I’ve had a bit of a rollercoaster of emotions the last few days while packing up my life and hugging friends goodbye for the last time before I make the big move from Chicago to New York next week. It seems as though the intertwining of my musical and physical universes have come together in the type of harmony that can only mean I need to give big props to whatever higher power is making the mixtape of my life and scheduling the new releases just when I need them. I’ll have a few more reviews for you tomorrow including Karlie Bruce, Malka Spigel and Stealing Sheep.
Cat Power — Sun (Matador Records)
Chan Marshall is one of those artists whose original recordings have the power to take over my soul and sneak into crevices I forgot existed. As far as voices go, she alternates between a smokey, hypnotizing speak-sing similar to Bob Dylan and a beautiful, smooth alto that is so delicate you’re almost certain it will crack and break but somehow it manages to stay intact.
Marshall has chopped off her long locks in favor of a very hot short ‘do. Anyone who has ever watched a movie in which a woman decides to get rid of her long hair knows there’s about to be a female empowerment montage in which the heroine takes back the power from whatever person or thing put them down. Marshall has done this for herself with this album and I can only hope it translates to her live shows because it’s about time this notoriously stage-shy artist saw herself for the incredible talent she is. Stream Sun in its entirety over at NPR and grab a free download of “Ruin.”
iamamiwhoami — Kin (To Whom It May Concern)
You know that expression, “A mystery wrapped in an enigma”? I’m pretty sure it was invented for this multi-media collective known, in part, for their audience not knowing who they are exactly. It all started with a creepy, but artistically rich YouTube video and turned into a community of viewers sharing links and trading guesses as to who is behind the story we’ve all become glued to. As far as I know, the story has been as much of a visual tale as it has been a musical one. With the release of Kin, the mystery remains and the electronic pulses propelling the group’s music is able to stand on its own without giving way to the intrigue they’ve built up to this point. The creep factor is still very much there and this album would make a great soundtrack to the next Matthew Barney film. Of course, it would also overshadow the next Matthew Barney film. (Warning: Trust me when I say you probably will not want to click on that link and if you do, you won’t want to watch it for long.) Instead, why not head over to Spinner to stream the album in its entirety?
Deerhoof — Breakup Song (Polyvinyl Record Co.)
For an album entitled Breakup Song, this sure is an upbeat cutesy slice of noise rocking artsy goodness. I’m not sure if it’s my old age or what, but I almost feel like I understand this album in ways I always felt Pitchfork.com was always bullshitting about. You know what I mean? Somehow Deerhoof has made choppy, ugly sounds completely enjoyable. There is a method to the madness I’m not sure I’ve been able to grasp in similar albums. “Mario’s Flaming Whiskers III” has just made it onto my weekly obsessions playlist and I’m putting the band down on the list of shows I’m in need of seeing live ASAFP. Stream it loud and proud.
Music Extras: Sleigh Bells has a new music video out for “End of The Line” and it has a gorgeous contrast of cold and warm, dark and sunny, sultry and suburban. I was ready to make an indecent proposal after watching so you are warned.
Stream a new tune from Jan, “Work For The City”
No matter how much Kelly Clarkson‘s constant “I’m not a lesbian!” remarks annoy me, I still love the hell out of her and could never hold that against her voice. This cover of Florence + the Machine‘s “Shake It Out” is freaking insane. I haven’t heard her sound this good live in ages so she must be doing something right. Shake it out girl.
Check out this remix of Ladyhawke‘s track “Blue Eyes” from Jacques Renault.