here is a sample.
  • Center of Attention – Perhaps the best lyrics on this album are in this song. The percussion is outstanding on this track as well.
  • All the Way up to Heaven – The guys get help on this goofy little song from none other than Phish’s Page McConnel on theremin.
  • Happier – Guster has a talent for writing pleasing vocal melodies. Happy music and pensive lyrics: always a winner.
  • So Long – The sadness of this song about the end of a relationship is knocked sideways by the goofy amateur video someone posted to YouTube. It’s still a great song, though.
  • Two Points for Honesty – A lot of Guster songs are indictments of friends, girlfriends, or parents. Here is another honest examination of a relationship.
  • Rainy Day – They spend 3 ½ minutes making this song bigger and bigger until by the 4-minute mark it stomps around like giant thundering, “Fi fi fo fum.”

Guster is one of the few remaining bands I love that I have never gotten to see live. Here’s hoping they’ll come back to Bonnaroo one of these years.

http://www.guster.com/

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June 7, 2010 - Posted by | Alternative, Indie, Popular, Rock

2 Comments »

  1. That is rare! So it definitely makes me excited about the album. And I don’t know any of these songs. Thanks!

    Comment by Jenn | June 7, 2010 | Reply

  2. You might already have this in among the music on those DVDs I gave you when I made you my off-site backup.

    Comment by missedmusic | June 7, 2010 | Reply


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