Like a train set to leave the station, invites listeners along for a ride as the opening notes of the chugging “Chicago” set in and the artist’s customary growl exclaims “all aboard!” to the songs fade. And a ride it is on, Waits new studio album and first in nearly seven years. From spooky to sweet, from growl to falsetto, it’s impossible to turn a corner on this new collection and not find the unexpected. Musically speaking, fans and critics will applaud Wait’s artistic expression and unconventional nature. But Bad as Me does find accessibility within these songs as Waits ponders current affairs and personal reflection.
A few weeks ago, someone posted a video online of Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy playfully covering ‘I Gotta Feeling’ by The Black Eye Peas. For the audience, it was a nothing more than a funny break in the set and for those watching online, a respite during your 9 to 5. Yet in an odd way, it helped put the new album from Tweedy and his band mates, The Whole Love, in perspective. In 5 or 6 minutes that it took to perform, Tweedy not only entertained but made a pretty strong case for art over commerce. As popular culture advances with less stress on musicianship and artistry, we’re reminded and relieved on The Whole Love that the art of the album still exists.
As you remove the insert to the new Booker T. Jones album The Road From Memphis, you also unfold a little history to the inspiration behind this new album. A true icon of American soul music, Booker T. recounts not only how the physical passages on Highway 51 from Memphis helped shape his career but how he witnessed the music itself travel to and fro. The rock and roll hall of famer enlists an all-star cast of musicians to help recreate this musical journey on The Road From Memphis.
Philly's own Dr. Dog may have a new home for their six studio album, but their unmistakable brand of psychedelic, retro-rock remains familiar. Shame, Shame is the name of the new release and a record of many firsts for Dr. Dog. It's the group's first release for Anti- Records, and first album recorded with producer Rob Schnapf, yet all the while Shame, Shame remains a confident leap forward that leaves Dr. Dog poised for bigger things.
They captivated audiences worldwide in the Oscar-winning love story that was the film Once. Now known as The Swell Season, the musical partnership of Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova attempt to recapture the hearts of listening audiences with their new record Strict Joy.
It's easy to be captivated by Middle Cyclone, the new album from Neko Case. Those enchanting vocals have returned, striking a familiar balance between her alt-country tendencies and indie-pop sensibilities. And while Case's viability as a solo artist skyrocketed after the release of Fox Confessor Brings The Flood, it's fair to say that on Middle Cyclone the spotlight shines just as bright.