How in the hell is it even Tuesday already? It seems like just yesterday that I was picking up my CMJ badge before heading off to enjoy the fantastic sounds of artists like Mykki Blanco, IO Echo, Prince Rama, MNDR and even got into a random dance battle with three strangers at the 69 Boys show (yes, the ones who sing “Come On Ride That Train”). Let’s get to the music!
Bat For Lashes — The Haunted Man (The Echo Label)
Natasha Khan has got it going on but not all of the songs on The Haunted Man pack the kind of punch it needs to go from being a good album to a great album. I am not self-centered enough to believe this will ring true for everyone but I like my Bat For Lashes served with angelic vocals, deep beats and melodic synths a la “What’s A Girl To Do.” The standout tracks on The Haunted Men include “Horses of the Sun,” “Winter Fields” and “Rest Your Head,” which makes me want to give my old Portishead albums for a spin.
Hunter Valentine — Collide & Conquer (Hunter Valentine Music)
I’m doing my best to keep the flashbacks of The Real L Word out of my mind while listening to Hunter Valentine’s third full-length studio album — but it’s not very easy. That being said, I am really enjoying this album and find it has some serious mainstream potential. The production has matured ten-fold from the last album and through its polish the girls haven’t lost the hard edge that defined their original sound. Collide & Conquer sounds like a heavily-rocking combination of P!nk, Tegan and Sara with a bit of Kittie thrown in for good measure.
U.S. Girls — Gem (FatCat Records)
The new album from U.S. Girls is an artsy take on glam retro-pop from musican and hands-on artist Meghan Remy. This isn’t the easiest album to listen to, particularly for the average listener, but also, I would assume, even for those who enjoy the experimental side of music. Remy’s vocals are sung through her nasal passages throughout the album and backed by mostly synthed-out organs to make for a gloomy aesthetic. I can get down with all of that but my main problem with the album is its lack of diversity. A person can only listen to the same whiny notes sung over and over again before needing to change the playlist altogether. The most enjoyable of the songs is her great cover of Brock Robinson‘s track “Jack,” a song about being Jack the Ripper, which you can stream below.
Bridgit Mendler — Hello My Name Is… (Hollywood Records)
I am a bit too old to know Mendler from her Disney stardom but out of all the starlets to come out of their franchises her album is one of the best. She’s got a great soulful voice I wasn’t expecting to come out of her. In some ways she reminds me of a young Nelly Furtado maybe mixed with a little bit of Lily Allen. There is a good amount of variety on this album and she does it well.
More Music Extras: If you’re in the mood for some adorable pop singer-songwriter songs, check out Rachel Brown‘s Building Castles EP which also came out today. “Bumblebee” makes me want to skip down the street with a smile on my face. Hercules and Love Affair always seem to know how to keep the party going. “Release Me” reminds me of a mix between neo-disco and some of the freestyle jams I loved back in the day (and still love to this day).
Adele’s “Skyfall” gets a sweet remix from Clark Kent & Oscar Daniel:
Stream and download this great extended remix of Aluna George‘s song “Your Drums, Your Love” from Deebs:
Check out the new video from Meital featuring Sean Kingston: