Posts Tagged ‘Tom Levin’

Earlier in the year, Swedish singer-songwriter Tom Levin released the album Them Feet. The album combined many different styles of music to create a sound that could only be described as Americana. The tracks on the release featured a nice balance of Rock and Roll, Country and other styles. That sound helped create an album that had plenty of variety in it and that variety helped make the album very strong.

Now, a few months later and Tom Levin is back with a new release of music. And just like the previous album, Levin once again creates songs that take many different musical styles and blend them together. The new release from Tom Levin is called Them Buffalo.

Them Buffalo from Tom Levin begins with the “title track” of the release. The music in “Thunder On” features a very strong banjo presence that is mixed together with a musical feeling that could be rock and roll. The two styles blend together to create a strong track that has a groove that is very infectious.

The album continues with the track “Mind’s Eye”. The track contains a folk-like feel to the lyrics as Levin sings about looking for the good in everyone. The music of the track features a very strong beat while also drawing from music that feels very primal in its nature. The addition of a choral feeling to the background vocals adds even more depth to the track. The various layers in the music create a song that grabs the listener’s attention right from the beginning.

Tom Levin adds a bit more rock feel to his music on the song “Everyday”. The guitar on the track helps add a lot of energy to the album. The repetitive nature and simplicity of the lyrics in the song’s refrain creates a track that will have the listener singing along. “Everyday” is easily one of the best tracks on the new release from Levin.

“Everyday” is a song that has a very strong beat. By comparison, the track “Different Drum” finds Tom Levin easing up on the energy a little. The track has a slower beat as well as gentler approach to the music itself. The track also contains a strong drumbeat that plays on the title of the track. The folk-rock featured in the track is an interesting change of pace from the music that came before on the album. “Different Drum” is split into two parts as the first three and a half minutes contains the lyrics before the energy level is picked up and the song plays out.

Tom Levin brings the energy level of the music back up on the track “More than a Song”. While the majority of the music on Them Buffalo was created combining styles of music, “More than a Song” seems to find Levin focusing the sound of the music in a rock direction. In fact, with the strong keyboard base to the track, it feels as if it belongs with the music that would have been grouped in with the New Wave music of the 1980s. The track also adds a bit of romance with the emotional feeling in the lyrics. And just like the track “Different Drum,” Levin allows the track to play out well after the last lyrics have been sung.

On the track “Girl from Nova Scotia,” Tom Levin adds just a little humor to the album. The track turns out to be a backhanded compliment to the subject of the song. While it might not have been intentional, the music of the track brings to mind the sound and feel of the music from the London-based Celtic band The Pogues. The song feels like one of that band’s most laidback tunes.

For the second time in a year, Swedish singer-songwriter Tom Levin has released a very strong album. When taken apart, the two albums of Them Feet and Them Buffalo truly show off the versatility in Levin’s writing style. When taken together, the two releases make for a very enjoyable listening experience.

Reviewer: Matheson Kamin Rating: **** (four stars)

To experience the Them Buffalo release from Tom Levin, click HERE.

Tom Levin is a Sweden-born musician who has spent time creating music. Whether in a band or by himself, Levin has created several albums of music. Levin has just recently created a new album called Them Feet. For the new release, Levin called upon several people who helped to flesh out the music on the release. Along with Levin, other people included in the album are Adam Börjesson, who adds vocals, guitar, mandolin, bass, keyboards and percussion; Kalle Persson, who adds vocals, and percussion; Carl Ekerstam: electric guitar and pedal steel and others.

Them Feet from Tom Levin begins with the album’s title track. “Them Feet” is a track that features a strong groove that contains a lot of Blues flavor that goes along with a lot of Folk feeling. While Levin comes from Sweden, the two musical genres come together to form a sound that has a very American feel to it. For that reason and others, Tom Levin can easily be classified as Americana. This is one track that definitely falls into that category. With the strong groove and the Folk/Blues mixture coming together creates a strange but fascinating musical backdrop for what ultimately ends up being a romantic song about a man who will always want to dance with his lover.

While the track “Them Feet” has a simple Blues/Folk feel to it, the track “I Raise My Flag” contains a feel that is a lot more connected with the modern-day music genres. The track feels more like something that would be found on Top 40 Rock radio formats. The lyrics to the track are from the point of view of someone who has found their voice and is ready to stand up and be counted. The song can easily be considered a personal anthem, of sorts.

Staying in a slightly political vein, the track “As Long As it’s Good” seems to fully bleed Folk-Rock in its musical makeup. On the song, Tom Levin seems to channel Canadian musician Bruce Cockburn; in fact, “As Long As it’s Good” seems to bring to mind the sound and mindset of Cockburn’s track “If I Had a Rocket Launcher”. While Cockburn makes no bones about his anger about the situation he sings about, Levin sings about trying to make the world better. And while the two tracks come from different points of view, the two musicians try as hard as they can to get their points across. To that end, “As long As it’s Good” is as much an anthem of today’s world as Cockburn’s song was of that era.

With the track “Company Man,” Tom Levin creates a track that is one of the more unusual songs on his Them Feet album. The track features a rather strong beat from percussionist Kalle Persson while also containing a painfully slow pace to the music. That pace stays with the song throughout the length although the energy of the music does pick up sixty percent of the way through, or so. It actually takes two run-throughs to the song to actually appreciate the song.  When you understand what Levin is going for with the track, it is at that point that you will start to like the song.

While many of the tracks on Them Feet by Tom Levin have a full musical background, the music on the song “June’s Memory Lane” is sparse with just an electric guitar creating the music. As with other songs on this release, Tom Levin knows how to grab on to your emotions. “June’s Memory Lane” features the storyline of a woman on her way to hospice and the driver who takes her on one last drive around places that meant something special to her during her lifetime. The simple and sparse guitar accompaniment seems to amplify the emotional feeling in the lyrics to the song. While it’s a lovely song, it may not be the wisest move to listen to the song if you just recently said goodbye to a loved one. So be warned.

Them Feet by Tom Levin is the type of album that is great to find every once in a while as the feeling in the music changes from track to track and keeps the album from getting stale. Each song on the release has its own style and that adds to the variety in the music. The one thing all of the songs on the album do have in common is the fact that Levin knows how to reach you, emotionally. Because of that, this is one release that definitely proves that Levin is a very good songwriter.

Rating: **** (four stars)

Check out the video to “Them Feet” by Tom Levin.

Check out this album and other music by Tom Levin by going to his Soundcloud profile.