Kacey Musgraves is looking to change a mammoth, 44.6 million-albums-sold-last-year music machine from the inside out. And she's going to use pot, homosexuality, and atheism to do it. "EGADS!", one might say. "POT, HOMOSEXUALITY, AND ATHEISM?!" And then one might think for a moment. "No, wait. Those aren't that exciting anymore," one might realize. "Pfffft, Kacey Musgraves, nice try, with your 'controversial' singing music record. NEXT." But wait. How often do you hear about any of the above in a COUNTRY album? How often are small-town Texas and big-town Nashville starting those conversations? ZING! That's what I thought. Kacey Musgraves is a native of the former, and a product of the latter, and she's changing the genre that made her one song at a time.
We've already established that we're fans of Little Jackie 'round these parts, but we've never singled the Brooklyn duo out for adoration. Remember how excited we all (er...I hope it wasn't just me...) were when Jay-Z informed the planet that "ladies is pimps, too"? Imagine an entire album of lyrics like that, but better, sung by a lady, surrounded on all sides by a slinky R&B voice and bouncy, brassy soul instrumentation, and you're imagining something pretty close to Made4TV, the 2011 (and, sadly, most recent) album by singer and songwriter Imani Coppola and producer Adam Pallin. Now, to gently break it to Jay that there's a new sheriff in brushing-shoulders-off-town?
It takes chutzpah for an indie band just starting out to get rid of the acoustic guitar. But that's how it went for Minneapolis/New Orleans/Chicago's Dark Dark Dark. Choosing instead to write their earliest songs for an accordion and a banjo (insert my inevitable fandom here), founding members Nona Marie Invie and Marshall LaCount build their eclectic, eery, inviting music from the consistently unexpected. Dark Dark Dark is the musical equivalent of the dialogue Noah Baumbach writes: You're never sure what will happen next, which is how dialogue in real life feels—but paying that extra attention, and allowing yourself to be surprised, will reward you with piercing, comforting insight.
One fateful evening in a kitchen in Brooklyn in the winter of 2008, I stood leaning on a window, freezing air seeping into the sweaty room. A woman emerged from the bathroom wearing a modest black dress with a white collar. In the smallest voice, she said, "We're Screaming Females and we're from New Jersey." My eyes lit up.
Laetitia Sadier, who some may know as the bilingual frontwoman of '90s indie-rock band Stereolab, just dropped her second solo album, Silencio, a couple weeks ago on Drag City.
Sadier's vocals were one of my favorite things about Stereolab, always melding perfectly with their synth-driven songs, still bright and melodic while hitting minor or dischordant notes. Stereolab fans will not be disappointed with Silencio (Tim Gane, Stereolab's other front person, joins the album as well). The album has plenty of atmospheric pop songs, washes of sound carried by guitars and bossa nova beats, English and French lyrics over synth and moogy notes. But while it's easy to drift through the album, there's a lot more going on lyrically and politically on Silencio.
I first saw Tilly and the Wall some years ago at the Knitting Factory in New York. I had never been so immediately entranced by any band, nor had I ever seen so many feathers and balloons on a stage. They quickly became one of my favorites, but then one day, shortly after their Summer 2008 release O, they dropped off the face of the Earth. Whew, has it seriously been four years since we last heard from Tilly and the Wall? Yes, yes it has. So, needless to say, I actually yelped when I heard that Omaha's own stomping, tapping, clapping babes have a new album called Heavy Mood, being released on Team Love on October 2nd. "But but but, that's so long from now!" Well, good thing we have a couple of sweet new tracks to hold us over.
New songs, album tracklist, and tour dates after the jump!
The advent of Garage Band as a major media outlet for musicians and songwriters has provided a great many opportunities for the reinvention of the earnest acoustic wheel in the last five years or so. Shane and Essy are not reinventing that wheel. They are not inventing twang, they are not inventing milky-smoky vocals, they are not inventing dusty-country-roads guitar accompaniment. But they are making all of those older invetions look (and sound) real good-like.
It's easy to imagine that Potty Mouth are, er, a gross band, but a quick listen to their Sun Damage EP reveals them to be far from indecent. The record is a letter of intent addressed directly to the dead-serious post-punk set, citing '90s punk clatter as relevant education.