Wednesday, March 16, 2011

On Repeat: While I Was Away...

In an additional effort to catch up with my faithful readers, here are the latest albums I can't seem to stop listening to.

Lykke Li - Wounded Rhymes

Guys, I have a serious girl crush on Lykke Li. Her new album Wounded Rhymes takes off beautifully from where she left us on her 2008 debut Youth Novels. Her unique brand of melancoly art pop is infused with tribal beats and heartbreaking lyrics. If this hottie can't get a guy to love her, what hope do the rest of us amazingly talented and beautiful girls have? The more fast-paced songs like first single "Get Some," "Youth Knows No Pain," and "Rich Kid Blues" all seem to blend together and they sound very similar production wise. But where Wounded Rhymes really shines is in its quiet moments. I confess that I already know all the vocal parts to album closer "Silent My Song" by heart (looking for backup singers Ms. Li?) and I find it very difficult to not sing "Unrequited Love" aloud on the subway while letting a few tears fall...this album may be detrimental to my dating life. Favorite track is "I Know Places." Li is joined only by her background vocalists and a deeply tuned guitar. I dare you to not be moved.

Adele - 21

The depth of Adele's voice is incomparable. It's powerful and strong and can stand on its own without any ornamentation. She doesn't need to rely on the self-indulgent embellishments employed by other pop stars to validate their talent (ahem). When Adele opens her mouth, you feel something immediately. Another sophomore album, the songs on 21 are soulful and bluesy with immense commercial appeal. The simplicity of her technique is admirable and the emotion she is able to effortlessly evoke makes this former vocalist green with envy. Standout tracks include the throwback flavored "Rumor Has It," the dramatic "Set Fire to the Rain," and the delicate closing pair of tunes "Someone Like You" and "I Found A Boy." Plus, first single and album opener "Rolling In The Deep" has been remixed and covered dozens of times, and almost all are done quite well. Proof that it's almost impossible to screw up a song that is written well.

Acrylics - Lives and Treasure

I'm most surprised I like this album. Acrylics is a band that the blogs have adored for a while but I have been late getting to this particular party (see also The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, although they have an excellent band name). Even when I listen to the songs on Lives and Treasure, I know I shouldn't like it. The album has a heavy 80s influence which is usually a big turnoff for me, but this Brooklyn duo somehow gives integrity to cheesy synths and high pitched drum machines. It helps that Jason Klauber's deep vibrato and Molly Shea's sweet soprano complement each other beautifully. Fave songs are the opening "Counting Sheep" and the previously released "Nightwatch."

The Babies - The Babies

Blah blah blah more of that lo-fi indie rock stuff. But this one is sticking with me for some reason. Normally I can't really stand Vivian Girl Cassie Ramone's voice but with The Babies it doesn't seem as cringeworthy. Love "Meet Me In The City," "Voice Like Thunder," "Breakin' the Law," and "Caroline."

Young the Giant - Young the Giant

Young the Giant have released an incredible eponymous album that reminds me a bit of Local Natives, my number 1 album last year. They are similar in that they are true rock bands that place emphasis on the vocals but Young the Giant songs are a bit more upbeat and utilize less harmonies. Definitely a band I will be paying attention to.

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