Hot Chip - “In Our Heads”: For all of Hot Chip’s emotionally deep lyricism, they’re a dance band too, and they can bring a tear to your eye just as well as they can make you throw down some moves on the club floor. It’s that precise balance which becomes the key component to the success of their fifth studio outing, “In Our Heads.” Right from the get-go this sounds like a party: along with copping the riff from “Another Brick in the Wall,” opening cut “Motion Sickness” blares declaratory horns, signifying a grandeur that pervades the following ten songs. “In Our Heads” is proof that Hot Chip are succeeding on their consistently impressive musical journey. -- Brice Ezell
Grace Potter & The Nocturnals - “The Lion, The Beast, The Beat”: Grace Potter’s got the vocal arsenal of a Greek God - part Joplin, part Boudica, all lethal weapon. A voice designed to tear off roofs and tear-up hearts. A force of nature so incendiary her band’s sassily titled fourth album should come with a health sticker warning “Play Indoors at Owner’s Risk.” “The Lion, The Beast, The Beat” is a good record bookended by two moments of greatness. Yet “The Lion” is too often content to jump through hoops, roll over and let you tickle its soft, white underbelly when it’s so clearly capable of something far more impressive. When you know the mighty lion can roar and shake the mountains above a simple meow just ain’t the same. -- Matt James
Bobby Womack - “The Bravest Man in the Universe”: None of the songs or ideas here are revolutionary, exactly, but with Blur’s Damon Albarn and Richard Russell - head of record label XL - acting as producers, it’s far from being a retread of Womack’s finest moments. On most tracks, Womack’s formidable but at times strained voice is backed by jittery electro and ethereal R&B. There’s also a spare and beautiful gospel-flavored number entitled “Deep River” that serves as one of the album’s strongest tracks. Although not quite the greatest release that Womack’s name has been stamped on (as Womack asserts it is), “The Bravest Man” will, with some luck, serve as a pleasant and uplifting gateway to Womack’s imperative back catalogue. -- Maria Schurr
The Tallest Man on Earth - “There’s No Leaving Now”: The Tallest Man on Earth returns with another album of achingly moving, emotionally enigmatic songs. Like on his previous records, Kristian Matsson’s lyrics offer a master class on how to write something at once inscrutable and distinctly evocative. If the words themselves on “1904” scan as translucent - if not totally opaque - when viewed on the page, Matsson pulls the old troubadour hat trick of communicating a sea of feeling through the way he sings them. His insistent voice, beautiful and raw, gives his listeners the proper emotional cues to follow through these tracks, and his guitar - all open tunings, either strummed with abandon or fingerpicked with virtuosic clarity - speaks volumes on its own, less a backing vocal than a full-throated co-vocalist. -- Corey Beasley
Josh Turner - “Punching Bag”: More than the deep-sorrow-man or the punched-up survivalist, Josh Turner is the good guy of country, and the songs when he’s playing up that side tend to work best. The toothy grin he sports on three of his album covers, including this one, suits his music better than the more serious look he has on the other two. That said, probably the best song on the album, his current single “Time Is Love,” manages to stay in that good-natured family man mode while carrying in its air the sadder, tougher aspects of life. -- Dave Heaton
Other notable releases this week:
- Mary Chapin Carpenter - “Ashes & Roses”
- The dB’s - “Falling Off the Sky”
- Future of the Left - “The Plot Against Common Sense”
- Guided By Voices - “Class Clown Spots a UFO”
- Jaill - “Traps”
- Judas Priest - “The Complete Albums Collection”
- Jukebox the Ghost - “Safe Travels”
- Boban i Marko Markovic Orkestar - “Golden Horns”
- Dent May - “Do Things”
- Metric - “Synthetica”
- Wymond Miles - “Under the Pale Moon”
- Motion City Soundtrack - “Go”
- Rush - “Clockwork Angels”
- Usher - “Looking 4 Myself”
- The Young - “Dub Egg”
TUNES ON THE TUBE ... MUSIC ON TV THIS WEEK
“Jimmy Kimmel Live” (ABC): Goodie Mob (T), Dead Sara (W), The Temper Trap (Th), K’Naan (F).
“Late Show with David Letterman” (CBS): Patti Smith (T), Jerry Douglas (W), Elizabeth Cook (Th).
“The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” (NBC): Meiko (T), Olly Murs (F).
“Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” (NBC): Alejandro Escovedo (T), Norah Jones (W), The Dukes of September (Th).
“Last Call With Carson Daly” (NBC): Jessie Baylin (T), Band of Skulls (W), We Are Augustines (Th), Milow (F).
“Saturday Night Live” (NBC): Jack White (Sa).
“Austin City Limits” (PBS): Rosanne Cash and Brandi Carlile (Sa).
“Conan” (TBS): Eric Hutchinson (T), Kids These Days (W).
NOW HEAR THIS
New Fiona Apple song “Anything We Want” appears online
Fionna Apple’s eagerly awaited new album “The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw, and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do” releases June 19. Apple played “Anything We Want” at SXSW, but now a stream of the studio version is available as an album preview.
--Talib Kweli debuts new song as tribute to Adam Yauch
At a recent gig at the Sound Academy in Toronto, hip-hopper Talib Kweli debuted a new song in tribute to the Beastie Boys’ Adam Yauch, who recently passed away. Word is, his sixth album “Prisoner of Conscious” will be on the way this year, but no release date has been announced yet. We are eagerly awaiting it.
Dirty Projectors - “Gun Has No Trigger” (video)
Dirty Projectors will release their new album “Swing Lo Magellan” on July 10th and have just put out the single “Gun Has No Trigger” to promote the record. You can hear the band perform the song June 19th on the Jimmy Fallon show. Meanwhile the band begins their tour July 5.
--Grizzly Bear announces new album releasing in September
Grizzly Bear have just announced that they will release their latest album Sept. 18 via Warp in the midst of their world tour. The tune “Sleeping Ute” is available for preview now, as well as the track list, but no title has been announced.
Efterklang performs new song with the Sydney Symphony
Denmark’s Efterklang recently debuted a new tune from their upcoming 4AD album “Piramida.” They collaborate with the Sydney Symphony in this video for a gorgeous symphonic performance of “The Ghost.”
K’naan - “The Ballad of Smelly and Petunia” (lyric video)
K’naan has just released his second single, “The Ballad of Smelly and Petunia,” from his upcoming new album, “Country, God or the Girl.” The video features a bunch of racy stuffed animals, while the tune is a catchy, heavy beats song that sounds like a natural single.
Willie Nelson - “Just Breathe” (Video)
For his latest album “Heroes,” country legend Willie Nelson covered Pearl Jam’s “Just Breathe” and now the video release finds Willie and his son Lukas, an up-and-coming musician, on a road trip together.
Kool A.D. - “Gwyneth Paltrow” feat. Himanshu (Video)
Das Racist’s Kool A.D. teams with his fellow Das-mate Himanshu for this new tune titled in honor of Chris Martin’s famous wife. It’s a low-budget production, laid back as all can be and a bit creepy. The tune itself is an ode to the illicit pleasures of marijuana.
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