Chris Gerard: This fantastic cover of the gospel/blues standard by Fred McDowell first appeared in 2011 on the Mojo Magazine curated Sticky Soul Fingers, an R&B tribute to the Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers album. The recording is getting another lease on life as part of the upcoming Daptone Gold II compilation, and it’s great that more people will have the opportunity to hear it. Naomi Shelton is a national treasure that too few people know about. Her deeply soulful voice captures the essence of the song, and the funky retro accompaniment is tight and groovin’. Daptone Records usually delivers the goods, and this is no exception. [9/10]
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Nathan Stevens: The pairing of Jamie xx and Talabot is an odd one, with xx obsessed with the more ethereal while Talabot completely works in the tactile. The combination works here though, thanks to Tabalot’s mutation of the original DNA. Now clocking in at over seven minutes, “Loud Places” turns into a marvelous slow burn that never bursts, but keeps smoldering over clanking percussion and slowly floating synths. It’s hard to compare it to the album version, as the brother tracks are completely different beats. [7/10]
John Bergstrom: It’s characteristically pretty and heavy on atmosphere, with some nice dynamics too. But it doesn’t hold together as well as some of their previous efforts. The chorus, in particular, sounds clunky and plodding. Enough to whet the appetite for their upcoming third album, at least. [6/10]
Matt James: In an age where pop appears to be, depressingly, enjoying rifling through the “Dumb & Dumber Idiot Box” we must cherish musicians like Julia Holter. She’s smart and strange. Listening to Ekstasis or Loud City Song makes you wanna go drown yourself in, well, “Art” even if you haven’t a clue what the hell it’s all about. The plink-plonk stomp of “Sea Calls Me Home” sounds like Holter trying to bottle the spirit of the Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows” whilst tickling the hallucinatory haze of a week’s insomnia. At one point you can possibly hear pink, tutu-wearing, cartoon elephants polishing their saxophones in the apartment above. There’s also an ace nonchalant whistly bit for all fans of “Ace Nonchalant Whistly Bits”. At a trim three minutes it’s a little slim perhaps and not as swoonsome a serenade as recent canine cuddler “Feel You” but with Holter’s exemplary track record it still feels safe to follow her into the dreamy depths. [7/10]
Five years after the astounding album Penelope, the latest song cycle by composer Sarah Kirkland Snider takes its inspiration from the work of writer and artist Nathaniel Bellows, depicting a childhood upbringing in Massachusetts that veers between the beautiful, haunting, and surreal, where discoveries abound. Because that’s, in reality, what it’s actually like when you’re a kid.