“Oh, My Heart” is the third album from Philly’s DIY scene’s Shannen Moser. It injects something vital into the listener, like nutrients to a healthy garden. The vibe holds a blend of the Dixie Chicks’ banjo storytelling and harmonizing and a more mature version of Girlpool’s innocent emotional tolls of growing older. Girlpool also plays in the same Philadelphia circles as Moser. “Oh, My Heart” sings to the heart of spring and the melt of winter.
The opening track, “I’m Going Home (Sacred Heart),” is a lilting intro with an almost gospel-sounding timbre. As the dust settles, “Alex (282)” sets you on solid ground. Moser inflicts her audience with a voice similar to Marissa Paternoster of the Screaming Females.
Has the world has caught up to Little Dragon? Not this time. Combining the electro-pop-whatever Little Dragon has going on and marrying a little R&B in “Season High” makes for a weird, inviting adventure. Like being piqued with arousal with a lover, you’re not sure what comes next, but you know you’re on the cusp of something momentous.
The whole of “Season High” came off both abrasively fragile and dancey. Starting with “Celebrate,” it reminds us of 2010’s Foster the People in the very first seconds of the song. Eventually, the song unfolds into a reminiscent complement to Prince or Michael Jackson. It’s got pops and head nods galore–whispering while the beat drops, Little Dragon keeps the disco alive.
I forgot about her! Sort of. Some of her songs from Metals always make it on to my fall playlists, but before and after that, I forgot about her. It has been six years, after all, since she released anything new. But, I personally feel that should be the hallmark of a steady artist. Give yourself space and time to create genuine music instead of slamming a new single or album out yearly. (Don’t get me wrong, some artists do that, and they do it well… but usually they don’t because it’s rushed and forced.)
Image via Pitchfork.
Image via eil.com
Image via Vice.
Feist. Image via NME.
Her new album, Pleasure, is coming out April 28. It took me a couple listens to this new single Century to warm up to it. The tempo is a little trickier–it never quite gets beyond that point where you feel the sound is going to crest. The guitars are low and prod you forward like thumbing your way for a ride down a long desert road. The ending features a bit of spoken word by English artist Jarvis Cocker, who I’m only familiar with by name. It’s a spooky addition that illustrates the theme of the song (which sounds like it might be depression or sadness). So, being that Century has all my favorite elements (dark, spooky, and a little awkward to get used to), I listened to it a few more times, and now I will say confidently that it’s a damn good song and I can’t wait to hear more. Welcome back Feist!
Grimes. She’s weird. And Canadian. And perfect. Her DIY music (she does all the production herself) mixes light and dark moods with an eccentric array of electronic mixes. Her first few albums kept it pretty simple. There wasn’t a lot of interplay with different synth sounds. It took a while to grow on me, but the straightforward approach gave her music an airy quality.
Her most recent album, Art Angels, definitely takes more a pop direction, but not like top-40 pop music. The hooks are there, but they’re artfully blended into a wild swirl of color. That’s actually the best way to approach Grimes–think of her like an animation (and she does draw a lot of inspiration from her own art and anime). There’s more about her that has to be seen and felt than you can glean just from hearing the songs (check out Venus Fly with Janelle Monae). Her aesthetic is fantasy. Dark, rich, and story-driven. She’s not for everyone, but if you decide to venture into her world, give yourself time to get acquainted with the sights and sounds.
Throwing it back to Motown today with The Supremes!
I pulled out an old CD on my drive to work and was like, “Oh yeah…” Sometimes going back in time is refreshing–there’s so much current music, it can start to congeal into one homogeneous glob. Change it up a bit today!
Goldfrapp are an electronic duo from London, with Alison Goldfrapp providing the vocals and backing by Will Gregory on synth and strings. They draw influences from different sources, including film (specifically the ominous cult classic, The Wicker Man), surrealism, and nature. Their earlier albums like Black Cherry and Supernature are distinctly electronic and dance oriented, but recent work like Seventh Tree and Tales of Us takes a more ambient tone.
The stripped down, folk-electronic sound is especially heard on Tales of Us. The songs are gentle, but foreboding. Alison leads the listener down a dim path with creeping fog, but stops every so often at patches of light on the forest floor or glinting off lake water for some relief. Something is lurking behind her reflections, a shadow cast on memories, yet those memories are still worth having for her and for us.
Tales of Us is a shapeshifter. It fits in on soft summer days, and just as easily as overcast ones. It’s grey in Minneapolis today, and I’m gonna let Tales of Us work its mystery on the morning.