15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on July 7, 2011
I'll make this a review of Trampled By Turtles music in general, and not so much the album Palomino in particular. Why? Because first of all I'm too lazy to write reviews of each of their albums, and second of all, few people buy complete albums these days anyway. I daresay most people do what I did, and buy individual songs from Amazon or another online music site like Rhapsody. First I downloaded the half-dozen or so songs that really caught my attention, and then once I was hooked, I kept going back and buying more and more. Yes, I know, it's usually cheaper to buy the entire album all at once than it is to purchase it track by track, but, well... whatever.
Anyway, I've really grown to love TBT, and I'm looking forward to catching them at the Newport Folk Festival this summer. They're a little hard to categorize, as they don't fit cleanly into any of the usual genres (rock, folk, alt, etc.). But there seems to be an emerging alt-folk niche, occupied by bands like Mumford and Sons, The Avett Brothers, and The Decemberists; primarily acoustic string music, influenced as much by rock and roll as by bluegrass... it's in this genre that TBT fits best. This new category is really a spectrum, a slider if you will, between rock and folk. While the slider is turned to the rock side for bands like Mumford, it really belongs more on the folk side for TBT. That's really where this group finds their sweet spot... as a high-energy neuveau folk band, and not a folk/rock hybrid.
They're just so darn good at it! When they're at their best, TBT makes music you can sing in your head for hours: Dave Simonett's excellent blue-collar vocals are bittersweet yet energetic at the same time; Dave Carroll's banjo bubbles and burbles along like a roiling brook (as an amateur banjo player myself, I'm amazed at his style - most banjo players play "Scruggs Style" with finger picks on 3 fingers. Carroll appears to play with a flat pick, but on a regular 5-string, rather than a 4-string plectrum banjo as most other flat-pickers would do. His speed is amazing... I'd put him up against a glam-rock speed-metal guitar hot shot any day!). Erik Berry's equally impressive mandolin playing cranks up the energy level even more with memorable double-picked solos. Tim Saxhaug's acoustic bass, while not as noticeable as the solo instruments, is just as elemental to the band's sound (I think bass players are used to not getting much glamour, but they must all realize how important they are. In TBT's case, for instance, the frame of their best songs is a memorable melody, with exactly the right chords underneath it... it's Saxhaug's job to keep things moving forward rhythmically and lead all these important chord changes). And then there's Ryan Young on fiddle - Young apparently joined the band after their second album, and when he did, it was like the show Iron Chef show added another Iron Chef. To say he fits in well is a major understatement. The guy is fantastic. The facility he has with his instrument is impressive... on songs like Victory and Help You, he ducks and weaves, twists and turns around, one moment crooning sweetly and the next moment laughing up a storm, one moment clucking energetically along with the beat like a musical chicken, the next moment breaking your heart with a perfectly placed sad note.
I give the band 5 stars, and the album Palomino 4 stars. Why the missing star? Because there are a few songs on the album that, to me, represent a disturbing trend. Wait So Long and It's a War are, for my taste, too fast and loud. Simonett doesn't so much sing as shout, and the crushing pace and volume are just too much. Sounds Like a Movie isn't terrible, but probably should have been called Sounds Like Too Much Caffeine. The trend here almost seems to be to break a speed record, cramming as many notes as possible into every second of music. They probably broke that speed record, but they left melody behind in the dust. Don't get me wrong... TBT has a lot of energy and that's one of the things that makes them so great. But it is possible to go TOO fast, and it's definitely possible to go TOO loud as well. If music were measured in miles per hour, then the above mentioned songs would be 100 mph. TBT is at their best from about 60-80 mph. As evidence, I'd point you to the fantastic tunes Victory and Help You (on Palomino), November, Darkness and the Light, Shenandoah (Duluth), Burn for Free, Dyin, Higher Calling (Blue Sky and the Devil), and Aint No Use In Tryin, and The Outskirts (Songs From a Ghost Town).
There are lots of great songs on all of the Trampled By Turtles albums. I find myself gravitating toward the older albums, as most of the songs were more laid back, melodic, and folksy. Still though, the energy on some of the newer albums, especially with Ryan Young's ridiculously good fiddling, is hard to resist sometimes. I'm glad I don't have to pick one or the other! I can listen to laid back older stuff one day and new songs the next - it's all good!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 17, 2011
This was my first foray into the realm of TBT. This came on a suggestion of a friend and member of a local folksy/bluegrass band and I nearly fell out of my chair here at work. Sometimes in this bluegrass/alt country genre you run into some tired acts or acts that overlap and blend so much that they lack a unique flavor.
This album certainly has that flavor in spades. Besides being blown away by the borderline frenetic pace at which many of these tunes are played, they are blazingly clean. These guys are amazing and it will literally blow your hair back! In between you get a number of well arranged and beautifully executed songs. Of these, Help You, New Orleans, and Again were my favorites and ones that I was still humming to myself long after the cd was over.
Hats off to the artists here, fantastic job and I cannot wait to see these guys live somewhere this summer!
their newest twitter fan.
on March 28, 2012
Heard "Trampled by Turtles" driving home from work on "A Praire Home Companion" radio show. Will admit, being a former Duluthian perked my ears, but their music really mesmerized me, so bought "Palomino", "Duluth", and "Trouble". All three CD's are great. Can't decide if "Palomino" or "Duluth" is my favorite, but will say that "Trampled by Turtles" are now my new favorite musicians. Just bought tickets to see them in concert, and haven't been to a concert since 1976. Just dated myself, but they are my college aged son's favorite group too. I expect them to do well.
on March 19, 2013
I have been listening to this CD, through a program called spotify, and i just have to say that this track is AMAZING. The beat, rythems, and tempo differences between all of the songs give you a great variety. The shear, music ability outshines many different bands that are out there. Pretty much any song that you listen will get your toe tapping to the beat. I would highly recommend this track to anyone that would like a great beat, lyrics, and if they want to support this little band out of Minnesota.