Top 5 New Releases :: New Music Friday :: March 17, 2017

Top 5 New Releases :: New Music Friday :: March 17, 2017

Looking for the best New Music Releases on this New Music Friday? Below you will find My Top 5 New Releases for New Music Friday. I’ve scoured the lists, played the tracks, and put together the best of the best. Have a listen, play a featured track, and if you like what you hear go out and support the artists, and the Music. I would love to hear what you think of the selected songs, and album titles. Is there a New Music Release that you feel should be on this list? Comment below and let me know what you think.

Top 5 New Releases:

1. Spirit :: Depeche Mode

Depeche Mode, Spirit, Album Review, Top 5 New Releases

Three-Sentence Review: Spirit is a welcome return of a beloved synth-heavy, new wave/alternative band that transcended the 80’s and 90’s in ways that many of the other invading British bands of that era did not. Though the album lacks any real musical surprises, the strength here is in the solid songs and sounds; a stellar collection of racks, from start-to-finish, the best all-around album since Songs of Faith and Devotion, actually. Gahan’s voice is still a standout, Gore remains a quintessential songwriter (“Cover Me” and “Eternal” are so recognizably Gore you can’t miss it), and the electronic feel that the band has always had has evolved into something that teeters between aural nostalgia and a right here, right now sound.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Where’s the Revolution”, “Cover Me”, and “No More (This is the Last Time)”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5

“Cover Me”

2. Hot Thoughts :: Spoon

Spoon, Music, Album Review, Top 5 New Releases

Three-Sentence Review: I have been anticipating the release of “Hot Thoughts” since I heard the pre-album release of the title track/opening track, “Hot Thoughts”, a dance-able, catchy number that is indicative of how the rest of its namesake sounds. Nine albums in and Spoon manages to surprise, while still sustaining a recognizable, Spoon-sound that they have cultivated through the years. With the help of Flaming Lips’ producer Dave Fridmann, the songs are rife with trippy sensibilities and, at times, a dream pop electric edge (see “Whisperl’lllistentohearit” and “Pink Up”) that takes the Spoon-sound and elevates it, spinning it in new directions.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Hot Thoughts”, “Whisperl’lllistentohearit”, and “First Caress”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5

“Hot Thoughts”

3. Salutations :: Conor Oberst

Conor Oberst, Salutations, Album Review, Top 5 New Releases

Three-Sentence Review: Salutations brings back the Conor Bright Eyes’ era, circa Lifted and I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning that I’ve been missing for quite some time. The opening track, “Too Late to Fixate”, caught my attention immediately, and reminded me why I used to “fixate” over Conor’s songwriting back in the early aughts. Recorded with a full band, and a myriad of guest musicians (The Felice Brothers, Jim Keltne, and more), Salutations carries with it a past sensibility, peppered generously with an older eye-view, a bit of a laugh at oneself, and a juxtaposition of jadedness and optimism, that creates a 17-song (yes, 17) collection that I’ll be “fixating” over for days to come.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Too Late to Fixate”, “Overdue”, and “You All Loved Him Once”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5

“Too Late to Fixate”

4. In Mind :: Real Estate

Real Estate, In Mind, Album Review, Top 5 New Releases

Three-Sentence Review: There are so many interesting new albums out this week, all unique and listenable and very worth checking out – Real Estate’s In Mind is no exception, a daydreamy, pastoral indie pop collection of sounds that suits these longer nights and warmer (at least here in Southern California) weather. I want to spend a few afternoons swimming around in these songs, letting the harmonic melodies wash over me, and inspire me. Jangly, and sometimes fuzzy guitars (see “Two Arrows”) meet up with tinkling, often lush keyboards, which come together well with Martin Courtney’s vocals’; this album has survived losing one of their key members (guitarist Matt Mondanile), taken on two  new ones (guitarist Julian Lynch and keyboardist Matt Kallma), and created something equal to, if not better, than their past three albums.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Darling”, “Stained Glass”, and “Two Arrows”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 4

“Darling”

5. Room 29 :: Jarvis Cocker & Chilly Gonzales

Jarvis Cocker, Chilly Gonzales, Room 29, Album Review, Top 5 New Releaases

Three-Sentence Review: Completely unexpected and weird, Jarvis Cocker and Chilly Gonzales release an album of songs inspired by the Château Marmont, Hollywood, California’s rumored to be haunted hotel. At times this feels like an audio book, poetry set to some stark and simple music unraveling a story that you are keen to hear, but never 100% sure of the plot or purpose. Jarvis and Chilly tell tales of the hotel using music, theatrics, clips from classic Hollywood movies, and their unmistakable piano (Chilly) and vocals (Jarvis), making this one of the more interesting albums I’ve listened to in a long while, while also reminding me, in theme and the sometimes ambient sounds, of Brian Eno’s Music for Airports.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Room 29″, “Tearjerker”, and “A Trick of the Light”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 4

“Room 29”

Top 5 New Releases :: New Music Friday :: March 10, 2017

Top 5 New Releases :: New Music Friday :: March 10, 2017

Looking for the best new album releases on this New Music Friday? Look no further. I have dove in and listened to the selections of albums, and singles, out today (there are so many this week) and selected my Top 5 New Releases of the week. So, relax, read on, and get ready to press play for the Top New Releases from this week’s New Music Friday.

