Welcome back to another glorious Tuesday filled with new releases. I ended up with food poisoning over the Thanksgiving holiday so I mostly gave thanks to the inventors of Ginger Ale, bathroom heaters, bad television and for not gaining holiday weight. I hope yours was less dramatic.
Adele — Live At The Royal Albert Hall (XL/Columbia Records)
For the second time in less than a month I am featuring a live album in this column, which I’ve already said I rarely do. Adele’s words and voice seem to be universally loved in ways I don’t think the music industry could have ever predicted. Her most recent release, 21, has remained on Billboard’s list of the top five albums for 39 weeks so far, surpassing Michael Jackson‘s Bad and making it the longest streak in history.
What makes me want to give this live album and DVD set ample space here is that her live shows are something everyone should be able to experience but I fear will not be possible due to her recent throat problems which have resulted in the singer needing to undergo surgery. I’m speculating here, but I have to assume at least some of her health issues came from using every bit of tonsil, larynx, diaphragm and lung that she possibly could in order to belt out the tunes we’ve all fallen in love with. If being in the same room with Adele physically isn’t possible, I’ll take whatever I can get to watch her perform her craft live. And let’s be honest, if I were at the concert I’d probably be staring at the back of someone’s head for most of the show anyway.
Melissa Li & The Barely Theirs — The Beginning (self-released)
I accidentally missed this release last week but wanted to make sure it was on your radar! This is an unexpected treat filled with folky soul, roots and singer-songwriter pop rock with great crossover potential as is best heard on the title track. There are only a few things that can make really good albums better: Queer? Check! Cute Asian baby on the cover of the album who also happens to be the lead singer? Check! I would enjoy The Beginning even if Melissa wasn’t born a cute Asian baby, but I can’t be alone in my excitement over having more diversity in the music world, right? If you’re in the Brooklyn area December 16, they’ll be having a CD release party at Union Pool and will be joined by friends of AfterEllen Left On Red, along with Kate Branagh and the Christie Lenée Project for the second annual Women on the Loose: A Rock Festival.
Shana Halligan — Paper Butterfly EP (Lady Swank Music)
So, uh, you know how sometimes you can hear a song and it gives you “that feeling”? Like, if it were possible to have sexy time with the song itself, you would not only take part but also stick around to cuddle and hope it had the same feelings back? That’s how I felt while listening to Shana’s opening song, “Delicate Dream.” Her voice, which you may recognize from her previous project, Bitter:Sweet, is intoxicating in the same way as Hope Sandoval’s is while singing “Fade Into You,” but with all of the childlike innocence gone. Speaking of childlike innocence going bye-bye, closing song “True Love” needs to be used in one of those fan-made The L Word video mash-ups of any slowish sex scene Shane ever had. Lucky for you, you can stream all five tracks many times over at Spinner. The track I’m posting below isn’t from the new album but should give you a good idea of “the feeling.”
Kylie Minogue — Aphrodite – Les Folies Live (Astralwerks)
Tis the season for live albums, Christmas albums and not much else, I guess! The fabulous Ms. Minogue is a dance pop princess and reminds me of my younger days of clubbing and spending very late nights dancing and closing down our after-hours video bar, The Closet (if you’re from Chicago, you know what I’m talking about). I would never represent myself as being the biggest Kylie fan, but she does put a smile on my face whenever I hear her.
Honorable Mentions: Maria Rita, Bon Iver, Smashing Pumpkins (catalogue reissue) and Gorillaz (singles collection).