Today’s column is a mixed bag of greatness and sadness, but mostly, just really fantastic music.
Poly Styrene — Generation Indigo (Future Noise)
It is with great sadness that I need to start with the announcement of punk pioneer Poly Styrene’s death. The X-Ray Spex frontwoman had been battling breast cancer for the past year, and yet she was still able to put out an electro-pop shimmy-inducing full-length album that came out today. I’ll be streaming it all day to celebrate her memory and talent. She was ahead of her time and, sadly, gone too soon.
Thao and Mirah — Thao and Mirah (Kill Rock Stars)
It’s a real blessing for your ears when two great artists come together to make an album that breeds their strengths into an amalgam of kick-assery. I’ve been saying this since first previewing the psychedelic-electro-folk album — it’s on my shortlist for best albums of the year. To be honest, I believe a lot of what makes it so great, besides the obvious love they put into the individual songs, was having Merrill Garbus (tUnE-yArDs) produce it. The end result is an extraordinary finished product built upon layers of complimentary sounds put together in unique ways.
Sophie Hunger — Sophie Hunger (Two Gentlemen)
According to iTunes, the Sophie Hunger album came out last week but this week it its official coming out party (via her PR peeps). I’m fairly certain I had included her in a recent Weekly Women to Listen to post, and for good reason: this album is amazing. Haunting ballads interspersed with some surprise rock and roll soul. I am so pumped on her right now. Actually, it might be a good idea to listen to the Thao & Mirah album back-to-back with this one.
An Horse — Walls (Mom & Pop)
Rejoice my fellow gays! The indie-rocking duo of out guitarist/vocalist Kate Cooper and drummer/vocalist Damon Cox are back with their signature heavy guitar sound. As an added bonus, their single, “Dressed Sharply”, is the iTunes Free single of the week, so go get it and if that’s not enough for you, stream it in its entirety over at Spinner!
Otep — Atavist (Victory Records)
Holy awesome gay ladies making music day! I know there are a bunch of you AfterEllen.com readers who probably pre-ordered your copy of Otep latest head-banging, bottle-breaking, music madness. So far, “Atom to Adam” is my favorite, followed closely by “I Stand Alone.”
Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs — No Help Coming (Transdreamer)
Oh wow, talk about an awkward transition. So if on one side of the musical universe you’ve got Otep, Holly is on another planet entirely. This album is like a good-time rockabilly bluegrass throwback to the age when Wanda Jackson was queen.
Honorable Mentions: Emmylou Harris, The Airborne Toxic Event, Tab Benoit, Bootsy Collins, Augustana, Dennis Coffey, Steve Earle, Endwell, Explosions in the Sky, Holy Ghost!, Of Montreal, Prefuse 73, The Limousines, Son Lux, The Wombats, ZyniC and Times New Viking.