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

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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

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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

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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

ra

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

download

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

mi0004187201

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”

AIR :: Top 10 AIR songs

AIR, French band, music, AIR Top 10, Tuesday Top 10, Top 10 Tuesday, songs, lists

air

AIR :: Top 10 AIR songs
Top 10 Tuesday

Are you looking for the quintessential tracks from AIR? Whether you are a new listener seeking an aural introduction, or a veteran fan of the French electronic duo who wants to revisit you’re favorite songs, this Top 10 AIR songs should help satiate your AIR-desires.

AIR is the music duo of Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoît, who hail from Versailles, France. Moon Safari, the duo’s debut, was an international success in 1998. It was definitely the album that caught my attention, and had me wearing out their CD that early late nineties Summer.

I was living in Salt Lake City, missing my own city, and the people I’d left behind. I found solace and inspiration in Moon Safari, the songs within acted as a melodic-muse to my writing at the time. That Summer birthed reams of poetry, as well as the start of a novel that I am still revisiting today.

It went beyond those first 10 songs though. AIR became a go-to for me, littering many playlists with their electronic-gems, and igniting more stories, and characters, along the way.

Nicolas studied architecture pre-band, and Jean-Benoît studied mathematics. To me, you can hear the structure and order and calculations in their downtempo, electronic music. That said, it does not take away from the creativity and artistry that transcends the music from being only sets of equations. Can you hear it, too?

AIR was originally meant to be an acronym meaning Amour, Imagination, Rêve (English translation = Love, Imagination, Dream).

The band has always inspired that in me – love…imagination…and dreaming…

Following is my Top 10 AIR songs for Top 10 Tuesday.

AIR, French band, music, AIR Top 10, Tuesday Top 10, Top 10 Tuesday, songs, lists

Top 10 AIR Songs:

air-sexy-boy-theatre-of-delays-remix-free-download.jpg

1. “Sexy Boy”
from the album, Moon Safari

2. “All I Need” featuring Beth Hirsch
from the album, Moon Safari

3. “Playground Love” featuring Gordon Tracks
from the album, The Virgin Suicides

4. “Cherry Blossom Girl”
from the album, Talkie Walkie

5. “Venus”
from the album, Talkie Walkie

airk1

6. “La femme d’argent”

from the album, Moon Safari

7. “You Make it Easy” featuring Beth Hirsch
from the album, Moon Safari

8. “One Hell of a Party” featuring Jarvis Cocker
from the album, Pocket Symphony

9. “Alone in Kyoto”
from the album, Talkie Walkie

10. “How Does It Make You Feel?”
from the album, 10 000 Hz Legend

air-band.jpeg

Want to dive in further than the above Top 10 AIR songs? Check out this quintessential AIR playlist and listen on.

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

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

Wondering what new is out there in the musical ether on this New Music Friday? For this first February Friday my Top 5 New Releases include a heavily anticipated movie soundtrack for T2: Trainspotting, an equally awaited new album from the emotionally complex, and melodic, Elbow, as well as a melodically pleasing project by the eternally talented Paul Weller (with a little help from his friends), an anthemic, ready for radio play new single from Depeche Mode, and a ready made for the dance floor new single from Goldfrapp. It’s a turn it up — way up — kind of Friday…

1. T2: Trainspotting Soundtrack

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Three-Sentence Review: I’ve been awaiting the soundtrack to the Trainspotting sequel ever since it was announced that a sequel was in the works, because honestly, the original soundtrack (or soundtracks -there was two, I believe) was so musically quintessential, brilliantly bringing to the general public’s ears bands like Underworld, Leftfield, Primal Scream, Goldie, and more. This sequel’s collection of artists spans the gamut of newer bands like Wolf Alice, Young Fathers, Fat White Family, and High Contrast, to iconic artists such as Iggy Pop, Blondie, Queen, The Clash and Underworld. Though, I’m not sure this soundtrack delivers the same audible punch that the original film’s did, it is still finding its way into my musical heavy rotation, and will hopefully be doing some introducing of both new, and older, artists, like its predecessor.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Shotgun Mouthwash”, “Silk” and “Slow Slippy”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5

Slow Slippy

2. Little Fictions :: Elbow

elbow-little-fictions

Three-Sentence Review: Epic, orchestral, lyrical, literate and beautiful, Elbow always seems to tick off those boxes with their music, and this new album, Little Fictions, is no exception to the Elbow-rule. From the opening number, “Magnificent (She Says)”, which just soars off itself, to the electro-pop sensibilities of “All Disco” and “K2”, to the closing number, “Kindling”, which story-tells with a borrowed 60’s Doors/Velvet Underground sound (listen close, and you’ll hear both references in the backbeats and bass line), this album is destined to make it to my “best of 2017” list. Happy/sad music has been the categorization of Elbow from their earliest albums, though the scale seems to weigh an inch, or two, more towards the “happy” side of things this time around – could this be due to lead singer, Guy Garvey’s, recent marriage – is this a wee bit of love we’re hearing here?

