Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Quick Spins

BeckMorning Phase
Beck returns with his first album in six years with the unofficial sequel to 2002’s flawless Sea Change with Morning Phase. His latest, is his finest work since 2005’s Guero and on Morning Phase he brings his moody, melancholy symphonic opera that combines his desperate vocals over a lush and thriving symphony orchestra. While it lacks the subtle electronic elements that Sea Change had, Morning Phase is indeed it’s own record. Sea Change was the break-up album to end all break-up albums, while Morning Phase is about the struggle to find the courage to continue and go on with you life and let the past be the past, even though the demons may still haunt you.

Band of HorsesAcoustic at Ryman
The much anticipated acoustic live record from the Band of Horses has arrived and it came just in times for Valentines Day, as it may be the most beautiful record to be released this year. Fans of the bands will know the songs by heart, but the new arraignments will freshen up and alter your view on classic songs like “Funeral,” “No One’s Going To Love You,” and “Factory.” Casual listeners of the band, we bet, will become deeper fans of the band now thanks to their new, tender directions.

Chuck RaganTill Midnight
One of America’s best songwriters and one of punk’s greatest voices returns with a new solo album that is one of his most sublime to date. Ragan paints with sound more than ever before thanks to lush orchestral arraignments, the use of choirs, and help from his friends like Dave Hause. Ragan comes off with the energy of a Baptish preacher and the soul of a gospel choir to lay more of his emotions out on the line. Till Midnight is a record that will not only give you chills, it will make you want more.

✝ ✝ (Crosses)
After two EP’s, Deftones’ Chino Moreno, Far’s Shaun Lopez link with musician Chuck Doom to release their debut album as ✝ ✝ (Crosses). The music of this band is as ominous, moody, and dark as the tone they set on stage. It is not Deftones, it is not Far, it contains some elements of those bands, but it is a long way away of being anything like them. Taking a dark electronic / cold-wave vibe, with inspiration from bands like Depeche Mode, Bauhaus, and Jesus and Mary Chain.

The sophomore release from New York duo Phantogram comes a record far more complex, layered, and diverse than their previous releases. Voices hears Phantogram proving they are hear to stay and not just another electronica act trying to craft a hit.

St. Vincent
Indie darling St. Vincent returns with her fourth album and her most multifaceted and diverse record to date. After recording and writing the album in Texas, it sounds much more metropolitan and cosmopolitan than where the record was conceived. This maybe St. Vincent’s finest record to date, it is clearly her strongest.

Nina PerssonAnimal Heart
The latest solo record from The Cardigans / A-Camp front woman, Nina Persson hears her returning to her Swedish roots by crafting a magical pop record that will have you hitting replay over and over again.

The atmospheric Brooklyn indie band return with a stark and surprising sophomore album that combines the creativity of Sigur Ros and the ambiance of James Blake.

The Family Rain Under the Volcano
Our February Rising Artists, British blue rockers The Family Rain, release their debut album and it proves why they are a band we all need to keep an eye out for. Under The Volcano combines Thin Lizzy riffs and Rolling Stones swagger and keeps the dreams of Britrock alive.

Sharon Jones and the Dap KingsGive The People What They Want
After being diagnosed with cancer, Sharon Jones had to sideline the release of this record, but Give The People What They Want proves that nothing, not even cancer, will stop her. The funk and soul on this record shows that Jones’ spirit is alive and her fans are her needed medication.

Bombay Bicycle Club So Long, See You Tomorrow
British indie band Bombay Bicycle Club return with their fourth and best album. So Long, See You Tomorrow is a lush adventure in electronic pop, jazz, and alternative. Pushing the envelope forward, Bombay Bicycle Club are on the verge of showing why they are here to stay.

Kevin SecondsOff Stockton
The new solo album from 7 Seconds front man, Kevin Seconds, arrives and his self aware and self pride are stronger than before. Seconds, who has made a career out of speaking his mind, does not disappoint on Off Stockton and shows why he is still an icon in his scene.

Schoolboy QOxymoron
The much-anticipated third album from A$AP Crew member, Schoolboy Q arrives and he enlisted some heavy hitters like Kendrick Lamar, 2 Chainz, Jay Rock, Tyler, The Creator, Suga Free and Kurupt, to support his sound. Oxymoron is in fact his best solo effort to date and shows he has a bright career ahead of him.

Katy B Little Red
English songstress Katy B returns with her semi dubstep, sub bass, electronic pop sound and hears a much more mature and grown up gal than when we met her a few years ago. Little Red is causing a stir across the pond and once it picks up on American radio, Katy B will be one of the biggest females to come from Britain since Adele.

The Gaslight Anthem B-Sides
After four albums, New Jersey greats The Gaslight Anthem release a record of B-Sides and while that usually means covers or songs left off an album or two, this compilation is a majority of their classic tracks from their first three records redone acoustically. It does feature covers like those they play in concert like Pearl Jam’s “State of Love and Trust,” and Rolling Stones’ “Tumbling Dice,” but falls short of rare tracks we have not heard, which is the biggest issue with the album.

Chain Gang of 1974 Daydream Forever
The indie garage / pop / electronic hybrid The Chain Gang of 1974, make their major label debut with their third album and while the creativity is still there, it is nothing new that we have not heard before from this band.

Cibo MattoHotel Valentine
For the first time since 1999, New York City art rockers Cibo Matto return with Cibo Matto and bring their classic trip hop and indie pop sound back to life. After all these years apart, nothing has seemed to changed, fans of the band that waited for a new release will eat it up, but a new audience or critics wanting for something more from a band that was so forward thinking back then, will be disappointed with what they are doing now.

Maximo ParkToo Much Information
The once promising career of British alternative band Maximo Park seems to be fading with their new record. Too Much Information lacks the energy and clever sound that made them the talk of the music world nearly a decade ago.