This Australian teenager-turned-young adult songwriter certainly has a knack for keeping himself in the limelight. At the tender age of 14, Ben Lee and his band Noise Addict burst onto the indie rock scene, due in large part to hearty endorsements form the likes of Thurston Moore and Mike D. Thousands of adults suffering from post-adolescent stress disorder fell head over heels for the band's playful yet biting satires and tender perspectives on romance. Lee soon went solo, releasing Grandpa Would on Grand Royal in 1995. As he grew up before the stunned eyes of his fans, Lee began to experiment with new sounds in an attempt to distance himself from his cute, blinky-eyed reputation. His next two releases explored a more mature style, showing a bold artistic confidence less evident in his earlier, more playful work. Of course, a guest appearance by it-director Harmony Korine on Breathing Tornados (1999) as well as a heavily publicized relationship with Claire Danes doesn't exactly hurt one's ego.
A Backyard Session with Brett Dennen
Runtime: 13 minSmoke And Mirrors is an odd title to sketch across the cover of Brett Dennen's 5th album. The tall, laid-back Californian has always brewed a batch of heartfelt, honest songwriting; a quality that seems more at the forefront than ever before. Born in the mountains around his cabin home, the three songs here bring with them a certain rustic ease. I suppose that's just what happens when your writing sessions are bookended by long hikes and cool dips in the lake. But the most obvious quality is just how personal Brett gets here, belting out anthems about staying true to ones' self, reminding us of the danger of overthinking things, or just declaring an anonymous love for someone. No Smoke, No Mirrors...just simple, acoustic honesty in our latest session.
Live in New York City
Runtime: 1 hr 34 minDiFranco's guitar playing is often characterized by a signature staccato style, rapid finger-picking and many alternate tunings. She delivers many of her lines in a speaking style notable for its rhythmic variation. Her lyrics, which often include alliteration, metaphor, word play and a more or less gentle irony, have also received praise for their sophistication.