Listen Up!

 

Red Velvet Car
by Heart


Fidelity!
by J.P., Chrissie and the Fairground Boys


This Too In Time
Shall Pass
by Lindy LaFontaine


Flavors of Entaglement
by Alanis Morissette


Pillar of Stone
by Joelle


Inland Sea
by Rin'


Hurts to Purr
by Hurts to Purr


 

Bastard Daugher
by Kelly Buchannan

 


Diamante

Impossible

Diamante is a 15yr. old singer/songwriter with a bright future ahead of her. I've just been listening to her first single called Impossible and I find myself checking the bio to confirm that she is just 15. Her vocals are powerful and are permeated with a confidence that usually comes only after years of experience in the music business and lots of touring. The song is a straight ahead rock song which throws a huge spotlight on Diamante's vocal prowess and she is more than up for the challenge as she belts out the lyrics without slipping into the usual teen fare that can dominate musicians in this age bracket. When you start off at this level and with this kind of quality then you have nowhere to go but up. Word to the wise, with some seasoning  over the next few years Diamante will be a voice to be reckoned with among female rockers before you know it. Check out Impossible on iTunes or Amazon and if you like it like I did then buy a copy and help move her career to the next phase.


Ladytron

Gravity the Seducer

 
Ladytron - White Elephant
by nettwerkmusicgroup

First single off the upcoming Ladytron album which is due out on September 13 in the U.S. and September 12 in the UK. The album is being released on Nettwerk records. Check out another single from the new album here. Track listing on the new album is as follows:

1. White Elephant
2. Mirage
3. White Gold
4. Ace of Hz
5. Ritual
6. Moon Palace
7. Altitude Blues
8. Ambulances
9. Melting Ice
10. Transparent Days
11. 90 Degrees
12. Aces High


Austra


Sparkle EP remixes


Feel It Break

 

 

 

Check out the video for Austra who is Katie Stelmanis, Dorian Wolf and Maya Postepski and I think that you will be looking to hear more from this group. Follow the links to their website for more information. You can check out other songs by the group and there is a download on the front page of their site when you get there. Here is another song you might like by Austra called Lose It:

 


Red Velvet Car by Heart

Yesterday I was writing about music from an artist who struck it big in the 80's and tonight is part two of that thought because another veteran act from the 80's has reemerged after a six year hiatus and released a new rocking album at the end of August. Of course I am referring to Ann and Nancy Wilson the sisters better know by their group name of Heart. Their new album called Red Velvet Car is vintage Heart with the sisters Wilson returning to their rock and roll roots and channeling the spirit of their earlier releases like Dreamboat Annie, Little Queen or Dog & Butterfly to give listeners a new album that new fans will love discovering and old fans can remember alike with really enjoy.  

I remember working in a record shop back in the 80's when "watching" music was still a novelty and hooking up a TV and a VCR to the stereo system in the record shop and showing some of the promotional videos that the record companies sent out and Heart was one of my favorite videos back then. Crazy on You done live with a great acoustic guitar intro proved to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that women could rock out just like the guys were doing. Up till the age of videos you just didn't see it that much unless you were a regular concert goer. Customer's in the shop when this played always stopped to watch Nancy go to town on her acoustic guitar and usually walked straight to the Heart LPs (yes at the time we were still selling vinyl) and picked up a couple of LPs. Take a look at the video below which is very close to the one I played in the store back then and who knows maybe you will run right over to the iTunes site and pick up your own copies.

Heart was great back then and now in 2010 they are making a statement with Red Velvet Car that they still have what it takes to rock their fans as good as any of the younger up and coming artists out there can do. In fact many of the younger artists should pay attention as to what it takes to keep your careers strong and vital even after 30 years of playing music. Heart demonstrates with tracks like Wheels, WTF, Sand and  Death Valley that Ann's voice and Nancy's guitar playing have only gotten better over the years. Reaching back into that creative passion that took them to the top in the 80's producer Ben Mink was not only able to allow all the talent that they had to shine once again but he was able to get them to think about things in a new way.  

Much has changed in the music industry since Heart first hit the scene and the stage but thankfully some things haven't changed. I look forward to many more listenings of Red Velvet Car in the weeks ahead and somewhere down the road I'll be looking for their next album. But isn't that what makes music so much fun? Always something new to look forward to.

 


Fidelity! by J.P., Chrissie and the Fairground Boys

I've been happily digesting several new releases over the past couple of weeks and to paraphrase the movie Dune, "The music must flow" and flow it does. I was also happy to see that those who were making great music in the 80's are still making great music in 2010. The artists who just keep doing what they do best and putting themselves out there will always have a following no matter how many years have past. When I first saw the group name listed J.P., Chrissie and the Fairground Boys I had no idea who it was but upon closer examination it turns out that the Chrissie in the group was Chrissie Hynde who is the lead singer of the 80's rock group The Pretenders. I must admit that I had lost touch with her for a few years now but this album proves that she hasn't lost any of her vocal prowess in the years between then and now.  

