Sunday, July 04, 2010

Brendan Perry and Hope Sandoval kill it . . . again

Never underestimate the power of artists to hit you over the head with a brilliant record. I've had two this month. The first is Brendan Perry's sweeping epic Ark, which has been almost a decade in the making. And you can hear why when you listen to it . . . lush landscapes . . . a plethora of deep topics . . . everything that made a Brendan song in DCD far above anything else in the same genre. Here, he blends the deep waters of Eye of the Hunter with the epic sound of his best DCD work and it creates a CD not to be missed.

With the 2nd, unlike Brendan's disc, which I have been anticipating for the last two years, Hope Sandoval and her group The Warm Inventions, completely blindsided me with an album that rivals, if not surpasses, her best Mazzy Star work. Through The Devil Softly is EVERYTHING you wanted from Mazzy's whole career and then some. In some instances, like "Blanchard" and "Wild Roses", she dabbles into mellower Sundays and Cowboy Junkies territory with songs that flow around your ears and fill the room (with the right speakers). Other songs like "For the Rest of Your Life, " "Lady Jessica and Sam" and "Sets a Blaze" remind us what promise Mazzy Star had and why this collection is called Through the Devil Softly . . . very haunting and eerily beautiful.

I highly recommend both of these releases. Do pick them up if you have the inclination.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Wonderful Return of Fiction Plane

So I was perusing the net a week ago, just checking up on things, and decided to see if Joe Sumner and the boys of Fiction Plane had finished their new album yet. Their last CD, Left Side of the Brain, was a truly remarkable piece of work and I was looking forward to their follow up. For those not in the know, Joe is the son of Sting and his heritage can be heard in Joe's voice . . . but FP go far beyond that to create a sound and a sense of energy, rhythm and melody that is sorely missed in music today.

So I found out that not only had they finished working on their new CD, Sparks, but that it was out in the UK! Of course, not being a fair-weather fan, I ordered it immediately and had it sent from the UK to my place in MI. I expected not to be disappointed (their releases have been getting better and better since their first one, Everything Will Never Be OK) and I wasn't. It's a sweet mix of their signature sound that they've perfected through 3 releases (EWNBOK, their EP Bitter Forces and Lame Race Horses, and Left Side) and some deliciously eclectic detours. All in all, some very adventourous stuff! Plus, I picked up the Deluxe Edition, which included 3 B-Sides. That, and, because I'm a real fan, I also put in to get a copy of another B-Side I was able to download from the FP site. So, all in all, I'm pleasantly grooving to 15 new tracks. Heaven for a collector and for a FP fan.

For those of you who haven't heard them, do yourself a favor and pick up Left Side of the Brain. Then pony up the money to buy the Deluxe Sparks Import (because that's the only way you're gonna get it in the US, if you're in the US, before the Fall . . . and you don't wanna go all Summer without this disc) and then Everything . . .

And please, for the love of all that is holy . . . someone PLEASE tell me where I can get my hands on a CD copy of Bitter Forces? It's been a constant source of frustration . . . as it's also very good.

OK . . . it's late and I need to go slip into a nice coma . . . so enjoy . . . and thank you Joao, for allowing me to spread some new music!!