C Duncan "Health"
Is there anyone in music dealing in the kinds of stunning harmonies that C Duncan does these days? Seriously. Those stacked vocals! Come on! ELO wishes they sounded this sweet! Mix all that up with an addition to his singular sound. “What addition” you ask? Well, for the first time, he had outside production, and what production it is! Elbow’s Craig Potter brings along a fuller sound than ever appeared on the first two records. But fear not, everything you love is here, but bigger with hints of disco, Twin Peaks-esque noir chill, and vintage ‘50s pop twists. Check out the disco string stings on “Impossible.”
Ex Hex "It’s Real (Merge)"
It’s Real (Merge)…What is REAL to EX HEX? Is it the ROCK that is real? Well that would be about right – as It’s Real is a full-fledged ROCK album. I mean sure, some of the punk tempos of RIPS are still in the house (“Crystal Caves”), but It’s Real could sit right next to anyone wearing spandex and fingerless gloves and some really, REALLY big hair. Now don’t get me wrong this isn’t METAL, but more that POP-METAL (?) of the 80’s with such bands as Def Leopard leading the fray. As a matter of fact I’m sure Merge is saving up the budget to get Mutt Lang to produce the next Ex-Hex record. In the meantime can I start the public demand that Ex-Hex cover “Round And Round” by Ratt? Well, until my gofundme gets funded, let’s keep busy by having fun hearing the rock joy being spread by Mary Timony and crew on “Rainbow Shiner.”
Fintan "Then We Fall EP"
The hushed modern pop of Fintan has never been in greater focus than on the 6 songs that make up the Then We Fall EP. Mixing smooth beats with his tranquil, soulful vocals, and emotive lyrical prowess, this EP is the culmination of his songwriting work. He decided to combine his singer-songwriter roots with the pop music he loves. The result are these meticulously crafted pop gems. Check out the laid back groove of “Say It Again.”
Ibibio Sound Machine "Doko Mien (Merge)"
I can only assume that you’ve been a fan of the infectious combination of influences Ibibio Sound Machine has been swirling together for the past few years whilst perfecting their sound. Well, get ready to add some absolutely filthy funk flexing to their mixture. Doko Mien (Merge) finds vocalist Eno Williams and the rest of the band combining ‘80s club and pop music, ‘70s funk, and West African blues and pop music into a wholly new sound that somehow sounds vintage and like its from the future at the same time. Neat trick, right? It’s like your Miami Sound Machine records melted into your Bettie Davis reissues and then that newly formed record melted into your best of Fela Kuti record and somehow this record made out of three melted records still plays, and sounds amazing! Check out the lead off track “Need You To Be Sweet Like Sugar” and ask yourself “why aren’t more bands getting greasy with funky basslines like this anymore?”