Feature ·

[May 8, 2007] Heading to the record store? Here's what's new.

Each week, we preview a handful of notable albums scheduled to hit the shelves, plus offer a full list of the current new releases.



Keren Ann

Keren Ann

Blue Note

Move over, Leslie Feist. You've had your week. Now it's Keren Ann's turn. Another beautiful singer-songwriter with a gorgeous voice, Keren Ann plies an alluringly cosmopolitan sound -- fitting, because she divides her time between Paris and New York. This self-titled album is the follow-up to 2005's Nolita, and it finds a U.S. home on the same label that releases Norah Jones' records. Keren Ann should prove perfect for hipsters who find guilty pleasure in breathily crooned lounge ballads but think Ms. Jones is a little too commercial. ~John Zeiss



Artist: http://www.kerenann.com/

Label: http://www.bluenote.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/kerenann 

The Bad Plus


Universal/Do the Math

Find a niche and stick to it; that's always a good plan for a band. So it is with the Bad Plus. The avant-jazz trio makes albums filled with interesting covers alongside originals tunes. Pianist Ethan Iverson, bassist Reid Anderson, and drummer David King are known to funk-up songs sacred to the rock cannon. On Prog, they don't disappoint: The band reinterprets David Bowie's "Life on Mars," Tears for Fears' "Everybody Wants to Rule the World," and Rush's "Tom Sawyer," among others. ~John Zeiss



Band: http://www.thebadplus.com/

Label: http://thebadplus.typepad.com/dothemath/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/badplus  




Even Bjork just wants to have fun. On recent albums, she's delved deeper into aesthetic challenges, conceptual art, and process experiments. The results have varied widely and made for a surprising blossoming so deep into her career. For her sixth album, Bjork cashed in her frequent flyer miles to break up her music-making "routine." Though she has always championed collaboration, her co-conspirators this time around stretch even further to include the premier pipa player Min Xiao-Fen, Malian kora expert Toumani Diabate, and good ol' Antony Hegarty from Antony and the Johnsons. Much has been made of Timbaland's influence on Volta and the seeming pop direction Bjork has taken, but don't be fooled: She has always championed accessibility, even finding a way to merge Meredith Monk and Rahzel in the not so distant past. So, let the good times roll: Volta is here. ~Dan Nishimoto



Artist: http://bjork.com/

Label: http://www.atlanticrecords.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/bjork  

The Clientele

God Save the Clientele


Over the years, Merge Records has expanded from being a home for American power-pop rock bands to being a home for, well, power-pop rock bands from other countries as well. Case in point: Londoners the Clientele. God Save the Clientele, the band's third full-length, was recorded in Nashville with Mark Nevers, who has also worked with Lambchop, the Silver Jews, and Bonnie "Prince" Billy. The album finds the Clientele adding strings, piano, slide guitar, and pedal steel to its sound. Merge compares the results to the Byrds, Big Star, and even the Beatles. ~John Zeiss



Band: http://www.theclientele.co.uk/

Label: http://www.mergerecords.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/theclienteleofficial  


The Daily News

Soul Thought

Considering Donnie's pedigree, you could easily think the young man had been born with a soultastic silver spoon in his mouth. As a child growing up in Atlanta, he was immersed in strong gospel vocal traditions and attended church with his late cousin Marvin Gaye. As a burgeoning artist, he was bred out of Atlanta's fertile soul scene, the same that developed India.arie and Joi; that same connection also helped give him his first major record label attention. However, as he demonstrated on his 2002 debut, The Colored Section, Donnie is one of the rare artists who lives up to his prestigious upbringing. An astonishing mixture of raw, old-school shouts, new-school smoothness, and funky songwriting chops, Donnie proved a worthy candidate to lead a new generation of soul. Finally, he follows up that auspicious debut with the topically focused The Daily News. Once again, Donnie turns to his elders (veterans from Earth, Wind & Fire, Stevie Wonder's bands and Michael Jackson) for support. More important, he embraces the unapologetic activist spirit of the '70s and explores/explodes current social ills, from the U.S. government's disaffection with citizens of color to child molestation. ~Dan Nishimoto



