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Not even 100% sure I like this Actress album R.I.P. yet, but I’m giving it a go as an electronic exploration.I’m thoroughly enjoying Santigold’s long-awaited Master of My Make Believe. SEE HER LIVE!Spiritualized dropped a fresh album in April called Sweet Heart Sweet Light; snatch it up if you like what Spaceman’s selling.Check out Reign of Terror from Sleigh Bells, their powerful follow up to Treats. Last time they left me hungry for more; this time around I’m sated. Emeli Sandé somehow manages to exceed the substantial hype surrounding her U.S. breakthrough with the sublime Our Version of Events.You, me, your Aunt Alice, and everybody else I know is listening to Blunderbuss, Jack White’s consistently strong solo effort. How about a cover album from the Counting Crows? Try the country-influenced Underwater Sunshine (Or What We Did on Our Summer Vacation).Listen to the evolution (or regression depending on your perspective) of The Mars Volta on Noctourniquet.Had to give MDNA a spin just to see if it was as embarrassingly bad as everyone said it was. Sadly, it is. Even though at moments it is lyrically immature, Marina and the Diamonds’ new record Electra Heart is still big fun and has more teeth than the fluff put out by her saccharin pop contemporaries.Not everyone will get the brilliant Julia Holter, but consider challenging your ear with Ekstasis. Both nostalgic and fresh sounding, The Cranberries are back with a new album titled Roses. Dolores retains her distinct and memorable vocal flavor.
CAT POWER personal favorite: You Are Free
GIRL TALKold standby: Feed the Animals
more recent: All Day
SANTIGOLDfresh for 2012: Master of My Make Believe
THE RAPTURE2003 classic: Echoes
2011 standout: In the Grace of Your Love
WILD FLAGdebut: Wild Flag
Which of you persistent whores scored Coachella tickets? If you succeeded, congratulations. Both weekends sold out in 3 hours, with most of weekend one tickets snatched up during last year’s presale. If you didn’t, no worries. Demeter Clarc’s coverage will make you feel like you experienced the giant human stank that is Coachella first hand.With over 130 different musical acts scheduled to perform, only the most musically well-versed have familiarity with the entire roster. For the rest of us who need a remedial, over the next few months we’ll explore the best of what the Coachella line-up has to offer. Here’s the start of a cheat sheet to help you cram for your Coachella final in April. Consider listening to the whole album out of respect for the effort as a complete work and (hopefully) a complete thought.
Songs: Wildfire, Trials of the PastArtist: Feist
Recent Album: Metals
Songs: Caught A Long Wind, How Come You Never Go ThereArtist: Beats Antique
Recent Albums: Blind Threshold, Elektrafone
Songs: Spiderbite, VardoArtist: EMA
Album: Past Life Martyred Saints
Songs: Breakfast, CaliforniaArtist: tUnE-yArDs
Album: w h o k i l l
Songs: Es-so, Powa
This week I had the pleasure of visiting two of my very favorite people in one of the world’s most enjoyable cities for the Portishead show. No, we did not stumble into a portal which transported us back to 1994. Before we arrived, one of the crew asked what the crowd would be like. “Old,” I replied. Lest we forget that 1994 was 17 unforgiving years ago.Truthfully, I haven’t listened to much of Third, Portishead’s most recent record from oh-eight. During a certain moment in time, however, I wore Dummy out. In the mid-nineties, ubiquitous Dummy was in everyone’s collection, at least in my drugged-up slutty circles. Is there anything druggier or sluttier than Portishead? Sour Times for Good Times.Turns out, Portishead live is a deeply conflicting experience. Apart from some short-lived glitchy sound issues, the selections from Dummy were sublime. In particular, Wandering Star was a well-executed highlight. With regret I must confess I did not connect to their newer more “experimental” offerings. At their worst, Portishead sounded like the off-key bastard child of Sonic Youth and Evanescence. It was two songs worth of misery interrupted by an old familiar fave followed by more loud pain. The contrast was jarring. The crowd was especially limp and unresponsive to the less familiar material as is usually the case, but in this instance magnified. One review described the audience as “rapt,” which really wasn’t an accurate reading of my area of the room. Curious about the set list? Silence, Hunter, Mysterons, The Rip, Sour Times, Magic Doors, Wandering Star, Machine Gun, Over, Glory Box, Chase the Tear, Cowboys, Threads, with an encore: Roads, We Carry On.During Glory Box my friend leaned forward and yelled in my ear, “Oh yeah, this is that song from The Craft. I totally feel like I’m being sexually assaulted in the woods by Skeet Ulrich.” And that pretty much sums up the experience.
Lead single Night Air caught my attention a few months ago and had me looking forward to the release of Mirrorwriting, Jamie Woon’s new album. This has been on heavy rotation, but I needed to soak in it before offering you my thoughts. Without rushing to any conclusions, I adore Mirrorwriting. Woon’s memorable and enchanting voice layered over head-nod worthy beats sounds as sweet as frosted cake tastes. The danger with this genre is that it can easily curdle into fromage, but Woon keeps it in the pocket and maintains a credible swagger throughout the collection of a dozen songs.Pursue the entire album; it’s a complete thought and worthy of your attention. Some personal favorites include Shoulda, Lady Luck, Street, and Night Air.
I’ve given this album several listens just to make sure I’m not missing something. New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh has been so universally praised; I keep wondering why I’m not connecting to the record. I’ve really enjoyed New Amerykah Part One: 4th World War and was really looking forward to part two. Unfortch, this mid-tempo shit is lulling me to sleep. I like Badu best grimy and finger waggin’ with that Tyrone swagger, and least when she is nasally and meandering. This album sort of fades into the background with no standout tracks. File this one under “cocktail party music.”