Posts Tagged ‘Mike Estabrook’

All she had was her music. Connie Converse recorded at home in the ’50s but was never discovered. Following this frustration, Converse headed into seclusion in 1974. She is now getting the exposure she deserved long ago. How Sad, How Lovely is a collection of Converse’s self-recorded, acoustic tracks. The bare presentation correlates Converse’s isolation in an era that wasn’t ready for her.

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Ah, summer. After searching around Aquarium Drunkard, I found the perfect summer record: Paranoid Cocoon by Cotton Jones (sometimes referred to as Cotton Jones Basket Ride). Former Page France members Michael Nau and Whitney McGraw teamed up to make this seasonal offering. Summer just got a new soundtrack, everybody.

                              

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Bat for Lashes (Natasha Khan) sounds like the sun and the moon. On her second album, Two Suns, Khan blends fiery passion with ethereal tones to create what I call a “solar chill.” Each track features Khan’s delicate voice against both erratic and subdued atmospheres, fleshing out her anything-but-earthly nature.

                             

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PJ Harvey has always balanced her yelp with both force and subtlety. On her second collaboration with instrumentalist John Parish, A Woman a Man Walked By, PJ’s adaptive voice gloriously navigates through Parish’s haunting production.

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Brooklyn trio Vivian Girls are the most badass chicks in indie rock today. Their self-titled debut album is the perfect soundtrack to a demented sock hop for pissed off kids. Aggressive garage-rock riffs and reverb punctuate their ’60s girl-group harmonies. The 10-track record thrashes through at just over 20 minutes but still captures the Girls’ angst-fun.

                           

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Margaret enters the taiga. She falls in love with William, a shape-shifter. Little does Margaret know an evil forest queen and a treacherous rake plan her and William’s demise. This is not a dime-store paperback. It’s the plot of The Decemberists’ new album, The Hazards of Love.

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Liz Harris, who records as Grouper, fits into the genre I like to call “forest music.” Her new album, Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill, is the epitome of “wandering through a vast, deserted wilderness-accompaniment.” Layered vocals, haunting echoes, and Harris’ PJ Harvey White Chalk-esque melancholy make for a sparse, rustic, and incredibly remarkable album.

                          

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Neko Case says she doesn’t write love songs. But on Case’s new record, Middle Cyclone, love presents itself in a way only this pastoral songwriter could express.

In fact, the opening track, “This Tornado Loves You,” ponders the concept of a person-tornado love affair. Case’s crisp, spine-tingling vocals on this homage to weather systems remind us what we have been missing out on for the three years since 2006’s Fox Confessor Brings the Flood.

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M. Ward hates boundaries. His new album, Hold Time, mixes, among others, classic rock, indie pop, porch folk, country, and, most importantly, general awesomeness.

After Ward’s last solo effort, the old-time feelin’ Post-War, and working with Zooey Deschanel on She & Him, he has made his perfect album. (more…)

Brooklyn-based Here We Go Magic is about to be big. Its self-titled debut comes out Tuesday and it’s quite the arrival.

I could try to describe the band’s varied experimental sound but its MySpace page sums it up best as “whombish.” That word doesn’t exist, yet it feels so right.

The trusty music blog, Gorilla vs. Bear, and Ed Droste from Grizzly Bear have given the band some warranted publicity the past few months. Once I heard “Tunnelvision” on GvB, I was sold. 

The great thing about the debut album is that no two songs sound alike. The relatively short nine-track album feels dense because of these vast soundscape arrangements.

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