Artist: http://www.myspace.com/donniemusic

Label: http://soulthought.com/ 


No Shouts, No Calls

Too Pure/Beggars

This year has been so rife with great releases that some quality albums are bound to go ignored. Such a fate might befall the new one from Electrelane. 'Twould be a shame, really, because No Shouts, No Calls is full of vintage British alt-rock. It's the three-girls-and-a-guy's fourth full-length. Lest you think I am the only one wanting you to take more notice of the band, notice that none other than the Arcade Fire has hand-selected Electrelane as an opener for much of its upcoming North American tour. ~John Zeiss



Band: http://www.electrelane.com/

Label: http://www.toopure.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/electrelane  


Everything Last Winter


In spite of fomenting considerable hype from a number of collectible singles and Vice sponsorship, Fields bridges folk, fuzz, and rawk with a refreshing sincerity. Probably helps that the quintet has already demonstrated in its brief one year of recorded existence greater pop panache than most of the recent Anglo slag that have attempted similar feats, such as the Doves, Elbow, and tomorrow's Heads, Knees, and . . . . The group frequently receives comparisons with singular bands like Pentangle and My Bloody Valentine, but never mind the press: It's bollocks, as usual. Fields warmed U.K. souls with the thick hold of 'shrooms and lollipops on its major-label debut, Everything Last Winter, last month; now it's time for stateside audiences to cop a fix. ~Dan Nishimoto



Artist: http://www.fieldsband.com/

Label: http://www.atlanticrecords.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/fieldsband

Great Lake Swimmers      



Great Lake Swimmers is a Canadian folk-rock band based on singer-songwriter Tony Dekker. Think of Dekker as a Canadian Damien Jurado. He sings hushed, beautiful, detail-laden songs about life and love. Opener "Your Rocky Spine" is the best analysis of oft-clumsy physical love since Neutral Milk Hotel's "The King of Carrot Flowers Part 1." Owen Pallett (a.k.a. Final Fantasy) and Serena Ryder guest on Ongiara. The album has already been available outside the U.S. and in download form, but its proper U.S. release brings a batch of songs stateside that fans of Leonard Cohen and Elliot Smith will find much to admire in. ~John Zeiss



Band: http://www.greatlakeswimmers.com/

Label: http://www.nettwerk.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/greatlakeswimmers  

DJ Jazzy Jeff

The Return of the Magnificent


How appropriate that DJ Jazzy Jeff would name his production company A Touch of Jazz after such an understated expression. The pioneering DJ, A-list producer, and unintentional comedian made a name for himself as a background player. On rare occasion the man has stepped out from behind the boards to beat his own chest. More than 16 years into his career, he released his first solo record The Magnificent. Jeff still leaned back, and allowed emcees to chatter over his thick keyboards and crisp, head-nodding thumps. He played it cool enough to allow friends, both lesser known like Touch affiliate Kev Brown and Philly neighbor Pauly Yamz to better known like J-Live and Jill Scott, to share the spotlight, making The Magnificent a remarkable example of hip hop's approach to community. Perhaps in recognition of this success, Jeff revisits the approach for his second solo album, the aptly titled The Return of the Magnificent. The guests are bigger, including stellar emcees like Posdnous, Big Daddy Kane, Kardinall Offishall, Method Man, CL Smooth, and Peedi Crakk/Peedi, but still makes room for up-and-comers like Twone Gabz, Eshon Burgundy, and Kel Spencer. ~Dan Nishimoto



Artist: http://www.djjazzyjeff.com/

Label: http://www.rapsterrecords.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/djjazzyjeff  

Lavender Diamond

Imagine Our Love


What does a lavender diamond look like? Not exactly sure. What does Lavender Diamond sound like? Pure heaven, thanks most of all to the angelic voice of lead singer Becky Stark. Imagine Our Love was produced by Thom Monahan, who has also worked with Devendra Banhart and Pernice Brothers. Fans of Matador's typical catalogue of jangly indie rock won't find more of the same here. But give Imagine Our Love a chance and you may just experience one of the prettiest moments you'll have all year. ~John Zeiss



Band: http://www.lavenderdiamond.com/

Label: http://www.matadorrecords.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/lavenderdiamond


Joe Lovano & Hank Jones

Kids: Duets Live at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola

Blue Note

Spine Magazine recently wondered whether being produced by his son should make emcee GZA feel old. How disappointing that hip-hop should adhere to pop market's youth fixation that such a collaboration would provoke puzzlement instead of encouragement. And how contrasting it is that a promotional video for fifty-five-year-old saxophonist Joe Lovano and eighty-nine-year-old pianist Hank Jones's new album would highlight the pair's age difference and the parallel learning exchange inherent in their collaboration. Perhaps the jazz world is truly out of step, but at least someone is embracing communication. The two continue to explore their musical relationship and follow up 2004's I'm All for You and 2005's Joyous Encounter with this live session from one of New York's newest jazz venues. ~Dan Nishimoto



