Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Santigold's Master of my Make Believe

Santigold released her new album Master of my Make Believe yesterday.  This is her second album, the follow up to her 2008 debut album.  The new album has many guest musicians from bands such as the Yeah Yeah Yeah's and TV on the Radio.  The album has obvious Jamaican and African influences.  The record has driving percussion and beats while still feeling breezy and fun.  It will make for a perfect Summer listen.   The first album was great but was kind of all over the place.  It dealt in many styles, from rap to goth to 80's pop songs, the album had it all.  It did show her range but it was difficult to determine who she was as an artist.  With this second album she seems to have answered this question.  Master of my Make Believe is consistent from beginning to end.

Scissor Sisters new song and tour

Scissor Sisters has a new song and a summer tour announced.  The new song Only the Horses was released a few weeks ago.  It is a solid pop dance song.   I think it loses some of the gritty dirty club that is usually their trademark, but overall I bet its going to be an amazing anthem style song in their live sets.  Judge for yourself.

Speaking of live shows, the Sisters are hitting your town this Summer.  Let me be very clear, the Scissor Sisters put on one of the best, most energetic, funny and fierce live shows ever to grace a stage.  If you like to dance your ass off, this is the show to see this summer.

5/6 – New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom
6/15 – Las Vegas, NV – House of Blues
6/16 – Los Angeles, CA – Hollywood Palladium
6/17 – Oakland, CA – Fox Theater
6/19 – Seattle, WA – Paramount Ballroom
6/20 – Vancouver, BC – Commodore Ballroom
6/23 – St. Paul, MN – Harriet Island Regional Park River’s Edge Music Festival
6/24 – Chicago, IL – Vic Theatre
6/25 – Kansas City, MO – Crossroads KC
6/27 – Royal Oak, MI – Royal Oak Music Theatre
6/28 – Toronto, ON – Sound Academy
6/29 – Montreal, QC – Olympia De Montreal
6/30 – Boston, MA – House of Blues
7/2 – Washington, DC – 9:30 Club
7/5 – Philadelphia, PA – Electric Factory
7/6 – New York, NY – Terminal 5
7/7 – New York, NY – Terminal 5

Monday, April 9, 2012

Fiona Apple makes a comeback

Well, there is is, the cover of the new album of singer/songwriter Fiona Apple. Fiona's fondness for extremely long album titles returns with this, her 4th album. It has been 7 years since her last release Extraordinary Machine. A couple of years ago there were many reports of her fights with her record company and even a movement to get her new work released. Whatever the bumps in the road, she has finally managed to get new work out this summer. The new album will be released June 19th. She had a headlining spot at this years SXSW festival and received very positive reviews of new tracks as well as her gutsy performance. Fiona has now also announced plans for a Summer tour(see dates below). I have enjoyed much of Fiona Apples music and even seen her in concert a couple of times(remember Lilith Fair?) but overall I'm not a rabid fan as some. I'm sure I will like the album as well as be surprised at how much I enjoy it. I'm still on the fence on whether to see her live. Although I have heard that her new live shows are quite impressive. Check out one performance of a new tune at SXSW.
06-19 Ithaca, NY - State Theatre
06-20 Baltimore, MD - Lyric Opera House
06-22 Mashantucket, CT - MGM Grand Theater at Foxwoods
06-23 Holyoke, MA - Mountain Park
06-24 New York, NY - Governors Ball, Randall's Island
06-26 Washington, DC - Warner Theatre
06-27 Upper Darby, PA - Tower Theatre
06-29 Danbury, CT - Ives Concert Park
06-30 Boston, MA - Citi Performing Arts Center
07-01 Portland, ME - State Theatre
07-03 Montreal, Quebec - Olympia Theatre
07-04 Toronto, Ontario - The Sound Academy
07-06 Cleveland Heights, OH - Cain Park
07-07 Detroit, MI - The Fillmore Detroit
07-10 Chicago, IL - Chicago Theatre
07-11 Indianapolis, IN - Murat Theatre
07-13 Nashville, TN - Ryman Auditorium
07-14 St. Louis, MO - Peabody Opera House
07-16 Minneapolis, MN - Orpheum Theatre
07-17 Kansas City, MO - The Midland by AMC
07-20 Denver, CO - Paramount Theatre
07-21 Salt Lake City, UT - Kingsbury Hall - University of Utah
07-24 Vancouver, British Columbia - Orpheum
07-25 Seattle, WA - Paramount Theatre
07-26 Portland, OR - Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
07-28 Oakland, CA - Fox Theater
07-29 Hollywood, CA - Hollywood Palladium

