April 29, 2014
Damon Albarn – Everyday Robots (Warner Bros.)
Damon Albarn sure knows how to craft a catchy song, yet the British singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and record producer's name might not be that familiar to you. His work at the helm of Gorillaz and Blur has made him a critical and commercial success, and with today's release of his first solo album, people will begin to associate his name with the brilliant compositions and the voice they will undoubtedly recognize. On Everyday Robots, which he co-produced with XL's Richard Russell, Albarn is more introspective and reflective on his personal life and history than he has ever been and seamlessly blends electronic beats with soulful vocals. Everyone will still find bits to relate to among the 12 tracks. You will find yourself clapping along with Albarn's collaboration with Brian Eno, "Heavy Seas of Love," smiling to "Mr Tembo" (a song about a little elephant he encountered in Tanzania) and shedding some tears during "You & Me."
The Goastt – Midnight Sun (Chimera)
Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl first unveiled songs from the Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger in 2010. SInce then, the New York modern psych-rockers have toured with the likes of the Flaming Lips and Tame Impala and release a new album today. Midnight Sun takes their compelling, postmodern-psychedelic sound further on lush tracks like "Animals," "Don't Look Back Orpheus" and "Moth to a Flame." Catch them perform as a five-piece band at the El Rey on May 17.
Rodrigo y Gabriela – 9 Dead Alive (ATO)
I can't remember the exact date when I first heard the Mexican duo, but I do remember instantly falling in love with the fiery energy of their fast, rhythmic acoustic guitars. It's been five years since Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero released new, original material, and 9 Dead Alive is a return to their roots, with stripped-down and minimalistic pieces that showcase their incredible skills. Just one listen to songs like "The Soundmaker," "Torito" or "Somnium," and I am instantly reminded of why I first became so enamored with them. See them set the Orpheum stage on fire a week from today (May 6) or at the Palladium May 7.
Strange Talk – Cast Away (Wind-Up)
Sometimes you just need to dance, and this debut album from the Aussie foursome is an ideal soundtrack to any party, be it a one-person bedroom dance session or at a crowded club. The 12 tracks received four out of five stars from Rolling Stone Australia, calling them "equal parts Cut Copy and Daft Punk with pinches of Eighties pop," and from the opening bars of its title track, Cast Away will have you moving. You'll also want to give "Young Hearts," "Climbing Walls" and "Morning Sun" a spin or two or three. Their May 14 show at the Echo is sold out, but you can also catch them performing at Bardot on May 12.
Also available – Alfie Boe's Trust; André Obin's Ways of Escape; Bas' Last Winter; Ben Watt's Hendra; Brody Dalle's Diploid Love; Chad VanGaalen's Shrink Dust; Chris Robinson Brotherhood's Phosphorescent Harvest; Dan Sartain's Dudesblood; Edward David Anderson's Lies & Wishes; Ex-Cult's Midnight Passenger; Floor's Oblation; Fu Manchu's Gigantoid; Howlin Rain's Live Rain; Johnossi's Transitions; Lindsey Stirling's Shatter Me; Maria Minerva's Histrionic; Miss May I's Rise of the Lion; Mystic Braves' Desert Island; Neighbors (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack); Nels Cline Singers' Macroscope; Old 97s' Most Messed Up; Olga Bell's Krai; Ought's More Than Any Other Day; Pigeon John's Encino Man; Pink Mountaintops' Get Back; Pixies' Indie Cindy; Ramona Lisa's Arcadia; Rebecca & Fiona's Beauty Is Pain; The Revere's Behold, The Sea Itself!; The Safes' Record Heat; Secret Colours' Positive Distractions Part II; The String Cheese Incident's Song In My Head; Stumbleine's Dissolver; Styles P's Phantom and the Ghost; Whitechapel's Our Endless War; Wye Oak's Shriek
In Stores This Week – Clean Eats by Alejandro Junger; Discovering Your Soul Signature by Panache Desai; Natchez Burning (Penn Cage) by Greg Iles; Sex Criminals Volume One by Matt Fraction
Film – Labor Day is Jason Reitman's adaptation of the Joyce Maynard novel of the same name about an escaped convict (Josh Brolin) who crosses paths with a 13-year-old boy (Gattlin Griffith) and his depressed mother (Kate Winslet); Fantasy horror film Escape From Tomorrow was shot guerilla-style at Walt Disney World and Disneyland; Vanessa Hudgens, Rosario Dawson and Brendan Fraser in Gimme Shelter
Comedy – Jim Gaffigan's Obsessed
TV – Hill Street Blues: The Complete Series; Godzilla: The Complete Animated Series; Mr. Selfridge Season 2; Star Trek Enterprise: Season Four
Music – The Allman Brothers' 40th Anniversary Show; The Milk Carton Kids' Live From Lincoln Theatre; The Rise and Fall of the Clash; Toto's 35th Anniversary Live in Poland
Also available – Art Machine; Bad Country; The Best Offer; Dead Shadows; Devil's Due; Gloria; The Legend of Hercules; The Rocket; Seduced and Abandoned; Trouble Every Day