Happy Tuesday y’all! It’s gross outside here in Chicago but it’s not going to stop me from going to Mini Bar. We’ve got a pretty great variety of artists releasing music this week, so let’s get started!
Trailer Trash Tracys — Ester (Domino Recording)
The top spot this week is reserved for the debut album from the experimental dream-pop quartet, Trailer Park Tracys. Their dark, emotive songs really threw me for a loop based solely on their name alone. I was expecting some rockabilly or dirty punk rock. Instead, they take drum machines, bass lines, keyboards, computerized sounds and layer them below singer Suzanne Aztoria’s soft and breathy vocals – bringing a nervous, dark and somewhat mysterious overall vibe to their songs. You can stream the album in its entirety over at The Guardian.
Jessie Baylin — Little Spark (Blonde Rat)
I was about to get all huffy and puffy on Ms. Baylin for making me “like” her Facebook page in order to preview her album. Then I noticed she was streaming the entire album at her MySpace page and I was going to make fun of her for it. Well, I pressed play and listened to the album opener, “Hurry Hurry,” and it’s hard to throw shade in her direction with songs like these. I’ll be happy to play her R&B-infused delicate indie pop on days I need a pick-me-up without the beat thumping.
Cate Le Bon — Cyrk (self-released)
Le Bon’s voice comes across as much sophisticated as it does bored out of its mind. While this could be a turn-off to some, it is done with intent and actually sets the appropriate vibe for what she’s going for. With her songs, Cate has perfected the cold nonchalance of the ’60s. I’ve heard others try to channel Nico‘s legendary unaffected but moody style; none have come as close as this though. You can stream her entire album at KCRW until January 24 and if you like what you hear, you should also check out her recent Daytrotter session.
Seeker Lover Keeper — Seeker Lover Keeper (Spunk Records)
Well this is weird: I included these three talented ladies in last week’s Weekly Women to Listen to column and had no idea their album came out this week. What’s more confusing is that I’m pretty sure this album came out in 2011, but I didn’t want to miss mentioning their beautiful self-titled album. Sarah Blasko, Holly Throsby and Sally Seltmann are individually incredible musicians who are each gifted songwriters. The trio decided a collaboration might be fun, so they went ahead and got their supergroup on. The result of their efforts shows how well they intertwine; their chemistry is undeniable. Stream the album over at Spinner.
Girls Generation — The Boys (S.M. Entertainment)
The K-Pop group has a whopping nine members in it – which I can only imagine is a big spectacle during their live shows. Their first U.S. release has a mixture of English and Korean songs and, for the most part, they play well with each other. It will be interesting to see how well this album does in the States and I’m rooting for them! It’s kind of funny, this is one of the only K-Pop albums on which the Korean songs aren’t distracting despite the language barrier.
Ani DiFranco — Which Side Are You On? (Righteous Babe Records)
I have a lot of mixed emotions when it comes to Ani DiFranco. I feel as though her music is, in part, a lesbian right of passage. The way she can weave a tale in her lyrics and her guitar picking are just unbelievably great. At the best of times, she reminds me of one of my straight BFFs from college who, to this day, worships Ms. DiFranco and buys any magazine with mention of her somewhere between the pages. At the worst of times, I think about how she used to be involved with one of my exes. That’s right you guys — you are three lesbian degrees away from Ani.
So, which side am I on? I can’t say I gravitate towards this style of music anymore but I can understand its importance, particularly at this stage in American history. The kids occupying Wall Street or protesters for any basic human right could use the title track as their “Eye of the Tiger” to get pumped up before a fight. Stream it all over at Spinner. She’s offering a free download of the title track below.
Kathleen Edwards — Voyageur (Zoe Records)
If you’re in the mood for some indie folk rock, Kathleen’s songs are great for days you just need to decompress and let things happen around you. Not all of her songs are filled with melancholy but I wouldn’t put this on my party mix, unless it was a pity party. If you’re awake for the late night shows, Kathleen will be on David Letterman‘s show tonight! Stream the entire album over at Spinner.
Honorable MENtions: Bombay Bicycle Club, Black Taxi, Anthony Green, Attack Attack!, The Big Pink, Expensive Looks, Herman Dune, The Life and Times and Steve Aoki.