I’m not even sure how it’s Tuesday again, but here we are! By the by, if any of you are on Spotify, you can find me (and my playlists) by searching for chubbyjones. Yay, friends.
Hercules and Love Affair — Blue Songs (Moshi Moshi)
The top spot this week goes to Andy Butler and his partner in Herculean crime, hottie Kim Ann Foxman. Blue Songs will get you dancing to as though you actually lived in the times of Studio 54 and the glamorama fantasy world disco beats and deep house could bring you to. How exactly do they make it all work? Well, on their last masterpiece, they enlisted the help of the unique vocal stylings of Antony Hegarty. For this album, they’ve got Aerea Negrot ‘s distinct, deep, seductive vocals. You can stream the album in its entirety over at Spinner.
Emmy the Great — Virtue (Close Harbour)
The second album from Emmy (Emma-Lee Moss) is similar to the style of Bright Eyes but also with some elements of Rachael Yamagata. Emmy started writing Virtue from the eyes of fictional characters she was creating but ended with experiences from Emma’s personal life taking hold of the emotional reigns. What we’re left with is an album filled with delicious melancholic folk-pop.
Natalia Kills — Perfectionist (Interscope)
Stick with me here for a second because I’m about to get real. So, you know how there are drag queens who are really good and fun to watch and are just awesomely large men doing great female impersonations? And then there are some drag queens who are not only great performers but they could actually pass for the celebrity they are impersonating? Well, if Natalia Kills were a drag queen, she would be the best Lady Gaga impersonator in all the land. The voice, the beats, the three-word chorus ballad turning to a three word repeated robotic voice — it all makes me want to shout, “Ga-ga, ooh-la-la” and then cough and whisper “Madonna.” I’m not saying the album is bad, I’m just saying the Little Monsters might hear Ms. Kills out at a club and wonder how they missed out on a rare Gaga B-side.
Maria Taylor — Overlook (Saddle Creek)
This half of the Azure Ray duo is back at it with her fifth solo effort. It’s slow and breezy and a little bit country, relying on a lot of guitar picking and pretty harmonies. Will this album get you psyched up for a night out on the town? Hell no. Will it be nice background music for when you’re cooking dinner? I’d say about half of them. Test it out for yourself.
Ana Popovic — Unconditional (Electo Groove Records)
I had never heard of Ana before, but apparently she is regarded as one of the best female guitar players ever. If the sounds I’m hearing from her album are her own fingers tickling the electric frets, I’m in full agreement. For fans of the blues and slide guitar, you’ll really enjoy Popovic’s work — and even if you aren’t a blues fan, you’ve got to admire her skills.
Honorable Mentions: Jeff Bridges, Blue October, Jewel (this is a children’s album), The Duke & The King, Sly Stone, Cut Off Your Hands, Scream, Cut Copy, Fool’s Gold and Jason Reeves.