Top 5 New Releases:

1. Semper Femina :: Laura Marling

Semper Femina, Laura Marling, album, album review, New Music Friday, Top 5 New Releases

Three-Sentence Review: Themed album, Semper Femina, began as a concept to describe women from the lens of men, but evolved into something different as Laura turned the gaze on herself, to delve into her perspective on women – turning women into the songs subjects and storytellers. Laura’s voice is as striking as ever, pure, raw and beautiful. The sonic mood shifts and melodies hit me in a way that I haven’t felt since her debut, in 2008.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Soothing”, “Wild Fire” and “Nothing, Not Nearly”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5

 

“Nothing, Not Nearly”

2. Jawbone :: Music from the Film/Music by Paul Weller

Jawbone, Soundtrack, Album, Paul Weller, New Music, New Releases, Music Review

Three-Sentence Review: Seven tracks of score and song from the prolific musical genius Paul Weller. “The Ballad of Jimmy McCabe” has had my attention since the single was released a few weeks prior, and “Bottle” is just as emotionally rich, and beautiful. The score tracks, especially the electronically shaped “Jawbone”, are compelling and cinematic, and left me wanting more.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “The Ballad of Jimmy McCabe”, “Jawbone” and “Bottle”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5

“Bottle”

3. The Order of Time :: Valerie June

Valerie June, albums, New Music, New Releases, Album Reviews, Music Reviews

Three-Sentence Review: I love when I stumble on an artist I’ve never heard of, spin the tracks of their album, and find myself being drawn in and won over. A little bit folk, a little bit torch song singer, a little bit alt-country, and a lot singer-songwriter stunning, Valerie’s voice is raspy and bluesy, vulnerable and soulful – I am definitely intrigued by this throwback meets right now collection of sounds. Songs like “Shakedown”, “Astral Plane” and “Just in Time” are instrumentally complex, stark at times, resounding at other times, and act as the perfect accompaniment to Valerie’s unique voice.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Long Lonely Road”, “Shakedown” and “Just in Time”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5

“Shakedown”

4. 50 Song Memoir :: The Magnetic Fields

The Magnetic Fields, music, New Music, New Releases, Album Review, New Music Review

Three-Sentence Review: Autobiography as album, that’s what The Magnetic Fields 50 Song album is, or should I saw 5-albums is (that’s right, 50 songs, 5 albums, each song representing a year in Stephin Merrit’s life). The musical complexities and evolving differences, song-by-song, reflect the evolution of a life, as one might expect. This is an epic project, and an epic listen, one that will take more than one sitting – but it will be worth the time to take in the melodies and melancholy of Merrit’s first 50 years.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “How to Play Synthesizer”, “Dreaming in Tetris” and “You Can Never Go Back to New York”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 4

“How to Play Synthesizer”

5. Yours Conditionally :: Tennis

Tennis, Album, New Music, New Release, Top 5 New Release, Album Review, New Music Review

Three-Sentence Review: This new album, the fourth from the husband and wife duo, Tennis, springs to mind the late seventies to me, and yes, i do mean in a good way. Yours Conditionally was self-produced, and sounds more stripped down and raw than the prior three. All the songs seem to overflow with that soft rock and soul that had me “nostalga-ing” about the late seventies (think AM radio, 8 Track and bins of 45’s), and thematically dissect the idea of marriage, individualism, and feminism within the construct of committed partnerships.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “My Emotions are Blinding”, “Ladies Don’t Play Guitar” and “10 Minutes 10 Years”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 4

“My Emotions are Blinding”

Top 5 New Releases :: New Music Friday :: March 3, 2017

Top 5 New Releases :: New Music Friday :: March 3, 2017

It’s Friday. You know what that means? It’s New Music Friday again. Are you ready for the best of the new album releases for March 3? Are you ready for the first new music for March 2017?

I’ve sifted through the newly released albums, EP’s and singles, and come up with the five best of the week for your sonic enjoyment. So, sit back, secure your headphones, and have a listen to a few albums and a single, or two, that are the standout best Top New Releases for March 3, 2017.

