singer/songwriter: Sam Phillips
Summer promises sunshine, romance and carefree getaways, but often delivers sweat, glare and tension-filled sizzle. Listeners best beware, June’s musical menu offers seven tempting discs whose titles suggest practicing extreme caution.
T-Bone Burnett - Tooth of Crime
Album title: Tooth of Crime
Record Label: Nonesuch
An apocalyptic operetta, “Tooth”, springs from Burnett’s collaboration with playwright Sam Shepard. A wickedly delicious slice of social dissection of its own, “Tooth,” uncovers a world of rusted twang and stark, Western gothic. Burnett’s characters rattle and rail, preoccupied by closeted conversations divulged inside purgatory’s confessional - coolly spooky sermons of cold-blooded salvation.
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Nik Freitas - Sundown
Album title: Sundown
Record Label: Team Love
Friendly, ambling anthems bubbling with simple but sage advice, Freitas’ cavalier tunefulness brings a light on its feet feel to the infectiously sensible, “Sundown.” Bouncing through life’s brambles, Freitas’ plainly spoken prose and strolling observations buoys the disc’s rambling slice of life approach to battling tar baby heartaches through good-natured level-headedness and easy-going charm.
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Nik Freitas online:
Futureheads - This Is Not The World
Album title: This Is Not The World
Record Label: Null Records
Hammering home a fun-loving fondness for neo-future pop, Britain’s Futureheads parlay punch-drunk thunder into rigorous riffs, breakneck back-up and jacked-up jitters. “World,” flashes, pounds and twists, lifting New Wave formulas into dance- floor pandemonium – an uncaged roller-coaster of quips, flips and cut to the chase efficiency delivering the goods every time.
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Veda Hille - This Riot Life
Album title: This Riot Life
Record Label: Ape House
A drawing room renegade politely deconstructing preconceptions, Veda’s mini-symphonies and radiant arrangements trump quirky and transcend odd. Assembling enchanting, organic concertos of modern theater, Veda’s coy, sparring intelligence advances, “Riot,” from fluttering meditations to gale-force hymns, throwing divinity into tailspins and piloting delicate rapture among taunt tangos, lucid dreams trumpeting whimsical marches.
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Joan As Police Woman - To Survive
Album title: To Survive
Record Label: Cheap Lullaby
A patient ghostly glow hovers over, “Survive,” as bohemian folk-soul gossamer meets simmering astral-jazz. Joan’s honeyed homilies and tasty acoustic accompaniment swing from sensitive and solemn to magically inviting. Further lifted by wonderfully groggy electronics and Earth mother harmony, “Survive,” naturally unfolds as it joyfully explores.
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My Brightest Diamond - A Thousand Shark’s Teeth
Album title: A Thousand Shark’s Teeth
Record Label: Asthmatic Kitty
Wrapped in lush, celestial robes, MBD’s latest shattering palate of sweet and sour, worldly and unearthly erupts with volcanic lust and soars into nesting banshees. Sumptuous eloquence enshrined in fluid cat-like stealth, “Teeth,” cuts through the clouds with swift, invigorating rhythms and bold, seething leaps writhing in splendid seizures.
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Sam Phillips - Don’t Do Anything
Album title: Don’t Do Anything
Record Label: Nonesuch
Cloaked in smoldering urges and singed regrets, Phillips chooses to shed skins for her first-time role as producer and let the songs shine. Dripping in black widow honesty, bump and grind beats and tossed aside lovers, Phillips’ rumbling guitars and skeletal piano turn, “Don’t,” into scathing, claws-out cunning.
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A fascinating spin through digital manipulation, MATMOS’ recent “Supreme Balloon,” was recorded entirely internally; the all-electronic album frolics in imaginative, polymorphous melodies. Meanwhile sample noir specialists PORTISHEAD and electro-pop conceptualists DOLEFUL LIONS, go one further naming their new technology-driven adventures by number. Doleful’s elaborately conceived, day-glo powered, “Seven,” conjures sci-fi prog-rock inside hippie bubble-gum while Portishead’s jungle raw, clenched-jaw, “Three,” fashions stylishly gritty narcolepsy from neatly chiseled jigsaw decisions.