It’s a very special New Music Tuesday today because it’s National Coming Out Day! Since you all know me to be a raging lesbian already, I will come out to you right now about my love for not just the movie, but also the soundtrack to Sister Act II: Back in the Habit.
Bjork— Biophilia (One Little Indian/Nonesuch)
When it comes to musicians, Bjork is by far one of the masters of my universe. It helps that I have been blessed with a large number of gay male friends who obsess over her entire collection and even throw parties in honor of her birthday. Right this very second, “Crystalline” is blowing my mind with its musical progression from minimalist instrumentals with strong vocals growing into heavy electronic drum & bass. This Icelandic queen has been ahead of every trend from the very beginning. What I find most incredible is that even through her innovation, she hasn’t changed all that much in terms of sound.
Emika— Emika (Ninja Tune)
I am so psyched on Emika’s album coming out, I almost jumped the gun and posted about it last week. Her sound is dark, ominous and oozing with the kind of sex appeal the way in which only dangerous things can. Her day job has her working on sound design for Native Instruments, which is the company that makes the DJ software I use called Traktor. Emika’s knowledge of sound design and access to some of the best electronic software you can get your hands on are apparent on this album.
Rachael Yamagata— Chesapeake (Frankenfish Records)
Oh good gawd, indie pop singer Rachael Yamagata makes me feel funny in my tummy. In particular, her voice makes me want to get busy. Pop a song on the stereo, in particular Chesapeake’s “Starlight,” and hold all my calls — I need to get my freak on. I was afraid for a while that nothing she could put out would ever be as great as her 2004 full-length debut, Happenstance. Elephants…Teeth Sinking Into Heart really didn’t do it for me, which was depressing as a fan. So far, Chesapeake has renewed my interest and gotten me excited to give it some quality listening time. Stream the album in its entirety over at Spinner.
Uh Huh Her — Nocturnes (Plaid Records)
Fall is here and the Uh Huh Her gals have some new moody indie electropop to wrap around your ears like an oversized sweater. I remember some of these jams from their live show a few months ago and recall being really impressed with how polished they were compared to the last concert of theirs I had attended. Songs like “Disdain” remind me a bit of Heather Nova, who I obsessed over back in the day. Stylistically, don’t expect a big departure from their debut — which, in my opinion, isn’t a bad thing.
Evanescence — Evanescence (Wind-Up Records)
Amy Lee is back and hotter than ever! Seriously, what has she been doing? Because she’s about to make my top 10 list. This is the first album the band has done together since 2006’s The Open Door and I’m happy the group was able to kiss and make up. So, I guess I’m going to come out about one more thing today, I guess: When Evanescence first came onto the scene in 2003, I was obsessed with their song “Bring Me to Life” and would drive around Chicago singing it to myself at the top of my lungs while pretending to talk on my cell phone. True story.
Marketa Irglova— Anar (Anti, Inc.)
The debut from singer/songwriter and star of indie-darling flick Once is undeniably beautiful but lacks in terms of power. This is perhaps an unfair criticism, but what makes The Swell Season so great are the harmonies between Irglova and Glen Hansard and the contrasting natures of his very powerful, large sound to her pretty but meek, soprano. For some of you, her solo sounds will be all you need for enjoyment — I am just not there yet. Maybe I’ll get there after listening to it a few more times.
Lauren Alaina— Wildflower (19 Recordings)
This country girl was runner-up on the last season of American Idol and since I don’t watch that show, this is the first I’m hearing of her. She has a great voice that is very pop-country and I wouldn’t be surprised if some of her tunes made their way across the dial to stations other than Country programming.
Honorable Mentions: Erasure, Beni, Crooked Fingers, Judas Priest, Hess Is More, Ben Folds, Andrew Bird (Norman soundtrack), Ryan Adams, James Morrison, Joe Jonas, Peter Gabriel, Radiohead, Johnny Gill, Jill Scott (live album), William Shatner (yep, that William Shatner), Graffiti6, Electric Six, Nappy Roots, Tokyo Police Club, Casiokids, Martyn, Ben Lee, Future Islands, James Blake, Dan Deacon, Cymbals Eat Guitars, Mayer Hawthorne.
A big honorable mention goes out to Metric, whose fan-made remix collection, Fantasies Flashback, comes out today and whose proceeds all go to benefit the Center for Addiction and Mental Health.