Phantogram’s new album, Voices, has a dark, trippy electro-pop sound inhabiting the murky space between Bat for Lashes and MS MR with hints of White Lies. The middle of the album is a little too ambient for my taste, but the good tracks are incredible. Fave tracks “Black Out Days” and “Celebrating Nothing.”
Like most of the human population, we in the Muruch household love Pharrell’s cheery smash “Happy” from the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack. The irrepressibly upbeat, Oscar-nominated tune is also featured on former Neptunes and N.E.R.D. singer-producer Pharrell’s new sophomore solo album, GIRL.
From the Jackson meets Timberlake vibe of the opener “Marilyn Monroe” through the duet with Justin Timberlake himself “Brand New,” the album is brimming with the smooth falsetto and peppy electro-soul charm we’ve come to expect from any Pharrell song.
“Happy” is by far the standout track, but “Hunter” is another catchy favorite.
The album isn’t without its flaws. The Daft Punk guest spot “Gust of Wind” is surprisingly forgettable and songs like “Little Queen” and the Reggae Lite duet with Alicia Keys, “Know Who You Are,” sound more like album filler than actual songs. But overall GIRL is an extremely enjoyable listen.
Jena Malone is best known as the young actress in movies like Stepmom, Donnie Darko, Four Last Songs, Into The Wild and, more recently, The Hunger Games, but she is also a singer and musician. Her latest music project, The Shoe, will release their debut full-length album, I’m Okay, on June 3rd. The Shoe is comprised of sweet-voiced Jena and pianist-producer Lem Jay Ignacio and they are named for Jena’s musical instrument creation “The Shoe” – an old streamer trunk filled with electronic instruments. You can stream and download a free, legal mp3 of the album’s first single, “Paper Cup,” at SoundCloud.
Buy @ Amazon (Available June 3rd)
In case you missed it, here’s Prince performing his new song, “FunkNRoll,” live on The Arsenio Hall Show.
Here it is folks, my favorite album of 2014 so far: St. Paul & The Broken Bones’ debut full-length album, Half the City. This six-member Birmingham ensemble plays a vintage brand of gritty, bluesy, brassed up soul with a sound so authentic you’ll think it was recorded decades ago. I cannot overstate how spectacular this album is, it should be required listening to qualify as human.
Lead singer Paul Janeway’s exquisite, gut-wrenching voice falls somewhere between Otis Redding and Mike Hucknall, and the band puts modern Garage Rock energy into their classic soul instrumentation.
“I’m Torn Up,” “Don’t Mean a Thing,” “That Glow,” “Dixie Rothko” and “It’s Midnight” are the stand out tracks, but the entire album is truly mind-blowingly magnificent.