Monthly Archives: August 2014

Hooray for Earth- Racy

Hooray for Earth is a gritty band mixing airy vocals with distorted guitars and powerful synth. Hailing from New York City, they formed in the mid-2000s and were officially signed in 2008 after release of their EP, Cellophane. Their newest album, Racy is their second full-length album. Hooray for Earth is reminiscent of 80s dance […]

La Roux- Trouble in Paradise

We have all heard La Roux from her hit Bulletproof and now she is back with her new album, Trouble in Paradise. Still sticking with her pop, electronic dance style, the vibe of her new album is much like her 2009 self-titled album that became such a hit. However, whereas her first album was so […]

Tinnarose- Tinnarose

Tinnarose captures a mix of late 60’s music, 70’s, and cute indie folk. Their self-titled album is their first as a band. Singer-songwriter, Seth Sherman, artist of 2012 album When the Moment is True gathered fellow Austin artists and thus Tinnarose was born. One of the best characteristics of Tinnarose is the blending of male […]

Liam Bailey- Definitely Now

Liam Bailey, a soul singer from England who co-wrote and performed “Blind Faith” with Chase & Status (which reached the top 5 in the UK in 2011), released his debut album Definitely Now this summer. Bailey himself described the album as “heavy soul, duppy rock”. Strong blues, reggae and rock presence throughout the album, consistently […]

Chris Staples – American Soft (Barsuk)

Chris Staples, formerly of the indie rock band Twothirtyeight, releases his sixth solo album, American Soft. Staples has a distinctive gentle and raspy voice which he joins with talented guitar melodies. Easy going (and occasionally repetitive lyrics) give off a comforting yet soulful vibe. Grittier in some tracks than others (track 7). Recommend especially tracks […]

Johanna Samuels- Double Bind

Johanna Samuels is a New Yorker raised in Los Angeles, who kicked off her career upon her return to New York when she was 18 in 2007. Double Bind, her debut album, showcases her jazzy vocals over piano-driven melodies, occasional synthesizer presence (track 4), and quirky lyrical storylines. Reminiscent of 1960s lounge singers. Recommend especially […]

Alec Wilder–Woodwind Quintets Nos. 5, 7, 8 & 12

Wilder (1907-1980) was considered “too eclectic, yet “behind the times” and his works have been overlooked. Some jazz inflections, interesting, modern works.

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The Fifth House Ensemble performs contemporary/avant works by Shapiro, Limbacher, Bates and Burhans. Trk 2 whispering female voices over quiet horns. Try trks 1, 3.4,6, & 8.

Max Reger–Three Suites for Solo Cello Op. 131c

Gracious, almost achingly emotive works for solo cello–modern.

Astor Piazzolla–Adios Nonino

Nice versions of some of Piazzolla’s classic Nuevo Tango and trks 3, 6, 8 are stunning. Play!

Hauschka–Abandoned City

Minimalist/repetitive yet  lyrical electronic piano pieces. These are darker and more intense than his other releases, highly variable ryhthmically. Play!

David Gray – Mutineers (Good Soldier Songs)

Gray’s tenth studio release is typically introspective and harmonically rich, often orchestral in conception.  The lush, atmospheric production that has characterized his music since 1998’s hugely successful White Ladder is further in evidence here.  A number of these appealingly begin in stillness and add percussion further along.  The strongest tracks for me are 10 and […]

We Are Hex – W.D.M.R.S. / Tongues 7″ (Latest Flame)

Indianapolis foursome whose Facebook info defines their genre as “stop it” and their current location as “BEWARE.”  Post punk, noise rock, doom metal: this four-track CD is densely layered, spooky, intense.  The first track (“W.D.M.R.S.”) refers to the song “Withcraft Destroys Minds and Reaps Souls” from the 1960s band Coven (who apparently signed their record […]

Sean Flinn & The Royal We – The Lost Weekend (Glad I Did Recordings)

Second album from Portland, Oregon foursome.  This is consistently musical, melodically strong Americana that shifts in styles and instrumentation (strings and trumpet, along with additional vocals and percussion, appear).  Founded in 2010, they made an extensive tour of Europe in 2011 with the Parisian band Herman Dune.  Try number 3 (the first track in the […]

STRANGLED DARLINGS – BOOM STOMP KING (SELF-RELEASED)