Top 5 New Releases:

1. Bruises :: Dia Frampton

Dia Frampton, Albums, My Top 5 New Releases, New Releases, Album Reviews

Three-Sentence Review: This album is a collection of gorgeous, cinematic, emotionally rich songs that I can’t get enough of today. Dia has come a long way from the early aughts emo duo with her older sister, as well as from her stint on The Voice. Produced by Dan Heath (known for work with Lana Del Rey and Skylar Grey), Bruises feels like a little Lana, a little Birdy and Banks, and some Damien Rice thrown in, too. Dia has been one to watch for some time now, but this album really solidifies it.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Hope”, “Dead Man” and “Crave”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5

“Crave”

2. Full Closure and No Details :: Gabriella Cohen

Gabriella Cohen, Full Closure and No Details, Albums, Album Reviews, My Top 5 New Releases, New Releases

Three-Sentence Review: An interesting combination of indie dram pop and 1950’s rock sensibilities, Australian singer/songwriter, Gabriella Cohen’s debut album has me pressing play over and over again. This is a slow burn of an album, but not in the case of taking time to warm up to it, no, more like it sits there, simmering, sending out hunger inducing scents (and senses), swirling around you until it has all your attention. This is definitely infused with a bit of Nico, of Hope Sandoval, of The Jesus and Mary Chain, and Best Coast, as well as an assortment of 50’s-60’s girl groups – turn it up, and I bet you hear it, too.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “I Don’t Feel so Alive”, “Feelin’ Fine” and “Downtown”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5

“Downtown”

3. Last Place :: Grandaddy

Grandaddy, Album, Album Reviews, My Top 5 New Releases, New Releases

Three-Sentence Review: Grandaddy has been on my musical peripheral for almost a decade, but they never got any closer to me until now. Last Place has me paying attention, and pulling the band, and their music, in closer – listening closer, feeling the connection finally. The album has straight forward, alternative rock tracks, emotionally dense ballads, and vulnerable, hypnotic ballads peppered with a dream-pop’s lighter touch – I think I get this Grandaddy thing now.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Way We Won’t”, “The Boat is in the Barn” and “This is the Part”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5

“Way We Won’t”

4. Blood Jungle :: Johnossi

Johnossi, Blood Jungle, New Releases, Albums, Album Review, Top 5 New Releases

Three-Sentence Review: Swedish-duo Johnossi brings with their new album “Blood Jungle” a ready-for-alternative-radio collection of 10 tracks that are strong, catchy adn palpable. Some tracks stand farther out then the rest, shedding some of the predictability in exchange for a bit of angst and melodic complexity. Singer John Englebert has been compared vocally to Dave Grohl, and I can hear it on this album more than other past releases, especially with the song “Tall Dark Man”.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Air is Free”, “On a Roll” and “Tall Dark Man”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 4

“Air is Free”

5. Sensorimotor ::: Lusine

Lusine, Albums, Album Review, My Top 5, My Top 5 New Releases, New Releases

Three-Sentence Review: The songs on Sensorimotor teeter on the edge of Techno and Ambient, creating a very pleasing mix of the two styles. At times the songs are soundtrack score cinematic (see “Chatter”), at other times they are dance infused (“The Level”), but my favorite moments are the tracks that feature vocals, adding a melodic layer to the already stunning electro-sounds. Texas-raised/Seattle-based Jeff McIlwain has another stellar release here, my favorite, so far, of his musical creations.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Ticking Hands”, “Just a Cloud” and “The Lift”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 4

“Just Like a Cloud”

Top 5 New Releases :: New Music Friday :: February 24, 2017

Top 5 New Releases :: New Music Friday ::
February 24, 2017

It’s New Music Friday again. Are you ready for the best of the new album releases today? I’ve sifted through the newly released albums, EP’s and singles, and come up with the five best of the week for your perusal. So, sit back, secure your headphones, and have a listen to a few albums and a single, or two, that are the standout best Top New Releases for the week of February 24, 2017..

Top 5 New Releases:

1. Sick Scenes :: Los Campesinos!

Los Campesinos!, New Music Review, New Album Review, Top Five New Releases, albums, new albums, music, band, lyriquediscorde, Top 5, Top Five

Three-Sentence Review: Immediately catchy and accessible, Sick Scenes reminds me of what I saw in Los Campesinos! back in 2007, with the songs “We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives” and “You! Me! Dancing!”. Indie in its sensibilities, but pop/power pop in the delivery, this album has the potential of being bigger than their recent releases. I’m awfully fond of the slower, softer moments, too (see “The Fall of Home”), with its waltz-feel, and late night confessional lyrics.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Sad Suppers”, “The Fall of Home”, and “A Litany/Heart Swells”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5

“The Fall of Home”

2. “Can I Sit Next to You?” :: Spoon

Spoon, single, Can I Sit Next to You, My Top 5, Top 5 New Releases, New Releases, albums, singles, lyriquediscorde

Three-Sentence Review: Can the new Spoon album be out today? This is the second pre-album single to be released, and it is a stunner. I was immediately grooving to it from the first notes, and as the song went on I knew I’d be hitting repeat as soon as it was over.

Initial Favorite Track(s): N/A (single)

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5

“Can I Sit Next to You?”

3. Don’t Get Lost :: The Brian Jonestown Massacre

The Brian Jonestown Massacre, albums, new albums, new releases, new release albums, new release reviews, My Top 5, My Top Five, My Top Five New Releases, lyriquediscorde

Three-Sentence Review: A new album only four months after their last, Don’t Get Lost continues with the band’s electronic experimentations, fusing it with the psychedelic sensibilities that have always been a big part of their sound. Tim Burgess, of The Charlatans, guests on the track “Fact 67”, one of the strongest song songs on the album. The album itself gets lost in its own wanderings at times, lacking a cohesion that at first glance the song titles would presume it has, but there are some interesting, stand-out moments to stop on along the way (see especially “Fact 67” and “Dropping Bombs on the Sun”).