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Magnificent (She Says)”, “All Disco” and “Kindling”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5

All Disco

2. “No Peace” :: Noel Gallagher & Paul Weller

Syd-Arthur.jpg.

Three-Sentence Review: Waking up to a new single featuring Paul Weller and Noel Gallagher always marks the start of a good day. This single’s collaboration of Paul Weller’s Sine of 4 project, with Noel Gallagher’s guitar work, helps to make this remix of Syd Arthur’s “No Peace” a must hear . With the dreamy start, the post-Brit Pop guitars, and all those electronic touches weaved throughout work well here, creating a swirling sonic sound that deserves to be turned up loud, and repeatedly played.

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

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5

No Peace

4. “Where’s the Revolution” :: Depeche Mode

Depeche Mode, Where's the Revolution, Top 5 new releases, new releases, album, album reviews

Three-Sentence Review: A new Depeche Mode single today was a surprise, as well. This one is anthemic and timely, and yes, a bit on the nose, but that works in the song’s favor, I think. It is ready made to be turned up loud and sung-a-long to (and sent to all the “alternative” radio and streaming stations. The intentional build and the electronically reverberated framework of “Where’s the Revolution?” are what makes this songs so recognizably Depeche Mode; a great choice for the upcoming album’s first single.

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

Rating (1-5 Stars): 4

“Where’s the Revolution?”

5. “Anymore” :: Goldfrapp

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Three-Sentence Review: One more new single of the week that has caught my ears today is Goldfrapp’s new one, entitled”Anymore”. This is an addictive, electro-pop, surefire, spun out and ready to fill a dance floor with single. It makes me curious, and anxious, too, for Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory’s upcoming album , Silver Eye, to get here already -my “counting the days” starts now.

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

Rating (1-5 Stars): 4

“Anymore”

There’s my Top 5 New Releases for this New Release Friday. What do you think of the selection? Do you have any to add to the list?

My Top 5 New Releases :: New Music Friday :: Week of 1/2/17

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My Top 5 New Releases :: New Music Friday :: Week of 1/2/17

1. All Disco :: Elbow

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Three-Sentence Review: Oh Elbow, how you emotionally skewer me and break me into little, tiny, shattering pieces in the best of ways. A new album is coming (February), and I am full of anticipation and impatience, but I woke today to find another new single (check out “Magnificent (She Says)” which dropped in December) released from the album which definitely had to land in the #1 spot this week. “All Disco” is said to be inspired by a conversation that Elbow frontman Guy Garvey had with Pixies’ Black Francis (Francis quoted as saying “you have punk rock, you have rock, you have blues, you have soul, it’s all disco.”), and is already giving my emotions emotions (I’m telling you, Elbow knows how to mess me up good, all while I’m singing-a-long).

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

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5+

“All Disco”

2. Clinic Hope :: The Gift

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Three-Sentence Review: Reminiscent of 80’s electronica, akin in sound and sensibility with Perfume Genius and Passion Pit, and produced by the great Brian Eno, what is not to love about this single? The Gift is well loved and celebrated in their home of Portugal, and have been making noise elsewhere with past releases, and with recent projects with Eno (check out “Love Without Violins, as well, you won’t regret it). Eno brings magic to this already eclectic and alt-pop wonder that The Gift gifts us – and if you aren’t turning this track up and dancing around to it (or at least wishing you could dance around to it) I will be very surprised.

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

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5

 “Clinic Hope”

3. Youth is Only Ever Fun in Retrospect :: Sundara Karma

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Three-Sentence Review: First album for a very youthful, guitar led, alt/indie band who may be living that retrospect fun as we speak (and turn their tunes up loud). Vocally they seem older than they appear, and bring to mind Arctic Monkeys, Kaiser Chiefs, The Killers and Franz Ferdinand (2004-2005 era, early aughts anybody?) shaken and stirred with some fellow youth up-and-comers like The Wrecks and Clean Cut Kid. This is catchy stuff, full of premature jadedness (littered sparingly with hope, and dare I say again, “youth”) and edgy guitars that solidify this band as “one to watch”.

