Adriane Pontecorvo: Desperation drives the synth-heavy sound of “Los Ageless” as St. Vincent paints a picture of obsession—with youth, with beauty, with the superficialities that have come to be synonymous with Los Angeles. Sharp, blurry guitar lines build up a wailing sonic wall behind her powerful voice, giving the whole mix a dark edge in sharp contrast to the unnervingly bold colors of the single’s video. Annie Clark plays a woman who would do anything to stay perfect and plastic in the city that accepts nothing less, and she does it with a catchy chorus. [8/10]
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Laura Cortese calls California home, although she earned her musical chops on the Boston roots music scene as she studied at the city’s prestigious Berklee School of Music. Playing alongside artists such as Band of Horses, Pete Seeger, Rose Cousins, and Uncle Earl further honed Cortese’s skills and now she has fully arrived with her band the Dance Cards. Back on 6 October, Laura Cortese and the Dance Cards released their debut recording California Calling, which features consummate musicianship, gorgeous vocals, and modern sonic arrangements married to the warmest of acoustic folk playing. It’s a stunning, forward-looking sound that charts a path for further innovation in folk music.
Gill Landry‘s first musical life was with Old Crow Medicine Show, one of the finest Americana ensembles in the world. But Landry had different artistic goals, and so he left the successful group after winning his second Grammy and has forged his own path as a solo artist.
Having also endured the heartbreak of a recent breakup of a serious relationship, Landry set out to explore those feelings in music and find a light in the darkness, a method to escape the darkness on his second album, Love Rides a Dark Horse, which released 6 October via ATO Records.
Released in the summer of 2002, Spock’s Beard’s sixth studio LP, Snow, was a landmark release in several ways. Not only did it stand as the American quintet’s first narrative album—and arguably their greatest achievement thus far, as well as one of the greatest progressive rock records of all time—but it also marked their final studio outing with vocalist/multi-instrumentalist/lead songwriter Neal Morse (who departed to focus on a spiritual solo career that’s still going strong).
Despite their name, Americana quintet the Get Ahead has hit plenty of bumps on the road traveled so far. Yet, they don’t shy away from the tragedies and frustrations that they’ve faced together as a musical family. It’s an instrumental part of what makes their upcoming record, Mind Is a Mountain, so compelling.