Monday, October 20, 2008

Butch Walker: New Record, At The Independent Tonight

We wouldn't typically go for this type of thing: Butch Walker, producer of Avril Lavigne, Pink, and Lindsay Lohan, has decided to release solo album after losing his home in the LA fires. It seems laden with cliche, overly self indulgent, and just plain outside of our typical realm of interest. But here's the rub: Butch Walker's actually quite interesting. For one, he owns What's more, despite all of his major-label cache, he's releasing his record independently, and attempting to work outside the system. It was enough to get us interested.

The record itself is a pure dose of LA power-pop. Think Gold-era Ryan Adams, or Sheryl Crow on her better days. Walker pulls all of his producer tricks out of the bag and delivers an album that manages to successfully jump between ballads, rockers, and almost-country ditties. On top of the slick production, Walker has some real songwriting chops: his melodies are solid and memorable, and many of the guitar licks rival the best we've heard. At times it almost borders on "Drops Of Jupiter" levels of saccharine sweet, but manages to steer of any truly disastrous turns for the worse.

Walker balances the mainstream vibe of his record by keeping his best traits close to the surface of the record. His voice is probably his biggest asset: it manages to have character and age, while at the same time still having the chops to pull off brave forays into falsetto. His lyrics are fiercely confessional: they seem to give a (at times painfully) honest view of what's it's like to be a rock musician in your late 30's in the LA scene. The two combined manage to temper the record's high level of accessiblity with a solid dose of personality and vitality.

Walker will be at The Independent tonight, and we're curious to see how the songs hold up in a live setting. If there's anyone that can finesse an album to sound good, it's an experienced producer. To keep those songs standing up in the live setting is another thing altogether.

Butch Walker @ Myspace


-billie jo said...

Just so you know, Butch Walker Live is about a thousand times better than anything the man's put down on tape.