Overcoats, the singing and songwriting duo of Hana Elion and JJ Mitchell have released their debut album on the Arts & Crafts label. While track-by-track it’s difficult to slot the music into a single genre, you won’t go wrong listening to this mix of indie pop, folk, soul and even jazz. Nicolas Vernhes (Dirty Projectors, Daughter) and Autre Ne Veut joined the duo in co-production.
Lillie Mae (Rische), American singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, perhaps best known as the fiddle and mandolin player in Jack White’s live band, has released her solo debut. The album is produced by White and is best generally defined as Americana blending country-rock, alt-country, blues and bluegrass. She stays true to Americana roots, and along with her vocals, she has most certainly kept on with supporting fiddle and mandolin. Lillie Mae offers up her own style alt-country and warrants special attention.
Karen Elson, the British model and musician, has released her second album following a seven year hiatus since the release of “The Ghost Who Walks”. Elson’s “Double Roses” brings to mind the singer-songwriters of Laurel Canyon and the counterculture musicians such as Joni Mitchell and Carole King. The album has numerous highlights, but “Hell and High Water,” “Raven,” and most certainly “Distant Shore” cannot be passed by. This is an album not to be missed.
Aimee Mann, the American rock and folk singer-songwriter, bassist and guitarist is back with her ninth solo album. The eleven-track album might best be described as soft, but certainly not light in the message(s) delivered on life and relationships. It’s easy to slip off into a state of melancholy, but then it would be unfair to think of the album as depressing. It leaves the listener with a folksy tanquility. This is the album for feeling comfort in uneasy times.
The Dollyrots, Kelly Ogden and Luis Cabezas are back with “Whiplash Splash”! The 13-track album is pretty much what one would expect from the pair; a speedy, punchy brand of pop-punk sure to take you to your happy place. True, the John Fields produced recordings might feel too sweet for words or border on being too gitzy, but the album is made for having some fun. If you want to be serious or intellectual, this is not the album to satisfy those states of mind. But if you’re looking to feel good and enjoy some exuberant, raucous rock – go for it!
Anohni is the English-born singer, composer, and visual artist and the lead singer of the band Antony and the Johnsons. The song “Manta Ray” in the film Racing Extinction earned her and Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song along with J. Ralph. Her debut solo album, “Hopelessness”, was released in May 2016, and was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize as well as a Brit Award. Paradise is a six-track EP. The dominants messages aggressively challenge male economic and political dominance. Overall, this EP is a commanding and influential contribution.
The Dove & the Wolf
I Don’t Know What to Feel
Paloma Gil and Louise Hayat-Camard, the duo known as the dove and the wolf, have released an extended version of their previous EP. Paloma and Lou were raised on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean; one in Paris and the other on the French Caribbean Island of Martinique. Their sound is lush and dreamy. The 10-track album might be labelled as dream-pop or shoegazing given the multi-layered atmosheric texture one experiences in the listening, but interestingly enough, one also hears a blend of 1970’s poop-rock. Overall the album delivers a very pleasant sound and leaves the listener feeling, perhaps, satisfied and mellow. Have a listen to the album. It is likely that one will find at least a track or two to add to their playlist.
Gabriella Cohen, known for her efforts along with Jim Grffin as frontwoman with The Furrs, has released her first solo album. Her solo work is not as harsh as that of The Furrs, but rather dreamy – alluring or captivating. There is a variety of moods to be fouond on the album ranging from the narcotic or druggy sound of “Sever the Walls” to the ’50s pop-rock vibration of “Feelin’ Fine”. Overall, the influence of Velvet Underground on Cohen is evident. There’s a lot going on as far as the album is concerned which might give rise to some uneasiness on the part of the listener. “Full Closure and No Details” is definitely worth the time for a listen and signals more to come from Gabriella Cohen.
Supergroup, Crystal Fairy, was formed in 2016 by Buzz Osborne and Dale Crover of the Melvins, Omar Rodríguez-López of At the Drive-In and the Mars Volta, and Teri Gender Bender of Le Butcherettes. The eleven-track album features head banging cuts such as “Chiseler” as well as more moderate contributions (”Moth Tongue”). Crystal Fairy is the Pick of the Week primarily due to the contributions of Teri Gender Bender whose vocal range and flexibility make for amazing transitions across the scales without grinding the gears. This album is not for everybody. Those with a preference for more moderate or tame genres might find the stoner metal – heavy metal with psychedelic rock and punk – tough going. Hey, to each their own. Take some time to check out the album.
The Courtneys are back with their second release, The Courtneys II. The Vancouver-based fuzz-pop band brings together Jenn Twynne Payne (lead singer-drums), Sydney Koke (singer-bass) and Courtney Loove (guitar) offering ten tracks of straight forward fuzz power-pop. Overall, the tracks are pop, but not overly so. There still some pretty rough edges (grunge), so you can have a good time enjoying the album and feeling good without risk of feeling bubbled to death.