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Nutshell Music Group’s 2012: The Year (Or…Seven Months) In Review

Everyone here at Nutshell has been taking some time off in response to the holiday season being upon us, just as we hope you did the same. But before the streamers and fireworks get released and the beginning of a new work calendar is upon us, it’s only fitting that we put together a best of list for those of you that are new to the site (or are already nostalgic). So here are some fun facts about our last seven months as an official publication. But before we get the ball rolling, here’s to wishing you a wonderful 2013.

Nutshell Music Group is born!

With the June 14th review of Walk The Moon’s self-titled LP, Nutshell Music Group officially became a publication.
Album Rating: 89/100
Album Highlights: “Anna Sun”, “Shiver Shiver”, “I Can Lift A Car”

NUTSHELLNutshell: The Logo and The Twitter

On June 18th, we unveiled our new logo, created by John Spiller. Then three days later we officially hit social media, with our Twitter that you can follow @NSMusicGroup.

Nutshell’s First Concert

The site became so much more than an album review site on July 16th, with our first concert review being published on Vampire Weekend’s Pitchfork Performance.
Concert Rating: A
Concert Highlights: Opening with the one two punch of “Cousins” and “White Sky”, an untitled new song now known as “Unbelievers”.

Making Friends

On October 15th Nutshell Music Group officially announced the addition of our newest writer, Bianca Smith. Her first review was posted less than two weeks later.

Opening the Discussion

On December 1st, we started our first full-on discussion topic as we posted our first round of Lollapalooza 2013 lineup predictions. Since then, a large amount of responses have come in and we opened up our Lollapalooza 2013 page.

Bests, Worsts, and Other Notable Things

Highest Rated Album: Matt & Kim – Lightning
Album Rating: 98/100
Album Highlights: “Let’s Go”, “Now”, “I Said”

Highest Rated EP: Go Tell The Eskimo – Smoke Signals EP
Album Rating: 95/100
Album Highlights: “When The Lights Go Out”

Lowest Rated Album: Animal Kingdom – The Looking Away
Album Rating: 73/100
Album Highlights: “Get Away With It”, “Skipping Disc”

Top Viewed Post: Lollapalooza 2013 Lineup Predictions

Most written about artist: Green Day (with a total of three album reviews)

Album We Wish We Reviewed Better: The Tallest Man On Earth – There’s No Leaving Now
Original Rating: 84/100

IMG_0445Nutshell Music Group’s total geek-out favorite band of the year: Stepdad

This one deserves some explaining. This goes to the band that Nutshell Music Group feels is the band that was most enjoyable to deal with. After reviewing Wildlife Pop back in June and then their Beat Kitchen Concert in October, the group has always been fun to watch, listen to, and even talk to in small doses. So a big thank you goes out to the guys in Stepdad for giving us a memorable band to talk about time and time again.

There you have it folks! Have a great time ringing in the new year, and we will be back on schedule with normal reviews after 2013 begins.

Nutshell Album Review: The Tallest Man on Earth – There’s No Leaving Now

The Tallest Man on Earth (known in the real world as Kristian Matsson) returns for his third full length albumThere’s No Leaving Now. This is Matsson’s first slice of new music since his 2010 EP, Sometimes the Blues Is Just a Passing Bird, and he has clearly spent the almost two year hiatus reinventing his sound.

I assure you that you can find the core attributes of The Tallest Man on Earth here. The Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie style vocals and the usual acoustic guitar with captivating power . But Matsson slowed down his sound drastically and threw us a curve ball with various layers of lesser heard accompaniment. “To Just Grow Away”  is the opener on the album, and it readily exposes listeners to the new sound. The song features multiple guitar tracks, along with an undertone of piano. There is a stronger emphasis on slower opening riffs than usual, seen also on second track “Revelation Blues”. This song brings back some aspects of Matsson’s earlier works, but still doesn’t reach the speed and urgency featured in The Wild Hunt. “Leading Me Now” is approached in such a relaxing manner, but the intricate designs of Matsson’s songwriting is still wildly apparent. It makes his desire to redesign his sound clear, and it also opens a door to really get you involved in this album.

“1904” is the first single off of There’s No Leaving Now for a reason; this is The Tallest Man on Earth at his finest. It is a perfect example of his gripping vocal melodies and guitar strumming that helped him build his fan based, again mixing with his desire to change his modern-folk style. The next track “Bright Lanterns” establishes more of a twang, and it brings this album a taste of more current country music while retaining Matsson’s throwback folk roots. It also works to establish a big part of the emotion put in to the writing of this album, which is backed up by the piano ballad and title track, “There’s No Leaving
Now”. The song paints a picture of entrapment and internal struggle. The result is crippling of all emotions, and leaves you wondering what Matsson is trying to escape.

“Wind And Walls” is what every fan of  The Tallest Man on Earth’s older sound was hoping for. It is as energetic as all of the albums preceding it, and Matsson straightforwardly embraces his more traditional sounding folk for the first time on this album. “Little Brother” has a similar effect, but again moves towards the changes made throughout There’s No Leaving Now. “Criminals” is a great example of Matsson’s songwriting and talent, with a nicely layered guitar part and lyrics that are full of great metaphors and historical references while still creating a legitimate story. The album is then anchored by “On Every Page”, a slower but confident song that nears five minutes.

Kristian Matsson’s musical identity The Tallest Man on Earth has played a significant part in putting modernized folk on the map in today’s music scene, while still keeping ties with his musical influences of more traditional folk music. There’s No Leaving Now is a stretch from his usual sound, however a generally solid album that holds the same value of songwriting nonetheless. It gets an 84/100, and you can get it now.

There’s No Leaving Now Tracklisting:

  1. To Just Grow Away
  2. Revelation Blues
  3. Leading Me Now
  4. 1904
  5. Bright Lanterns
  6. There’s No Leaving Now
  7. Wind And Walls
  8. Little Brother
  9. Criminals
  10. On Every Page
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