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July Flame + Year of Meteors
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Laura Veirs seventh album July Flame, which Colin Meloy of The Decemberists calls ''the best album of 2010,'' explores the emotion of mid-summer. Drenched in wood smoke, sunlight, pollinators, pastoral dales, fireworks and warm nights, her lyrics explore the
dichotomy between one s desire for permanence and security and the realization that such things rarely exist. Nowhere on the album is this inherent tension more crystallized than on the title track. Composed mostly in the barn behind her house in Portland, OR, July Flame is a relatively stripped-down folk record highlighting
Veirs masterful finger picking guitar and confident vocals. ''Laura s like the queen bee and my ear is her hive; she nests and makes honey in the hairs of my cochlea,'' says Jim James of My Morning Jacket (who sings on several tracks). The album breaks from Veirs previous full-band efforts, although
many of the same players make appearances on the album, including longtime collaborators Karl Blau and Steve Moore. String arrangements are featured more on this album than on
others; the brilliant improviser Eyvind Kang plays viola on many songs, and legendary arranger Stephen Barber composed hauntingly beautiful string quartet arrangements for three songs.
July Flame is the sixth album (and third released on her own label Raven Marching Band) that Laura and producer Tucker Martine (Sufjan Stevens, The Decemberists, Laura Gibson) have made together. Recorded and mixed at their home, the songwriting, arrangements, production and performances create a fully realized piece of art that inspires reflection and calm in a world that spins
unsteady.

Review

''The magnificent Portland songwriter delves into the mystic, crafting spare, entrancing pop songs as informed by folk music as they are indie rock. July Flame takes its title from a type of peach, and its content is just as sweet and irresistible.'' --Rolling Stone

''It s full of texture... You almost want to run your hands across it and feel the nicks in the wood grain, or order it off the appetizer menu in your town s new warehouse-district restaurant run by a ruddy-faced genius with a beard. It s full of layered folk and indie-rock bucolia and plain-spoken but stretchy-thinking language, wherein everyday energies or objects transubstantiate into other, metaphorically richer ones. There are some great, seemingly unforced, séancelike moments here... (Veirs) still makes cagey, careful music, but it s easing up, getting warmer.'' --The New York Times

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 12, 2010)
  • Original Release Date: January 12, 2010
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Raven Marching Band Records
  • ASIN: B002W1HBIE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #125,897 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Adarsh Amin on January 13, 2010
Format: Audio CD
The Colorado-born and Portland-based artist's seventh album is a resultant breath of fresh air.
Conceived from a chance summer meeting with an unusual peach at a local farmer's market, which also spawned the album's name and title track, "July Flame" - a variety of peach- is a break from a self-proclaimed songwriting slump - and a welcome one at that.
The wistful songstress takes a more stripped-down approach compared with recent efforts, the mood erring toward the ripe and summery and the simple arrangements leaving plenty of spaces for her crystalline-as-mountain-air vocals to swoop and glide.
Here, instead of the fascination with water, which has coursed through all her albums since the beautiful "Carbon Glacier", it's the sun that dominates "July Flame".
Tracks such as "Sun Is King" and "Summer Is the Champion" speak poetically of that season's emotional thaw.
The album offers an airy, bucolic, for the most part drum-less, sound, effectively returning Veirs to the fingerpicking folk milieu that characterised her early records, showing a world of organic imagery where troubles "seep into the dirty ground". She may be midthirties, but "July Flame" sees Veirs' explore the emotions of a hazy mid-summer with wide-eyed youthfulness - most notably on the gloriously bright "Summer Is The Champion".
The title track, meanwhile, epitomises a long-shadowed July twilight.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Mark D. Prouse on January 13, 2010
Format: Audio CD
It's almost painful, how beautiful this new Laura Veirs CD is. With six albums now, and an EP (there was another, self-released title as well, currently out of print), it has become clear to me that the woman is not capable of creating anything less than captivating ... and she keeps getting better. JULY FLAME instantly became my favorite with the very first listen!

Now, for some, Laura Veirs' flat, girlish voice will be an acquired taste. It was for me; my initial exposure was her Carbon Glacier, a CD I bought based purely on reviews. I would not have given two cents for her singing ability - at first. But the songs crept under my skin, their organic yet chilly tones haunting me for weeks until I had to hear more. I ended up getting all of the Veirs' recordings I could get my hands on, and each one I picked up was a keeper.

The main reason, of course, given Laura's somewhat expressionless voice, is the quality of the songs, and the creativity of both her lyrics and the arrangements. On JULY FLAME, she has stripped back some of the heavy layers and most of the electronics of her last two albums, Year of Meteors and Saltbreakers, but this doesn't mean she has abandoned complexity. These songs are all intricate little symphonies with melodies that take unexpected turns and words that unfold like the pages of a book I can't put down.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Alison on March 8, 2010
Format: Audio CD
I first heard of Laura Veirs from her fabulous duet with Colin Meloy in The Decemberists "Crane Wife" album. I then fell in love with her Saltbreakers album. July Flame is even better than Saltbreakers.

As other reviewers have said, Laura's voice is an acquired taste. It doesn't have the strength or prettiness of someone like Neko Case or Alison Krauss. But its clear simplicity grows on you quickly. Her voice reminds me of shape-note singers. That being said, I don't think I'd enjoy listening to an entire album of her voice alone.

July Flame impresses me most with its rich harmonies. They bring a haunting, ethereal quality to her songs. I think "July Flame," "Sleeper in the Valley," and "Wide-Eyed, Legless" have the most complex and interesting harmonies. "Carol Kaye" is one song I particularly like where Laura's solo voice predominates and is pleasantly sweet. Parts of the album have a hint of country, but not enough to turn off someone like me who dislikes country.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By tesg on July 26, 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This was one of those "You may also like" Amazon suggestions. All I can say is...How did I go this long without ever hearing of Laura Veirs. She even lives in my hometown for crying out loud.

This is my find of the year thus far. Folky, poppy, and sometimes retro (the 70's vibe of "Summer is the Champion" is fantastic), this disc just knocked me sideways. It was the perfect disc at the perfect time for me. It will be in heavy rotation in the car CD changer for at least the rest of the year.

I'll be catching up on the rest of her catalog if you need me.
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