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Fact 67”, “Dropping Bombs on the Sun”, and “Acid 2 Me is No Worse than War”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 4

“Fact 67”

4. S/T :: Dirty Projectors

Dirty Projectors, albums, new releases, new album releases, Top 5, Top Five, Top Five New Releases, music,

Three-Sentence Review: Dirty Projectors’ so-called “break up album”, which I picked up on in first line of the opening track, “Keep Your Name”, which feels and sounds like Bon Iver, to me. The production, and electro-infusions, keep this album from sinking too deeply into melancholy, while not completely taking away the expression of heartbreak. This album works best when the beats and vocals are messed with, causing lifts and falls in sound, and where the Indie R&B styles are allowed to flow through.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Keep Your Name”, “Death Spiral”, and “I See You”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 4

“Death Spiral”

5. Wilderness of Love :: Shadow Band

Shadow Band, music, albums, new releases, new release album, My Top 5, My Top Five, My Top 5 New Releases, lyriquediscorde

Three-Sentence Review: Late sixties psychedelia influenced, dark and dreamy, I feel like I want this album in Autumn, but I’ll take it for now (and most likely revisit it in October). This debut album is a DIY/home recording musical offering; close your eyes and can’t you just see the smoke-filled rooms they created, and recorded, this in? “Morning Star”, my first listen favorite, reminds me a lot of the Zombies.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Endless Night”, “Morning Star”, and “Daylight”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 3

“Daylight”

Top 5 New Releases :: New Music Friday :: February 17, 2017

Top 5 New Releases :: New Music Friday :: February 17, 2017

It’s New Music Friday. Are you searching through the rain (if you are here in Southern California, at least), or through the endless record bins of the internet to find what the best of the new releases are today? To help on your new music search, here is this week’s Top 5 New Releases.

This week’s list has a few stellar albums among the Top 5, as well as two hard to miss singles. Get ready to crank up the volume, press play and indulge in some of the new tunes that just arrived today.

Top 5 New Releases:

1. Prisoner :: Ryan Adams

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Three-Sentence Review: I’ve spent some time with the singles that Ryan has released pre-album, and without exception, each song has been a “grower” to me, and the album, Prisoner, in its entirety, is no exception; it is a grower, too. The songs feel denser than previous Ryan songs, sonically complex , but with a lyrical distance that I’m not used to with his music – I feel as if I have to lean in closer, push repeat more often, and let these songs make their way in to me slowly. “To be Without You” is the most immediately accessible of the bunch, but the others are a bit more hard to get, though I do believe they are worth the time, the re-listens, and the “throw the album on, get in the car, and drive” effort taken to get this album under my skin.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Do You Still Love Me?”, “To be Without You”, “Broken Anyway”, and “We Disappear”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5

“To be Without You”

2. Fields of Love :: Mozart’s Sister

Mozart's Sister, music, albums, new release, new albums

Three-Sentence Review: Immediately reminiscent of Kate Bush, with perhaps a little Bjork and St. Vincent (sans guitar) thrown in to the mix. Mozart’s Sister’s Field of Love is electronically-infused indie pop with a very off-kilter edge, some that seems made for a crowded dance floor (see “Bump”), and some that feels set for a more isolated introspection (see “Baroque Baby”). Caila Thompson-Hannant brings something different to the pop-landscape of her second album under the “Mozart’s Sister” moniker -songs that are both catchy and different, and seem  ready made for remixing.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Angel”, “Who are You”, and “Baroque Baby”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5

“Angel”

3. “Always Sad” :: The Jesus & Mary Chain

The Jesus and Mary Chain, new singles, singles, music, new releases

Three-Sentence Review: This second pre-album released single (new album, Damage and Joy, out March 24) is even better than the last, and has me seriously anxious and excited for the album to finally arrive. I love the inclusion of Bernadette Denning in this track, it takes the song into a conversational place that works perfectly here, both melodically, and lyrically. The trademark jangly guitar and fuzz, along with the dueted voices, adds an interesting lightness to the sad of “Always Sad”, the mood juxtaposition (and the inclusion of a female vocalist) calls to mind “Sometimes Always”, JAMC’s earlier duet with Hope Sandoval, that also mixed up jangle-pop lightness with a sung story of melancholy.

Initial Favorite Track(s): N/A (single)

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5

“Always Sad”

4. Plural :: Electric Guest

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Three-Sentence Review: Electric Guest’s new album, Plural, combines electronica, funk, soul, pop and disco, elevating the tracks into something more palpable than straight to the floor dance music. There is songwriting here, a bit of humor (Asa Taccone is brothers with Jorma of Lonely Island, and has produced songs such as “Dick in a Box” in the past), and a complexity of melody, lyric and sound that begs for multiple listens. Some songs veer heavily into radio-friendly R&B (see “Back & Forth” and “Dear to Me”), but I prefer when they take an older soul sound and marry it with an indie pop sensibility the likes of MGMT and Bastille (see “See the Light” and “My Omen”).

