I love that the few bands who actually follow my review submission guidelines (found on the About page) are really good. Broken Tempo was the most recent to email me their music and I love their new single, “You.” The Greek band’s sound reminds me of early Evanescence or Lacuna Coil. I hope they’re working on a full-length album. I even like the dubstep remix, even though I usually hate remixes. You can hear the original and the remix below.
I didn’t know anything about Blue & Gold until they emailed me their new single, “Ghost Man.” Since I love the song so much, I’m going to give you the same uninformed, undescribed listening experience for once. I think we’ll be hearing a lot more from this Brooklyn band in the future. Just listen…
King Eider are described as an “Edinburgh-based folk-blues collective.” They had me at folk-blues. I love the bluesy, multi-instrumental style of their debut, self-released single, “Drink Me Dry.” One wonders why they’re self-releasing instead of on Song, By Toad Records. You can stream the song below. The single will be released on June 10th, at which time I assume you’ll be able to purchase it at the usual sites.
Buy @ Amazon (available June 10th)
I was only momentarily disappointed to discover that Lexy & The Kill’s “The Ballad of Love & Hate” is not a cover of the song of the same name by The Avett Brothers. The B-side to the London band’s upcoming single “We Can Dance Alone,” “The Ballad of Love & Hate” is a pop-rock ballad about an abusive relationship that showcases the beautiful texture and range of Lexy’s voice. You can stream “The Ballad of Love & Hate” and watch the video for “We Can Dance Alone” below…
Cold Specks is Canadian-born, London-based singer-songwriter Al Spx and she calls her sound “doom soul.” My experience with Cold Specks’ debut, I Predict a Graceful Expulsion, has been similar to my evolving, seasonally-affected relationship with Kate Bush’s 50 Words for Snow. Though I always loved Cold Specks’ raspy voice, I just couldn’t connect with the album’s somber moodiness when it arrived at the height of summer. But my reaction to the album has apparently changed with the season and now I find these gritty songs to be a breathtaking soundtrack to falling leaves.
I Predict a Graceful Expulsion is most definitely suited only for a particular mood, but the standout tracks – “The Mark,” “Heavy Hands,” “When The City Lights Dim,” “Holland” and “Lay Me Down” – are absolutely stunning. And I think this is an album many of you will love.
Amy LaVere and Shannon McNally have teamed up and will release their debut collaborative EP, Chasing The Ghost Rehearsal Sessions, on October 23rd. Brought together by their mutual mentor to form the band The Wandering, the two female singer-songwriters immediately clicked, jammed and recorded the EP. Says McNally of their chemistry, “We were both instantly struck by our numerous similarities. It’s not your average gal that drinks bourbon neat, walks around with a pocket atlas and a drives a big white gear van. I thought she was charming and awfully funny.” You can stream two songs, “Never Been Sadder” and “If It Were Mine to Keep,” from the EP below. McNally seems to have added some pep to LaVere’s noirish Memphis sound.
Buy @ Amazon (available Oct. 23rd)
Chasing The Ghost Official Site (Buy CD)
Goapele’s new album, Break of Dawn, will be released in October. Her label is making the album’s first single, “Play” available as a SoundCloud stream, which you can hear below. If you wonder where you’ve heard Goapele before, her song “Closer” was featured on So You Think You Can Dance in 2006. Her music often blends soul with a New Age sound, but this new song is more Neo-Soul. Whatever you call it, it’s good.
Rave On Buddy Holly will be released on June 28th and you can stream the album in its entirety below. With a cast of superstar singers like Florence + The Machine, Fiona Apple, Patti Smith, She & Him and Lou Reed, I’m not at all surprised that I love this new tribute to rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Buddy Holly.
First, the spectacular: I would’ve written this review much sooner had I not been listening to Florence + The Machine‘s cover of “Not Fade Away” on repeat. The Machine saves Buddy Holly’s trademark quirks for their clanging, banging-industrial-sized-pots-and-pans arrangement, allowing lead singer Florence Welch to unleash all the unearthly wails and gorgeous vibratto of her magnificent voice.
Fiona Apple and Jon Brion opt for a simpler, splendidly tinkling, truer-to-original rendition of “Everyday.” Who knew Fiona Apple was a folk singer?
Nevermind that, who knew that Kid Rock was a soul singer? I do now thanks to his wonderfully brassed up cover of “Well…All Right.” He needs to drop the country-rap stuff and collaborate with Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears.
Julian Casanblancas’ moody “Rave On,” Jenny O.’s cooing “I’m Gonna Love You, Too,” She & Him’s retro dance party “Oh Boy!,” and the legendary Patti Smith’s soulful rendering of “Words of Love” are also stand outs.
Elsewhere, Cee Lo Green reminds me why I loved Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy,” but couldn’t stomach his tepid new solo pop album. Cee Lo’s unusual pipes can be so powerful, but he requires an interesting and solid arrangement to bring out the best in his voice. The Caribbean chimes and percussion of “(You’re So Square) Baby, I Don’t Care” is the perfect song for him.
Other highlights on the tribute include Karen Elson’s “Crying, Waiting, Hoping” (featuring Elson’s husband Jack White), Nick Lowe’s “Changing All The Changes,” My Morning Jacket’s “True Love Ways” and The Detroit Cobras’ “Heartbeat.”
But, ugh, Modest Mouse’s dreary, deadpan “That’ll Be The Day” reminds me why I always referred to that surge of irksome, post-Death Cab “indie-rock” boy bands as “mouse rock.” It’s the only track on the album I skip every time.
Rave On Buddy Holly gives a solid finish, however, with a trio of covers by Lou Reed, John Doe and Graham Nash.
*SoundCloud Album Stream Uploaded by Concord Music Group & Posted w/ Permission of Label’s PR Rep
Here’s a pretty, wistful new tune by Spider (a.k.a. Jane Herships). “I’ll go in your Boat” is much more buoyant than the sparse folk of Spider’s previous releases, with an almost retro pop style to the arrangement. The song will be included on Spider’s upcoming album, The Home Record.
*SoundCloud mp3 uploaded by & posted w/ permission of artist
Buy @ Amazon (not yet available)
London trio Belleruche recently released their new album, 270 Stories, and are offering a free, legal audio stream via SoundCloud of their new single. “3 Amp Fuse” follows up the trippy genre-hopping sound of 2007′s Turntable Soul Music.
***SoundCloud stream uploaded by band’s PR rep