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Sirens Of SongA purveyor and survivor of Britpop (with band Squeeze), solo artist, author, and television presenter, Jools Holland is prominent as one of British music's most recognized and trustworthy.
A couple of years back, Holland's talent for composition was refreshed with 2012's The Golden Age Of Song, a star-studded effort. Holland must have had the itch to repeat that highly successful and pleasant experience, only this time around he's kept it between him and the ladies. What emerges is 14 tracks of originals and reworked gems starring some of the best female voices in the business.
What Holland nails here are his choices of leading ladies for each track, which offer so much in the way of delightfully surprising and sublime covers. Jamaican songstress Ruby Turner sasses up Ray Charles' Jumpin' In The Morning, our own pop princess Kylie Minogue puts her pout to The Clash's Should I Stay Or Should I Go, and Emeli SandÉ admirably takes on 1920s standard Love Me Or Leave Me. Among the standouts, though, are Louise Marshall's A Vow, a poem by one of Holland's favourite English poets, Wendy Cope; Joss Stone's soulful attack in Letting Me Down; and the playful ska in Monkey Man, brought to life by the late, great Amy Winehouse.
Holland's orchestra never falters, nor do the man's fingers on the ivories, and running throughout is a vibrant sense of celebration for not only these skilfull lasses but for the sheer act of making music with many different talents.
-Carley Hall (The Music)1. Jumping In the Morning - By Jools Holland & Ruby Turner
2. Letting Me Down - By Jools Holland & Joss Stone
3. Love Me Or Leave Me - By Jools Holland & Emeli SandÉ
4. A Vow - By Jools Holland & Louise Marshall
5. Monkey Man - By Jools Holland & Amy Winehouse
6. Should I Stay Or should I Go - By Jools Holland & Kylie Minogue
7. Sweet Bitter Love - By Jools Holland & Mabel Ray
8. See-Line Woman - By Jools Holland & Laura Mvula
9. Lost Mind - By Jools Holland & Rumer
10. Top To Bottom Boogie - By Jools Holland & Imelda May
11. Night & Day - By Jools Holland & KT Tunstall
12. I Wish - By Jools Holland & Melanie C
13. I Still Went Wrong - By Jools Holland & Ruby Turner
14. Ain't Misbehavin' - By Jools Holland & Eartha Kitt$24.99Vinyl LP -Sealed Buy Now
Education, Education, Education And WarLeeds post-punkers Kaiser Chiefs are making a grand return in 2014. Singer Ricky Wilson has been named as a coach for the U.K. version of The Voice - joining will.i.am, Kylie Minogue, and Tom Jones - and his band will release their fifth album via ATO Records. Dubbed Education, Education, Education & War, the 10-track set follows up 2011's build-an-album experiment The Future Is Medieval.
The English group's latest was written in London, Los Angeles, and Nashville, and recorded at The Maze in Atlanta with studio boss Ben H. Allen producing (Washed Out, Deerhunter, Animal Collective).1. The Factory Gates
2. Coming Home
3. Misery Company
4. Ruffians On Parade
5. Meanwhile Up In Heaven
6. One More Last Song
7. My Life
8. Bows & Arrows
10. Roses$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
OperatorAfter a 5 year hiatus, Canadian electronic music producers MSTRKRFT (Jessi F. Keeler & Al-P) are back. Driven by distorted drum beats, hauntingly hypnotic synths, and booming cinematic soul, OPERATOR immediately captivates. "It's probably the most acurate reflection of how we work on stage," says Jesse. "We had to be very creative with very few elements. It took time to figure that out".
