Thursday, January 30, 2014

New Music Tuesday January 14th 2014!

Chalk full of talent being the second week of the year.   We have a band that sounds like they come from  an era older than the daughter of a country legend.  Sprinkle in a little UK indie rock per usual, an Irish folk singer,  a late 80's country rocker, an American icon, and one local little lady that stands on her own in genre, style, and fucking amazing talent and you get the collection that makes up my review for this week.   Enjoy.

"Get up and Get out" from Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings 5th album Give the people what they want
Emerging from Brooklyn in '96, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings have rotated band members and ban labels but Sharon and the funk have remained constant.  Immediately I knew I would love the band, simply by the name.  Getting down with your bad funk self doesn't happen with a lot of artists these days. You can see them April 1st at the Crystal Ballroom here in Portland.  I just might.

"Red Dust" from James Vincent McMorrow's 2nd album Post Tropical
This Irish folksinger started his career just a few years ago. I noticed that James released this 2nd album of his on his 30th birthday, as I did research on how long he's been on this earth and in the music biz.  "Early in the Morning", his first record released in 2010, brought him the honor recipient of the European Border Breakers Award.  Impressive.  What I love about James, he brings a little Irish funk with a John Legend seduction.  For me that isn't Post Tropical, that IS Tropical.

"Bear Song" from Emily Conway's DEBUT EP "Folktown"
Dearest Emily Conway from Oregon City,  I am thrilled and proud to say she is friend of mine.  Her brilliant mind and gregarious spirit seeps out in her song lyrics and ukulele playing.  Emily's jazzy voice and playful wink keeps one listening, hoping she never stops performing.   Congratulations Emily, on your debut to the rest of the world.  Your friends are finally ready to share your talents with the rest of the world.

"World of strange design" from Rosanne Cash's album The River and the Thread
If Joni Mitchell and Bonnie Raitt had a baby, and said baby recorded an album, this would be it.  Surely you have guessed Ms Cash is the daughter of the Man in Black, and you would be right.  What I didn't know is she toured with Johnny after high school, and although her debut album was a success it never flew because she got pregnant and couldn't tour to promote the record.  Her work was acknowledged later in the music industry, and has done well for herself.  This is a beautiful soulful album, full of imagination and dreamwork.

"High Hopes" from Bruce Springsteen's 18th album High Hopes
Our American posterboy, everyone wants a piece of Bruce.  Appropriate title of an album, as we all have high hopes for a new album to be released by Mr. Springsteen.   I have never been drawn to his music per se,  but I do concur with the pedestal people have put him and his talents on.  if I had a choice of going to see Glen Campbell or Bruce Springsteen, I would choose Glen, and did.   All the while this album is a standard, the first track spoke to me the loudest.  Great introduction number for a collection of general classic rock songs.  I feel Bruce really broke out of his comfort zone with the title track, I am not sure I would have guessed it was him singing.  To me, this is always a plus -- keep the audience and fans on their toes!!!!

"Where time stands still" from Mary Chapin Carpenter's album Songs from the movie
From Jersey, Mary's country-folk singing career started out as a hobby in '87.  It wasn't until unemployment that she decided to pursue her musical flair as the real deal instead of a dab.  The following snippet is from Wikipedia's page on Mary's hit single "He think's he'll keep her":

Written by Carpenter and Don Schlitz, the fast-paced song follows a 36-year-old homemaker who leaves her husband, and was inspired by a 1970s series of Geritol commercials in which a man boasts of his wife's seemingly limitless energy and her many accomplishments, then concludes by saying, "My wife ... I think I'll keep her." Carpenter said, "That line has always stuck with me. It's just such a joke."  The single received a Grammy nomination for Record of the Year.

Well who can argue with such a brilliant sense of humor and truth? Not me. Mary's album "Songs from the movie" brought a tear to my eye.  Beautiful poetic pieces of art that in fact do sound like they are from a movie scene.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

New Music Tuesday, January 7th 2014!

Happy New Year, fellow music lovers.  Life got in the way of my blogging from April on in 2013.  My hope is to balance and post from now on.  Notes have been made for nearly every week I didn't post last year, and perhaps will get them drafted and uploaded for the websters to read.  But until that fantasy becomes a reality, here is the first entry for the year.

For anyone new reading,  my blog goes like this:  I review new music that has been released digitally or physically.  There isn't a genre I ignore,   and there isn't one particular site I get all my information off of.   I create a playlist of sorts, picking a track from the new album,  post the artist and album title, and then write a review of my own.  This is an activity I started in 2007 and do it completely for my own enjoyment.

An anemic week of new music to be released, as always the first of January is.   This isn't stopping me from forming my own opinions!  I am only reviewing 5 artists this week, but two are debuts.  How exciting. Enjoy.

"The Janitor Revealed" from Stephen Malkmus and the Jick's album "Wig out at Jagbags"
I saw a lot of press while scrolling the music interwebs and thought, oh must be someone to pay attention to.  One of the tracks on this local bands album is titled "Cinnamon and Lesbians". Perhaps it's the video, perhaps not, but what an unfortunate introduction to the band for me.  I needed time and space before listening to anything more they had to offer.  As it turns out, Stephen does have a voice, and it's always so unbearably obscure.  Also, indie-rock bands have a bad rap of being a wishy washy one sound band.  Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks do not fall under this trap, and I am forever grateful. Being that the Star Theater is usually inexpensive, I may have to support a local up and coming on March 15th.  Who's with me?  Anyone?

"Cheating" from John Newman's debut album "Tribute"
What an impressive and talented man, this John Newman.  Please read more about him per link.  I have a huge appreciation for those that write, direct, and design their process as well as can sing (and dance!).   There is something about coming across a new artist who has the kind of presence and energy like this pop star John here that makes me so thrilled I write this blog.

"Vagabond" from MisterWives debut EP "Refletions"
From NYC, this indie-pop band named MisterWives self proclaim to be of the Soul/Dance/Pop/Folk genre.  So am I.   While I couldn't stop moving while listening to this EP, I didn't fall immediately.   I found listening to the tracks collectively told me I would love to attend a live showing.  No tour on the horizon as of yet.

"Apres Moi" from Peter Gabriels's album "And I'll scratch yours"
UK's artrock genius known as Peter Gabriel has produced a followup album from 2010's  "Scratch my back".  Said album was other artists covering Peter's own songs, like David Bowie and Lou Reed. This album is Mr Gabriel recording the same artists songs.  To my surprise he included Regina Spektor, and a track I enjoy quite a bit.  My first take on Peter was "Ave Maria" (I can't find a sample online), and I was instantly haunted and in love.  His cover of Apres Moi brings me back to that original feeling.

"Time of your life" from Kid Ink's second album "My Own Lane"
American Rapper Kid Ink was smart in releasing this album during the dead of winter.  As you may have guessed, I am not a rap music lover.  But I can appreciate talent.  From what I can find the appreciation for, Kid Ink is at least smart (or his manager is) on finding a quiet week in music to inject some rage, intensity, and energy.   I must confess, no competition in your genre is a plus this week, Kid.