Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Awesome Spring/Summer Releases 2010

Yeah I totally stole this, shhh, it's beautiful.

So I've been listening to a lot of new material this spring/summer. So I thought I'd share some with you. Some that it'd be a shame for you to miss out on. I'm no record reviewer. I just like to recommend things I love. So that's what this is. Enjoy.

Brandon Boyd - The Wild Trapeze
I'll start with Incubus' frontman Brandon Boyd's solo effort, The Wild Trapeze! This was a gem. It won't sound like it if I pull it apart. I do truly feel like it came too late in his career, and sounds too similar to Incubus' material to be a powerful solo record. However, it sounds great. It doesn't sound too original, but it sounds like great music...that has been made before. Regardless of these things, it's a great listen. Standouts: "Courage & Control", "Revenge of the Spectra Tiger", "Mirror of Venus" and "All Ears Alow". That last one is just chaotic and I thought it was great for Brandon to let go like that. One thing worth noting, that I can always appreciate is that Brandon played all the instruments on this record.

Kelis - Flesh Tone
A lot of people don't "get it". Me on the other hand, oh I got it! This record was fun! It was of course a great departure from what Kelis has contributed to the hip-hop game. A lot of people simply couldn't separate what they knew of her previously to go here. I think the best thing to do is think of this as a debut record from a new Electro-Pop artist, if you do this, I promise you will be impressed. The songs are fun but deep. There are a few clearly about her child and her divorce but it's all hidden meaning behind tight beats and that amazing signature voice. Standouts: "Intro", "Scream" , "Brave" and "Acapella". To be honest, you can just dance your ass off to the whole thing without skipping anything.

Hesta Prynn - Can We Go Wrong [EP]
Hesta Prynn FINALLY released her much anticipated EP Can We Go Wrong earlier this month. It was worth the wait. The sometimes agonizing thing about Twitter is that you're forced to read updates constantly about an artist's progress in the studio every single day while seeing/hearing no results. You wait and wait and wait. Then you see a tweet about a song being completed. Then you wait and you wait and just when you think you're going to die, THEY RELEASE SOMETHING! This was the case with Hesta Prynn. What we finally got was a consistent full sounding EP that's leaving everyone, yet again, waiting for more! I've given so many thoughts on this EP already on different sites, it's almost obnoxious-I cannot shut up about it. But I will tell you to go grab it immediately! Standouts: "Motive", "Recall", "Le Coq Aux Folles" and the title track.

Steel Train - Steel Train
So. Good. Every song is passionate and guitar driven! Amazing vocals from the incredible Jack Antonoff! Every sound on this record is significant; every note, every bass line, every key pressed, hell at times every hand clap. There is no shortage of imagination and experimentation. This record is lustrous it starts off on fire and doesn't burn out until the very very end on "Fall Asleep" but by then you're so physically and emotionally drained (from crying at the sad words and moving around to the cool music, naturally) you don't mind at all. Standouts: ALL OF IT.

Japanese Cartoon - In The Jaws of the Lords of Death
Because there seems to be something encoded in Lupe Fiasco that prevents him from failing, he won again. Japanese Cartoon is the rapper's side project. The post-punk outfit has finally released the record that has had tracks floating around youtube for quite a while now. Lupe sings lead vocals with an English accent, one so convincing that when the tracks first surfaced many questioned whether or not it was him, which I'm guessing, is why he did it. The lyrics range from romantic to heartbreaking to political. Please don't write this off because Lupe is a famous rapper. Every artist needs to express themselves by stepping out of their comfort zone every once in a while. What's rare is when an artist releases side material and it's so compelling you feel they could easily do it full time. That's what happened here. Standouts: "Heirplanes", "Crowd Participation", "Firing Squad", "You Are Here" and "Gasp".

Various Artists - Terrible Thrills
It's weird I didn't put this after Steel Train's record. I debated putting it on here at all because it's technically the same record. Terrible Thrills is an all-female compilation cover record of Steel Train's self titled third record, which I mentioned earlier in the post. What makes it worth mentioning is it doesn't sound like the same record. Every artist took a Steel Train song and made it their own. I mean it's quite amazing. Tegan & Sara, Holly Miranda, Amanda Palmer and Rachael Cantu, the more notable acts featured on the record, for example covered the tracks in such a way you could easily imagine hearing it on one of their original releases. But if you read my interview with Jack you know that's exactly what he was hoping for. This project was an amazing, unique idea and it turned out beautifully. All the covers were great, all these women are brilliant, but this time there are standouts: "Turnpike Ghost" (Tegan & Sara), "You and I Undercover (Holly Miranda), "Behavior" (Amanda Palmer), "Bloody Lips" (Charlotte Caffey & Astrid McDonald), "Fall Asleep" (Rachel Antonoff), "You Are Dangerous" (Angel Deradoorian), "The Speedway Motor Racers Club" (Anna Waronker)...ok ALL OF THEM.

Kaki King - Junior
I know, I know! And I wasn't going to add it but then I realized that April 13th is actually spring and therefore this qualifies. I'm sick of talking about how awesome it is. I mean gosh what else can I say? The woman is phenomenal. If you think you're hearing her name too much and there's too much hype being built up around her to believe-trust me, believe the hype. In fact, I was just like you Mr. Skeptic. I only became a hardcore Kaki fan about five months ago. Before that I was just a casual listener, I thought "There's no way she's that good!". I was wrong and so are you. Junior is a lot different from her previous records, however it follows her Mexican Teenagers EP appropriately. It's full of heavy drums and busy guitar riffs, I've given a review of it so I won't say much. Standouts: Ha, please.

Honorable Mentions: B.o.B's The Adventures of Bobby Ray, Eminem's Recovery and The Roots' How I Got Over. All great records that have received lots of coverage in mainstream media so I'm guessing you've read all you care to read about those.

No comments: