We’ve made it to another Tuesday and, in some bizarre news, it looks like today’s artist in the top spot will be joining R. Kelly as two big parts of my summer soundtrack. If you had told me this even a week or two ago, I would have laughed in your face — but now I’d have to apologize and probably buy you a drink.
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals — The Lion The Beast The Beat (Hollywood Records)
Oh Grace Potter, you are a tall drink of the most beautiful water coming from, I would imagine, the cleanest babbling brook in all the land. Much like Brandi Carlile last week, even the most passionate hater of anything with a country twang will not be able to deny the rocking soul being pumped into each of these songs. This is an act that transcends genres in part because the listener will not only hear the music but feel it. I enjoyed the band’s 2010 self-titled album well enough but it didn’t bite with the ferocity of this aptly-named release. Stream the album in its entirety and do it with a smile over at Spinner.
And as an added bonus, here’s a look at her live VH1 Storytellers performance:
Metric — Synthetica (Mom + Pop)
“I’m just as f–ked up as they say” is one hell of a way to start an album and it certainly got my attention. What follows is classic Metric — layered sounds of the incredibly hot Emily Haines harmonizing with herself over textured synths and progressive beats. Metric has been able to perfect a great balance between gritty toughness and feminine softness without being gimmicky. I’m not in love with all parts of “Lost Kitten,” but it’s easy to overlook or get used to when the rest of the album is so easy to enjoy. Stream the album over at Soundcloud.
The Hundred in the Hands — Red Night (Warp Records)
About a month or two ago, I was the lucky recipient of, “Keep It Low,” one of the first singles off of Red Night, and I was only hoping the full-length would be able to live up to the expectations I had given it based on that first taste. While I have no doubt that this would be better played during the darker hours, this is a beautiful, ethereal — and yet dark — electronic album. This is definitely a more of a “mood” album than something you would throw on at any given moment — but it sets a tone and keeps it interesting throughout.
Emily Jane White — Ode to Sentience (Antenna Farm Records)
The cello from the first track, “Oh Katherine,” automatically won me over and made me hopeful for more strings to be used throughout. Ms. White delivered and also came through with some really nice guitar picking. What the album lacks is a large variety of sounds and vocal range, but not all moods call for that anyway. This would be best listened to while in a mellow mood during a summer rain while curled up on the couch with a good book. Stream it up in here.
Ruby Throat — O’Doubt O’Stars (Whittingham/Garside)
If there were a single adjective I was asked to use to describe O’Doubt O’Stars, “peculiar” is the first to come to mind. The former lead singer of Daisy Chainsaw seems to enjoy coloring outside of the musical lines which I can definitely appreciate. Unfortunately, the albums quirkiness doesn’t move the album forward at all times and there are instances when the un-tuned guitar strums sound more like accidents than notes played with purpose. I’m going to keep giving it more time though because her technique seems to be one that grows on you. Stream it here.
Honorable Mentions: Hot Chip (praise be the nerdy beatmakers!), Empires, Fawn, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Charli XCX (EP), The Tallest Man On Earth, Niki & The Dove, Diplo (EP), Dent May, Wintersleep, Delicate Steve, Usher and Alice Cohen.
Other Music News: Check out Emeli Sande‘s AOL Music live sessions.
Stream and download a free digital copy of Astralwerks’ Pride compilation: Hey Boy, Hey Girl! Pride 2012!
The Kills have been documented in a new book of photography, Dream and Drive, put out by their friend Kenneth Cappello and it’s now available for sale. There are few things for sale that I would want to buy more than pictures of Alison Mosshart.
Alright friends, that’s all for this week! If you’re in Chicago this weekend, please join me this Saturday at Parlour for the final round of performances in the Singer-Songwriter Showdown competition. We’ll be naming the opening act for this year’s Back Lot Bash being headlined by Chely Wright. In the meantime and between time, find me on Facebook, Twitter or Spotify.