Free album download worth the time

June 14, 2012 Review Print Print
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Last summer, Oregon singer-songwriter Josh Garrels released his sixth studio album, “Love & War & The Sea in Between.”

The album was listener funded and Garrels ultimately released it completely free on his own website at www.joshgarrels.com as well as NoiseTrade.com.

Garrels has one of those sounds you can’t quite put your finger on.

If you play the album in its entirety, you may get the sense you’re listening to three or four different artists on the same album.

“Love & War & The Sea in Between” is a mix of folk, soft rap, a little spoken word, with bits of beautiful instrumental music.

It’s like listening to Woody Guthrie infused with flashes of The Streets.

And to top that off, it is a wonderful concept album, using lyrics to tie in the different themes the album title conjures up.

In “The Resistance,” Garrels shows off his more upbeat rapping skills flawlessly as he sings about the resistance one faces against the world in the pursuit of being what one is supposed to be.

In my favorite song of the album, the slow and beautiful “Ulysses,” Garrels shows off his vocals in a simple and broken down version of Homer’s “Odyssey” by alluding to the journey back home to his love.

“Sirens call my name, they say they’ll ease my pain, then break me on the stones,” Garrels sings.

Last summer, I spontaneously decided to drive to the Grand Canyon for the weekend.

A few hours into the trip, I put “Love & War” on and didn’t listen to anything else for the duration of the trip.

From start to finish, “Love & War & The Sea in Between” is definitely an album you want to listen to without skipping a song.

I’ve purchased a couple of other Josh Garrels albums since that trip and haven’t been disappointed.

Garrels is really a gem, his music is layered with many instruments and sounds and never produces the same sound.

He has a very specific style, that transforms and reshapes throughout the album as it progresses.

I’ve used the website NoiseTrade.com a few times to download free music, and even though I’ve found a lot of great music, I’ve never found anything quite like Josh Garrels.

The site gives away free music, usually for a limited time, directly from artists in exchange for information and a post to the listeners’ social media accounts.

The user can also pay what they want or leave the artist a tip, up to $100.

NoiseTrade.com includes music from mostly indie bands, but occasionally features more mainstream bands like The Civil Wars, Nada Surf, The Rocket Summer, and Andrew Bird that is all free and all legal for download.

Rating: A+

—Mitchell Richards

Staff Writer

To contact Mitchell Richards, email sportswriter@occc.edu.

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