The Arc Magazine: Hear
CD Baby

CD Baby is an online record store that sells albums by independent musicians. We listen to every album we sell before we sell it, so we can help you find other albums you'll like. We only sell music that comes directly from the musicians. No distributors. Musicians send us their music. We digitize and warehouse, sell them to you, and pay the musicians directly. Cool thing: in a regular record deal or distribution deal, musicians only make $1-$2 per album, if they ever get paid by their label. When selling through CD Baby, musicians make $6-$12 per album, and get paid weekly. In business, and thriving, since March 1998. We're one of the largest sellers of independent music on the web.


published | february ‘09

Inara George: An Invitation - with Van Dyke Parks

Review by Chris Robley | Editor, CD Baby

A new solo album from Inara George would be a winner in any event. But with the assistance of arranger/conductor Van Dyke Parks and producer Michael Andrews, The Bird and the Bee singer has assembled a dream team that is pretty much unstoppable. Van Dyke Parks, best known for his collaborations with Brian Wilson on the Beach Boys’ ill-fated "Smile" album and his own daringly expansive solo works such as "Song Cycle," has become something of a go-to guy for modern indie-popsters with more orchestral ambitions. His recent work with Rufus Wainwright, Joanna Newsom, and now Inara George proves he’s only gotten more adept at arranging for large ensembles in a way that maintains a lush color palette but that never veers far from the heart of a song. Any piece he touches feels homey, familiar, warm, wise, and yet his music always seems to be stretching towards something beyond the horizon, wide eyed. He has a thoroughly American touch, broad, confident, full of brave ingenuity, pulling from anything that works well whether it’s John Philip Souza, Aaron Copland, John Cage, Duke Ellington, or The Pixies. And that is just the arranger! Then there is the artist herself, her compositions, her understated and inviting vocal delivery, the subtle poetry of her lyrics. But we’ve got to leave something for you to discover on your own, right? So go ahead! Dive in.

Lisa Gungor Review by Chris Robley | Editor, CD Baby

Just when you think everyone on the planet has forgotten what the ingredients are for a good song, Lisa Gungor comes along with an EP of catchy piano-based pop tunes that blend sophisticated harmonic changes, effortlessly memorable melodies, and smart, earthy lyrics. Lisa’s sparse-yet-punchy arrangements leave ample space for her beautifully smoky and earnest voice to works its magic. Her vocals are surrounded by light ornamentations provided by cello, kalimba, 60’s pop tambourine, atmospheric guitars, and pump organs. But no matter what sonic goodies bubble up to treat your ears, the songs remains the focal point, and rightfully so. These are solid songs that could stand proudly on their own without any production tricks at all.

Pale Young Gentlemen

Review by Chris Robley | Editor, CD Baby

Armed with a complete string section of cello, viola, and violin, you might assume that this orchestral pop band from Madison, WI has a slumberous, sedate sound. But beneath the sophisticated contrapuntal arrangements is a jittery rock ensemble that deftly balances restraint with raucous energy, creating a magic kind of tension. Try imagining, if you can, the early 3-piece version of Talking Heads performing with the Brodsky Quartet. Like fellow Midwesterner Andrew Bird, Pale Young Gentlemen deliver their oft-cynical lyrics in a wry vocal tone. With a sound that melds frantic momentum with minimalist understatement, melancholy with a marvelous exuberance, these folks really know how to make world-weariness fun again!

the arc magazineBack to top »

MediaStormiUniversePreemtive Love CoalitionCD BabyRed Lantern JourneysFeast