We’ve got another week packed with new releases so I’m going to skip my usual blatherings and instead just say thank you to all of the performers and the crowd who came out on Sunday for the first round of competition to open for Chely Wright at the Backlot Bash in Chicago over Pride weekend. Round two is this Saturday at Parlour so I hope to see a lot of you out there. Thanks to the abundance of music this week, I’ll be coming back tomorrow with more from this week and a few extras from last week that I don’t want you to miss out on.
Mynabirds — Generals (Saddle Creek)
I’m not sure what is giving me more butterflies in my tummy, the sexy bass line or Laura Burhenn‘s seductive voice. Actually, around the 2:20 mark of album opener “Karma Debt,” I began to realize her voice takes on many of the tonal qualities of a sexy bassline. “Radiator Sister” is an album standout among many great songs. I’d like to suggest and basically beg to have a Mynabirds and Sarah Jaffe co-headlining tour. I think I would lose my mind.
As a sidenote, I want to draw your attention to a project Burhenn created called The New Revolutionists. This portrait project aims to bring attention to and celebrate women making a difference in their communities with little to no money. Those women tend to be the unsung heroes so it’s great to have an outlet to cheer them on. Grab a free download of the single “Generals.”
Brandi Carlile — Bear Creek (Columbia Records)
There are few artists I can think of whose sheer vocal abilities and songwriting talent will make me follow them into whatever genre they record under and Brandi is one of them. To say that Carlile’s voice didn’t always have a bit of a twang to it would be wrong – but this album fully embraces more of a country blues tone than her previous releases. It’s still relatively early in her career but I would already put her up there in the same timeless category as Patty Griffin and Bonnie Raitt. This is a great introspective album and shows the great range she posesses as a musician. I couldn’t find a song from this new album for you to preview so instead, here’s a great cover of Radiohead‘s “Creep”.
Amanda Mair — Amanda Mair (Labrador AB)
The debut from Amanda Mair is an interesting one. The Swedish beauty does a nice job of creating a dreamy landscape but the innocence and youth in her voice is ultimately her best and worst quality. Where album opener “Said and Done” sounds restrained and meek, the following song “Doubt” is sung with a fragility to it that is easy to connect with and even a bit sensual. Overall, Mair’s album seems to do a tug-of-war between those two styles. I think she, like the rest of her ridiculously talented homeland, will only continue to get better and will be someone to look out for – she just needs a little more experience. She is giving away a free download of “Sense” over at Idolator.
Heldin — Profungalactic (self-released)
This is admittedly much heavier rock than I tend to listen to but it’s hitting the spot today! Lead singer Aubrey Smith brings a more tangible style of sing-scream aggression to their songs than many of the bands I would associate with this music. The next time I want to fantasize about beating the crap out of someone, I’m putting this album on.
Honorable Mentions: Teen Daze, The Beach Boys, Joe Walsh, Big K.R.I.T., Wonder Girls (EP), Alejandro Escovedo, Rhett Miller, Crocodiles, The Hives, Pujol and Melvins Lite.
In Other Music News: Heart released an exclusive version of their Strange Euphoria compilation featuring almost four albums worth of music over at Amazon. Emilie Sandé and Regina Spektor’s latest albums are available for $5 for a limited time so get down while the gettin’ is good!
Check out this great jam by Danish beauty, Fallulah: