Happy Tuesday everybody! For all of my American peeps, I hope you had a great holiday weekend! Mine was spent being reunited (and it feeling so good) with some of my favorite people who recently moved away – which brings us to today’s new music and some blasts from the past.
Suzi Quatro — In The Spotlight (Cherry Red Records)
It’s been years since glam-rocking queen, Suzi Quatro, released a new album – and she’s still got it. In fact, for any of you who dug The Runaways soundtrack, these new tracks will definitely satisfy. In an interesting move, Suzi decided to cover two contemporary pop hits: Rihanna’s, “Breaking Dishes,” and Goldfrapp’s, “Strict Machine.” While the former is a bit of a stretch, one of the most pleasant surprises on this album is her cover of “Strict Machine”, which has been totally Quatro-ized into L.A. glam-rock. Another highlight is the slow and dreamily synthesized, “Spotlight,” which combines glam and a more modern indie-pop that reminds me a bit of Tegan and Sara.
Grace Jones — Hurricane (PIAS)
It’s been 22 years since the last U.S. release from Ms. Jones and she thrills and scares me just as much as her previous works. I don’t know what it is about Grace Jones (maybe it was her role in Vamp or, most likely, her role in Conan the Destroyer) but she scares the crap out of me in the best of ways. She exudes nothing but power and confidence and her music follows suit. This double album (one regular version and one dub-style) is fantastic and has me aching to watch The Wiz for some reason (also a movie I loved but scared me to no end). Stream it in its entirety over at Spinner and download the track, “Williams Blood (Aeroplane Remix).”
Asa — Beautiful Imperfection (Naive)
There is nothing beautifully imperfect about this second release from the Nigerian-born neo-soul singer. These tunes are sexy and smooth like the smoke coming from a candle that’s just been blown out. Asa would make a great opener for India Arie or Raphael Saadiq and I hope this album helps spread some ear love her way.
Louise Burns — Mellow Drama (Light Organ Records)
Um, this is so good. So so damn good. The former Lillix band member nails it on her solo debut. So much of today’s modern music pays homage to the sound of the late ’50s and ’60s, but it’s really interesting to hear each band’s take on it. Burns’s sound is much poppier than Girl in a Coma but they share the same heart. I hear Buddy Holly and The Bangles when I listen to Mellow Drama and there is no shame in that game.
The Ladybirds — Shimmy Shimmy Dang! (self-released)
What was I just saying about throwback bands having all different styles? Rockabilly and surf-rock fans, it’s finally your turn to shine in this column! The Kentucky-based quintet makes music ready for the next John Waters soundtrack, be it Cry Baby 2 or Even More Hairspray. You can stream the entire album over at Spinner.
Honorable Mentions: The Rapture, Hugh Laurie, AM & Shawn Lee, Stepdad, Peter Wolf Crier, Lindsey Buckingham, The Horrible Crowes, Elite Gymnastics, Mark Ronson & The Business Intl. and the True Blood Volume 3 Soundtrack.