Welcome back to part two of this week’s list of new music releases. I thought 2011 was a great year for music, but 2012 is starting to look like it’s going above and beyond. I have one request of you all , and perhaps it’s too much to ask since this is the internet and all, but I’m going to ask anyway: If for some reason I don’t mention someone in this column, particularly if it’s a single, EP or new video, don’t get offended and act as though I’ve left them out on purpose. Instead, how about being a pal and simply saying, “Hey, just so everybody knows, so-and-so also has a new (insert music-related event here)!” Sometimes it takes a village and there just aren’t enough hours in the day for me to dig for every bit of what’s out there.
Yuna — Yuna (FADER)
It seems like ages ago that I was first wowed by Yuna’s soft, smooth vocals — and I guess, looking back, it really has been a long time. Hailing from Malaysia, this singer-songwriter has put the world on blast with her talent and was recognized as a finalist in MTV Iggy’s “Best New Band In The World” competition back in 2011. This is her first full-length release after being signed to the Fader label and she had Pharrell Williams put some high-powered producing behind her.
All in all, it’s a solid effort with a lot of highlights including songs infused with R&B soul like lead single, “Live Your Life,” as well as “Lullabies” and “See You Go.” She also has some great pop singer-songwriter ballads, my favorite being “Tourist,” which reminds me a bit of Sarah Blasko. Not every song is destined for greatness but I’d be happy to have most of them stuck in my head.
Theresa Andersson — Street Parade (Basin Records)
New Orleans-based jazz-folk singer Theresa Andersson fits that description about as well as Joan Osborne would. Vocally, she certainly has a softer, but not weaker, sound. Instrumentally though, she’s got a great range of textured sounds layered together. The finished product is, I suppose, what I would consider the darker, weirder and most appealing side of folk. Maybe I should’ve been a carnie. Grab a free download of Theresa’s song “Hold On to Me.”
Megan Reilly — The Well (Carrot Top Records)
Alright, so before I can even get into talking about this release, can we talk about the balls it takes to give your record label the same name as this guy? The Well has a little bit of twang — enough for me to consider it alt-country — but doesn’t give me the excitement that a lot of the music coming from that genre has been doing lately. After one listen through, nothing jumps out at me as being something to get me excited. Maybe it’s my mood, but I’m pretty underwhelmed.
Magic Wands — Aloha Moon (Bright Antenna Records)
Aloha Moon is a really nice change of pace from the rest of this week’s releases. The indie-pop duo go from a super chill semi-nautical vibe in “Teenage Love”, to a harder indie-rocking sound worthy of a few hipster fist pumps. I haven’t heard about their live shows just yet but based on this album alone, Magic Wands sound like an almost perfect summer festival band. Stream it, live it love it.
Eddie The Gun — Kids (Redrome records)
The punk-pop group opens this album picking up where No Doubt left off on Tragic Kingdom and follows up with a nod to Return to Saturn. In all honesty, the similarities between the sounds of the two bands has been a bit of a distraction for me. It’s not a bad album, in fact, I would’ve eaten this up with a spoon back in the late ’90s —I’m just having a hard time taking it completely seriously, which I know isn’t fair but guess what? I’m human, damn it. It’s not my jam but, according to the band’s Facebook page, someone over at NME is basically in line to have their babies. My favorite track on the album is “Hold On,” but it takes entirely too long to get there. Form your own opinions after listening here.
The Raveonettes — Into the Night (The Raveonettes LTD)
It breaks my heart to say this, but I’m really not feeling this EP. When they first came out with Whip It On in 2003, I thought they were one of the most badass bands I had heard in what seemed like forever! It’s not that they had to stick with their rougher brand of surf rock, but it seems that they’ve gone a bit too soft for my taste. What makes judging this more difficult is that there are too many other great acts making this music and doing it better than what I’m hearing on Into the Night. You can judge for yourself and hopefully get more out of it than I have, over at Spinner.