You gals, I’m sick today! My Frenchies are snuggling me tightly and I’m about to pass out while sitting up. So as to not exert myself any more than I really need to, I’m gonna get right to the music.
Martina Topley-Bird — Some Place Simple (Honest John’s Records)
The top spot this week goes to a blast from my past. While her voice is disarmingly pretty, it lends itself well to Tricky’s dark down-tempo trip hop. In a way, she’s a bit of a creepier version of Norah Jones. So far I am really enjoying this album, particularly the opener, “Baby Blue.”
Liz Phair — Funstyle (ATO Records)
Here’s the thing about Liz Phair: You either love her or you hate her. Or most likely you were in love with her, but then she went ahead and broke your heart with some crappy music and you swore you’d never go back to her again. But every time she calls, you can’t help but answer the phone. I can’t tell you if you’re going to enjoy this album – what I can say is, if you’re looking for a great voice, you won’t find it here. If you’re looking for some catchy hooks or some poignant lyrics, you might get what you came for.
On a positive note, Liz knows exactly how she is received and she isn’t afraid to be exactly who she is or test her own boundaries. For that I will always love her. See: “Smoke.”
Josie Cotton — Pussycat Babylon (Scruffy Records)
For anyone who loves the ’60s mod/beatnik vibe coming from a good old electronic organ being played, you will love this. I mean, the songs are nothing but kitsch – but as someone who grew up on John Waters and reruns of Beach Blanket Bingo, I love love love Josie Cotton. Some of you may remember her hit, “Johnny, Are You Queer?”
GiGi w/ Material — Mesgana Ethiopia (MOD Technologies)
For anyone looking to branch out and check into some truly beautiful Ethiopian music, this is a great place to start. The beats and instrumentals are like a funky jazz combo that are delicate and tangible to a listener’s ear that might shy away from anything put into a jazz bucket. GiGi’s voice is beautiful and while I can’t understand what she’s saying language-wise, I can easily look past that thanks to the passion with which she sings.
Oh Land — Oh Land EP (Sony Music)
It was just last week that I was giving praise to this gorgeous Dane. The four-song EP is a great mix of pop, electronic, dark and light. If Coco Rosie and Duffy had a music baby, I’m pretty sure it would be Oh Land.
Sugarland — The Incredible Machine (Mercury)
The country trio turned duo have released their new album with the Americana-themed single “Stuck Like Glue.” Fans will like that they’ve stuck to what works for them, but none of the tracks seem to emulate the goodness that was the 2006 hit “Stay.”
Girl in a Coma — Adventures in Coverland (Blackheart)
This is the fourth installation of cover jams from the awesomeness that is GIAC. This time they take on The Beatles, Patsy Cline, Joy Division (thank you ladies), David Bowie (I love you all) and dearly departed Tejano superstar, Selena, among others. I sort of have a crush on this band.
Shakira — Sale El Sol (Epic)
Ay dios mio, this fine woman could probably get me to follow her anywhere even if my butt puckers when I try to imitate her voice. Her poppy Latin-infused songs on this album are exactly what we have come to expect from her. It’s basically sex on a compact disc.
Honorable Mentions: Bad Books, Kings of Leon, Fabolous, Extra Lens, How to Dress Well and Elton John with Leon Russell.