We’ve made it to another Tuesday and this week one of my favorite
artists has a new album out and it’s got me amped up. My excitement
level is especially impressive considering my lack of sleep over the
past few days and my having just flown back home to Chicago from New
York during this morning’s early hours.
This is the last week to put in your suggestions for what our AfterEllen Twitter hash tag should be so we can all play “Gay Pocket DJ” for each other. At the end of
this week, I’m going to choose one and run with it so chop chop.
Sharon Van Etten — Tramp (Jagjaguwar)
What is it about Sharon Van Etten that makes her so
special? Is it the way she can so succinctly put emotions into a
perfect chain of words better than anyone else can? Is it the lilt of
her voice making her seem just fragile enough to make a perfect
stranger comfortable enough to want to put their arms around her? It’s
so difficult because at face value, she is just another guitarist with
a pretty voice. There is nothing about her that should be extraordinary
and yet every time I go back to listen to past albums or past
performances, I am taken aback by how powerful of an effect her music
has on me. So far, Tramp, is
picking up where Epic left
off, which is to say clutching my heartstrings and making a puppet
out of my emotions. If you’re in the mood to be feeling things today,
head on over to NPR and stream the album in its entirety and grab
a free download of the album’s first single, “Serpants.”
Big Sir —
Before Gardens After
Gardens (Rodrigo Lopez Productions)
Papineau and bassist Juan
Alderete (from The Mars Volta)
have put together a gorgeously dark album in Before Gardens After Gardens.
According to Lisa, much of the album was written while contemplating
mortality and coming to terms with the realization we aren’t on this
earth forever. Unfortunately, both Lisa and Juan have had to
think about life and death lately, as both of them have been diagnosed
with life-threatening illnesses. As I’m sure you can imagine even
without listening, this is not a feel-good album. The ethereal nature
of Lisa’s voice contrasts sharply with the ominous overtones of each
song’s instrumental or electronic elements and when combined is
hauntingly beautiful. Stream the album over at Spinner.
— Forever (Twentyseven Records)
This is a solid release from indie electronic duo, Silver Swans, and would mingle well
with the likes of Ladytron, Warpaint and a somewhat gloomy day
when you need a cinematic soundtrack to give you inspiration to mope
productively inside or outside of your mind. Stream the album at Spinner.
Guns, Sex & Glory (Head in the Sand)
This sugary pop four-piece is one part Guster,one part Controller. Controller. and one part
Tilly and the Wall — not a bad
combo if you ask me. While this isn’t exactly what I would call a
female-fronted album, two of the band’s members, Johnny Roberts and Shaun Huberts, are part of Tegan and Sara’s touring band — making them,
at the very least, lesbros. It’s a sweet album that has a lot of
youthfulness to it, punctuated by singer Laura Smith‘s soft soprano vocals.
Hat tip to Janay for giving me
the head’s up!
Liz Green — O, Devotion! (PIAS)
Combine the Southern bayou horn section
with a jazzy cabaret vocalist, eat a bowl of porridge and you’ve got a
unique recipe for musical success. O,
Devotion! is just the right amount of uniquely artsy-fartsy
without polarizing the listener. Grab yourself a free download of “Displacement Song.”
Honorable Mentions: Of
Montreal, Battles, Mux Mool, Ben Kweller, Air, A Place To Bury
Strangers, The Twilight Sad, Pretty Good Dance Moves and Lindstrøm.
That’s all for this week! As always, feel free to follow me on Twitter,
friend me on Facebook
or check out what I’m listening to on Spotify.