2.5 out of 5 stars
Goldfrapp is the combination of singer/keyboardist Allison Goldfrapp and composer/keyboardist Will Gregory.
This, the third full-length from the duo since 2000, has created major waves all over Europe, especially in the United Kingdom, where the record debuted at No. 2 on the album charts. The first single, “Ooh La La,” debuted at No. 4 on the singles chart.
Not unlike their other two albums, Goldfrapp combines influences in pop, electronica and even rock to create a sound that seems familiar yet is still distinct.
Taking hints of glam-rock, disco and modern-day pop, the production paints a psychedelically theatrical and decadent backdrop for Goldfrapp’s seductive and suggestive lyrics (gee, that sounds sexy).
And it is sexy, though we’ve heard this kind of thing before.
In the end, this is not really my cup of tea, but it certainly is an interesting listen.
Fans of everything from techno to Madonna-style pop music will want to sink their teeth into this.
Key Tracks: “Fly Me Away”; “Ooh La La”; “Slide In”
4 out of 5 stars
There are certain albums that make you want to cheer when they are released.
You may know Rhett Miller better as the frontman for the successful alt-country outfit Old 97s.
Rhett, however, has also fashioned himself a very good solo career, which his 2002 album “The Investigator” revived.
I admit it is one of my favorite records ever.
Four years later, Miller’s new solo album on a new record label is about to hit the shelves. Just like his previous record, this one bares little sign of the alt-country that made him a recognizable name.
Instead, the album consists mostly of catchy pop-rock style songs, often with an acoustic guitar undertone.
Like always, his lyrics are witty and sometimes sardonic in nature, which, combined with his bell-like voice, manage to cut their way through big, memorable guitar hooks.
The production work is more elaborate this time around thanks to producer George Drakoulias (Jayhawks, Afghan Whigs, Jude), whose work does not seem to take the focus away from the songs themselves.
Overall, this is an excellent album from one of our period’s most talented songwriters.
Key Tracks: “My Valentine”; “Help Me, Suzanne”; “I Believe She’s Lying”
“Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not”
3.5 out of 5 stars
You hear the hype surrounding new bands almost every day, so it’s easy to get jaded about them.
However, a band occasionally comes along that proves itself to be worthy of the hype.
Enter the Arctic Monkeys.
In the United Kingdom, the system for record sales is that 100,000 units scanned earn gold and 300,000 earn platinum.
With the help of a grassroots campaign that included free downloadable demos, high- rotation singles and constant touring, the band was able to sell more than 118,000 copies of this album on its first day of sales in the United Kingdom.
Going gold is almost unheard of for debut albums.
Sound-wise, the band uses a two-prong guitar attack, which helps back up the lyrics and the vocal delivery, the real selling points.
Frontman Alex Turner combines cynical observations of life with a singing style that at times resembles Mike Skinner, who fronts the popular British rap outfit The Streets.
The combination makes for a Strokes-meets-Libertines kind of vibe, which is sure to help these guys sell a bundle of records.
So if you’re looking for something that sounds different from all the clich? Green Day or Maroon 5-type artists flooding our market and will get your dancing shoes on, look no further.
Key Tracks: “When The Sun Goes Down”; “From The Ritz to the Rubble”; “A Certain Romance”
3 out of 5 stars
Jonathan Bates of Mellowdrone is certainly an enigmatic character, mostly due to his tendency to not play a song the same way twice.
After two EPs, the group’s first full-length album reflects that style, because the music is anything but consistent.
The group switches things up throughout the album.
Overall, it’s a combination of hypnotic-style dance beats and searing, attention-grabbing rock.
Mixed into this formula are bits of hybrid new wave, new age rock and moody space pop melodies that engage the listener.
The writing style for this record, however, is constant all the way through, consisting mainly of brooding, introspective lyrics.
In short, Mellowdrone has crafted a record that borrows aspects from Radiohead, Beck, Failure and Depeche Mode, making for a nice debut LP.
Key Tracks: “Whatever The Deal”; “Bone Marrow”; “Oh My”