2011 was the last time we heard from MSTRKRFT with the release of the single "BACK IN THE USSA", following their Juno Award-winning debut album THE LOOKS in 2006. MSTRKRFT have released official remixes for everybody from KATY PERRY and KYLIE MINOGUE to WOLFMOTHER, Justice and Bloc Party. 2009's FIST OF GOD boasted collaborations with the likes of John Legend, Ghostface Killah, E-40, N.O.R.E., Lil' Mo and more as it predicted an eventual crossover between hip-hop and electronic music on the horizon.1. Wrong Glass Sir
3. Little Red Hen
5. Playing With Itself
6. Party Line
7. Death in the Gulf Stream
8. World Peace
9. Morning of the Hunt
10. Go On Without Me$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Murder BalladsNick Cave's been writing songs about killing and other evil things since he first surfaced in 1980 as the Birthday Party's pale, skinny, goth-punk Jim Morrison. But the murder ballads that provide this set's title are different, tantalizingly deliberate. Sure, there's plenty of trademark Cave here, but Murder Ballads is a fascinating concept album that uses the narrative ballad form of the English folk tradition to tell of murder: random deaths, passion crimes, and killing sprees, all in one package. Cave clearly thrives in this genre, and he produces some of his sharpest and most facile writing to date. Song of Joy, a genuinely scary campfire mystery of a murdered family and an unnamed killer, chillingly weaves clues into the lyrics, while Where the Wild Roses Grow is a narrative duet in which killer (Cave) and victim (pop star Kylie Minogue) reveal parallel tales. Cave even shows his knack for adaptation on Bob Dylan's Death Is Not the End: he recontextualizes a song of heavenly comfort into a sort of zombie We Are the World (featuring Minogue, PJ Harvey, Shane MacGowan, and others) in which death is not the end of pain and suffering. Above all, Murder Ballads should be heard as a work of pulp fiction--as sensationally funny as it is harrowing. The already violent traditional song Stagger Lee becomes gangsta folk, so ridiculously packed with obscenity and brutality it would make the Geto Boys cringe. And Cave's (unintentional?) point to would-be censors--that bad-ass songs existed long before rappers polluted the airways--should not be missed. --Roni Sarig1. Song Of Joy
2. Stagger Lee
3. Henry Lee
4. Lovely Creature
5. Where The Wild Roses Grow
6. The Curse Of Millhaven
7. The Kindness Of Strangers
8. Crow Jane
9. O'Malley's Bar
10. Death Is Not The End$24.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
DaggersEx Cops, a nomadic duo featuring Amalie Bruun and Brian Harding, brings the hook-heavy blast of '90s alt-rock into a new era on their second album Daggers. Executive produced by icon-of-form Billy Corgan and produced by Justin Raisen (Sky Ferriera, Charli XCX, Kylie Minogue), the record rescues guitar-pop from the bedroom, returning it to the stage it deserves.
Formed in 2011, the group's first album True Hallucinations, released in early 2013, was a critically-acclaimed collection of sprawling indie-pop. From the exuberant "Spring Break (Birthday Song)" to the band's dreamy debut "You Are A Lion, I Am A Lamb," the John Siket-produced record (Blonde Redhead, Yo La Tengo) was a genre-jumping opening salvo and its wall-to-wall guitars set the tone for their new album.
Daggers is a musical about-face, though. "We are not afraid of our favorite music anymore," says Harding. "It's pop."
Billy Corgan, in addition to sharing the band's love of ABBA and taking them to their first wrestling match, provided form and texture to the new tracks over a two-week period in Chicago. The band then took the material to LA for tracking with Raisen and continued collaborating with artists like Ariel Pink, who co-wrote "Burnt Out Love" and features on "Tragically Alright."
The result reinvents modern rock. "White Noise," with its addictive chorus, merges guitars that could make your teeth ache and a motorik electronic pop pulse. The impeccably-produced "Teenagers" brings club-ready downtown pop to an anthemic peak, while "Black Soap" shifts shoegaze textures to stadium status and "Rooms," one of the album's emotionally-resonant ballads, packs a substantial punch.1. Black Soap
2. White Noise
5. Pretty Shitty
6. Burnt Out Love
7. Modern World
8. Wanna Be (feat. L.P.)
9. Tragically Alright (feat. Ariel Pink)
11. Weird With You$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now