As student bodies reassemble, thoughts of community arise - from dissolving families to new-found friends; music holds something over our relationship to the world. Between a reborn STEREOLAB’s phosphorescent, “Chemical Chords,” and INARA GEORGE’s luscious art-pop collaboration with VAN DYKE PARKS, “An Invitation,” ideas of connections abound. Open yet infinitely irresolvable - the dialectical discs this September offer wisdom and theories galore. But the question still remains, can you relate?
Walkmen - You & Me
Album title: You & Me
Record Label: Gigantic Records
Shifting through hazy memories, The Men’s crooning biographies wade within life-long habits and haunting afterthoughts, behind barbed guitars metamorphosis’s into breezy steel drums. The tangle of jangle stir tiny tempests out of whittled punk’s brittle ballads as, “You & Me,” fades into consciousness. The Walkmen, join Okkervil River at Madison’s Annex September 14th
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James - Hey Ma
Album title: Hey Ma
Record Label: Decca Records
Climatic layers of liberating anthem-prayers skulk and rise like cathedral steeples as James’ cosmic purging flood fights dark, rising tides, Hook-filled pop-rock sincerity calmly and cautiously pours outspoken outrage over heroic insights, unmasking frustrations to cast out injustices. “Ma,” tackles hot topics with point-blank lyrics and rousing positivity. James plays Milwaukee’s Turner Hall Sept 26th.
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- Me and Armini
Album title: Me and Armini
Record Label: Rough Trade Records
Lusty Icelandic trip-hop kicks slow jigs swirling like glittery frosting over infectious beats in Torrini’s latest incarnation. Electronic and organic, earthy and heavenly, “Armini,” ricochets from silly to sultry to spiritual - a taunting buffet of magic woods and wild imaginations, synthesizers blinking in velvet skies, pixie rhythms rubbing against scandalous minuets.
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Amanda Palmer - Who Killed Amanda Palmer
Album title: Who Killed Amanda Palmer
Record Label: Roadrunner Records
Post-feminist burlesque bursts from the story-songs of Dresden Doll’s Palmer. “Killed,” turns combustible, unfurling kooky goose-stepping waltzes before revealing fallen-angel soliloquies. - theatrical piano pathos squeezed between barn-burning carnivals, contemporary operettas paired with urgent introspection. Neither intelligence nor humor disappear or dominate while Palmer’s ingeniously mischievous heart powers, “Killed,”to beautiful conclusions.
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I'm Not Jim - You Are All My People
Album title: You Are All My People
Record Label: Bloodshot Records
Diabolical monologues scatter attitude as half-crazed narratives highlight the punchy, prankish partnership of The Silo’s Walter Salas-Humara and novelist Jonathan Lethem. Refashioned by the crack production team of The Elegant Too, “People,” packs smug, dusty ironies into smart, swift, psycho-rockabilly vibes, roasting tumbleweed characters over chicken-scratching funk and hep-cat roots-rock.
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I'm Not Jim online:
Jennifer O'Connor - Here with Me
Album title: Here with Me
Record Label: Matador Records
Gently penetrating inflections both uncannily persuasive and honestly understated - O’Connor’s finely-tuned inner voice holds up impish grins, thoughtful indecisions and bottomless sympathy. Lightning-simple truths blaze across O’Connor’s perceptive recollections - uncovering hope in trustworthy words, dressed simply, delivered stylishly. Comforting and intimate, “Here,” quietly charms via secret invitations, open dreams addressing confessions.
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Jennifer O'Connor online:
Bound Stems - The Family Afloat
Album title: The Family Afloat
Record Label: Flameshovel Records
A playful clatter of melodic maelstroms, off-kilter codas and terrorized testimonials bind, “Family,” together in a smoldering bowl of lo-fi mercurial ADD rock. The Stems’ psychological kaleidoscope simmers, escalates and oddly oscillates dissecting modern times through knee-buckling gallops and jigsaw cat-calls, providing, “Family,” explosive doses of fractured maverick novellas and infuriating patchwork prophecy.
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More obscure connection-titles this fall also share side-project/new incarnation status. Rilo Kiley’s guitarist-songwriter PIERRE DE REEDER proves exceptionally versatile in his splendidly knotty, “The Way That It Was,” while Our Lady Peace’s RAINE MAIDA assembles a killer combination of creepy, weepy hip-hop rock on, “The Hunters Lullaby.” Lastly, former Jam, former Style Council long-time British folk-soul rocker PAUL WELLER, gathers stellar friends but clearly captains the bravely multi-colored, “22 Dreams.”