As promised, here is another batch of new releases to check out from this week and even a little from last week.
Marissa Nadler — The Sister (Box of Cedar Records)
I was hooked from the second Nadler opened her mouth and hit the first haunting and gorgeous note from “The Wrecking Ball Company.” This is a welcome addition to the surprisingly abundant wealth of gorgeously dark albums with rich sounds coming out lately. It’s not a perfect album, or maybe it will take me a few more listens, but for the moment there rare instances when I want to say, “Alright, I get it already.” Those times are few and far between and Marissa’s voice makes it easy to make an exception every now and then.
Friends — Manifest! (Lucky Number Music)
Manifest is a highly enjoyable dreamy pop album with an edge. While the album’s songs are on the more subdued side, the instruments being used hint at what could be a raucous dance party during a live show if they decided to rock it out a little bit more. As this is a quick review, I know I’ll need to take this for a few more spins before I feel like I’ll be able to pick up on all of its greatness, but I will be doing that happily and readily. I’d say if you enjoy Those Dancing Days, you’ll really dig this.
Melody Gardot — The Absence (Decca)
This album has curves in all the right places as though Gardot’s voice were doing a suggestive dance from the ’20s or somehow was able to be cast as a Bond girl for your ears. This is so different from anything I’ve been listening to recently and it’s really difficult to not be put under her spell. Oddly enough, the one song I can embed is the only one on this album that feels a bit more modern than the rest — but it is just as hot.
Anna Ternheim — The Night Visitor (Die Rider)
Ternheim has such a smooth voice and is a masterful storyteller. Her songs, for the most part, may be somber — but there is a lightness to them that eases the overall tone and makes it a much less depressing album to listen to than it easily could have been.
Kelli Scarr — Dangling Teeth (Silence Breaks Records)
The second solo album from Scarr is a great reminder that, much like Brandi Carlile, a passionate voice with a big sound can make any genre worth listening to even if it isn’t your regular jam. This is the kind of music you need to listen to when you don’t have anywhere to go because if you’re in a hurry, you’ll miss some of its best parts. Standout tracks include “Thank You” (which would play really well with Norah Jones‘ recent album), “You Could Be So Great” and “Trouble.” Stream Kelli’s entire album at Spinner and check out her video for “You Could Be So Great” — which is awakening many of my anxieties about other peoples’ feet near my face.
Before I wrap this up, check out this fantastic song made by out musician, Jen Grygiel, who collaborated with an art therapy group for teens and the outcome was this video (which I’m warning you, made me cry). She just released the track on Bandcamp yesterday!
That’s it for this week but feel free to email me, tweet me or find me on Facebook! Also, if you’re in Chicago, come out to Parlour on Saturday for part two of the Singer-Songwriter competition for an opening slot at Back Lot Bash with Chely Wright as the headliner!