Artist: http://www.joelovano.com/

Label: http://www.bluenote.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/joelovanojazz 

Madlib and Peanut Butter Wolf

The Other Side of Los Angeles

Time Out/Blind Side

Part travel show, part counter-culture geek-fest, Time Out's The Other Side series finds synergy between the travel/events guide and the deejay/producer's taste-selector aesthetic. Consisting of a DVD tour of a metropolis, a CD mix to enjoy while touring the city, and a concise booklet with maps and Yellow Pages info, the package can be summarized as a musician playing tour guide. For its fifth edition, Time Out hires Stones Throw founder Peanut Butter Wolf to run across Los Angeles, and label workhorse Madlib blends the mix. The choice of the Bay Area and Ventura County natives (respectively) is sure to have a transplants' perspective, which is a perfect match with the guide's mixture of outsider accessibility and insider gems. ~Dan Nishimoto



Artist: http://www.stonesthrow.com/madlib/

Label: http://www.stonesthrow.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/madlib 

Page France

...and the Family Telephone

Suicide Squeeze

Who said all indie rockers were slackers? This is the fifth album in four years from Page France. The band continues to revolve mainly around singer-songwriter Michael Nau, although Nau claims this album is more of a full-band effort than previous Page France releases. Adding horns to some of the album's songs is Anathallo's Andrew Dost. Please don't get the band confused with rapper Sage Francis. Nor should you get the album confused with Grandaddy's 2006 swan song, And the Fambly Cat. ~John Zeiss



Band: http://www.pagefrance.net/

Label: http://www.suicidesqueeze.net/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/pagefrance  

Elliott Smith

New Moon

Kill Rock Stars

Thanks to advances in recording technology, posthumous releases have become more of a given than an exception. The horror of "reviving" John Lennon's vocals for a Beatles "reunion" was supplanted a decade later by the warm embrace of the "naked" remix of Let It Be. Indeed, the path to extending an artist's output from beyond the grave has been long and winding. No surprise, then, that the news of a pending compilation of unreleased Elliott Smith tracks was met with relatively little consternation; after the barely discernible semi-posthumous tinkering on his final album, 2004's From a Basement on the Hill, the thought of more material was quickly accepted. So, kudos to Larry Crane, archivist for Smith's estate and founder of the gearhead bible Tapeop, for taking on the project with such sensitivity. In an era when the deceased can be appropriated and marketed with little consideration for original context, Crane has made detailed in his magazine the careful attention paid to respecting Smith's aesthetics. The result, the wistfully titled New Moon, is stretched across two CDs and includes familiars ("Miss Misery"), new material, and covers originally demoed between 1994 and 1997. ~Dan Nishimoto



Artist: http://www.sweetadeline.net/

Label: http://www.killrockstars.com/ 

The Sea and Cake


Thrill Jockey

Only a great band can become a de facto supergroup over the course of its career. That's what has happened with the Sea and Cake. Singer and instrumentalist Sam Prekop has released his own acclaimed solo albums. So has guitarist/keyboardist Archer Prewitt. And you may also know drummer John McEntire from manning the kit for Tortoise and serving behind the production boards for other Thrill Jockey bands. For Everybody, the Sea and Cake's first album in more than four years, the band brought in producer Brian Paulson, who has also worked with Slint and Wilco. Expect more breezy, absolutely enjoyable indie rock. ~John Zeiss



Band: http://www.theseaandcake.com/

Label: http://www.thrilljockey.com/ 

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/seaandcake 

Sea Wolf

Get to the River Before It Runs Too Low


Can your fragile mind balance another band with the word "wolf" in its name? This one is Sea Wolf. The band is on Dangerbird Records, a little label continuing its streak of interest-piquing releases, from last year's breakout Silversun Pickups record to last month's debut from All Smiles, a.k.a. ex-Grandaddy guitarist Jim Fairchild. Sea Wolf is basically the lone lupine Alex Church, a native Californian who used to play bass in the band Irvine. He cites the Beatles and Willie Nelson as influences. ~John Zeiss



