Archive for May, 2011

Because I Can
May 12, 2011

Daphne Willis

Because I Can

Vanguard Records

Daphne Willis considers Because I Can to be her magnum opus.  She pushed herself harder on this album than ever before and it really does show.  You may have never heard of Daphne Willis, but I’m pretty sure that after Because I Can hits shelves you will.  It’s sensible, upbeat and incredibly fun and shows a surprising depth of talent for this new young artist.  Her styles range throughout her newest twelve track full length, from country-esque ballads to funky, horn and brass infused dance numbers.  Her voice works as an excellent complement the variety of genres and styles she represents, changing in both tone and quality to match each track.  While Because I Can would technically be referred to as pop, I would not let that deter you.  The pop-sensibility present is an example of the best her genre can offer (and others).

Released:  4/19/2011

Helplessness Blues
May 10, 2011

Fleet Foxes

Helplessness Blues

Sub Pop Records

Since Fleet Foxes first release only three years ago they have stayed in the front of everyone’s radar.  They have headlined more music festivals than almost anybody in the last two years, have awed audiences with spectacular shows and their self-titled debut Fleet Foxes still gets included on most everyone’s playlists.  Their newest release Helplessness Blues certainly does not disappoint.  In a year that’s already had some of amazing music in the genre, Helplessness Blues is THE folk album to hear so far.  Not quite as sunny and cheerful as their debut, the newer darker feel is a welcome progression for these giants.  Which is hardly to say Helplessness Blues is all lyrically negative, their hopefulness and golden sound that first got them so famous is still present, but matured.   It’s a deeper, more contemplative follow-up to one of the greatest debut releases of the last decade, and measures up to their own standards superbly.  And despite the leaps and bounds these guys have made for their genre, there is never one point in the album where they appear to have let it go to their head. Fleet Foxes in Helplessness Blues are just as refreshing and lacking of conceit that they have always has been.   With a follow-up as spectacular as this is, these guys will be going somewhere.   As long as they continue to roll out songs as soulful and original as these, expect Fleet Foxes to be one of the biggest acts of this next decade.  I’m excited.

Released: 5/3/2011

The Book of David
May 10, 2011

DJ Quik

The Book of David

Mad Science

For 20 years DJ Quik has existed behind the scenes of some of our biggest and best gangster rappers the genre has seen.  From Tupac to Snoop, from Murs to Dre (and everyone in between; to list all his collaborations would take up all the space on this page, no joke), Dj Quik has had his hand in the production of many of the most well known rap anthems of the last two decades.  The Book of David will be his first release in five years and those years of preparation certainly show.  The refined quality of his rhymes and the superb beat productions mirror the best of the genre.  This album is a perfect example of doing everything right in hip-hop.  The album itself spans several genres, from gangster rap anthems to underground hip-hop and a healthy dose of some old school funk.  Hip-hop fans must grab The Book of David today.

Released: 4/19/2011

Disguised as Ghosts
May 10, 2011

Mock Orange

Disguised as Ghosts

Wednesday Records

Refreshingly unique indie rock.  The pleasantly refined lo-fi production qualities, the harmonizing vocals and melodic songwriting all adds to this impressive release.  Mock Orange has been around longer than almost any of their peers in indie rock, beginning their career almost before their genre had been popularized.  Formed back in 1993, these guys have released 12 albums since their inception, and many of those have garnered almost universal critical praise.  Sadly, despite their long lifetime these guys have never really broke out of the unknown.  I can hardly tell why, their music exists in a place so perfectly unexplored by their contemporaries and is excellent to boot.  Mock Orange is a well kept secret that I insist you explore today.  Disguised as Ghosts will not disappoint.

Released: 4/12/2011

Picking through the Pawn Shop
May 10, 2011

Ten Cent Poetry

Picking through the Pawn Shop

Unsigned

Picking through the Pawn Shop is the debut full length of one of our newest singer-songwriters Chelsea Lynn La Bate, or Ten Cent Poetry.  It’s a great first release for her but there is really nothing new brought to the table that we haven’t had permeate the genre for the last ten years.  Her vocals definitely channel the sounds of acts like Feist (though slightly more nasally), and the melodic violin and understated percussion lend a quality backup to her vocals and lyrical content.  La Bate hails from that anti-folk hotspot of New York and her locale definitely lends an air of polish and expertise one acquires from exposure to the best of their genre.  Picking through the Pawn Shop is a good first release for a relatively unknown artist and a great addition to the library for a fan of the genre.

Released:  4/15/2011