The Lawsuits – Cool, Cool, Cool

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Best of 2013: The Swollen Fox

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“One of Philly’s most versatile indie bands, The Lawsuits’ debut LP impresses with great songwriting and a catchy blend of Americana, folk, pop, psychedelia, blues, soul, and more.”
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Spin

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“The Lawsuits stitch together an array of styles and genres on their latest album, the upcoming Cool Cool Cool. To wit, first single “Dreaming #26” gently tumbles along at a folkie’ pace (via Rolling Stone), while the freshly unveiled “Long Drive Home” drifts through the fog created by LP producer and mixer Bill Moriarty (Dr. Dog, Man Man) as if it’s the theme to a gloomy noir thriller. Singer Vanessa Winters’ soulful vocals flesh out the track’s deep blue color scheme, which is just briefly punctured by short, sunny, hopeful interludes from Brian Dale Allen Strouse, the Philadelphia foursome’s chief songwriter, guitarist, and singer. Stream “Long Drive Home” below, and watch out for Cool Cool Cool, due October 1.”

http://www.spin.com/articles/the-lawsuits-long-drive-home-stream/
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Rolling Stone

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“Dreaming #26′ focuses on an artist dealing with their love of creation, as well as their love for another being,” The Lawsuits’ Brian Dale Allen Strouse tells Rolling Stone. “There never feels like enough time to satisfy both. It’s a struggle trying to engage and nurture the creativity one feels internally without letting day to day responsibilities slip through the cracks. So, it seems fitting that the song’s music and lyrics were written and recorded simultaneously.”

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/dreaming-26-by-the-lawsuits-free-mp3-20130820#ixzz2pd5H7NMZ
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The Key by WXPN

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“…Arts and Crafts,” the opening track of their new Cool Cool Cool LP, sounds intricate and tremendous. Its big guitar chords unfurl over a staged sample of a creative arts workshop (that’s the wife of producer Bill Moriarty doing the narration), and then we dive into the storytelling verse. Singer Brian Dale Allen Strouse gives his take on a sensitive and introspective character beginning another year at school: “I think the teacher really likes me / this could be the year I really get lucky.” He’s got a surreal slap-back echo on his voice, and the song rumbles to a big refrain, a ringing guitar-lead amid a stream of harmonizing oohs and aahs: “Hey, here we are, gather ’round, gonna make it stick.”

It’s ecstatic. It’s something I can imagine in so many different contexts – alt rock radio in the late 90s sandwiched between Semisonic and Marcy Playground, the opening credits of a John Hughes movie from the 80s, the trailer of a Freaks and Geeks esque TV series today, a story of misfits and creatives trying to find their way in the world. It also shows just how far The Lawsuits are able to stretch their range on their full-length debut.

As we mentioned yesterday, the band got lumped into the alt-Americana world for a long while, between the truckstop rock of the Hot Love EP and the mysterious folk of its followup, Numbers. They weren’t necessarily keen on it – sorry if any of that was our doing, gang – and they handily use this album to show what else they’ve got in store. There’s swinging 50s pop (“Anybody’s Girl”) and soaring gospel (“You Won’t Love Me If You Don’t,” which vocalist Vanessa Winters totally slays). The quirky “Onion” moves around in Beatles territory, but has a definite reggae undercurrent. Notes of jazz blend with pop via the clarinet accents of “Dreaming #26″ and the slinky, mysterious vocals on “Long Drive Home” (another Winters lead cut).

And of course the band showcases its power alley – roots / country / folk – in plenty of spots, like the rousing “10 Cent Piece” and the expansive, chill-inducing “Odd Like a Hymn (Flies in the Butter)” – which is about the closest this band gets to sounding like The Band. The latter is a fine show of another side of Strouse’s songwriting – sure he does character sketches expertly, but he also dives deep into Dylan-inspired free-association: “We drove out across the New Jersey gutters / from the wheels to the backseat, it was produced in Detroit.”

If the album has a shortcoming, it’s that it perhaps tries to do too many things. Even though it does these things well, and mixes them up in a way that’s cohesive – this is thanks to Moriarty’s production establishing a consistent tone from track to track – in the end, the focus is perhaps not as sharp as we’re likely to hear on the band’s subsequent albums.

But that’s okay; that’s what discographies are all about. The Lawsuits have proven themselves as powerhouse songwriters, and a tight performing unit. They’ve established their mastery of the Americana world, and shown that they’re adept at a host of other styles under the broader rock umbrella. And even though what Cool Cool Cool captures is a young band still in search of its voice, the journey is a delightful thing to listen in on.”

by John Vettese
http://thekey.xpn.org/2013/10/15/unlocked-the-keys-review-of-cool-cool-cool-by-the-lawsuits/
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