Here is Part 1 of my must listens of 2012!!
At least once a month when assembling this post, there is an album that has me from second one, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have that happen right off the bat this month with the new album by indie/dance pop group Two Door Cinema Club. Beacon is an introspective, contemplative dance party that never gives up. There are a bit more mid-tempo rockers here than on their previous album, but that is certainly not to the album’s detriment. ‘Next Year’ kicks things off in spirited fashion, and the record that follows further builds on this tune’s sense melodic interplay. The band is on point, and the delicate, purposeful vocals by Alex Trimble are a perfect fit to the electronic infused indie rock sound the band has perfected. I’ve embedded lead single ‘Sleep Alone’ below to give you a taste, and also a spotify link to my favorite track on the record, the horn accented ‘Sun’. Grab Beacon in physical or MP3 today.
Jazz pianist Chick Corea has had a long and varied career, from progressive-jazz-fusion-rock (Return To Forever) his work with vibraphonist Gary Burton. The pair have worked together for nearly forty years, and on their latest album Hot House, they sound as fresh as ever. Take their exciting rendition of Beatles favorite ‘Eleanor Rigby’ (See the live version embedded below). The melody around which the duo play is familiar, but the soundtrack they create is anything but. This is an album full of two virtuoso having fun with music and enjoying their time playing with melody and composition. If you like what you hear in the video below, grab Hot House today.
I have already explained my affection for Matchbox Twenty here, and subsequently all those reasons are why I really like North. Not just out of nostalgia for a band I’ve loved, but because the songs on this disc continue to resonate with me as much as their work always has. Despite their long absence, the album doesn’t sound forced or dated in anyway. Highlights include lead single ‘She’s So Mean’, power ballad ‘Overjoyed’, and the darkly melodic ‘English Town’ Check out the link above for more info about the album, but know that if you’re a fan of anything the band has produced over the years, you will greatly enjoy this record.
Animal Collective isn’t for everyone. Their brand of art rock is augmented by strains and sounds unfamiliar in most indie rock circles, more akin to the psychedelic experimentation done in the sixties. The beauty in their music is how they use these unconventional sounds and arrangements to create the kind of songs that sound familiar as soon as you hear them. Not in the sense that they are rehashing already well trodden territory, but in that “Of course!” sense you get when you hear a song that you love before its over. The feeling you get when you are completely blown away by a song, and you wonder how you ever went without it. Now if you can imagine that feeling in between industrial sounding beats, electronic distortion, and filtered vocals, you have the epic that is Centipede Hz. If that sentence turned you off, than go ahead and skip to the next album in this post. If you were intrigued by that notion however, you should check out >Centipede Hz.
The songs on Cat Power‘s latest album Sun are just fantastic. What I mean by that is if you cam across any one of the album’s eleven tracks individually, they would immediately make you want to know more about the artist that created them. Sun is a labor of love from an immensely talented singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/producer, whose real name is Chan Marshall. With the exception of some mixing duties, Ms. Marshall handles every bit of Sun herself. You can hear her passion for her craft in tunes like album opener ‘Cherokee’, the album’s title track, and the fantasitc harmonies on ‘Ruin’ (below). The eleven minute empowerment epic ‘Nothin’ But Time’ swells and falls over shiny synths and thundering rhythms, and features background vocals by an almost Johnny Cash sounding Iggy Pop. His gruff vocals offer a perfect counterpart to Marshall’s sweet breathy melody, and the tune floats by like a dream. By the time you reach the hip-hop-ish closer ‘Peace and Love’, you will have found that Sun is full of warm and welcome surprises. Make it part of your collection.
Check out my picks for New Music Tuesday!
Soulful Jazz, R&B, and dreamy pop make up this week’s new releases. Let’s jump in!
There needs to be more musicians in the world like Christian Scott. Scott’s new album, Christian aTunde ADJuah, is a powerful, enthralling double disc set that employs elements of Jazz, Rock, Hip-Hop, and just about anything else you can think of. Quiet and pensive at times, joyous and exuberant at others, this is an album for every “on the fence” Jazz fan out there. He pays homage to Miles Davis with his trumpet and composition on tracks like “New New Orleans (King Adjuah Stomp)”, and also manages to extrapolate on that vibe to create his own modern take on the themes and techniques Davis’ pioneered. Take the dark, bassy rumble of “Jihad Joe” (embedded below) on the album’s second disc. Scott’s trumpet wails and soars across the track, enhanced by the guitar work of Matthew Stevens and the piano interplay of Lawrence Fields. The track is certainly a jazz piece, but it also has a Progressive Metal undertone to it that creates something all together new and exciting. This type of intricate and dynamic composition makes Christian aTunde ADJuah a must add to your collection, and my favorite release this week. Pick it up all twenty three tracks right now over at Amazon MP3
Joss Stone‘s career has seen her sample and transcend many different genres. Ms. Stone is always at her best when she is given the chance to explore the bluesy side of whatever genre she chooses, and that’s where we find her on The Soul Sessions Volume 2, Stone’s second foray into the world of older Blues and R&B covers. The gentle funky soul of “I Got The…” provides the perfect introduction to the record, before the 60’s R&B protest jam “(For God’s Sake) Give More Power To The People”, where we hear what may be the records most spirited vocal performance. Other record highlights include the poppy bouncer “While You’re Out Looking For Sugar” and the down tempo, sultry gospel infused cover of Broken Bells’ “The High Road” (below). The wail of the lead guitar throughout the latter provides the perfect tone and counter melodies to Stone’s lead vocal, and the result makes for the albums finest overall track. Equal parts Janis Joplin and Adele, Ms. Stone’s voice never fails to move you. Head to Amazon MP3 for your copy.
Best known as the lead singer for the hard rocking Anberlin, Stephen Christian is also the creative force behind the gentler Anchor & Braille. Christian has knack for creating emotional soundscapes that perfectly compliment his unique and commanding vocals. On The Quiet Life, Christian gets things started with the drum looped electro dream pop bounce of tracks like “Goes Without Saying” before transitioning to the darker, more somber vibe of tracks like the indie/alt-pop crunch of “Kodacrome”. The beautiful piano ballad “Hymn For Her” is an album highlight, and one that sets the more relaxed yet ambitious tone of the records latter third. Swelling synths and big beats make the subtly R&B influenced crescendo of “Everybody Here Wants You” a thrilling success. Album closer “Before I Start Dreaming” wraps the record up wonderfully, drawing from all of the albums different directions to sum up what is sure to be a instant classic album among fans and new listeners alike. Take a listen to “In With The New” below, then pick up The Quiet Life today.