Florence + The Machine release MTV Unplugged

Florence Welch released her MTV Unplugged performance today. This is her first official Live release. Florence is know for her strong, booming voice. Lungs, her first album released in 2009, was widely well received in the UK as well as the US. She became known for her energetic performances, unique style and of coarse that voice. In November of last year Florence released her much anticipated second album Ceremonials. It has been a huge success across the world. Upon first listen, I really felt that the production values of the album overshadowed her voice. The bombastic drums, the strings and swirling complex arrangements competed rather than complimented her voice. Upon many listens later, I have adapted and can now hear the intention of the work, though still wish they had pushed up the vocals just a touch more. All the slight shortcomings I felt with the second album are remedied with this live album. Each song is stripped down and her angelic voice is pushed forward as the true focus. Also, how she sings these new arrangements really adds depth and texture to the lyrics. Many of the songs are slowed down to a ballads pace. The one song that I was most excited to hear, but did not quite feel that it delivered was her cover of Jackson with Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age. I was interested to hear her take on the famous Johnny Cash and June Carter tune. Although I feel that covers never need to emulate the original and that an artist must make it their own, her voice felt out of place in a country song. Maybe I just love June Carter Cash a bit too much. Hopefully upon a couple more listens, it will grow on me. Overall, if you are a fan of Florence, this album and its changed tone is highly recommended. Check out a taste of what is in store.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Gossip gives us a gothic video and a 80's by the numbers track

Gossip(no more "The Gossip) has released their new song and video Perfect World. I would not say that I am disappointed but I will say that it seems that they are continuing to be a victim of over production values. The thing that I love but also dislike is that the latest tune sounds like Pat Benatar track from the 80's. Now, this is kind of cool but also does not do Beth Ditto's powerful voice any favors. I know that Beth can not be belting out and going crazy on every track, but a little would be nice.
When Gossip(like I said, then known as The Gossip) released Standing in the Way of Control in 2006, it was a revelation. The huge, soulful voice backed by straight forward but clean garage band booming sounds. It felt genuine, real and gritty. This was their third album and the one that put them on the map in many peoples eyes. For their follow up they worked with Rick Rubin on the album Music for Men. It felt over produced and too clean. All the grittiness was devoid, replaced with pop tracks. The one stand out on the album was Heavy Cross.
I do hope that with their new album, Joyful Noise, there is more grit than the lead single leads us to believe. Don't get me wrong, I will buy the album, I will see them on tour, I will continue to be a fan. At the end of the day, if their career had started with Music For Men, I would still love them for everything they stand for and the talent they represent. But I do crave their dirtier sound before Beth was in Fashion magazines and they had the money to work with world famous producers. Here is the new video for Perfect World, gothic images and all.

Patti Smith releasing 11th Studio Album

Patti Smith will be releasing her 11th studio album, Banga, on June 5th. This will be the first album of original music since 2004 Trampin. Patti has a new single on Itunes called April Fool(and she released it on April Fools day). I downloaded it and I really like it. Its mellow, pleasant and nice. Certainly not the rabble rouser of yesteryear, but introspective and poetic. Apparently some of the inspiration for this album comes from the Japan tsunami, Amy Winehouse and a song written for Johnny Depp.
Patti will also be having a show of her photographs at the Detroit Institute of Arts this Summer. I am incredibly excited as I love all mediums of her art(music, photography, writing etc). If you have not read her book, Just Kids, I highly suggest that you do. It won the National Book Award last year. I had a chance to see her live for the first time a couple of years ago and it was pretty epic. I am hoping for a live date to coincide with her photography show. Patti has some deep ties here the Detroit area. She raised her family here in the St. Clair shores area. Her Daughter in Law is Meg White, who still has a house in Indian Village and Detroit is just the kind of down on its luck, thriving starving Artist cities that Patti has affection for. She has in fact said that you can't be a starving artist in New York anymore(too expensive) and has recommended artists move to Detroit. Many have taken her advice.
It is always an event when Patti Smith releases something new and this new album and showing of her photographs this Summer will be no different. Here is the new song April Fool.

Beach House has a spring release

Beach House has confirmed a new album for Spring entitled Bloom. It will be released May 15th(same day as Best Coast). May is going to be a big month for music for me. Their 2010 album Teen Dream was one of the best albums that year. The live tour was just beautiful. For a "mellow" band, they put on a great show. I will be eagerly awaiting an announcement of a Detroit date. Check out their new song Myth.