Album: so sad so sexy
Artist: Lykke Li
Release Date: June 8, 2018
- two nights
- jaguars in the air
- so sad so sexy
The album title sums it up perfectly as Swedish singer-songwriter sings heartbreaking tunes of romantic entanglings that ultimately end in failure. Stylistically, Li has shifted from indie rock and dream pop to contemporary R&B and electronic dance music. It’s not a shift that I think works for her, as the music doesn’t sound bad, but it loses Li’s unique style for something that sounds like a lot of other music out there today. I’m thinking that this album will be recognized more as the transition to whatever Li does next than for itself.
Album: Tracyanne & Danny
Artist: Tracyanne & Danny
Release Date: May 25, 2018
- It Can’t Be Love Unless It Hurts
This duo features Tracyanne Campbell, formerly of the Scottish band Camera Obscura whose album Let’s Get Out of This Country was on my list of favorite albums of all time. Her partner is Danny Coughlan, an English singer-songwriter from England, of whom I have no prior knowledge. The sound of the album reminds me of 60s pop, not necessarily what the nostalgia industry categorizes as “60s music,” but the type of pop that was popular with older listeners in the period. Nevertheless, there’s a a lot of variety from folk to lounge music to jazzy to the lushly orchestrated. The album on the whole is beautiful but melancholy, as to be expected since it is Campbell’s first album since the death of friend and bandmate Carey Lander in 2015.
Related Post: Concert Review: Camera Obscura
Album: i can feel you creep into my private life
Release Date: 2018 January 19
tUnE-YaRdS, once Merrill Garbus’ musical project is now officially a duo including bassist and co-songwriter Nate Brenner. Like earlier recordings, i can feel you creep into my private life is heavy on samples, loops, and beats with even more emphasis a club dance music sound. Always a political group, tUnE-YaRdS sees the personal is political as the lyrics examine racism, white privilege, and cultural appropriation (apropos to white people who use African, Latin, and Native American rhythms in their music). The message can be heavy handed at time and fails to truly transcend the way the music does.
Album: 50 Song Memoir
Artist: The Magnetic Fields
Release Date: 2017 March 10
“67: Come Back as a Cockroach,” “78: The Blizzard of ’78,” “81: How to Play the Synthesizer,” “85: Why I’m Not a Teenager,” and “15: Somebody’s Fetish”
This is an album that I saw on the Best of 17 lists that I missed when it was released and since there weren’t many new releases in January, I decided to give it a spin. As the title implies, it is a 50-song album, one for each year in the life of singer/songwriter/instrumentalist Stephin Merritt (The Magnetic Fields previously released an album called 69 Love Songs so this is relatively breezy). The songs expertly mix personal memories with cultural touchstones (a Jefferson Airplane concert, Judy Garland’s death, the AIDS crisis) with the music recognizing the musical sounds of the time without being imitative (although it appears the disco era lasted longer for Merritt than everyone else). It’s both humorous and heartbreaking as the story of anyone’s life would be. While I enjoyed it, I kind of liken it to a long book or an lengthy movie that as good as it is, it’s not something I’m going to have the time to return to again and again.
Artist: Charlotte Gainsbourg
Release Date: 17 November 2017
Favorite Tracks: “Ring-a-Ring O’ Roses,” “Deadly Valentine,” and “Dan vos airs.”
Thoughts: The single “Deadly Valentine” is the standout track on Gainsbourg’s first album in six years, one that reflects on grief and loss on the death of her half-sister. While there is an allure of a woman’s voice singing breathily in French, most of the album is full of synthesizer crunches and disco beats that sound like very generic electro-pop.
The Nunnery of Minneapolis makes loops of vocal sound live to create the mesmerizing “Powerwalk.” And that’s about all I can tell you about The Nunnery because they seem vague about their identity online.
“Deadly Valentine” is the lastest single from British-French actor and musician Charlotte Gainsbourg. It’s a dancable track with lyrics that make wedding vows sound really creepy. But this song is nowhere as creepy as “Lemon Incest.” The song is featured on Gainsbourg’s newest Album Rest, due out on November 17.
The Brooklyn band Florist performs “Blue Mountain Road,” a sad but beautiful song about death and loss, inspired the death of singer Emily Sprague’s mother.
“1973” is a song by Beth Orton off her new album Kidsticks. Orton is an English singer-songwriter who blends folk music with electronica to create “folkltronica.” 1973 is a significant year since that was the year I was born, but I expect Orton isn’t aware of that.
This week’s song is “Moaning Lisa Smile” by the London band Wolf Alice from their debut album My Love Is Cool. The sound is reminiscent of early 90s indie pop, but the video is straight out of the 80s. Neither of which is a bad thing.
This week’s song is “Archie, Marry Me,” a bit of joyful power pop from the Toronto band Alvvays. The song reminds me of Camera Obscura, which is never a bad thing, and I like the way vocalist Molly Rankin sings “Archie.” She’s also descended from The Rankin Family, because everyone in Canada is related somehow.
Anyhow, enjoy this matrimonial proposal:
This week’s song is not very current, it’s from last year. But Pure Bathing Culture‘s “Dream the Dare” is very pretty and I was reacquainted with the song through The Best of RISK! Music Podcast. There’s something about the echoey quality in the vocals and harmonies that reminds me of a song from the 80s (or maybe the late 70s), but I can’t recall what song it is. If you have any suggestions, let me know in the comments.
If you know any other good new songs let me know about those as well.