Fresh on the heels of their recent album Music For Listening to Music To, La Sera is releasing a new EP on September 30th as they prepare for a long U.S. tour. Their new EP, Queens, contains a cover of the Led Zeppelin classic “Whole Lotta Love” as well as “Queens”.
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If “Drunks” is any indication, Americana/pop duo Johnnyswim has a thrilling new album, Georgica Pond, releasing on October 14th. The song begins with a gentle acoustic hum that builds slowly and organically into a rousing anthem. The harmonies are gorgeous and the background vocals grow into a stunning choral-like backdrop. It’s affecting and moving.
Shaking hips and breaking hearts, Nashville singer/songwriter Becky Warren nails the immediacy of Saturday night revelry with “Dive Bar Sweetheart”, its toss ‘em back roadhouse groove introducing June, the female lead of her forthcoming solo debut, War Surplus. A story cycle revolving around the before and after effects of love during the Iraq war, “Dive Bar Sweetheart” marks June’s red carpet debut to Scott, the soon-to-be deployed soldier who will never be the same.
Adriane Pontecorvo: Five years after the White Stripes’ heartbreaking end, “City Lights” is a melancholy echo of what was. Jack White’s distinctive voice cracks over sparse, lovely guitar twangs, sounding like a late autumn chill. It’s a gem, but an unpolished one, beautiful for all its rough edges and the time it’s spent buried. Michel Gondry takes an intimate, minimalist approach to his surprise video, fitting for such a bare-bones song. A bittersweet hymn for fans of the White Stripes who need a real chance to mourn, and a simple, soothing acoustic piece no matter who you are. [9/10]
Andrew Paschal: Lots of pop artists sing about overcoming adversity and “not giving up”, and often it rings hollow, coming across mostly as a fear of negative emotions and insistence on positivity at all costs. When Sia sings about these things, though, I believe her. Her lyrics are no different than your typical Katy Perry or Demi Lovato anthem, but you can hear the pain and brokenness in her voice; the fact that she weaves such shattered emotions into a perfect pop tapestry, as she does on “The Greatest”, speaks to a real and authentic triumph. This has been Sia’s calling card ever since her pop revitalization a few years back, but there’s something particularly labyrinthine, twisted, and gnarled about this one that makes it stand out even by Sia standards. Unlike the extraverted bangers on This Is Acting, “The Greatest” is rawer and more psychological; it takes you inside a mind coursing with adrenaline, the survival instinct kicking in just as the water begins to rise. [8/10]
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