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Zero”, “I See the Light” and “My Omen”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 4

“My Omen”

5. “Thick Girls Knock Me Out (Richard Starkey)” :: The Dandy Warhols

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Three-Sentence Review: Listen to that opening guitar – it is definitely the strongest part of this new single. As for the rest, there is something slightly off with the vocals to me, I’m not sure if it is the production, or tone, but it just does not connect with me the way I’d want it to. Musically, this is a hit to me, but the vocal arrangement and recording takes it too far away from what I know this band can do (think “Godless, or “Get Off”, or last year’s “All the Girls in London”). Maybe this is a turn up loud in the car and let it grow on me, too?

Initial Favorite Track(s): N/A (single)

Rating (1-5 Stars): 4

“Thick Girls Knock Me Out”

Southeastern (2013) :: Jason Isbell :: Album of the Week

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Southeastern (2013) :: Jason Isbell :: Album of the Week

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A Little History:

Southeastern is Jason Isbell’s fourth studio album, released in June of 2013, from Southeastern Records. The album was produced by David Cobb. The album followed a stint Isball had in rehab. He has stated regarding the album, and the timing of recording,

“This time I want to remember it all.”

This album was recorded without full participation of Isbell’s regular backing band, The 400 Unit, mostly due to the fact that Isbell wanted this to be more of a solo, acoustic album. That said, Chad Gamble and Derry deBorja, of The 400 Unit, do appear on drums and keyboards, respectively, on the album.

Isbell’s producer, Cobb, encouraged him to record his vocals in one take. The album was finished a day or two before Isbell’s wedding to fellow musician Amanda Shires.

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Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires

The album isn’t named after geography or direction, Isbell explains:

“(geography) wasn’t actually the reason I named the album that. That came from a tool and die shop in Alabama that my dad worked at when I was very young. He came home with terrible stories; I thought of the place as a dungeon. So I wanted to reclaim that for my own purposes.”

The album debuted at # 23 on Billboard 200,and # 7 on Top Rock Albums, selling 18,000 copies in its first week.

My thoughts:

Though I was aware of Jason Isbell, it was not until the Fall of 216 that I started to really listen to his music. The opening track from this album, “Cover Me Up”, was gifted to me as part of a significant playlist that meant a lot to me at the time. Though the playlist was full of other amazing songs, it was this one that stood out and stuck itself into me. I listened to it so much that it made the list of most played songs of 2016 (#12).

The song is about hope, about love, about getting clean and grabbing hold of life again. It is one of the most beautiful love songs I’ve ever heard, real and raw, emotional, flawed, confessional, hopeful, and what feels like — true.

It is by far my favorite song on the album, but there are many others that I love, as well. “Elephant” was the second song on this album to grab a hold of me. It is heartbreaking, and again, so raw and real, and true feeling. “Flying Over Water” is a newer favorite. It feels like the retrospective, 20/20 vision we all seem to get after a relationship is over, the way we (finally) see things clearer, even if it is too late.

My second favorite track, coming in after “Cover Me Up” is “Songs that She Sang in the Shower”. This one is hard to listen to some days. Music being intertwined in love, and becoming part of the loss and heartbreak when love is lost, hits pretty deep with me. This is a turn it up and sing-a-long, and cry, in the car alone – though, to be fair, “Cover Me Up” is one I now turn up loud, sing-a-long, and it definitely makes me cry now… but once it didn’t.

“Super 8” belongs on my next Road Trip Mix (its in the works, as is a plan for a road trip…SOON). “Yvette” is another hard to listen to song, which hits on a personal level, and makes me cry, too.

Honestly, there is not a song on here that I have not embraced, and fallen musically in love with. Jason’s voice, his songwriting, his lyrics, and the guitar work, weave into me deep and stay there. The album feels like a story, or a string of stories, about love, about relationships – and their life spans, about loss, about hurt, about redemption, about survival, and really just about living.

I am really hoping he tours this year, as I would love to hear him, and all these songs, live.

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My Top 5 Favorite Songs:

1. Cover Me Up

“

So girl leave your boots by the bed,
we ain’t leavin’ this room,

’til someone needs medical help,
or the magnolias bloom.

It’s cold in this house,
and I ain’t going out to chop wood,

so cover me up,
and know you’re enough,
to use me for good.”

2. Songs that She Sang in the Shower

“And the songs that she sang in the shower,
all ring in my ears,
like ‘Wish You Were Here.”
How I wish you were here
And experience robs me of hope that you’ll ever return,
so I breathe,
and I burn.
I breathe and I burn.”

3. Flying Over Water

“
Take my hand,
baby we’re over land.

I know flying over water makes you cry.”

4. Elephant

“If I’d fucked her before she got sick,
I’d never hear the end of it,
she don’t have the spirit for that now.
We just drink our drinks,
and laugh out loud,
and bitch about the weekend crowd,
and try to ignore the elephant,
somehow.”

