Ani DiFranco, His Name Is Alive...

by PopMatters Staff

14 October 2007


Ani DiFranco —"Both Hands (brand new studio version)"
From Canon on Righteous Babe
Ani DiFranco to release first ever career retrospective studio album Canon,  on Righteous Babe Records. Experience the evolution of a true original over two discs hand-picked by Ani, including songs from her first album to her 19th, as well as five newly recorded classics.

His Name Is Alive —"Go To Hell Mountain"
From XMMER on Silver Mountain
His Name is Alive is well known for their ethereal, late night moods but on this new album the band picks straight up where last year’s Detrola left off and fires up an army of homemade electronics and freaked out songs that are equal parts organic and mysterious. David Bowie put Detrola in his top ten recommendations for 2006 and said it has “an early ‘70s singer/songwriter vibe plus it comes on like Karen Carpenter.” This year’s XMMER album is all that plus way more. His Name is Alive continues to create an astounding body of work that is exclusively their own.

   Shout Out Louds —"Tonight I Have To Leave It"
From Our Ill Wills on Merge
“Tonight I Have to Leave It” is the first single from Stockholm’s Shout Out Louds upcoming Merge debut full-length, Our Ill Wills. With a video for the title track, two remixes and two non-LP “b-sides” this is a great reintroduction to a Swedish band whose extraordinary 2005 debut, Howl Howl Gaff Gaff (Capitol) garnered worldwide critical acclaim and placed them squarely in the middle of the current Swedish pop explosion.

Carolyn Mark —"The 1 That Got Away (with it)"
From Nothing Is Free on Mint
Nothing Is Free is a woodsy and introspective album. The recording brings an immediacy to the music that conjures up a Sunday evening spent playing instruments and singing songs on the back porch of the cabin. You know, one of those days where everything seems all Emily Carr… and, although the city seems miles away for the moment, it still looms in the corner of your mind, nodding and smirking and saying, “you’ll be back”. Carolyn knows… not even a carefree getaway to the back woods is free, it comes with the price of eventually having to leave. Fortunately for the listener, her introspection finds many other things too, not the least of which is a (sometimes dark) sense of humour and a willingness to throw caution under the truck, have all the fun humanly possible.

C.O.C.O. —"You Think But You Don’t/Tamara Dobson"
From Play Drums + Bass on K
Up from the swamps of the death disco comes a new offering from the minimalist soul group all the heads call C.O.C.O. Olivia Ness (bass, drums, vocals) and Chris Sutton (drums, bass, vocals) have been tapping the primal groove for a while now using only the most basic of instrumentation, but this time our explorers have decided to travel to the outer limits of the beat. C.O.C.O.‘s mission is simple: “Play Drums + Bass” and that credo was the inspiration for their third – without a doubt their best - record. The musical spectrum continues to expand into the nether regions of dub reggae (for a tribute to the late great Tamara Dobson) all the way to the sunny side of surf rock (the album’s closer, aptly titled “The End”).

Seabear —"I Sing I Swim"
From The Ghost That Carried Us Away on Morr Music
This album doesn’t blurt it out: There is no loud “Ta-Dah!”, no exclamation mark. The Ghost That Carried Us Away flatters in a rather unobtrusive way. However, it has encircled you after the third song at the latest. Fragile hymns of nonchalant casualness, created by the 24-year-old Sindri Már Sigfússon. Guitars, piano, his almost bashful and yet so present voice. “Nature, mortality, love”, these are the topics of his debut album.

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