Argentina’s Soema Montenegro has a haunting and virtuosic voice, one that can utter shivering hushed tones before effortlessly letting loose a plaintive wail. It’s an exceptionally powerful instrument and Montenegro is wise to fully showcase it on her recordings, matching that voice with spare and atmospheric instrumentation that allows her singing all the room it needs. La Blogoteque called her “the best singer on the whole planet” and while that might be a bit premature given that Montenegro is only now on the verge of releasing her second record, we can certainly understand and appreciate the enthusiasm. Montenegro does possess the chops to be one of the latter day vocal greats and her expansive sound seems bound for the stages of Carnegie Hall and the world’s fine concert venues. Montenegro’s second LP and first US album, Passionaria, will be releasing this May via Western Vinyl and we are pleased to present the online premiere of “Cuando Pasa” today. For an even more extensive look at this intriguing young artist, check out the mini-film from Vincent Moon’s “Take Away Show”.
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A subtitled version of the new Sveriges Television documentary on Swedish popster Robyn has hit YouTube. The entire one-hour program is available in four parts online now. If you press the little “CC” button on the video embed, you will get the subtitles.
Eclectic British songwriter Kate Bush has a new album releasing 16 May called Director’s Cut and she has just released the first video from the upcoming project. This is not strictly speaking new material as these tunes are reinterpretations of previous songs from The Sensual World and Red Shoes. Brit actor Robbie Coltrane also stars in the video.
We have some very sad news out of the UK to report this morning. Former X-Ray Spex frontwoman and punk pioneer Poly Styrene (Marianne Elliott-Said) has passed away at the age of 53 after a bout with cancer. This comes just one day before the US release of her thrilling new album, Generation Indigo, which proved she’d never lost a step or a beat during her storied musical career.
Yesterday, Maria Schurr wrote of Generation Indigo: “With Poly Styrene’s first solo album since 2004’s Flower Aeroplane, she has taken the Spex blueprint and modified it to perfectly fit the foibles of today’s generation, the end result sounding a bit like M.I.A. minus the sometimes petty forays into provocation. In short, Styrene has reinvented herself as an elder perfectly attuned to and capable of commenting on youth culture.”
She always was the incisive cultural chronicler and commentator from the very beginning. X-Ray Spex’s 1978 album Germ Free Adolescents was an iconic punk release, anticipating and influencing greatly the future riot girl movement as well as being one of punk’s and late ‘70s Britain’s most important records. Poly Styrene’s music was always smart and fun in equal doses, making listeners think about gender politics, while shaking their booty and enjoying her marvelous wit. One of the great women of popular music has passed and will be greatly missed.
New Age Outlaw Dylan Ettinger has a new 7” single out on “it” label Not Not Fun (which is spotlighted in the cover story from this month’s issue of The Wire). His lurching, dark synth piece has that faint hint of anamorphic blues that lingered in the backdrop of the LA Vampires and Zola Jesus collaboration. The visuals, on the other hand, are vapor trails and closeups that’d make Carl Dreyer salivate, HD and clear-focused, without a hint of nostalgia.