5. Yvette

“I’ve watched you in class,
your eyes are cut glass,
and you stay covered upstairs
head to your toe,
so nobody will know it was you.”

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My Top 5 New Releases :: New Music Friday :: Week of 10/28/16

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My Top 5 New Releases :: New Music Friday :: Week of 10/28/16

1. Apocalypse Fetish :: Lou Barlow

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Three-Sentence Review: Bring to me low-fi, mid-to-late-nineties goodness, along with the memories of witch boots and crushed velvet leggings and baby doll dresses, and the heartbreaks and heart-bursts of that era…please. Oh Lou, you know I still listen to Sebadoh often (just this morning I was blasting “On Fire” and “Willing to Wait” in the car), and have really missed your voice and style and lyrical delivery. On this 5-song EP (why only 5? Why, oh why?), Lou plays everything, and produces along with Joyful Noise Recordings, and makes me feel awkward and emotive, and twenty-something, all over again.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “The Breeze”,“Apocalypse Fetish” and “Pour Reward”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5

The Breeze

1. In the Middle :: Mona

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Three-Sentence Review: Indie-Alt rock/pop, with a bit of that mid-nineties memory recall I mentioned above? Yes, yes, and yes, but more, as well – a bit of early 2000’s Jimmy Eat World, Brand New and Creeper Lagoon, a bit Neutral Milk and Guided By Voices, and even some of the pop-infused Rooney in here – but still more, still something more right now – a bit of Airborne Toxic Event, early Killers and The Joy Formidable. “Ain’t It Sick” I can’t stop playing, and “In the Middle” (PLAY IT LOUD) slips in under my skin in all its anthem-glory, and gives me a combo wallop of skin prickles, heart-racing-wanting-to-scream-and-soar, and a feeling that I may break into tears – good, good stuff.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Ain’t It Sick”, “Bones” and “Judas”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5

In the Middle

3. La La La :: Priscilla Ahn

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Three-Sentence Review: What if Cocteau Twins made a album of children’s lullabies,, with a little help from Astrud Gilberto and Stan Getz (circa “The Girl from Ipanema”)? You would wind up with something akin to Priscilla Ahn’s album, “La La La”, which is a departure from the music and style I knew her from her work with Cary Brothers and Joshua Radin. There is a French pop feel spinning through most of the album, as well as this dreamy/dreamlike lulling pop melodies that makes you want to curl up in a warm blanket and drift off into the neverland of subconsicous fantasies.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “All By Myself”, “Leaves” and “Desert Lullaby”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5

Desert Lullaby

4. Home On Native Land :: The Hidden Cameras

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Three-Sentence Review: I just read a blurb about this album that describes The Hidden Camera’s music as “Canadiana” (as in “Americana”, or folk/roots/alt-country), and now I’m curious of what other bands fit under this geographic-sub-genre. This is indie-pop, to me, more than any “ana”, reminded me more of The Magnetic Fields and Belle and Sebastian, than say Ryan Adams or The Avett Brothers, but maybe “Canadiana” hits more in that esoteric poppy indie gooey/goodness? Their cover of “Dark End of the Street” is pretty keen, I must say, as is the more “twangy” than “twee”, “Counting Stars”.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Dark End of the Street”, “Counting Stars” and “Twilight of the Season”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 4

Twilight of the Season

5. saintmotelevision :: Saint Motel

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Three-Sentence Review: Catchy, sticky taffy sweet, indie pop – Saint Motel is addictive and sugar-laced, and really should be a Summer album. That said, we can all use some feel good alternative pop music, especially as the nights get shorter and the weather chillier (at least everywhere besides Southern California). The album, and band, get “cinema”/”cinematic” affixed to them in most reviews, most likely because they are made-up of ex-film-students, but to me I hear more of a seventies soft pop, eighties radio-friendly pop, and the more indie side of current pop, along the lines of fun., Matt & Kim and Neon Trees.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Sweet Talk”,  “Born Again”, and “Happy Accidents”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 4

Sweet Talk

My Top 5 New Releases :: New Music Friday :: Week of 9/12/16

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My Top 5 New Releases :: New Music Friday :: Week of 9/12/16

1. Shape Shift with Me :: Against Me!

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Three-Sentence Review: I have big love for Against Me! and Laura Jane Grace, and many of the AM! albums were in heavy rotation this past summer, for me, especially in my car. I’m excited about, and digging their newest album – and have been anticipating it since the early release of “destined to be a summer must” song, “333”. There is emotional depth with the rifts and the raucous rock, a combination I’ve come to expect, and happy to see continue – a definite contender for my list of 2016 favorites.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “333”, “Dead Rats” and “All This (And More)”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5+

