Hey Mama – “Hey Mama”-out Dec 114 / 5 Formerly Avi and Celia, “Hey Mama” officially marks Mr. Salloway’s and Ms. Woodsmith’s first release under their new name and band. While the songs of their previous release “Let it Rise” sometimes eclipse some of the songs here, “Hey Mama” still gives a heady rock and roll, with fantastic bluesy vocals from Woodsmith. For those who are unfamiliar with the young prodigy, she smacks of old jazz singers, blue smoke-filled bars, and importantly, displays impressive range and technique. The backing band, whether it be guitarist Salloway with rhythm section Ben Kogan and Jared Seabrook, or ifRead More →

St. Vincent – “Actor”4ad Records-out now4 / 5 Surprising song arrangements make Annie Clark’s second solo album a deep, complex treat. Clark, aka St. Vincent, has a penchant for constructing songs that demand multiple listens; after the initial shock of “The Strangers” and its bizarre instrumentation (Clark’s whispery voice supported by keyboard and a basic beat), the album fills in with several songs of warmth and worth. One such song is the gorgeously personal “The Party,” whose simple cadence and contemplative vocals highlight an awkward moment together. The lyrics here (“my pockets hang out/Like two surrendered flags”) capture the beauty of the moment and speakRead More →

Fun. – “Aim and Ignite”Nettwerk-out now4 / 5 Replete with caliope, trombone, and cello, these playful arrangements by the sugary pop band Fun. bubble with excitement and poppy youth. The sheer brightness of the songs here would assume superficial treatment of the somewhat light material, but the biggest pleasure is the care taken for the crafting of the songs; each twists about creatively, playing with the listener, and each new segment unfolds into the next unexpected part. Yes, these songs feel a bit airy and colorful like a carousel, but that still doesn’t detract from the pure fun on the cheeky and cheesy “I WannaRead More →

Tigercity – “Ancient Lover”Tigercity-due out Oct. 204 / 5 Tight shiny pants and large golden rings prevail on Tiger City’s latest release. “Fake Gold” opens up and sets the tone: classic rock guitar, male falsetto, synth, and a sultry swagger. From the decade that brought us faux wood station wagons and Cling-ons, Tiger City has infused their nostalgia with a modern temperament and straight groove. That’s a good thing here, as their effort yields several strong tracks, including the title track, which feels will take you back to your high school close dance memories, and “Quicksand,” which might have come off the pop radio decadesRead More →