Saturday, February 27, 2010

Jay Malinowski - Bright Lights & Bruises -2010-
(Folk, Soul, Acoustic)

From: Toronto, Canada

It's not the end. But it is a new beginning. That's how Jay Malinowski is viewing the release of Bright Lights and Bruises, his first foray into the solo world outside of the cozy confines of his popular Canadian band Bedouin Soundclash. The self-produced acoustic-based album, which is being released on Bedouin's own Pirate's Blend record label and really shows off a different side of the artist -- quieter, deeply personal and incredibly contemplative, it is a sound befitting the catharsis he so urgently required. The result is a stunning and remarkably stirring collection of material that shows someone who's as much in touch with his feelings as he is with the craft of songwriting, and someone who's willing to take chances and lay it all on the line. While I love the reggae infected tunes of Bedouin it is really nice to hear an artist branch out and show us what he is really all about. It does not matter if Jay Malinowski is writing tunes for Bedouin or solo because the material always turns out good.

Jay Malinowski - Narceritos

Jay Malinowski - Santa Monica

Friday, February 26, 2010

Sea Wolf - White Water, White Bloom
(Indie, Rock, Folk, Alternative)

From: Los Angeles

Much like Iron & Wine or many similar indie outfits, Sea Wolf is the project name of a sole singer/songwriter who drafts in other musicians as the occasion warrants. That singer/songwriter is Alex Brown Church, a California native who looks to local authors like John Steinbeck and Jack London (whose 1904 novel -The Sea Wolf provided the band name) for inspiration. White Water, White Bloom is the second full length Sea Wolf album, following 2007's critically acclaimed Leaves in the River. Sea Wolf has put out an album that is artful but accessible rock that rewards repeated listening. What is unique about this cd: strings, organs, and a wide variety of instrumentation (20-some instruments are listed in the liner notes), each expertly chosen as a perfect fit to each song. Lyrics are poetic and obscure enough to bring you into the world of the music that already has an ethereal feel to it.

Sea Wolf - Dew In The Grass

Sea Wolf - Spirit Horse

Sea Wolf - Wicked Blood

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Cypress Hill - Rise Up (Single) -2010-
(Rap, Hip-Hop, Latin)

From: Los Angeles

Rise Up is the first single off of Cypress Hills upcoming album due out April 16th. Good to see Cypress back with some swagger and the addition of Tom Morello really fuels the fire behind the track. Always been a fan of Cypress Hill and everything Tom Morello touches is always worth a listen.

Cypress Hill - Rise Up

EELS - End Times -2010-
(Alternative, Rock, Acoustic)

From: Los Angeles

The eighth EELS studio album, End Times, is the sound of an artist growing older in uncertain times. An artist who has lost his great love while struggling with his faith in an increasingly hostile world teetering on self-destruction. Largely self-recorded on an old four track tape machine by EELS leader Mark Oliver Everett aka E in his Los Angeles basement, it's a "divorce album" with a modern twist: the artist equates his personal loss with the world he lives in losing its integrity. When Everett finds comfort "in a dying world," the End Times he speaks of isn't about "Mayan calendar conspiracy theory bullshit," he says, but, "the state of the desperate times we live in. The bottom line-ness of it all. The end of common decency. The loss of caring about doing a good job. These are tough times. If your ready to take on some heavy shit like that while listening to some fine tunes, the EELS are the band for you. All seven of the previous EELS albums have differed greatly in sound and content. "This will be some people's favorite EELS album and some people's least favorite EELS album," Everett says of End Times. "I'm prepared for that."

EELS - Gone Man

EELS - Little Bird

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lee Everton - Sing a Song For Me -2009-
(Reggae, Pop, Roots)

From: Zurich, Switzerland

Reggae singer-songwrtier Lee Everton is back with another tasty serving of his self penned 'Slingstyle' reggae. This 'Slingstyle' approach is the foundation for the backing of his singer-songwriter reggae, leaving lots of space once more for his beautiful melodies and intense lyrics on this extremely impressive follow up to his debut album Inner Exile. This second LP picks up right where Inner Exile left off with Everton's chill blend of reggae, pop and jazzy soul. Each song is full of organs, an on-point brass section, sweet percussions, various offbeat-rhythms and a nice dose of acoustic and electric guitars. Not quite as good as the debut, but Lee Everton is a wizard of relaxation and you will fall under his spell once again with Sing a Song For Me.

Lee Everton - Don't Make It Too Hard

Lee Everton - Little Light

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Vetiver - Tight Knit -2009-
(Folk, Indie, Rock)

From: San Francisco

Tight Knit is the fourth full-length album from Vetiver, singer/songwriter Andy Cabic’s ever-evolving musical home base. Luminous and surprising, Tight Knit unfolds like a road trip. It represents a summation of the different styles and directions heard on past Vetiver releases, while it introduces some unexpected twists. Vetiver’s songs have been described as “dreamy, gentle songs that George Harrison would have written in some sunny country garden.” Tight Knit is layered and rich, with subtleties and nuances that reveal themselves with repeated listening. While there’s also more immediate gratification than on past Vetiver releases, Tight Knit is an album that rewards your attention.

