My pick for my favorite acoustic album of 2013 is Tape Deck Heart, by Frank Turner. This is a folk and pop record, but given Frank’s hardcore and punk roots, there’s more to it.
The production by Rich Costey is clean and crisp, great for letting Turner’s voice cut through the in his quirky, yet emotive style. What really drew me to this release was his honest and forward lyrics. On this album, Turner sets himself apart with words that are heavy and expressive, but often tread the line of complete seriousness and amusement. This pulls me in just as much as the melodies and hooks, of which there are a lot.
I also enjoy the variety of songs on the album. It’s too difficult to pick a favorite amongst the 16 tracks. The energetic, yet self-deprecating “Plain Sailing Weather” always seems to get stuck in my head for days. The slow-building “Broken Piano” layers thick background vocals and huge ambient drums to explore a completely different space than most other songs on the record.
Tape Deck Heart is sometimes poppy and up-tempo, and sometimes somber, yet aggressive all at the same time. It’s always cool to hear something that is straightforward on the surface, but rewarding with subsequent listens. It’s actually a little different than what I normally listen to and I’m good with that.
Check out Frank Turner’s “Losing Days” from Tape Deck Heart
Find out more at http://frank-turner.com/
Justin Horenstein is a guitar instructor and musician in the Washington, DC metro area who graduated (cum laude) from the Berklee College of Music in 2006. He plays in Black Clouds, a 3-piece atmospheric/experimental band. Their debut album was recorded by J Robbins (Jawbox, Burning Airlines). Justin’s 18 years of musical experience also includes touring the U.S., a record deal under Sony, starting his own teaching business, recording several albums, and playing club shows with national acts including Circa Survive, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Biffy Clyro, United Nations, Caspian, and more.