Beth Orton’s Enters The Sugaring Season

Beth Orton Sugaring Season ReviewBeth Orton’s latest release, Sugaring Season, is as close to a perfect album as she’s released in almost 10 years. While not nearly as sonically adventurous as classics such as Trailer Park and Daybreaker, Sugaring Season features some of the most beautiful harmonizing and stunning songwriting she’s ever recorded.

I’ve been a big fan of Beth’s ever since the release of Trailer Park back in 1996. She was the first artist who blended elements of folk with electronica that I remember really taking to. Her voice is somewhat of an acquired taste, but I’ve always thought it was extremely soothing; as evidenced on songs like “Don’t Need A Reason,” my favorite Beth Orton song of all-time.

Sugaring Season is definitely the most stripped down of any of her records to date, but it’s by no means spare sounding. I was a little nervous when I heard that she was releasing a “mostly-acoustic” album mostly because it sounded like it could end up being dull – BUT, I should know better than to doubt Beth’s music. Coming almost 6 years since her last release, the mostly disappointing Comfort Of Strangers, Sugaring Season acts as a proper successor to 2002’s magnificent Daydreamer, without ever sounding over or under produced.

Her songwriting is always her biggest strength and songs like Dawn Chorus, Call Me The Breeze, and the extremely pretty Last Leaves Of Autumn remind me why she’s one of the best songwriters of my generation. Each song is full of Beth’s trademark layered songwriting and is sure to act as the perfect companion to fall here in the Northeast. Grab some headphones, put on your pensive mellow hat, and have a listen.

Check out Dawn Chorus below.

*Beth Orton’s 5th album, Sugaring Season, is out now via ANTI.

http://beth-orton.net/

 

Beth Orton “Dawn Chorus”

 

The Hotness: Stars “The North”

Stars The North Album Review  Hold On When You Get Love The Theory Of RelativityCanadian quintet, Stars, have been churning out essential listening for over a decade. But perhaps their most listenable album yet, is their latest masterpiece, The North.

Stars came onto my map back around the same time that Arcade Fire’s debut did back in 2004, with the release of their politically charged stunner, Set Yourself On Fire (featuring one of my favorite songs that year, Ageless Beauty). Since then, they’ve released new music every year; mostly good stuff that has ranged from delicate piano balladry to melodic indie rock to stadium sized powerpop and more.

On The North, Stars have taken a timely detour into synthpop territory, and laced their beautiful lyrics with bouncy strings, bleeps, bloops and all sorts of cute production tricks. Amy Millan’s voice is as soothing as ever, while Torquil Campbell remains one of the most romantic vocalists I listen to. His voice absolutely melts me, for some reason.

On an album that goes from strength to strength with each subsequent song, my favorite of the bunch is “Hold On When You Get Love And Let Go When You Give It” – which tugs at my heart strings every time. It features some nifty Peter Hook-style guitar work, a nice pop beat and some of the most gorgeously true lyrics I’ve heard all year. Have a listen to that song and the first track on the album, The Theory Of Relativity, below.

*Stars’ 6th album, The North, is out now via ATO Records.

http://www.facebook.com/starsstars

 

Stars “Hold On When You Get Love And Let Go When You Give It”

 

Stars “The Theory Of Relativity”

 

The (Summer) Hotness: Hi Fashion

Hi Fashion Special Delivery Single Peaches Crystal WatersHi Fashion is an electropop (hate that term as it doesn’t do them justice) duo from LA, comprised of Jen DM and Rick Gradone; who have been blowing up my iPod non-stop with their latest single, Special Delivery.

Thanks to some sick 90s style pulsating production, Rick’s perfect 90s dance falsetto and Jen’s powerful vocals (which recall 90s dance diva, Crystal Waters, among others), there’s little doubt in my mind that Special Delivery is the definitive summer anthem of 2012. The song takes Hi Fashion’s sound to a whole new level and reminds us all that dance music should not only make you wanna move your ass, but it should be stuck in your head for days and give you a smile every time you think about it.

Soundwise, Hi Fashion’s music is extremely diverse. Their debut EP, 2011’s Sprechen Sie Hi Fashion, features a vast musical arsenal that recalls a little bit of old school Le Tigre, Peaches, Deeelite and even a little Sleater-Kinney energy, too.  As a whole, they have an incredible knack for writing hooks and creating music that effortlessly skips around different genres; touching on each one of their musical influences. Sometimes they’re political and usually they’re dance-y; but they’re always fun – and that comes across loud and clear.

It’s refreshing to see a band who uses “fun” as the primary building block for everything they do, while still having some incredible songwriting chops to back it up. If this is Hi Fashion 2.0, consider me an eager fan awaiting their next move.

As I said before, Special Delivery is my song of the summer and I have no doubt that you’ll all be eating this one up. 90s dance done right.

Check out the A-M-A-Z-I-N-G video for Special Delivery below and keep an eye out for my one-on-two interview with Jenn and Rick; which I shall post later this week. Enjoy!

*Hi Fashion’s latest single, Special Delivery, is out now and self-released.

http://www.theworldofhifashion.com/

 

Hi Fashion “Special Delivery”

The (Super) Hotness: Aaron Alexis

Aaron Alexis This FireMaybe it’s because I’ve been working out a bunch. Maybe it’s because it’s summer. Or maybe it’s because I haven’t gotten laid in a while. Either way, the hormones are a ragin these days, and Aaron Alexis isn’t helping.

Who is Aaron Alexis, you ask? Well, he’s a solo artist living in Brooklyn who possesses one of the most sensual sexual and seductive voices this side of Al Green. Aaron pairs his music with really interesting production that at times pulls from trip hop, synth pop, house music, tropical pop and more. To say his taste is eclectic would be a giant understatement – which is why I think I’m so drawn to his sound. The only common thread throughout the collection of songs I’ve been privy to hear in demo form is that they’re all backed by his beautiful voice – well, that, and the fact that they’re all HOT.

Currently unsigned, Aaron is self-releasing all of his music. But if there’s any justice in the world, he’ll be snatched up by someone with a real ear for talent. His sound is not only unique, but it’s extremely marketable; the type of music that should be heard en masse. (<—-that means ‘by a lot of people’ right?)

Here’s to hopin.

Check out my current favorite track, This Fire; download it for free and spread the word!

http://www.facebook.com/theaaronalexis

 

Aaron Alexis “This Fire”

 

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