Vetiver - Rolling Sea

Vetiver - Another Reason To Go

Céu - Vagarosa -2009-
(Jazz, Soul, Reggae)

From: São Paulo, Brazil

Ever since Brazilian phenomenon Céu captivated the world with her self-titled debut album in 2007, her follow up release has been widely anticipated. After being chosen as the first international artist featured in Starbucks’ Hear Music Debut series, Céu earned both Grammy and Latin Grammy nominations, countless press accolades, and chart topping numbers. CéU presents a modern, innovative and internationally appealing take on samba, at the meeting point between global urban sounds and the afro-brazilian tradition. Céu's second album, Vagarosa finds her sticking to the style that brought her to the attention of the world music and hipster-lounge communities. She's still mixing the relaxed grooves of her native Brazil with those of downtempo/trip-hop acts like Thievery Corporation; still throwing in surprisingly capable reggae grooves "("Cangote," boasts a deep dub bassline and some extremely haunting organ); and still multi-tracking to create a sophisticated, multi-layered sound. CéU is about innocence, beauty, putting a little rhythm and happiness into life, taking it easy, sunshine and, above all, malemolência.

Céu - Cangote

Céu - Nascente

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Citizen Cope - The Rainwater LP -2010-
(Alternative, Folk, Blues)

From: Brooklyn

Citizen Cope is both a person (singer/songwriter Clarence Greenwood) and an acoustic-driven band. Born in Memphis and raised in Washington, D.C., Greenwood is the leader of the group, and he steers the band's soulful sound by serving as keyboardist, guitarst, lead singer, DJ, songwriter, and producer. Cope's newest creation, The Rainwater LP gives us 8 tracks that are cut from the same cloth as previous albums with a great fusion of blues, folk-pop, and laidback hip-hop and reggae. The new material is as good as ever, but I am definitely left wanting more (8 new tracks after an almost four year studio absence) only because I enjoy Cope's sound so much. Very passionate and unique tunes here and you can grab a digital copy for only $5.99 by clicking the cover art above.

Citizen Cope - Healing Hands

Citizen Cope - Off The Ground

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Natural Incense - Freedom -2010-
(Reggae, Rock, Dub)

From: Santa Barbara

Natural Incense is an up and coming reggae/rock band out of Isla Vista, CA. Freedom is the bands self-proclaimed best work yet and captures the true life of a band on the road, living on the edge of modern life, and having the best time imaginable. The 10 songs on Freedom are definitely in the Cali reggae/rock style of Sublime, Rebelution and countless others, but Natural Incense also quotes influences such as Pink Floyd and Tool, whose sound is always appreciated. Eric Singer, Evan Davies and Brent Wetli have created a groovy, deep, honest and powerful recording. This LP will bump your stereo with wicked bass lines, tight perfect drumming, tasty melodies and lyrics that will ease your mind.

Natural Incense - Full Circle

Natural Incense - Nobody Knows

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Johnny Flynn - A Larum -2008-
(Folk, Roots)

From: London

You only need to listen to a minute of Johnny Flynn's songwriting to hear the influence of literate, melodic folk innovators like Richard Thomson and John Fahey, but the depth of his detailed lyrics and intuitive melodies is also evidence of a compelling back story. Flynn was born in South Africa, first performed in the boys choir of a Brit boarding school and was a professional Shakespearian actor in his early 20s. With his first, and now backing band Sussix Wit, he released a number of singles before issuing his debut as frontman in 2008, A Larum (Old English for "Alarm"). This collection of roguish neo-traditional Brit folk pleasantly reminds me of Mescaleros period Joe Strummer at multiple times throughout this stunning debut. A Larum presents a powerful new singer/songwriter's voice to the world.

Johnny Flynn - The Wrote and Wit

Johnny Flynn - Cold Bread

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros - Up From Below -2009-
(Rock, Folk, Psychedelic)

From: Los Angeles

This musical collective led by Alex Ebert make big, open-hearted anthems that evoke a different era. The band’s aesthetic, no matter how contemporary and organic its evolution, screams ’60s psychedelia and ’70s rock right down to touring in a converted school bus with the band’s name in script on the side and a driver named Cornfed. These feel good sing alongs are epic. The vocal harmonies are performed with joyful abandon whilst the instrumentation brings together an original collection of instruments that are passionately played and infectiously layered resulting in the kind of sound that can leave you on a musical high for days. This band’s energy has the potential to eventually make even the most cynical amongst us go barefoot.

Edward Sharpe - 40 Day Dream

Edward Sharpe - Home