Oh, December, you truly are the cruelest month—especially when it comes to new releases that aren’t holiday-themed—so here’s a short report with the nine notable titles worthy of your attention
The December dregs are upon us—too many holiday records, not enough secular product—though there are surprises to be had, mostly from class-act rappers, a soul legend and a startling debut from an assured young indie trio.
It’s a relatively quiet week, with a few gems amongst the releases, including a return to form from post-punk survivors (Simple Minds) and a fresh discovery (for me at least) of a Berlin-based recording artist (Miss Kenichi).
A lot of good collections this week—in fact, our top three spots are given to a soundtrack, a covers juggernaut and a label tribute, ollowed by a late career high from an icon not named David Bowie. And then there’s TV on the Radio, who just might have snuck one of the 10 best records of the year in under the wire.
A Jonas brother on top, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Musically, however, this week is owned by some loud Brits (Hookworms), an Irish troubadour (Damien Rice) and the final product of a much-loved electro duo (Röyksopp).
A grande dame, two—count ‘em, two—indie-electro upstarts and an old favorite are just a few of our favorite things this week. What will be yours?
Other than a few highly commercial electro-based entries (Flight Facilities, Haerts), it’s weird-on-weird this week. Fine with me, of course, with the strangest of the bunch—imagine that—my favorite.
Except for the Sleater-Kinney box set mentioned below, there isn’t one thing on this list I could live without. But you, dear consumers, may have a different narrative soundtrack to your life, and that might include Kiesza, Taylor or Aretha, and no one can argue with that.
We missed last week (do yourself a favor and seek out
It’s impossible not to have a visceral reaction when British singer-actress Paloma Faith opens her mouth to sing. She channels the history of dance music—all the way back from jazz and the blues through a modern sensibility—on sultry workouts such as “Can’t Rely on You” and the Diane Warren-penned “Only Love Can Hurt Like This” (both from her superlative A Perfect Contradiction, out this month). She’s a stylish spitfire, as influenced by fashion as by music, and has quickly become the go-to gay icon for Anglophiles. And though her musical vibe conjures a sweaty, seething juke joint—you can practically smell the pomade and skunkweed—she treads the floorboards like it’s a couture catwalk.
There's more gayness to celebrate this week, including one of the original out gay rappers and that singer-songwriter of the heartland—as well as some usual and unusual suspects.
It’s a gay old week up in here what with Perfume Genius and The Drums and Erasure. As if that’s not enough, there’s also first rate work from Alt-J and Leonard Cohen and Foxes in Fiction. And—surprise of surprises—we also get a Jennifer Hudson jam that doesn’t make me want to turn it off but TURN IT UP. Proof, it must be said, that the world is surely coming to its end.
Another big week of releases, and if you think I'm exhausted, you're right, but also exhilarated and excited by all this new music. A great return from an old standby
In the overwhelming sea of projects awaiting the silver screen, it’s the work of these five talented thespians we can’t wait for.
The real beauty in discovering young bands is found when they create a new sound or advance a well-known one. This week,
When Ferras released his debut album, Aliens & Rainbows, in 2008, he was a twentysomething solo artist facing an uphill battle in an ever-changing music industry landscape. The track “Hollywood’s Not America” received exposure as part of American Idol’s seventh season, but the record sold slowly, and Ferras seemed to retreat from public view. He was anything but idle during this time, co-writing songs with Adam Lambert, Ricky Martin and many others and releasing an interim EP in 2010 called Interim – The Time Between. Of course he also continued honing his craft.
What a disappointment of a week for new music. The best thing below is
Starting out with three stragglers from last week (when we were off), and then into the highlights of this last week of August. Lots of good stuff, so dig in. Benjamin Booker ""
Stars In Battledress ""
We Are Shining ""
Capital Cities ""
Plague Vendor ""
The Kite String Tangle ""
It's a ragtag week