Thursday, March 8, 2012


Bruce Springsteen Wrecking Ball
With album 17, The Boss returns and he is pissed. Embracing the social, economic and political issues of our times, Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band return with their first album since the passing of Clarence Clemmons death last summer and it is one of the heaviest records of Springsteen’s career. While albums like Nebraska and Devils and Dust where bare-bones and heavy in terms of content and lyrics, Wrecking Ball is all of that and also heavy in terms of sound and style. Wrecking Ball combines those of Springsteen’s past, records like Darkness on the Edge of Town, Ghost of Tom Joad, The River and sets it to today’s environment and still manages to combine it with the flavorand motif’s of Springsteen’s more recent works – The Rising, Magic, Working on a Dream, the motifs of hope and change. The world outside The Boss’ door is not looking pretty and while he is here to document it all, if and when any politician aside from The President will pay attention, well, that is another story.

FanfarloRooms Filled with Light
The British band returns with their second record and stands proud. We have been very excited for the release of Rooms Filled With Light for sometime now and on its delivery the band do not disappoint, Fanfarlo blend classical, indie, pop, jazz, elecronic and fuse it into a record that gets better with every listen. Rooms Filled With Light is a progression that most bands need to follow and Fanfarlo give the blueprint on how to do it accurately.

Frankie Rose Interstellar
Former member of Crystal Stilts, Dum Dum Girls, Vivian Girls – Frankie Rose, releases her second solo album and what a cosmic trip it is. Interstellar is a premium blend of electronica, pop, indie and ambient all rolled into one. Rose goes into the stratosphere and pulls no punches on her sophomore release. Interstellar is one of those records that defies the dreaded and fearful “Sophomore slump,” and is the musicians best work to date.

K’Naan – More Beautiful Than Silence EP
The Canadian via Somalia rapper and poet releases an EP to wet the palates of fans and build some hype for a new LP and strikes with flying colors. With help from Nelly Furtado and Nas (Who seems to be firing on all cylinders these days – See his work with Common and Beastie Boys) K’Naan brings emotion and social issues to the forefront without getting preachy. If this EP is any indication as to what K’Naan’s full length will sound like, it has strong contention to be one of the years best.

Dry The River Shallow Bed
One of our “15 Artists to Watch in 2012” release their anticipated debut and it lives to the hype. UK band Dry The River have drawn comparisons to Avett Brothers, Mumford and Sons and Fanfarlo – while they do have that vibe and approach they still stand on their own. Shallow Bed is a record that shows a band that is not afraid to wear their hearts on their sleeves, filled with lush melodies and haunting panache in their resonance, Dry The River prove us correct as to why we have picked them to keep an eye out for this year. Shallow Bed is one that only gets better with every spin.

The Men Open Your Heart
The Strokes should take note – New York might have new garage rock heroes on their hands. The Brooklyn band The Men have been gaining attention in the borough for sometime and Open Your Heart is the record that is going to open the flood gates for the local celebrities. Open Your Heart is a record that has been influenced by the genres and bands before them – The Ramones, Television, Velvet Underground, The Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Brooklyn indie bands and yet, crafted with their own fine touch, The Men should stand tall and proud for delivering a record like this.

Canadian singer Claire Boucher aka Grimes has developed a cult-like status in the indie world over the last year. Combining synth and pop and mixing it with grime and dark electronica, Grimes’ latest, Visions is one that may take some getting used to but for those open minded enough to engage in the record, it is a worthwhile trip. Plus her catchy falsetto voice makes each song that much more interesting and engaging.

The CranberriesRoses
The Irish band returns with their first album in over a decade and return to their roots with legendary Smiths and Blur producer – Stephen Street, who was instrumental in getting the bands early sound on their stellar debut, Everybody Else Is Doing It, Why Can’t We. Roses is a return to the band’s 90’s roots and one to soak up and enjoy every minute. While the band’s career after their third album, To The Faithful Departed began to linger and their sound became more and more generic, Roses is a return to form and back to basics and a welcome comeback.

Heartless BastardsArrow
The Ohio rockers release their fourth album and still flex some muscle but do not do much to show diversity in their style – which is not a bad thing. The Heartless Bastards are a very solid rock and roll outfit and play a perfect style of blues and rock and the formula does not change on that for Arrow, more of the same but still do a good job at sticking to their guns.

EstelleAll of Me
The English R&B singer returns with a record of non-stop hits. Estelle, who has laid low for a few years comes back with All of Me, as the title suggests, it is an introspective look at the singers personal issues, causes and triumphs. While Estelles lyrics and vocals are golden, it is her collaborations with Chris Brown and Trey Songz that prove to be the only lynchpin in the whole record. Her duets with Rick Ross and Janelle Monae however are rather ace, yet is Estelle who is the center of her universe on this album and it is why we appreciate her.

CursiveI Am Gemini
The Nebraska dark indie band return with album number seven and seem to slip up and stumble a bit. Cursive who brought us excellent albums like Domestica and Ugly Organ fall short on their latest release. I Am Gemini sounds rushed and forced and for a band that is known for being clever and smart, it is a bit of a shame for their catalog.

Tim Fite Ain’t Ain’t Ain’t
Brooklyn beat maker and poet Tim Fite returns with a new album and unlike his previous concept records, Aint Aint Aint, aint what we are used to. Fite uses tape loops, a full band and every song sounds like the one previous, which is so unfortunate for someone with such a promising career.

Sleigh Bells Reign of Terror
The sophomore LP from the hipster duo is far from the acclaim the mainstream is giving it. Sleigh Bells have been gaining attention over the last few years, the band which features ex-Poison the Well guitarist, Derek Edward Miller, are just simply making noise and people are unfortunately listening. One wonders what the rest of Millers former bandmates think? Reign of Terror sounds like a duck being castrated and plucked over distorted guitars and drum machines and simply not worth the attention from the listener.