Band: http://seawolfmusic.com/

Label: http://www.dangerbirdrecords.com/

Audio: http://myspace.com/seawolf  

Shannon Wright

Let in the Light

Touch and Go

How dense is the music world right now? How about this dense: You can't even go more than one week without a new album from a redheaded, piano-pounding, female singer-songwriter. Last week: Tori Amos. This week: Shannon Wright, one-time lead singer of Crowsdell. Her fifth solo album features drumming from the Shipping News' Kyle Crabtree and production from Andy Baker, who has long worked with Wright. ~John Zeiss



Artist: http://www.knowwave.com/shannonwright/

Label: http://www.tgrec.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/shannonwrightmusic

Asian Dub Foundation: Time Freeze: The Best of Asian Dub Foundation (Caroline)
Bj�rk: Volta (Atlantic / Wea)
Blowfly: Superblowfly (Henry Stone Music)
Bobby Valentino: Special Occasion (Def Jam)
The Boggs: Forts (Gigantic)
Bone Thugs-N-Harmony: Strength & Loyalty (Interscope)
Brakes: Beatific Visions (Rough Trade)
Chuck Ragan: Feliz (Side One Dummy)
The Clientele: God Save the Clientele (Merge)
Dan Deacon: Spiderman of the Rings (Carpark)
Deerhunter: Flourescent Grey EP (Kranky)
DJ Babu: Beat Tape, Vol. 1 (Nature Sounds)
DJ Jazzy Jeff: Return of the Magnificent (Rapster)
Electrelane: No Shouts, No Calls (Too Pure / Beggars)
Elliott Smith: New Moon (Kill Rock Stars)
The Exies: Modern Way of Living with the Truth (Eleven Seven Music)
Fields: Everything Last Winter (Atlantic / Wea)
From the Shallows: Beyond the Unknown (Tribunal)
Goon Moon: Licker's Last Leg (Ipecac)
Grand Buffet: Haunted Fucking Gazebo (Fighting)
Great Lake Swimmers: Ongiara (Nettwerk)
Greg Palast: Live from the Armed Madhouse (Alternative Tentacles)
H.I.M. (His Infernal Majesty): And Love Said No: Greatest Hits 1997-2004 (Republic)
Haystak: Crackavelli (40 West)
Intelligent Hoodlum: Intelligent Hoodlum/Saga of a Hoodlum (Nature Sounds)
Kenny Rogers: Golden Legends: Kenny Rogers (Madacy Special MKTS)
Kris Kristofferson: This Old Road (New West)
Lavender Diamond: Imagine Our Love (Matador)
Lichens: OMNS [CD/DVD] (Kranky)
Lisa Gerrard: Silver Tree (High Wire Music)
Mary Timony: Shapes We Make (Kill Rock Stars)
Master P: Ghetto D [10th Anniversary Edition] (Priority)
Max�mo Park: Our Earthly Pleasures (Warp)
MC Shan: Down By Law (Traffic Ent.)
Mice Parade: Mice Parade (Fat Cat)
Mother Mother: Touch Up (Last Gang)
Mystery Jets: Zootime (Dim Mak)
Neon Horse: Neon Horse (Tooth & Nail)
New Years Day: My Dear (TVT)
Of Montreal: Icons, Abstract Thee (Polyvinyl)
Page France: Page France and the Family Telephone (Suicide Squeeze)
Phat Kat: Carte Blanche (Look)
Radiohead: Com Lag (2Plus2IsFive) (EMI)
Sage Francis: Human the Death Dance (Epitaph / Ada)
The Sea and Cake: Everybody (Thrill Jockey)
Sea Wolf: Get to the River Before It Runs Too Low (Dangerbird)
Shannon Wright: Let in the Light (Quarterstick)
Skatalites: On the Right Track (Aim)
Skeletons: Lucas (Ghostly International)
Tarwater: Spider Smile (Morr Music / M.M.)
Travis: Boy with No Name (Sony)
Valet: Blood Is Clean (Kranky)
The View: Hats off to the Buskers (Sony)
Weatherbox: American Art (Doghouse)
Willie Nelson: 20 Best of Willie Nelson (Madacy Special MKTS)
Wooden Stars: People Are Different (Sonic Unyon)
Z-Ro: Power (Rap-A-Lot)

*Release dates may change. E-mail brandon@prefixmag.com with corrections or additions.

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