Wednesday, October 2, 2013

New Tunes Reviews, October 1: Basia Bulat, Lorde, Yuck, Johnny Flynn, and more

Currently the field of female indie-pop bands is quite crowded so there is a lot to check out, especially this week when a bunch of buzzed-about female artists released albums.  These three artists (Lorde, HAIM, and Basia Bulat) are all dreamy vocalists with a fondness for electronica drum beats and general whimsy. 

I enjoyed Basia Bulat's powerful gospel-infused voice.  Her album is called Tall Tall Shadow, and is a follow-up to 2007's Oh My Darling. With a mix of song types and tempos, this album is recommended. In a few of the songs, like "It Can't Be You," the music is secondary to her vocals. Other songs, like "Wires," are very dancey. 

[Watch this video of Bulat covering "Glory Days" for AV Undercover. It gives a little preview of her impressive vocals and awesome hammer-harp skills.]

A few tracks into Lorde's Pure Heroine, I was finally able to place where I'd heard her before. "Royals," the "single," is currently the song de-jour of department stores, coffee shops, and TV montages. This song is everywhere and, you know what, the album does not disappoint.  I usually like my female vocalists to be a little tougher (ie. Neko Case and Liz Phair on Exit in Guyville), but I can see the appeal of Lorde. It is like Feist, mixed with CHVRCHES, with some Grimes thrown in. And she's only 16.

HAIM's release, Days are Gone, was the most buzzed about. SiriusXM has been playing songs from his quartet of sisters for months. They are obviously influenced by indie-pop and R&B.  There appears to be some sampling and remixes. Overall, though, this release probably ranks third overall. 

Yuck released their first album since the departure of singer Daniel Blumberg.  Entitled Glow and Behold, it reminiscent of Big Star with a 1970s breezy vibe. 

Fuzz's self-titled debut is just what you may think: an album of fuzzy rock.  Ty Segall's latest project is full of guitar solos and heavy riffs. Not for me, but recommended if you like the fuzz.   

British singer-songwriter Johnny Flynn released Country Mile. This is his first album since 2010's excellent Been Listening (although he did score A Bag of Hammers in 2012). As a former actor, Flynn is an excellent wordsmith and the lyrics reflect his narrative ability. I definitely recommend it especially if you haven't listened to Flynn before and enjoy folksy singer-songwriters - ie Frank Turner.

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