Time to make Blurb-O-Rama about the best of the month’s album releases methinks. So, here we are at the end of January 2014 already and here are some of the new albums you should check out.
DAVID CROSBY – Croz
First album of new material in two decades – David Crosby, the legendary troubadour collaborates with his son, James Raymond, Mark Knopfler and Wynton Marsalis, to deliver a quality release filled with sophisticated compositions that finds Crosby in good form. Bedded nicely in a jazzy folk style reminiscent of the glory days of CSN, Croz is an essential listening pleasure for true blue fans of classic rock.
THE NEW MENDICANTS – Into the Lime
An indie pop super-duo consisting of Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub) & Joe Pernice (Pernice Brothers) – a tie-up that makes complete sense and somewhat inevitable. The match made in indie pop heaven also an geographical possibility as both are now living in Canada. And if you’re familiar with the individual work of both Blake and Pernice, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what The New Mendicants are all about. Recommended.
THE AUTUMN DEFENSE – Fifth
Wilco’s John Stirrat’s side project The Autumn Defense (with Pat Sansome) is now a well-established pop group in their own right with Fifth being its – erm – fifth release already. Wonderfully rustic, warm and folky with gorgeous 60s pop overtones, this new album is filled with melodic gem adorned with ornate old-school pop charm. A feel-good LP that PoP visitors will enjoy.
ELIZABETH & THE CATAPULT – Like It Never Happened
PoP darlings, EATC return with a new album of beautiful chamber-pop ditties that deserves more attention than it will ultimately receive. Strong memorable tunes with sophisticated instrumental arrangements set EATC apart from the indie pop ‘feels’ crowd. Tracks like “Happy Pop” and “Shoelaces” should be on your must-listen playlist. Under-rated but hopefully more will be blessed by these wondrously sweet sounds.
SNOWBIRD – Moon
When one hears that Simon Raymonde (ex-Cocteau Twins) is the musical brains of Snowbird with ethereal vocalist Stephanie Dosen as the other part of the equation, one expects dreamy pop soundscapes closer to New Age than what Snowbird actually offers on Moon, its debut album. Of course, Dosen’s modus operandi is basically whispering her way through songs in her precious way but the music is actually more like country-folk than anything else! This makes the combination unique and intriguing.
LAURA CANTRELL – No Way There From Here
It’s great to see alt-country songstress Laura Cantrell still going strong with this, her fifth album. With her pristine clear voice and brilliant decision making with respect to her songwriting, country rock fans will thrill to this latest album with its clutch of soul satisfying songs. Highlights include “All the Girls Are Complicated”, “Letter She Sent” and the title track. Good fun!
DROWNERS – s/t
It’s hard to take these indie pop pretenders for serious anymore. Yet another Brooklyn outfit who sets itself up to channel the Britpop of the 80s and 90s are Drowners (named after a Suede song no less). You know the drill by now – the Anglophile accents, the 80s post-punk veneer and pretentious titles like “Luv, Hold Me Down”, “Unzip Your Harrington” and “A Button On Your Blouse” – expect Drowners to appear at a nearby Laneway Festival sooner than later. For hipsters only.
PEGGY SUE – Choir of Echoes
This Brighton trio play an idiosyncratic blend of alternative folk & indie pop that takes sweet girl vocals and burns them onto an atonal rock soundtrack. The result is an invigorating mix of consonance and dissonance that hearkens back to The Velvet Underground. Edgy music that should be given adequate time for close inspection.
… still there’s more …