Cruising around Venice Beach, California, it was a typical day along Pacific Avenue—artist types at cafes, stray dogs wandering, shaggy-haired kids on skateboards with surfboards underarm, and Devendra Banhart streaming through my car’s speakers.
Deliciously lazy sing-along jams make Lavender Diamond the perfect summertime band. One reviewer called them “the musical equivalent of a picnic basket filled with never-ending strawberries, cream, and pink champagne.” Angelic harmonies and bluesy riffs blend to create an almost chiaroscuro effect, should the term be applied to music rather than Italian Renaissance art. Yet listening to Lavender Diamond’s music feels exactly as if you where looking at something beautiful and very precious. A lofty, floating-on-clouds quality pervades their newly released debut album, Imagine Our Love.
A great Daily Galaxy pick, Pela is an up-and-coming Brooklyn-based band and the next big thing to bring back good ol’ American rock & roll. Musically, the band is equal parts Bruce Springsteen and fellow indie-rock band, The Hold Steady. Pela touts the influences of the Pixies, Raymond Carver, Hubert Selby, Wilco, and the Boss himself.
With Police on tour in the US, I thought Sting's second album would be a great selection. This gem the orbits around ideas picked up from salsa - the melodies of the ballad "Be Still My Beating Heart" and the hit dance single "We'll Be Together.” Two of the album’s gems are the Gil Evans Orchestra's great cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing" and "Englishman in New York." A personal favorite is "Secret Marriage" which Sting describes as a song based on a melody from Hanns Eisler, who fled to America from the Nazis who apparently hounded him for rest of his life in various disguises. Posted by Jason McManus. As always, I've linked to the Rhapsody tracks.
Eyes Open, described as the group's post card from the cliff edge- lush, lush, beautiful, complex -is Snow Patrol's great album laced with beautiful powerful songs underscored by some of the most poignant and telling lyrics in rock.. Lead singer Gary Lightbody shines with "Chasing Cars", where he sings "If I just lay here, would you lie with me and just forget the world?" My favorites include Make This Go On Forever, Chasing Cars, You're All I Have, and Open Your Eyes.
The two-and-half-hour set was too short. As the person who chronically falls asleep in movie theatres, regardless of how funny or action-packed the film may be, I would rarely, if ever, say this about any entertainment event. This was live music, however, and the band was The John Butler Trio, the combination of which for me was pure, unadulterated bliss.
It was the kind of show to make your heart skip, as mine did the entire two-hour set Monday night. It’s not that I’m female that I had this knocking-at-my-heart-knocky-knees type of reaction—a baritone male voice a few rows behind me lumber-jacked out “I LOVE YOU DAMIEN” after each song. I had a hankering the entire crowd that filled the sold-out show at Radio City Music Hall in New York City had everything to do with the man of the night, Damien Rice.
In March I posted a rave Galaxy review about San Francisco based BRMC's great new album, "Howl." "Baby 81" (13 tracks, 60 min.) abandons the accoustic sound of "Howl" and marks a return of the heavy sound of the band's first 2 albums, jumpstarting with a terrific guitar riff and dives into "Took Out a Loan." "Berlin" and first single "Weapon of Choice" follow and are equally good, trailed, however, with forgettable songs like "Windows", "Cold Wind", and "Need Some Air." The good stuff returns with "666 Conducer" and "Lien On Your Dreams," crowned by the awesome "American X", generally agreed to as one of their best songs ever. As one Amazon fan wrote: "On a couple of songs, you can almost hear John Lennon and shades of 'Sgt. Pepper' or 'White Album'. As always, I linked to the full-length Rhapsody tracks. Posted by Jason McManus.
Her delicate, ethereal voice comes through the speakers as if it’s just traveled hundreds miles, intended for you and you alone. Canada’s sensation, the female singer/songwriter, Leslie Feist, who calls herself Feist released her new album, The Reminder to rave international reviews.
Reminiscent of a Norah Jones-esque female vocalist, Feist reaches all audiences, all scenarios, all emotions. She’s good playing overhead at a coffee shop, through headphones on the subway, or streaming through car speakers watching the world roll by. Feist recorded The Reminder at her adopted home on the outskirts of Paris. A Parisian feel of loneliness and melancholy masked by decadence pervades her songs.