Joan as Police Woman: New Mp3!

Joan as Police Woman (a.k.a. former Antony & The Johnsons singer Joan Wasser) is sharing a free, legal mp3 from her new album, The Deep Field. “The Magic” is familiar but welcome territory with Joan’s signature languid vocals and trippy beats.

Joan as Police Woman – The Magic (mp3)*

*mp3 hosted by & posted w/ permission of artist’s PR rep

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Joan as Police Woman Official Site

Joan As Police Woman: To Survive

Joan As Police Woman’s sophomore album To Survive will be released on June 10th. The sensual beats and unusual phrasing of her debut Real Life now yield to a languidly melodic melancholia inspired by the battle with cancer and subsequent death of Joan’s mother. Joan Wasser was formerly a member of Antony & The Johnsons and she now counts among her fans Lou Reed, Juliette Lewis, and Rufus Wainwright – the latter contributes vocals to the new album.

“Honor Wishes” slides in with moody piano and foreboding male vocals behind Joan’s sultry voice. The melody of “Holiday” is a bit brighter, exploring more of Joan’s vocal range. The softly rhythmic first single “To Be Loved” has a light retro soul gloss.

“To Be Lonely” and “To Survive” are quietly beautiful piano ballads accented with gentle strings that seem to most plaintively express Joan’s sorrow over the loss of her mother. Joan’s lustrous voice rests in the deep, slackened beat of “Start Of My Heart” as if it were a diamond ring nestled in a velvet box.

Some arrangements fail to capture attention as grandly as those on Real Life, but Joan’s voice is always in top form. The finale “To America” features an uncharacteristically restrained vocal performance by Rufus Wainwright.

Joan As Police Woman – To Be Loved (mp3 expired)

Joan As Police Woman Official Site
Joan As Police Woman MySpace

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The Heavy Circles

The Heavy Circles is singer-songwriter Edie Brickell’s new project, a joint effort with guitarist Harper Simon (son of Paul Simon). The band’s all-star debut self-titled album will be released on February 12th. Their sound is a pop, rock, blues, indie, avant garde, reggae, and alt-country blend. Though there are certain retro elements in the songs, the sound is quite different and much more modern than Edie’s old neo-hippie outfit New Bohemians. The album features guests Martha Wainwright, Inara George, Sean Lennon, Cibo Matto’s Miho Hitori, Jennifer Charles of Elysian Fields and Lovage, That Dog’s Anna Waronker, and Joan As Police Woman‘s Joan Wasser among others.

I received the The Heavy Circles debut in the mail, listened to and loved it, and didn’t realize who was behind the catchy tunes until I read the press release while writing this review. Edie Brickell never fails to make music I enjoy, even when experimenting with new genres like this.

The opener “Henri” has a hypnotic, psychedelic rock arrangement beneath Edie’s ethereal whisper. The track features former Elysian Fields and Lovage vocalist Jennifer Charles, and would not have been out of place on last year’s Plant/Krauss collaboration Raising Sand.

“Better” and “Ready to Play” follow in a perkier pop style accented with crunchy guitar riffs. “Confused” slows down into a semi-ballad with soft percussion and a pretty piano ascension. “Need A Friend” has a surprising twist of reggae and brass. And despite the natural mildness of Edie’s voice, “Dynamite Child” is pure rock.

Martha Wainwright sings on languid blues tune “Easier”, while Inara George and former That Dog vocalist Anna Waronker lends her voice to the dreamy “Maximo”. Sean Lennon plays bass on both tracks. Joan Wasser contributes to the string arrangements on several tracks and performs a violin solo in “Wait & Wait”. And Cibo Matto’s Miho Hitori sings on the finale “Oh Darling”.

The Heavy Circles – Henri (mp3)

The Heavy Circles Official Site

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Joan As Police Woman: Real Life

Joan As Police Woman is lead by singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Joan Wasser, a former member of Antony & The Johnsons. Antony contributes guest vocals to Joan’s debut Real Life, as does Joseph Arthur. Backed by Rainy Orteca and Ben Peroksky, Joan’s own music is a slight departure from the ethereal, avante-garde sound of The Johnsons. Her voice is a unique combination of smooth honey and a sultry purr, occasionally reaching a bluesy depth. The musical style of her debut album sways between a breezy retro pop and a deeper jazz tone with hints of soul and the spellbinding quality that only one of The Johnsons could provide.

In addition to singing and penning each of the tracks on the album, Joan plays piano, organ, guitars, violin, viola, and other strings. On the lovely opening track “Real Life”, her captivating voice is accompanied by a subtle piano melody and soft strings. Her vocals take on a deeper tone on “The Ride” and the swaying stand out “Save Me”, while hinting at a Katharine Whalen rasp on “Flushed Chest”.

Joseph Arthur supplies harmony vocals, moog rogue, piano, and drums to the mesmerizing multi-faceted “Eternal Flame” – which features Joan’s best and most versatile vocal performance on the disc – along with the simpler “Feed The Light” and the anticipatory pace of “Christobel”. Antony’s unmistakable voice slides in on the brassy “I Defy”.

The album comes with a 6 song EP of B-Sides, including an alternate solo version of “We Don’t Own It”. The cut songs are good, but all lean towards a more typical indie rock sound that would have disrupted the unique mood of the main disc.

Joan As Police Woman – Eternal Flame (mp3)
Joan As Police Woman – The Ride (mp3)

Joan As Police Woman Official Site

Buy it at Cheap Lullaby (includes a vinyl single & autographed poster)
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