End of Month List, Music

February 2014 New Music

There was an abundance of good music released in February. The playlists are long, but well worth your time.

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Blank ProjectNeneh Cherry – Blank Project

  • Genre – Experimental Rock
  • From – Sweden, New York City, London
  • Fav Tracks – Blank Project, Weightless
  • Recommended Tracks – All of them!

This album is fantastic. When I discovered that some familiar folks were involved in Blank Project‘s creation (Four Tet, Rocketnumbernine, Robyn), my quick appreciation of this album made even more sense.  I’m fairly predictable with which types of music speak to me, so you won’t be surprise to find syncopated rhythms and a strong bass line coursing through this album. If you only have time to listen to one album this week, please make it this one.

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St VincentSt. Vincent – St. Vincent

  • Genre – Indie Pop/Rock
  • From – Dallas, TX
  • Fav Track – Digital Witness
  • Recommended Tracks – Rattlesnake, Birth In Reverse, Prince Johnny, Huey Newton, Digital Witness, Bring Me Your Love, Psychopath
  • Singles – Prince Johnny, Digital Witness, Birth in Reverse

Dallasite (Lake Highlands High School class of 2001) Annie Clark has been releasing recordings under the name St. Vincent since 2007. Even though her music is unconventional, St. Vincent has garnered some mainstream success.

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Slow PhaserNicole Atkins – Slow Phaser

  • Genre – Indie Rock
  • From – New Jersey, North Carolina, New York City
  • Fav Track – It’s Only Chemistry
  • Recommended Tracks – Who Killed the Moonlight?, It’s Only Chemistry, Girl You Look Amazing, Cool People, We Wait Too Long, Red Ropes, Gasoline Bride, The Worst Hangover

The juxtaposition of Atkins soaring voice with frank lyrics like, “you’ve lost your mind” and “I’m always naked in my mind” hooked me.  You’ll find the odd combination of bluegrass-inspired finger picking and disco beats on this album, but you won’t be bored or disappointed. Atkins’ style reminds me of Neko Case and Norah Jones.

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th_0_780913Takuya Kuroda – Rising Son

  • Genre – Jazz
  • From – Japan, New York City
  • Fav Track – Everyone Loves the Sunshine
  • Recommended Tracks – Rising Son, Afro Blues, Everyone Loves the Sunshine

Kuroda brings together a great ensemble (trombonist Corey King, keyboardist Kris Bowers, bassist Solomon Dorsey, and drummer Nate Smith) with guest appearances from vocalist José James and the acclaimed West African guitarist, Lionel Loueke.

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BluebirdDawn Landes – Bluebird

  • Genre – Indie Folk Rock, Alt Country, Singer-Songwriter
  • From – Louisville, New York City
  • Fav Track – Cry No More
  • Recommended Tracks – Bluebird, Try to Make a Fire Burn Again, Bloodhound, Cry No More, Oh Brother, Diamond Rivers, Love Song, Home

Bluebird is an emotionally exposed album created in the wake of Landes’ divorce from fellow singer-songwriter, Josh RitterNorah Jones lends a hand on two stand out tracks, “Cry No More” and “Love Song.”

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illum-sphere-ghosts-of-then-and-now-300x300Illum Sphere – The Ghosts of Then & Now

  • Genre – Electronic, Experimental Ambient, Left-Field House
  • From – England
  • Fav Track – Near The End
  • Recommended Tracks – Liquesce, At Night, Sleeprunner, The Road, Ra_Light, Ghosts of Then & Now, Love Theme From Foreverness, Near The End, Embryonic
  • Singles – Sleeprunner

This is the first full album from Manchester-based producer, Ryan Hunn.

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Triangulated HeartDeath Vessel – Island Intervals

  • Genre – Indie Folk
  • From – Rhode Island
  • Fav Track – Ejecta
  • Recommended Tracks – Ejecta, Velvet Antlers, Triangulated Heart, Ilsa Drown, Island Vapors, Loom
  • Singles – Ilsa Drown

The “Why Do Fools Fall In Love” / Frankie Lymon sounding lead vocal behind Death Vessel is Joel Thibodeau. Island Intervals was recorded in Reykjavik, Iceland with the help of local artists Jónsi, Samuli Kosminen, and American expatriate Alex Somers.

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Hotel ValentineCibo Matto – Hotel Valentine

  • Genre – Indie Pop/Rock, Alternative Dance
  • From – Japan, New York City
  • Fav Track – MFN
  • Recommended Tracks – MFN, Check In, Déjà Vu, 10th Floor Ghost Girl, Emerald Tuesday, Hotel Valentine

Hotel Valentine centers around a ghost that haunts a hotel. Cibo Matto’s sound is a mosaic of hip-hop, rap, electronic, jazz and funk.

