My Top 5 New Releases :: New Music Friday :: Week of July 20, 2015

1. Bittersweet :: Kasey Chambers


Three-Sentence Review: Gracefully gorgeous are the first words that float through my mind as I listen to Bittersweet, Kasey Chambers new solo album. There is a confessional feeling to the album, like pages from a diary, or a spoken word/poetry delivery. Reminiscent of Shawn Colvin, Sam Phillips, Alison Krauss and Gillian Welch, the album plays out as a little bit of gospel, a little americana, a little folk, a little alt-country, and a lot of singer-songwriter musical bliss.

Initial Favorite Track(s): Is God Real?, Bittersweet (with Bernard Fanning) and To Late to Save Me

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5+

Bittersweet (with Bernard Fanning)

2. Y Dydd Olaf :: Gwenno


Three-Sentence Review: One does not always have to understand the lyrics of a song to feel said song, take for instance Sigur Ros, or Cocteau Twins, both bands who have released songs whose lyrics were not clear to me (either due to language barrier, or obscure lyrical refrains), but they have both produced music that has left me chilled, haunted, enchanted, enthralled, and sometimes has brought me to tears. Gwenno, who was once a part of The Pippettes, has cast that kind of musical magic on me with her solo release, Y Dydd Olaf, which is all recorded in Welsh (except for one song recorded in Cornish). The album was inspired by House of the Twilight, a 1976 Sci-Fi novel, and comes across as a heavy synthesized, dreamy, melodic and lush unforgettable collection of songs – don’t miss this one.

Initial Favorite Track(s): Calon Peiriant, Sisal Y Mor and Stwff

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5+

Calon Peiriant

3. Dark Lights Up :: Eleni Mandell


Three-Sentence Review: As throwback as one would expect with an opener song titled I’m Old Fashioned, a song that lists all the things she loves to do that may deem her “old fashioned”, like writing real letters and going inside the bank, the song sets the tone for the entire album of retro crooning that Dark Lights Up is overflowing with. This is an album full of songs that immediately remind me of the television series Gilmore Girls, and the music within it (mostly from Sam Phillips, who I am name-checking twice this week). There is a hope and warmth to this album that I admire, and will reach for, especially to listen to on early mornings, and stressful days (with a cup of coffee, because I think this album demands that as accompaniment).

Initial Favorite Track(s): Dark Lights Up, Someone to Love Like You and Town Called Heartache

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5

Someone to Love Like You

4. Woman :: Jill Scott


Three-Sentence Review: Soulful R&B peppered with a bit of jazz and blues, Jill Scott’s new album is a stunner. The album has both a classic sound to it, and a more modern take on the R&B space. You Don’t Know, my favorite of the album, digs deep and carves its way right into my soul – in the very best kind of way.

Initial Favorite Track(s): Wild Cookie, Fool’s Gold and You Don’t Know

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5

You Don’t Know

5. Not an Apology :: Bea Miller


Three-Sentence Review: At first glance, one might want to dismiss this album as another pop album that will come and go like Summer vacations and adolescent crushes, but there is much more going on with this album than may initially meet the eye, or ear. There is power here beneath the pop sensibilities, raw emotion, and a depth that is beyond Bea’s seemingly young years that took me by surprise. Reminiscent of Banks, Lorde, Ellie Goulding and Bastlle, this right here is an artist to watch.

Initial Favorite Track(s): Young Blood, Paper Doll and Dracula

Rating (1-5 Stars): 4

Young Blood

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