Timbre Cierpke straddles the classical world and contemporary music world with astonishing ease and versatility. The daughter of a cellist/orchestra conductor/music professor and a choral director, she learned music before she learned to read, and was playing harp professionally at the age of 12. On the other side, she has recorded with such varied talents as Jack White, Ricky Skaggs, and MewithoutYou.
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Blending orchestral pop with electronic elements and classic pop melodies reminiscent of the Beach Boys and Beatles, Philadelphia band Grandchildren clearly want to combine elements both modern and vintage. It all makes for a wonderfully psychedelic sound, and much like the Flaming Lips’ best work more than a decade ago, it does everything it can to leave a smile on your face.
Operating under the moniker Samson the Truest, Brooklyn singer-songwriter Sam Geller doesn’t so much compare himself to the biblical hero, but rather seeks to find a similar balance between power and vulnerability in his own music. It’s an interesting idea, one he explores deeply on his forthcoming album Come Back Shane, and which you can hear on his brand new track “Afterall”.
If there’s one thing Michigan’s Pop Evil do better than most American hard rock bands these days, it’s creating music that isn’t mired in post-post-grunge drudgery, but rather fun, retaining the heaviness mainstream rock fans like but always mindful of strong hooks. Audiences are starting to catch on, too, as the hard-touring band is steadily building its fanbase, and new record UP should catapult them to new heights.
Over a spooky Fennesz instrumental, King Midas Sound croons, “Let’s just hold each other tight.” Instead of comforting, the deep ambient sound drags listeners under the titular waves, finding that such a tight grasp leads to drowning. “Paradise” is referenced, but it’s difficult to imagine this fitting anywhere more perfectly than in a preview for a horror film, the sweet words masquerading a sinister end.—BRIAN DURICY [7/10]