Initial Favorite Track(s): 4+

Rating (1-5 Stars): “Loveblood”, “Flame” and “Watching from Great Heights”

“Loveblood”

4. The Drifters :: Zooey

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Three-Sentence Review: Low-fi, electroica-ly deft, indie pop goodness that lands the first blow covered in sugar and open air ocean breezes, but comes back later with something a bit stronger, perhaps a whiskey, a sedative and a well placed “french” kiss. Matthieu Beck and Marie Merlet are the French couple musicians who recorded the album in their London home studio, in the midst of a big city, yet somehow captured wide spaces, the ebb and flow of the sea, and summery soft materials blowing off warm skin. When listening to the album, Rosie Thomas come to mind, as does Dove and the Wolf, Camera Obscura, and even a bit of Brian Wilson.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Realise Realise”, “The Country Song” and “Oh Stop!”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 4

“The Country Song”

5. 11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory :: Dropkick Murphys

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Three-Sentence Review: Though not as spirited and riotous as past releases, there is still spirit and punch and alcohol-infused reverie within the songs on this new record from Dropkick Murphys (their 9th release). At times sea shanty pirates come to mind (especially “First Class Loser”), at other times the punk sensibilities take center stage, and I can almost see the fists in the air, and the bodies slamming together. I like when the lyrics go heartfelt/heartbroken, when you can feel Boston and the bar in the melodies, and when I feel my body wanting to jump, and jump, as my voice cracks from scream-singing-a-long.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Rebels with a Cause”, “First Class Loser” and “Paying My Way”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 3+

“Paying My Way”

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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Brian Matthew :: Now Is Good :: Now Hear This

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Now Hear This :: Brian Matthew :: Now Is Good

Discovering music is a favorite pastime of mine, one that has taken a bit of a pause of late due to the push and pull of the holiday season, as well as some personal shifts and changes that had me burning the proverbial candle at both ends. But, as the year winds down, and the air clears, I find myself diving back into my quest for new sounds and wanting to share the gems I pick up along the way. So, settle down somewhere comfortable and prick up your ears, because some new, and some new-to-me music, will be coming this way over the next week, and well into the new year, when this space will be buzzing and spinning on the regular again.

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As the sun is setting just outside my favorite window, the air warmer than its been lately, but still with a wisp of Southern California December slight chill, I find myself listening repeatedly to track 4 and 5 of a new CD that fell into my hands this week. I keep trying to weigh in on which of the two songs are my favorite, but honestly I just can’t say. They seem to flow into each other perfectly, swirling about in my ears while I watch the world outside turn on, the moon taking over and saying “goodnight” to the sun.

Trailer Man

“Trailer Man” feels like a ride through the desert, the long stretches ahead and behind, the unknown just off the next exit, my gypsy soul turning the volume up while getting lost in that very best way. There is something late seventies in the vibe that permeates from this track, something reminiscent of the songs from the Laurel Canyon era, a little Crosby and Nash, a little Morrison and Manzarek, and a little Taylor and Mitchell. There is definitely a bit of Steely Dan in here, too (like I said, late seventies), and peel back the surface a little further, too, and there is definitely a Grateful Dead sensibility going on here which flows beautifully into that next track I find myself so fond of.

Passion & Chemistry

“Passion & Chemistry” take a slight turn from that desert road, upping the tempo just a bit, and pulling the sun out from behind the clouds. There is a sense of the ocean here, of movement and color. That Dead sensibility I mentioned before takes a harder hold of the reigns with this track, so much so that if you close your eyes you can almost see the crowds gathering, hands reaching out to smoke and sing and dance. This one almost requires getting up and taking the car out for a drive, turning the wheel to face the sun’s descent, hopefully somewhere over the ocean. Perhaps a drive to Venice Beach is in order with this one blasting out the open window.

Groovin’ On

Track 10, “Groovin’ On” is a close second (or is it third?) favorite on this album. Definitely the “jamiest” on the album, I’m tempted to play this one right after track 5, as it feels almost organic to come after “Passion & Chemistry”. Although this is a Winter discovery for me, I can’t help but think the entire album is ready made for a late Summer getaway. I may just have to have this on hand, and plan a slightly out of season road trip somewhere.

The album, “Now is Good” is available at iTunes here. Brian is a local Los Angeles singer-songwriter who also plays with the local band Harmonious Fits. You can catch up with where to see them, and listen to some other music on Facebook here.

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If you are in the Los Angeles area you should start off your new year with some  live music and check out the next Harmonious Fits show in Santa Monica, on January 2nd, at TR!P.

Keep updated on future shows by following here for Brian, and here for Harmonious Fits.

Grow With Me :: Harmonious Fits