Happy Tuesday folks! It has finally (for the next five minutes) stopped snowing in Chicago. Seriously I am over this winter – I’m in need of some sunshine and heat in my life. Thankfully I’ll be visiting my Grandma in Florida in less than a month. Somebody alert the retirement community!
Nicole Atkins — Mondo Amore (Razor & Tie)
There was a long time when I would start to type MySpace into my browser and it would automatically take me to Nicole Atkin’s page. I fell in love with her mix of spook-pop and Southern rock not too long ago and this second full-length album is a great follow-up to 2007’s Neptune City. Standout tracks include “Vultures” (which she is giving away as a free download on her site), “Hotel Plaster,” the rockin’ “You Come to Me” and the foot stompin’ (though violent) “My Baby Don’t Lie.”
Anna Waronker — California Fade (Cholula Music)
Soft indie rock sun-drenched in California sweetness. The former member of That Dog has put together an album that, to me, is reminiscent of the music I loved in the mid-to-late nineties. This isn’t to say it’s an old-sounding album or past its prime, just a gentle reminder to look back on the things I’ve loved.
Jessica Lea Mayfield — Tell Me (Polymer Sounds/Nonesuch Records Inc.)
Indie folk songstress Jessica Lea Mayfield will keep you on your toes with this follow-up to her critically acclaimed debut, With Blasphemy So Heartfelt. Like a rollercoaster of emotions, she sounds at times mournful and slow, sometimes vengeful and others whimsical with a little bossa nova the keyboard cat would be proud to play her out on.
The Wailin’ Jennys — Bright Morning Stars (Red House Records)
Sometimes I’m pretty dense. For as much as I profess my love for Canadians (and my love truly is pure) some reason it never dawned on me that they might play some blue-grassy folk music. The Jennys combine banjo, violin, guitar and three-part harmonies in ways that don’t alienate non-country-listening listeners. And for that, we thank them.
La Roux — La Roux: Gold Edition (Polydor Ltd.)
It’s not exactly a new album but it’s filled with remixes of our favorites and truly, I can’t get enough of Elly Jackson and her androgyny. So as far as I’m concerned, it’s worthy of a purchase.
The Pretty Reckless — Light Me Up (Interscope)
You know that awesome duet from Rihanna and Ne-Yo, “Hate That I Love You”? That’s kind of how I feel about this album. The music is just so good, but Taylor Momsen makes me want to break things in a bad way. I’m sorry, honey, you didn’t invent rock ‘n roll and you certainly aren’t the first “good girl gone bad” – but damn it if you can’t sing the hell out of some songs on par with my love Karen O. (I’m going to hate myself for writing that.) Apparently when the Grinch got better in How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Cindy Lou Who became a bad bitch. (Yes, that was her.)
Honorable Mentions: Two fantastic albums not to miss are the new EP from Theophilus London (featuring his song with Sara Quin) and Cut Copy’s latest. Others to know about: …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of the Dead, Crowbar, Kurt Elling, The Boxer Rebellion, Halle Ford, Hawk Nelson, Thompson Square, Kraddy, Lisa Savidge, Motorhead, Over the Rhine, Nude, Jon Secada, Teddy Thompson and Yanni. (Yes, Yanni.)