Welcome to another week of new music my friends. Before we get into the releases, I feel as though I must, at the very least, express how sad my heart is that we’ve lost another great talent way too early. I know that for many this wasn’t a shock (which in some ways makes this even more sad to me), but if you are going to comment on this at all, please leave any negativity out of this column. This is a place where we celebrate music and the artists who bring it to us. Amy Winehouse was an artist with such incredible talent; a woman whose voice defied her genes and spanned decades. I didn’t know her personally but I really wish I had. At the top of her game, her voice, her words and her charisma were uncomparable. I’m just happy she has left us with a small collection of truly great music and that’s what I’m taking with me. In case you’re interested, M.I.A. released a track in Amy’s memory that is streaming on Soundcloud.
Vanessa Carlton — Rabbits on the Run (Razor & Tie)
This is a gorgeous, introspective and at times haunting album that comes as a bit of a surprise to me — not in it’s quality, but in its tonality. I must admit I don’t have a lot of Vanessa’s old music but this is making me a fan.
Apparently, the album is inspired, in part, by two books:Richard Adams’ Watership Down and Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time (which I’ve read, and let me tell you, that is quite the misnomer). While I’m really enjoying this now, it has all the makings of a great fall album.
Little Dragon — Ritual Union (Peacefrog Holdings)
From the second singer Yikimi Nagano opens her mouth on the title track, I am hooked. This album is full of warmth, which is so refreshing for something so electronic. It’s a great combination of organic and inorganic and I’m inclined to believe it’s making me a smarter person because I haven’t thought about terms from chemistry class since I hopped out of the window during chemistry class (true story). Also, this just oozes sex so be careful who you’re around while listening. Full stream at Spinner but here’s a taste.
Kelly Rowland — Here I Am (Universal Republic)
I’m in a predicament right now: Had I listened to this album before the other two I feel as though my opinion might be different, but I’m a little bored in the same way that I was bored with Beyonce’s latest release. It’s not that Kelly’s latest is bad, it’s just nothing new. I expect this to be played a lot on the radio and in the clubs but it won’t be the star of anyone’s music collection.
Joss Stone — LP1 (Stone’d Records/Surfdog, Inc.)
Joss has one of those voices that, when she sings, you feel as though she’s about to explode. I love the passion she brings to her music, especially when it comes to the breakup ballads. Today, though, I need a pick-me-up — which brings me to the next new (old) album.
Roxette — Greatest Hits (Roxette Recordings)
Swedish pop stars from the ’80s and ’90s? Um, yes please! I hope no one from Napster is reading this but I’m pretty sure “Joyride” was one of the first songs I illegally downloaded in my dorm room all those years back and, damn, it still holds up today!
Honorable Mentions: Wu-Tang Clan, Falling in Reverse, Eric Church, iwrestledabearonce, BoDeans, Black Rob, Chromeo and Release The Sunbird (Rogue Wave frontman).