The Vespers: Sisters & Brothers

The Vespers will release their third independent album, Sisters & Brothers, on February 10th. A “Southern Folk Pop Family Band” comprised of two sets of siblings, The Vespers sound like no one else. Their honeyed harmonies are layered over lush folk instrumentation with songs ranging from heartfelt and genteel to fierce and bombastic.



The standout tracks are the thunderous, dramatic opener “Break the Cycle” and the delicate exploration of faith in the modern age “Cynical Soul.”

Other highlights include “We Win,” “New Kids,” “Brothers & Sisters,” “The Curtain” and “Please.”

You can download a free, legal mp3 sample including tracks from the new album at Noisetrade.

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The Vespers Official Site


D’Angelo: Black Messiah

Now this is an album. You see, once upon a time, instead of auto-tuned pop puppets churning out vapid radio singles, there were artists who took years, sometimes decades, to conceive, create, collaborate and masterfully hone their music-making craft before even stepping one tiptoe into a studio to record an album. That is why and how there is a Kind of Blue, a Tapestry, a Zoso, a Purple Rain, a Ten, The Archandroid and, now, a Black Messiah. D’Angelo has gifted the world with a work of Shakespearan proportions in an era of penny dreadfuls.



in a world where we all circle the fiery sun,
with a need for love, what have we become?
tragedy flows unbound and there’s no place to run


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The Smashing Pumpkins: Monuments to an Elegy

Billy Corgan’s angry diatribe against mediocre press and the distorted hindsight of music criticism in his recent “Guardian interview” is absolutely warranted. I’m as guilty as any reviewer for holding favorite artists to the higher standard they themselves have set, but you still gotta give credit where it’s due.


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Lucette: Black is the Color

Lucette’s debut album, Black Is the Color, is a dark, haunting Southern Gothic masterpiece.

The standout tracks are Lucette’s trippy cover of the traditional folk ballad “Black is the Color,” the moody original “Muddy Water,” the “Jolene”-esque “Able Mae” and the album’s sultry first single, “Bobby Reid.” The latter features singer-songwriters Sturgill Simpson and JD Wilkes.

The first half of the album is especially mesmeric and it’s quickly becoming one of my favorite releases of the year.

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Lucette Official Site


Fiona Bevan: Talk to Strangers

Fiona Bevan’s debut album, Talk to Strangers, more than lives up to the promise of its first single. The British singer-songwriter’s quirky soul-pop style falls somewhere between Sheila Nicholls, Joanna Newsom and Corinne Bailey Rae, but these are tenuous reference points at best. Fiona is really carving a niche of her own here.

Fiona’s rich lilt and jaunty instrumentation are particularly charming on “Rebel Without a Cause,” “Slo Mo Tiger Glo” and the lovely “Us and the Darkness.”

The standout track “The Machine” dives into murkier, funkier waters.

Other highlights are Fiona’s exquisite, multi-faceted vocal on “Monsoon Sundance,” the enchanting, buoyant “Pirates and Diamonds” and the simpler beauty of “Forwards.”

I expect Fiona Bevan’s Talk to Strangers to make it on my best of the year list for 2014.

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Fiona Bevan Official Site