Welcome back to another round of this week’s new music and some sweet streams and downloads for you to get through this Hump Day.
Upshot – City Noise (Upshot)
(Photo Courtesy of Facebook)
I need you all to heed the advice I’m about to give you: If you have the opportunity to see this band play live, get your ass there. I had no clue what to expect when lead vocalist/guitarist Sara Hall stepped up to perform at Chicago’s Back Lot Bash singer-songwriter competition to open for Chely Wright a couple of months ago. I had been lucky enough to be asked to sit in as a guest judge for the events and there was hella talent from a variety of genres vying for the spot. Well Sara and her accompanying guitarist, Matt Zimmerman, got up on stage and the Janis Joplin Southern Rockabilly Soul that came like a big hug out from her guts put an immediate smile on my face that didn’t leave until they finished their set.
I had asked Sara to get in touch with me when the band’s album dropped and yesterday was the day. When she performed for the contest, the songs she performed in her sets were great at showcasing her vocals but because there wasn’t a lot of time for performing, it was difficult to judge whether or not the musicians could change things up and bring a variety of sounds. I mention this because I’m actually really surprised at City Noise and the range of genres it touches. Hall’s voice transforms so sneakily from Folk-Soul into Soul-R&B and then punches you in the face with Metal-Funk.
You can grab their album from CD Baby but also check out this acoustic performance because both of the guys I’ve seen her play with are incredibly versatile guitarists whose talents pair perfectly with Hall’s voice:
Mornin’ Old Sport - Mornin’ Old Sport (Misery Loves Company)
(Photo by Adam Brochstein)
There has been a resurgence of music from bygone eras lately but very few are throwbacks to this softer, more romantic and playful style of music. This is something I would have on and absolutely love and then have my Grandma tell me she used to listen to music like this back in the day. And then she’d remind me of all the times I made her take me to Pacific Sunwear to find clothes and we’d both say, “Oh my, yes, so many things have changed since then.”
This isn’t the album to shake your booty to, but if you’re in the mood for nostalgia, goin’ fishin’ or suddenly crave orange sherbet, grab it immediately.
Nona Hendryx - Mutatis Mutandis (Righteous Babe)
I can appreciate a lot of what Nona Hendryx is trying to do on this album. She’s got the funk and she’s got the protest chant-style singing to get her somewhat humorous message across in songs like “Tea Party” and “The Ballad of Rush Limbaugh” but unfortunately, a lot of her message falls flat because it is drowned out in some less impassioned monotony. There are some singles to enjoy but the overall album lacks the flavor needed to hold a listener’s ears captive.
More Music Extras: NiRé Alldai will be hosting a special AfterEllen.com Hot 100 event for us in LA on Monday, July 16,so check out her single, “STFU (ChuTup & PaRty!).” (Visit AfterEllen’s Facebook page and “like” us for a chance to win two tickets to the event!)
I freaking love Frank Ocean and I’m spreading it as far and wide as possible.
Pick up a free download of TEEN’slatest sexy bass-heavy lo-fi single, “Electric“.
Check out this dreamy jam from Icky Blossoms whose debut album I’m really looking forward to:
I need to finish packing so I can reunite with my gal pal, Trish Bendix, tomorrow in Portland. We’ll be hitting up some Riot Grrl karaoke while I’m there and I’m a dork enough to be so excited that I made a playlist of songs I might want to practice in case I get drunk enough to sign up. Check it out below and let me know which one you think I should pick. Until next week, feel free to Tweet me, friend me on Facebook or drop me a note.