A Place to Bury Strangers – Onwards To The Wall
Label: Dead Oceans (2011)
Genres: Noise Rock, Indie Rock, Shoegaze
Sounds Like: Spacemen 3, The Jesus and Mary Chain
Review by TG Keas, KXUA Music Director
Having previously known A Place to Bury Strangers only as a group that covered “Suffragette City”, it was great to finally hear the group in their home context. Very moody at its core, the record combines shoegaze-esque layers with dismal moods and motorized energy. Despite the squealing levels and overdriven everything, something oddly sublime emerges from the noise. Sort of a hip working man’s noir that evokes wretched subways and yellowed lights, if that makes any sense.
Princess Chelsea – Lil’ Golden Book
Label: Lil Chief
Genres: Indie Pop
Sound Like: Oh Land, Amanda Palmer, Architecture in Helsinki
Review by Zeek Martin
New Zealand has proffered up a generous heaping of indie groups in the last year or so. One of the distinct standouts is, without a doubt, Chelsea Nikkel’s solo project, Princess Chelsea. Her album, “Lil’ Golden Book” kicks off with the lush and ethereally anthemic “Machines of Loving Grace” and progresses through twinkling pop and twee masterpieces. One well-respected music reviewer defined her as a “twee Tom Waits,” and though I do not find this classification as 100% accurate, it does help pin down her penchant for penning cheeky yet darkly sinister lyrics that masquerade as effervescent recommendations for clean living. Case in point, “The Cigarette Duet” and “Too Fast to Live” – denouncing smoking and excessive drinking, respectively. After all is said and done, the album transcends its minimalistic bedroom production and finds itself on the top of 2011-2012 pop heap.
Ani DiFranco – ¿Which Side Are You On?
Label: Righteous Babe
Sounds Like: Buffy Sainte-Marie, Joan Baez
Review by Ginny Garber
Here is Ani’s seventeenth album release, a blend of social commentary, uproar, motherhood, and monogamy. “Lifeboat” opens the album, a view through the eyes of a smiling hobo, a subtle account of ghostly perception. As usual the music is a blend of slick jazz and tart political sentiment — this rendition of ¿Which side are you on? opens with Seeger’s banjo, then bursts into the anti-corporate anthem of the 21st century — though it finds a calm maturity in tracks like “Promiscuity” and “Albacore.”
Adrian Younge Sound Orchestra – Something About April
Label: Wax Poetics (2011)
Genre: Soul, R&B
Sound Like: Bilal, Brian Bennet
Review by Ginny Garber
Adrian Younge is a multi-instrumentalist that has dedicated his life to the study of classic soul music. As a self-taught musician and recording engineer, Adrian Younge is hailed as master of blaxploitation music. Younge captures the cinematic soul of the 1970s. Adrian Younge solidified himself as a force to be reckoned with and soon went to work writing music for the forthcoming Black Dynamite cartoon series on Adult Swim.