Duo from Portland, Oregon: George Veech sings lead and plays mandolin, Jess Anderly sings backing and plays a six-string electric cello.  They describe their music alternately as “Americana doom pop,” “punkgrass,” or “graveyard stomp,” which gives a good idea of its genre-crossing nature.  It’s bluesy folk with lyrics that probe somewhat darker or stranger terrain. […]

V.A- All Trap Music Vol 2 (AEI Media)

(Obvious) follow-up to Volume 1. A lot more heaving hitting lines in this compilation than the first. Similar to the first, the producers are pretty well known, but these songs are guaranteed to get the party bumping.  These compilations are great for mixes FCC: 2,3,23,24,25,26,27,30

V.A- All Trap Music Vol 1 (AEI Media)

There are “Jazz Standards”, “Orchestra Standards”, “Classical Standards”, and now Trap Standards. Volume 1 is primarily the more minimalistic Trap, with fat bass and reverb like nobody’s business. Quite a few “turnt” songs thrown in also. Lots of familiar names and solid hits in the tracklist. FCC: 5,6,7,13,18,20,21 Track 1 has a questionable beginning

CHRIS STAPLES – AMERICAN SOFT (BARSUK)

Acoustic singer-songwriter who formed the Discover America project — and formerly of Twothirtyeight — here with his third full-length commercial solo release.  Pared-down, gentle, introspective songs, most with only guitar accompaniment and very simple percussion.  The lyrics are spare too, understated throughout.  There are some nice melodies which often take more than one listen to […]

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Cold Specks – “Bodies At Bay EP”

Containing tracks from her album “Neuroplasticity”, this EP is a nice taste of what to expect.  Track #4 is a Swans cover (she’s played with them, and Michael Gira appears on “Neuroplasticity”.   RIYL:  Couldn’t begin to think of comparisons….PJ Harvey, maybe.  Swans, I guess. Play: #1, #2, #4 FCC: Clean

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Floating Action – “Body Questions”

Seth Kauffman returns with another one of his “lo-fi California funk” albums.  Very sunny & mellow, Floating Action has always excelled at this style, and this album finds them mastering that art.  Unfortunately, there aren’t many songs to go with the execution.  The production is tight, the harmonies are awesome, but there is just a lack […]

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Cymbals Eat Guitars – “LOSE”

Ironically, this album was created as a sort-of Irish Wake for the death of Rock and Roll.  It just might kickstart it back to life.  This album just blows doors down.  Produced by the legendary John Agnello (Kurt Vile, Dinosaur Jr.), Cymbals Eat Guitars destroy all over this album.  Fast, exciting, fun (what was the […]

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Sarah Jaffe – “Don’t Disconnect”

Walks that line between St. Vincent & Katy Perry, or Haim & Wilson Philips.  VERY poppy, but with enough music chops, good song-writing, and integrity to pull it off. Produced by McKenzie Smith of Midlake, there’s an sturdy indie undercurrent that prevents this from tumbling too far into schmaltzville.  Stand out tracks are truly that; […]

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The Rentals – “Lost In Alphaville”

First album in 15 years from former-Weezer bassist Matt Sharp’s heavy-synth-pop outfit, The Rentals (remember “Friend of P.”?).  Surrounded by a band of A-Listers, including Pat “Black Keys” Carney on drums, and Jess Wolfe & Holly Laessig (Lucius) on vocals, this album is stellar.  I give it the “Arctic Monkeys: Who Saw This Coming?” Award for […]

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The Orwells – “Disgraceland”

“Life is Better With A Hand Full of Ass, Badass Shades, And A Bag Full of Grass” – (Southern Comfort (Track 1) So…….Bob Dylan these guys are not. This is just stupid, fun rock n’ roll. No fussy deep lyrics to worry about, just awesome hooks, songs about being young & dumb (they are all […]

SAM SMITH – In the Lonely Hour (Capitol)

Brit Superstar “nice-boy-soul-singer” has rose to worldwide success with this album (Billboard 2). Crooning, with one hell of a set of pipes. Very groomed production. Album is a set of “love letters” to a man, unrequited. Mid-tempo washes, delicate late night vulnerability. Billboard singles: 3 Stay With Me 4 Leave Your Lover 5 I’m Not […]