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New Release Tuesday :: September 16, 2014

My Brightest Diamond

1. This is My Hand :: My Brightest Diamond

Three-Sentence Review: Eclectic, theatrical, epic, conceptual and artistic are words that fly through my mind while listening to Shara Worden’s long-awaited new release. Reminiscent of Kate Bush, Dead Can Dance and Cocteau Twins with some jazz and blues sensibilities thrown in to the mix, this is not an album for casual, second-hand listening, nor should the songs be split up and scattered among playlists, no, this is a sit and let the album wash over you, in its entirety, kind of experience. It will be worth the time and effort, I promise you that.

Initial Favorite Track(s): This is My Hand, So Easy and Pressure

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5

Pressure

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2. We Loved Her Dearly :: Lowell

Three-Sentence Review: Retro early 80’s is what comes to mind at first listen, the likes of Altered Images, Bow Wow Wow and Kim Wilde, with some current indie/pop/punk influences, such as Ida Maria and The Ting Ting’s. The album is danceable, pop-addictive and stand-out, breaking free of the onslaught of pop and indie pop/electronic music that feels interchangeable after awhile. Lyrically the songs are raw and real and uncompromising – worth multiple listens – real listens – until you are singing-a-long with Elizabeth Lowell Boland.

Initial Favorite Track(s): Cloud 69, The Bells and LGBT

Rating (1-5 Stars): 4.5

Cloud 69

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4. Heigh Ho :: Blake Mills

Three-Sentence Review: I’m not sure what I love more here, Blake’s voice, or his guitar work (I have such a thing for the sound of fingers on acoustic strings – that squeak and squeal gets me every time). This is folk-rock singer-songwriting goodness, with some surprise musical guests (Fiona Apple, Jon Brion), simplistic and heartfelt and vulnerable, I’m always in for albums like this one. The album is dreamy and perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon, or a late night trying to fall asleep play, and the guitar work on this album, did I mention how much I love it?

Initial Favorite Track(s): Don’t Tell Our Friends About Me, Half Asleep and If I’m Unworthy

Rating (1-5 Stars): 4

Don’t Tell Our Friends About Me

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4. Stellar Motel :: Mike Doughty

Three-Sentence Review: The blend and shake mix of hip-hop, dance and alt-folk is in full-effect on Stellar Motel, making this album a split-personality of a listen and definitely not linear in its presentation, but it is unique and highly listenable. At times I am reminded of Beck’s early releases (Loser/Odelay-era), and at other times I’m reminded why I fell for Soul Coughing when I first heard them in the 90’s. My favorite tracks are his collaboration with other artists and DJ’s, the blend of voices and sounds fitting together brilliantly.

Initial Favorite Track(s): When the Night is Long, Oh My God Yeah Fuck It (with Moon Hooch and Miss Eaves) and The Champion (with MC Frontalot and Laura Lee Bishop)

Rating (1-5 Stars): 4

Light Will Keep Your Heart Beating in the Future

Sir Sly You Haunt Me

5. You Haunt Me :: Sir Sly

Three-Sentence Review: At first blush You Haunt Me could be confused with a long list of other indie-pop bands of the past few years, but as the album plays it simmers and builds, becoming something more complex, and memorable. There is a storytelling aspect to this album that feels missing in a lot of dance-centric/electro-indie-pop efforts, reminding more of what I love about Bastille, Pacific Air and fun. Don’t get me wrong, you will still want to move and dance to this album, but you will want to really listen, too.

Initial Favorite Track(s): Gold, Nowhere/Bloodlines Pt. 1 and Inferno (with Lizzy Plapinger)

Rating (1-5 Stars): 4

Gold

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