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Morning PhaseBeck – Morning Phase

  • Genre – Indie Folk Rock
  • From – Los Angeles
  • Fav Track – Heart Is A Drum
  • Recommended Tracks – Heart Is A Drum, Say Goodbye, Blue Moon, Wave, Turn Away, Country Down, Waking Light
  • Singles – Blue Moon, Waking Light, Wave

Morning Phase is a folk-tinged return to the Laurel Canyon-reminiscent sound of Sea Change (2002).

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BenjiSun Kil Moon – Benji

  • Genre – Singer-songwriter, Indie Rock
  • From – Ohio, Atlanta, San Francisco
  • Fav Track – Jim Wise
  • Recommended Tracks – Pray for Newton, Jim Wise, Richard Ramirez Died Today of Natural Causes, Carissa

Mark Kozelek is the singer-songwriter that records under the name Sun Kil Moon.  His lyrics are likened to short stories and have a directness to them that is rare in songwriting.  Remarkably, almost every song on this album centers on death.

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Burn Your FireAngel Olsen – Burn Your Fire For No Witness

  • Genre – Indie Folk, Alt Country, Singer-Songwriter
  • From – St. Louis, Chicago
  • Fav Track – Hi-Five
  • Recommended Tracks – Unfucktheworld, Forgiven/Forgotten, Hi-Five, White Fire, High & Wild, Lights Out, Enemy, Windows
  • Singles – Forgiven/Forgotten, Hi-Five

Angel Olsen pairs her vulnerable, poignant voice with her skillful songwriting on her second album.

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Wonderlandceo – Wonderland

  • Genre – Electronic, Synthpop
  • From – Sweden
  • Fav Track – Whorehouse
  • Recommended Tracks – Whorehouse, Harakiri, Mirage, Wonderland, Ultrakaos, OMG
  • Singles – Whorehouse

ceo is the solo project of Eric Berglund, who recorded in the past as part of the Swedish electro-pop duo, the Tough Alliance.

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52fc473ce9ffa.preview-300Hurray for the Riff Raff – Small Town Heroes

  • Genre – Indie Folk
  • From – New York City, New Orleans
  • Fav Track – The New SF Bay Blues
  • Recommended Tracks – Crash On The Highway, Good Time Blues, End Of The Line, The New SF Bay Blues, The Body Electric, No One Else, I Know It’s Wrong, Small Town Heroes
  • Singles – I Know It’s Wrong (But That’s Alright)

I first fell for Hurray for the Riff Raff during last year’s Newport Folk Festival. Hurray for the Riff Raff’s front woman, Alynda Lee Segarra, is a New Yorker that made New Orleans her adopted home.

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YouDeadng Fathers – Dead

  • Genre – Left-field Hip-Hop
  • From – Scotland
  • Fav Track – Get Up
  • Recommended Tracks – No Way, Just Another Bullet, Dip, Paying, Am I Not Your Boy, I’ve Arrived
  • Single – Get Up

This collection is an accessible album that has a great deal of emphasis on the electronic side of left-field. The Drum’N’Bass undercurrent with R&B/Soul tendancies are strong enough to spark my interest in a rap album. Here’s a studio session at NPR’s KEXP in Seattle.

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Little RedKaty B – Little Red

  • Genre – Dance, 2-Step/British Garage, Alt R&B
  • From – London
  • Fav Track – Crying For No Reason
  • Recommended tracks – Aaliyah, Crying For No Reason, All My Lovin’, Tumbling Down, Emotions, Play
  • Singles – Crying For No Reason

Little Red is British pop star Katy B’s sophomore album and her first album to reach #1 on the UK album chart.

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Speedy-Ortiz-Real-HairSpeedy Ortiz – Real Hair (EP)

  • Genre – Indie Rock, 90’s Revival
  • From – Massachusetts
  • Fav Track – Shine Theory
  • Recommended Tracks – American Horror, Oxygal, Everything’s Bigger, Shine Theory

Speedy Ortiz follows up their 2013 debut album, Major Arcana, with this four track EP.

 

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BXXEriJCAAEE_NYBroken Bells – After the Disco

  • Genre – Indie Pop
  • From – Los Angeles, Portland
  • Fav Track – Leave It Alone
  • Singles – Holding On For Life, After the Disco, Perfect World, Leave It Alone

This is the second full-length offering of the Danger Mouse – James Mercer collaboration known as the Broken Bells. It lacks the magic of the first album, but is still worth a listen

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Present TenseWild Beasts – Present Tense

  • Genre – Indie Rock
  • From – England
  • Fav Track – Wanderlust
  • Recommended Tracks – Wanderlust, Mecca, Sweet Spot, A Simple Beautiful Truth, Past Perfect, Palace
  • Singles – Wanderlust, Sweet Spot, A Simple Beautiful Truth

 

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