333

2. Redemption & Ruin :: The Devil Makes Three

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Three-Sentence Review: Americana drowning in twang and drunken nights and women and the devil (some would say those two are the same). This is a “take with three shots of Bourbon” kind of an album, play loudly and contemplate the existence of angels and devils  (brush the losing hand off your shoulder) and love, while loaded. Driving to this album is pretty keen, too, maybe sans the three shots I recommended before – just sayin’.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Chase the Feeling”, “I’m Gonna Get High”, and “Waiting Around to Die”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5+

Waiting Around to Die

3. Secular Hymns :: Madeleine Peyroux

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Three-Sentence Review: Oh my stars this is good – Madeleine’s voice with these songs – her chosen “secular” songs. A sonic spiritual experience, best shaken and stirred, especially if you are inclined to wear your heart a-dangling on your sleeve. This one requires whiskey, kissing, and nights that go on until the morning.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Got You On My Mind”, “If the Sea was Whiskey” and “More Time”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5+

If the Sea was Whiskey

4. Kindly Now :: Keaton Henson

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Three-Sentence Review: Keaton sometimes gets me, hitting those squishy, emotional spots, making me cry, and other times he veers a bit too far into the hipster zone – when he hits the spot though…I feel it. This new album has the same hit/miss feel to me. There are some emotional punches here, songs that are stripped and delicate and beautiful, and there are some that just feel  a bit too much of the contrived cool, and a bit too “one note”.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Old Lovers in Dressing Rooms” and “How Could I Have Known”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 4-

Alright

5. We’re All Gonna Die :: Dawes

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Three-Sentence Review: Oh Dawes, you know I love you, you know how long I’ve loved you, and how many live shows, long drives, and replays we’ve shared, so maybe you’ll understand how much I want to love this album…but, I don’t. Its hard for me, I think, especially when I fell hard and fast for your last album, and loved every-single-song on it, and maybe that’s part of the problem, maybe we need to get to know each other more, maybe this one is a slow paced contender that will get me later, I don’t know. There are a few stand-outs, songs I liked well enough, but this is the first time I’ve had a mediocre and disconnected feeling about any of your albums – I won’t give up yet though, maybe more listens will change my mind.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Roll with the Punches”, “Roll Tide” and “When the Tequila Runs Out”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 3

When the Tequila Runs Out

Trouble Will Find Me (2013) :: The National :: Album of the Week

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Trouble Will Find Me (2013) :: The National :: Album of the Week

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A Little History:

“Trouble Will Find Me” is the sixth studio album by The National, released on May 17, 2013, on the 4AD label.

The album was produced by band members Aaron and Bryce Dessner, and the album features appearances by St. Vincent, Sharon Van Etten, Doveman, Sufjan Stevens, Nona Marie Invie of Dark Dark Dark, and Richard Reed Parry of Arcade Fire.

The album received critical acclaim upon its release. “Trouble Will Find Me” reached #3 on both the Billboard 200 and the UK Albums Chart. The album was also nominated for “Best Alternative Music Album” at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards.

The National began writing “Trouble Will Find Me” towards the end of the band’s tour in support of their fifth studio album, “High Violet”.

Matt Berninger became inspired by guitarists Aaron and Bryce Dessner’s recent demo recordings, and subsequently completed his writing contributions to the album’s opening track, “I Should Live in Salt”, a day after hearing their demo tracks. Bass guitarist Scott Devendorf noted, “Our typical way of working was to send stuff to Matt, then wait a while to get some mumbles back. He seemed really motivated and engaged with the new stuff.”

The band began recording “Trouble Will Find Me” in late September 2012 at Clubhouse Studio, which was modeled after the late 19th century barn-turned-Inn that the band stayed in.

Bass guitarist Scott Devendorf stated that Clubhouse was chosen primarily to establish camaraderie amongst the band, noting: “The impetus to record upstate– cooking, eating, working, hanging out together – was to achieve this music-camp feel.”

The first four days of recording were interrupted by heavy tornado-like winds which subsequently led to a power outage. Guitarist, keyboardist and co-producer Aaron Dessner noted, “That night, by candlelight in the total darkness, we got really drunk and played the songs acoustically. It was the kind of scene that has never happened in the history of our band — and will never happen again.”

The band later relocated to Dreamland Studios – located within a converted 19th century church, in West Hurley, New York – to record the track, “Fireproof”, entirely live. Inspired by the session, the band returned to Clubhouse and recorded both “Sea of Love” and “Heavenfaced” as one-take live performances. Recording at Clubhouse, however, was once again derailed by Hurricane Sandy.

Matt Berninger has stated that he enjoyed the writing process for Trouble Will Find Me noting, “In the past, it’s been hard to enjoy writing – like getting drops of blood from your forehead – but I loved the process for this record. I think a lot of it was because I wasn’t worried – I didn’t care what the songs were going to be about, or if they were going to seem depressing, or cool, or whatever.”

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My thoughts:

I fell in love with Matt Berninger’s voice, and The National as a band, back in 2008 when I first heard the song “All the Wine” from their 2005 album, “Alligator”. My love grew when I started to devour other albums, especially “Boxer”, which held three of my all-time favorite songs of the band’s, “Slow Show”, “Mistaken for Strangers” and “Fake Empire”. The album, “High Violet” had me spinning and swooning, too, becoming more and more addicted to the slightly odd lyrics and Matt’s emotionally-blowing voice.

