September 28, 2012
by Monica Soto
The Spirit Indestructible
(Interscope/Mosley Music Group)
I wish there were enough positive adjectives for describing this CD, but there just aren’t. It is lovely and gets stronger the longer you listen into the entirety of the album, unlike most albums. It’s easy to see that a lot of thought was put into every second of these nearly perfectly calculated compositions. Though some criticize Furtado for a sometimes nasally sung vocal track, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, as the saying goes. The entire experience is balanced to the point of being absurdly beautiful, especially in songs like “Enemy” and my absolute favorite “Miracles,” which is slower than the other songs, but it is an ear-gasm of pleasure. Another favorite is “Hold Up.” It is dark, sexy, and sexy. Did I mention it’s sexy? Because it’s sexy.
Pretend For Me
The thing I instantly noticed about the Lawrence, Kan., band Grenadina and their new E.P. was that I loved their ambiance. The dramatic atmosphere is lightly coated over the guitar’s intricate and delightfully complex melodies. If you’re looking for something simple and obvious, this isn’t it. But if you’re in the mood for a little alternative rock, with indie and hip-hop influences, these girls have what it takes and more. Their ambition is made clear in their compositions and they are still in their early days. The singer sounds best when she is belting it out like her lungs would collapse if she didn’t, and her supporting musicians don’t take the easy way out when it comes to mid-song changes and melody. Fans of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Wolfmother, Deftones, and Paramore need to venture over to grenadina.bandcamp.com and check out their seven-song E.P. My favorite songs are “Eight Up” and “Spit & Sting.”
Bright Black Heaven
This was instant enjoyment for me. I may be biased because I am a fan of both of Davey Havok and Jade Puget’s projects, AFI and Blaqk Audio. I’m a tick embarrassed to say I’ve even seen both of them live and have been waiting for a new CD for five years. Annoying fan girl credentials aside, I encourage those who enjoy techno, pop, dance and alternative combinations to give this CD a shot. It’s a complex assortment of deeply thought-out synthesizer-heavy machines led by sometimes overdramatic vocals that are absolutely enjoyable. They are more melodic and classic techno-styled than dub-step, and it doesn’t sound like constant heavy metal breakdowns. Though I do enjoy that sometimes, this definitely isn’t that. It’s much more danceable. My favorites are “Cold War,” “Everybody’s Friends,” and “With Your Arms Around You.”
The most distinguishable feature of Stars is the conversational lyrics of the male and female vocalists. The first track, “The Theory of Relativity,” instantly drew me in. It is psychedelic-funk, but with more lyrics than normal. The second track is more pop-alternative. Not my favorite but still not bad, and it sounds a little like Metric. It’s hard to describe Stars because every song sounds different. However, that is exactly what I love about them. My favorite track, “A Song Is a Weapon” is a song for the ages, if it were given the chance. It sounds like a classic in our modern world. Soft singing, intricate, delicate plucking, good melody, well-rounded. Just a fantastic song. Another favorite is “The 400” because it sounds sweet, desperate and just overwhelmingly sad. It’s clear to me they are trying to create a variety of emotions and they undeniably succeed.