RON l Alex Lahey
The first few seconds of the first track on Alex Lahey’s I Love You Like A Brother feel like the engineer accidentally started the tape early. It’s an indication of the “relaxed yet tight” sound from this Australian 25-year-old. Then “Every Day’s The Weekend” takes off like a moon shot. The album barely slows down, save for a couple tunes. I can’t help but be reminded of my initial impression of fellow Aussie Courtney Barnett. Alex takes that ‘70s female punk attitude and makes what I call her “Blood On The Tracks,” with only a couple of guitar solos. Take the album as a whole and you’ll hear her mature take on young love gone bad (“It’s hard for me to put my arms around you when you’re backpack’s on.”) As one reviewer said, “Get hip to Alex now before she’s playing SNL.”
STACY l Charlotte Gainsbourg
Actress and musician Charlotte Gainsbourg (daughter of Serge Gainsbourg, arguably one of France’s most revered musicians) has released an achingly pretty pop album Rest. This follow-up to her 2009 release IRM, features collaborations with Daft Punk’s Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, Canadian composer Owen Pallett and Sir Paul McCartney. Sir Paul not only wrote “Songbird in a Cage” for Charlotte, but makes a guest appearance on the track playing guitar, drums and piano.
The album, recorded at Electric Lady Studios in New York is an intimate portrait of sadness, loss and longing masked by Charlotte’s breathy vocal style and lush production. But don’t let the subject matter fool you, she’s created a beat-driven, orchestral, pop romp that even turns an homage to Sylvia Plath, “Sylvia Says,” into an utterly upbeat tune. Slipping seamlessly between French and English, Charlotte creates a moody soundscape that’s cinematic in its scope while still being intimate.
BENJI l Daniele Luppi & Parquet Courts
At first glance, this looks to be a rather unlikely pairing. Once you get past the initial shock of teaming an Italian film composer with the Brooklyn post-punk outfit you realize this is a match made in heaven. It’s evident in the opening track off “Milano,” Luppi’s tribute to Milan in the ‘80s which spotlights the decadence and deviance of the time. The city was alive, and the possibilities appeared endless. The track, “Soul and Cigarette,” shares this optimism opening with the whimsical sounds of a glockenspiel and containing lush lyrics rich with imagery. Parquet Courts approaches this song in the same manner as the Modern Lovers or Pavement with a reserved style that holds back though you know they could unleash full power on a moment’s notice. “Soul and Cigarette” is one of those unique songs that transports you to a time and place far away and makes you never want to leave.
MARGOT l Upcoming 2018 Releases
Good news, music fans, a slew of new releases are scheduled for 2018! In January alone, Calexico is releasing their ninth studio album, there’s a performance from Big Star recorded in 1974 called “Big Star Live At Lafayette’s Music Room” coming out, as well as new albums from First Aid Kit, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, tUnE-YaRdS, and the first of three EP’s from Belle and Sebastian. Past January, Jack White is set to drop an album, Superchunk are releasing their first album in four years, and MGMT, Loretta Lynn, The 1975, Interpol, and Moby all have albums on the way. In hot “rumored to be released in 2018” news, there might be new albums coming from Arctic Monkeys and Vampire Weekend. Along the way in 2018, we’ll look for new discoveries and introduce them to you as well.