“Trouble Will Find Me” has taken my love for the band and blown it right up, making The National now one of my favorite bands. “I Should Live in Salt” breaks me in the best way and “Fireproof” has recently been doing the same, dismantling my heart and bringing tears along with each line.

Heartbreak and regret live in these songs, to me, as does this just out of reach feeling of hope. I feel cord connected with so many of the songs on this album, and with every new listen I seem to feel something more.

Don’t you just love when an album can do that?

“I Need M Girl” and “This is the Last Time” have found their ways to many a playlist and music mix, delivering mood and memory with every play.

Now I just need to see them play live. I’m pretty damn sure that when I do I will be even more madly in love with Matt and the band.

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Matt Berninger

My Top 5 Favorite Songs:

1. I Should Live in Salt

“Don’t make me read your mind,
you should know me better than that.”

2. Fireproof

“You keep a lot of secrets,
and I keep none.
Wish I could go back,
and keep some.”

3. I Need My Girl

“I’m under the gun again,
I know I was the 45% of then.
I know I was a lot of things.”

4. Heavenfaced

“I could walk out,
but I won’t.”

5. This is the Last Time

“Oh, but your love is such a swamp,
you don’t think before you jump,
and I said I wouldn’t get sucked in.”

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CD of the Week :: Hard Candy (2002) :: Counting Crows

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CD of the Week :: Hard Candy (2002) :: Counting Crows

For the second installment, for the CD of the week feature, I picked Counting Crow’s “Hard Candy”, a new-to-me CD that I got about a week ago at FYE, in Fullerton. I used to have a CD copy of this album back when I lived in Saline, Michigan, that I bought at a local record store in Ann Arbor, but it got lost in the moves and the changes of life. So, now I have a new one, and I’ve been spinning it off-and-on in my care, ever since.

This new version I have does not have the added cover of “Big Yellow Taxi”, featuring Vanessa Carlton.

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A Little History:

“Hard Candy” is the fourth studio album by Counting Crows, released in the United Kingdom on June 7, 2002 and the following day in the United States.

Reviews hailed the album as the best release since their debut, with the albums of the mid-1990s being “long, and drawn out”, one reviewer happily announced that, “Hard Candy is crisp and tight, packed with three- and four-minute shots of radio friendly fare”, and that during a time when hard rock is the standard, the band are not afraid of a sound that is in the title track, compared to the Byrds, and with its “Allman-esque” twin guitars, echoes The Band in “If I Could Give All My Love (Richard Manuel Is Dead)”.

Another review (Patrick Schabe) name check’s The Band when they wrote, “The heavy debts to The Band and R.E.M. are still present, but Duritz seems to have finally found the courage to explore the whole pop palette and cover a wide range of Americana. Yes, Duritz’s lyrical themes of self-effacing wistfulness are still intact, but they’ve been tempered by a sense of worldliness that keeps them from sounding like adolescent emoting.” (from PopMatters)

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My thoughts:

Sleep, and lack thereof, love, and lack thereof, California and Spain and Miami, and all those places in-between, and a myriad spin of memories, are all the things, and all the feelings, that come to mind when I think on, and listen to, Counting Crows’ “Hard Candy”.

Listening the album, from start-to-finish, after about 12 years in-between, has brought with it a myriad of emotions, and musically-triggered memories. Though a handful of songs from the album have found their way on many a mix and/or playlist, it had been awhile since I listened to “Hard Candy” in its entirety. I’ve missed the album, as I have missed listening to albums this way (part of why I decided to do this series).

There are a few songs on this album that bring me to tears. There are others that hit in that “yes yes yes, I get that, yes” place in me, especially when anxiety, insomnia and worries about love are tapped on – oh, and also regret, and that heaviness of missing someone.

I spun this CD while my best friend and I drove through Laguna Canyon a few weekends ago, and it was such a beautiful, and emotionally impacting way to take in these songs. Earlier, when I had this CD the first time around, I can remember vividly playing it while driving across country, coming back to California, going back “home”. I remember the endless road ahead, the changing scenery, and that lingering doubt that hung over like rain clouds, just waiting to open up and fall apart.

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My Top 5 Favorite Songs:

1. Carriage

“Surprise surprise,
I miss your hair,
you miss my eyes.
And all this solitude,
is my confidence eroding.”

2. Holiday in Spain

“Hop on my choo choo,
I’ll be your engine driver in a bunny suit.”

3. Black and Blue

“You’ve been waiting a long time,
to fall down,
on your knees,
cut your hands,
cut yourself until you bleed.
Fall asleep next to me,
wait for everyone to go away.”

4. Goodnight L.A. 

“It seems like the daylight is coming,
and no one is watching but me.”

5. Miami

“Cause my angel,
she don’t receive my calls,
says I’m too dumb to fuck,
too dumb too fight,
too dumb to save.
Well, maybe,
I don’t need no angel at all.”