Welcome back to another Tuesday of great new music! While I didn’t include Tony Bennett‘s album in my reviews, I wanted to give it a bigger shout out than usual because the list of artists he collaborated with is pretty spectacular. I was even able to keep my negative feelings toward Lady Gaga at bay and enjoyed their version of “The Lady is a Tramp” very much.
Katie Herzig – The Waking Sleep (Downtown Records)
Today’s top spot is taken by this gal from Nashville whose music has appeared on shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Pretty Little Liars and Drop Dead Diva but has only appeared on my playlist for the first time today. What is it with this week being the one in which I find out about incredible musicians who have been around for a while but never appeared on my radar? The Waking Sleep is so refreshing, I guess maybe like the title suggests? I’m not one to read too much into things but it truly gives a feeling of waking up right after one of the best night’s sleep and being ready to tackle the world. I am, dare I say it, smitten with this album.
Correatown – Pleiades (Another Room Recordings)
This gorgeous album is, sadly, my first introduction to Angela Correa and her band. Opener “Valparaiso” is like a modern female take on Simon and Garfunkel and is followed by a mix of shoe-gaze and sunny indie-pop like “Play.” If you’re a fan of Great Northern, I think you’ll really enjoy this a lot. I’m going to have to check out the rest of their catalogue because this is great cuddling music. Stream it in its entirety over at Spinner.
Demi Lovato – Unbroken (Hollywood Records)
So this is kind of unexpectedly fly! Not only does Demi have an impressive list of guest stars on this album (my favorite Missy Elliott being one of them) but she sounds great and isn’t overshadowed by her collaborators. This is perhaps best highlighted on the Jason Derulo duet, “Together,” where their harmonies and back and forths really shine. Consider me a fan!
Dev – The Night The Sun Came Up (Universal Republic)
Sometimes I wish I could just let emoticons express my sentiments for an album because words aren’t all that necessary. The question I really have to ask myself when listening to this is, “Does it matter that Dev is the one singing or could I replace her with Ke$ha and the thousands of other auto-tuned ladies who sing about getting wasted and not caring?” The answer? No. And this is a problem for me, not with Dev, but with the pop music in general. I even liked Dev’s collaborative effort on Demi Lovato’s album better than most of the songs on her own album. I still think she’s hot but in the case of Dev’s debut album, it’s about as fly as a G2 thanks to a couple of dance bangers like “Bass Down Low."
Tori Amos – Night of Hunters (Deutsche Grammophon)
Tori’s latest release is another epic fairy tale filled with darkness and soul-searching driven by her incredible piano playing, string accompaniments and some fantastic guest vocals from her daughter, Natashya Lorien Hawley, who is only 11 but whose voice has a wisdom so far beyond her years I am basically sitting at my desk in disbelief as I type this. Also appearing on the album is her niece, Kelsey Dobyns, and I’m starting to think Thanksgiving dinner in their households turn into modern reenactments of The Hobbit. Pass the mashed potatoes and put this album on when you’re in the mood for diving head first into Beowulf. But first, listen to the full stream over at NPR.
Ivy – All Hours (Nettwerk Productions)
Dreamy electropop with a little bit of disco and a sensual Parisian-born vocalist? Yes, sign me up! The trio has been around and cultivating their brand of new-wave electronic music since 1994. Singer Dominique Durand is held in high esteem in the indie rock crowd and the fact that they’ve been around this long is a true testament to not only their music but their ability to adjust to the ever-changing face of the music industry. While I don’t see this album as a life-changer for anyone, it’s something I would be happy to put on while getting gussied up for a dinner party. Stream All Hours over at Spinner and enjoy the fantastically beat-heavy “Distant Lights.”
Honorable Mentions: Tony Bennett (duets with Lady Gaga, Amy Winehouse, k.d. Lang, Queen Latifah and many others), Boots Electric, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Aeroplane Pageant, Death in Vegas, Ramsey Lewis and His Electric Band, Miguel Migs, Needtobreathe, Megafaun, Opeth, Park Lane, Never Shout Never, SuperHeavy (Mick Jagger-fronted supergroup), Patton Oswalt (comedy album), Pearl Jam, Tammar, The Dream, The Whip, Joakim, Ninjasonik and Nurses.