New Music Tuesday 9.11.12

"Theatre Is Evil" by Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra
“Theatre Is Evil” by Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra

Amanda Palmer is a true artist in the digital age, and with the release of her new album Theatre Is Evil she makes that point even truer. The album was crowd funded through Kickstarter, a fantastic way for fans to support the artist they love, and Palmer’s fans certainly got what they paid for. As a whole, the record is fantastic. Palmer is famous for her brand of cabaret inspired art punk-rock, and while that theme is certainly explored on the record, there are a lot of other influences at play. Synths and effect soaked vocals begin the album on “Smile (Pictures Or It Didn’t Happen)”, and that kind of shoegaze meets electro pop shimmer reappears on other album highlights like the fantastic single “Want It Back” (Censored video below with a link to the NSFW version). “Do It With A Rockstar” pulsates with a punk rock fury that will supercharge your day. Strings blaze through the stunning ‘Trout Heart Replica’, a tender, emotional piano ballad. By the time “Olly Olly Oxen Free” crashes to its thundering close, you will have fallen in love with this beautiful record. I really cannot say enough about this album. If you are the least bit artistically inclined, Amanda Palmer is the kind of artist that will make you want to create. Head over to her website to grab a physical (CD or vinyl!) or digital copy of Theatre Is Evil, rock out, and enjoy.

‘Want It Back (Uncensored NSFW)’

"Love This Giant" by David Byrne and St. Vincent
“Love This Giant” by David Byrne and St. Vincent

I’m not quite sure what I was expecting from this collaboration between David Byrne and St. Vincent, but Love This Giant managed to take me by complete surprise. I mean that in the best way possible about this amazing album. Both of these artists styles are evident on the record, yet they created a sound wholly unique and exciting. Big rhythms and catchy melodies are augmented by beautifully arranged horns that give a feeling of Big Band style records, but don’t get me wrong. While that element is certainly at play here, Love This Giant is definitely not a Big Band album. The way they manage to undercut each arrangement with either an acoustic guitar bed or quick electric riffs is what gives the record its ‘hard to classify’ nature. Lead single “Who” (Below) is a great introduction. If you enjoy that track (and how can you not?), this is a record for you. Equal parts dangerous and safe, you really need to hear Love This Giant. I loved this record, and I know you will too.

Pacifica by The Presets
Pacifica by The Presets

Pacifica is a perfect example of what makes an electronic album great. Terrific songwriting, bouncy beats, bold sounds, and the will to experiment make the latest album by The Presets one not to miss. Hyperactive power pop, disco/funk, and soul all find a home on the disc, sometimes in the same tune. “Youth In Trouble” (Below) gets things off to a toe-tapping start, with the kind of ‘in your face’ vocals fans have come to expect. That mood will shift quickly come the much discussed “Ghosts”, a delicately layered, dreamy, synthpop gem that tells the story of a young soldier injured in war. “Promises” is another album highlight, a bright ode that should make its way on to many playlists as summer winds down. Album closer “Fall Epic” is a magnificent send off to the record, a bare yet powerful ballad that is a showcase for Julian Hamilton‘s intense vocals. The album’s end is moving, and will leave you wanting more. Pacifica is a wonderful record, and a must own.

New Music Tuesday 8.28.12

“Infinity Overhead” by Minus The Bear

Infinity Overheadis the kind of record that makes me so…

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New Music Tuesday 8.14.12

This week’s Story of Light will have your Neurons firing in the Southern Air! Let’s jump in!

"The Story of Light" by Steve Vai
“The Story of Light” by Steve Vai

If you Google Steve Vai, the one word you will see over and over in the articles and blog results is the word Virtuoso. Vai is considered by many to be one of the greatest living guitarists, and during his long career he has managed to always stay relevant while continuing to challenge himself. He has fans in the worlds of Metal, Prog, and just about any sub-classification of Hard Rock you can imagine. With The Story Of Light, Vai combines his unparalleled skills in those worlds with a softer, more spiritual side. Look to his renditions of the traditional “John The Revelator” and “Mullach A’tSi” for proof. The latter of the two is a gentle, acoustic tinged delight, and the former is full on gospel/blues explosion that features samples of Blind Willie Johnson’s version from the 1930’s. If that pairing sounds like a stretch, how about “No More Amsterdam”, Vai’s duet with singer/songwriter Aimee Mann. The result is a very effecting reflective tune, one that fits perfectly on this record. Other tracks of note are the hard edged funk of “Velorum”, the metal pulse of “Gravity Storm” (below), and the prog-rock perfection of “The Moon And I”. The Story Of Light is a fantastic, compelling epic that is a must add to any rock fans collection. Pick it up at Amazon today.

"Southern Air" by Yellowcard
“Southern Air” by Yellowcard

Yellowcard have put out album after album of well produced, thoughtful pop-punk influenced rock with larger than life choruses and big hooks. After taking a short hiatus, the band emerged last year with a refocused energy that slightly altered and matured their sound. That trend continues on Southern Air, a ten tracked tightly packed record filled with sharp guitars, pounding rhythms, and fantastic use of their softer side (strings, piano, etc). Vocalist/Guitarist Ryan Key shines on this record with some of his best vocal performances to date on opener “Awakening” (below) and the dynamic “Telescope” which contains the lines “Let’s just keep driving on/All the stars jumping in through the windows/Let’s go where we belong/Headed fast as we can for the unknown“. By the time you reach the title track album closer, you’ll be rocked, rolled, and refreshed by the Southern Air. Pick it up at Amazon MP3.

"Neuron" by Duo (Julia Egan & Kirk Pearson)
“Neuron” by Duo (Julia Egan & Kirk Pearson)

This album was released a few weeks ago, but I only just discovered it when looking for this weeks releases. I’m including it here because I was struck by this record, and I think it needs to be shared. Duo is comprised of musicians Julia Egan and Kirk Pearson. Their partnership and album is best described on the album’s Bandcamp page as follows: “They met in their junior year at New York’s LaGuardia School for Music and Art. Over the course of 400 days, Egan and Pearson wrote and recorded an album about insomnia, affection and neuroscience. This is said album.” Duo incorporates electronic, indie folk, and classical influences into Neuron, and the result is an eclectic record that surprises with each listen. I’ve embedded the record so you can give it a spin. I recommend the tracks “Travel On”, “Kai Sen Manuscripts”, and “Julia’s Brains”. If you like it, click over to Bandcamp where you can name your price to download it!