Fidelity! is the name of the Chrissie's new album and J.P. is J.P. Jones a Welsh singer-songwriter. The story goes that they fell into a relationship both musically and otherwise and then quickly fell out again but the time they spent (still spend) together generated the music that you will hear on Fidelity! With lyrics like "I've found my perfect lover but he's only half my age" you get the general idea of how personal this album can get but that is what makes it work. (Chrissie is 58 and J.P is 32) Chrissie's voice has never sounded better and J.P.'s growling vocals that are reminiscent of Tom Waits at times will definitely hold your attention. On some of the songs his vocals are a lot more melodic so if Tom Waits isn't a favorite of yours never fear J.P. does offer you more than just a gravel voiced delivery.. J.P. and Chrissie mesh as a duo at least with the singing and the Fairground Boys round things out by providing the canvas on which Chrissie and J.P. paint their songs oh so well.  

Be sure to check out the songs Perfect Lover, If You Let Me (my favorite),  and Meanwhile. I'm sure you will find other songs that will become your own favorites but those are the ones that jumped out at me. As someone who has been listening to music for the better part of 4 decades it is nice to see that some of those artists that I used to listen to are still cranking out great songs all these years later. Chrissie Hynde just goes to show you that an artist's career ain't over until they say it is over. I hope a lot of the younger artists that I am listening to now will be around for years to come creating great new music just like Chrissie continues to do. So what are you still doing here reading this? Head over to your favorite source for MP3s or CDs and get yourself a copy now. More musical thoughts to come here on Listen Up. Next time! 


This Too In Time Shall Pass by Lindy LaFontaine

I was introduced to Lindy's music when she dropped me an e-mail and invited me to check out her EPK (electronic press kit) on SonicBids which features tracks from her first EP. I get many such invitations and as often as not I don't find anything that resonates with my musical tastes and even less often do I find music that I simply enjoy and want to share with others. My trip up to Lindy's SonicBids site was definitely worth the effort and to my suprise fell into the latter category which is music that I want to share with my readers.  

Lindy has created an impressive EP that will certainly whet the appetite of the listener for her full length album which is due out later this year.  There are 5 tracks on this EP but only three original tunes while the final two tracks are remixes of tracks one and two. I could have wished for 5 different tunes on this EP but the two remixed tracks are sufficiently unique interpretations of the songs that it makes up for the fact that there are only three original tracks. Lindy's vocals have a way of inviting listeners to step into her world and join her on her journey through some interesting musical landscapes. The production values on this EP are top notch and along with some talented musicians combine to provide a perfect backdrop to allow the strength of Lindy's voice to shine through.  

One of the standout tracks is actually the remixed version of Sunday which gives the listener some idea of what Lindy is capable of. Not only does it have a slow groove beat that draws you into the song but Lindy's vocals shimmer on the surface of these grooves as the listener finds themselves drifting away with the laid back atmosphere that this song creates. This song will definitely not dissapoint.  

This EP is certainly a worthy first effort for Lindy and will offer listeners an emotionally satisfying experience as well as production values that shows that a lot of thought went into the songs that were included on this set. Lindy shows herself to be a serious singer/songwriter on this EP with the talent and the aptitude to go far in the music industry. This EP is easy to listen to and retains its appeal even after listening to it several times through. You can expect to hear more from Lindy in the months ahead and if this first collection is any indication I'm sure she will be a force to reckon with. Bottom line go out and get your copy now.  

As a final note be sure to check out Lindy's EPK site on Sonicbids and listen to the song Cry Little Sister. This song really shows off Lindy's vocal chops as she cuts loose on a song that was always a favorite of mine from the 80's vampire movie The Lost Boys. When I first heard this song I was impressed at how it sounded and I was amazed that someone in 2009 would do a cover of a song from an 80's movie. It is a great rendition and will probably drive you to pull out your Lost Boys DVD and listen to the original side by side with Lindy's great new rendition. Just one more reason that I'm sure Lindy's full length album will be worth the wait when it finally comes out later this year.

Visit Lindy's website or Visit Lindy's EPK site on SonicBids


Flavors of Entaglement by Alanis Morissette

Alanis had slipped to the back burner for me over the past few releases with nothing that really grabbed my attention and made me want to listent to her songs over and over again. It's not that I disliked her music over the past few years it's just that time being such a limited commodity I had other music that I spent my time listening to and enjoying. I knew that she had a new CD close to being released but I hadn't gone looking for details quite yet. I came across the 1st single Undeneath in the form of a video on Yahoo and decided that it was worth checking into to see if there were anymore samples out there that I could listen to. I was able to find Citizen of the Planet and Straitjacket and after hearing those I was pretty much sold on the music. The one thing that connected each of the songs was music that created a strong foundation and lyrics that brought to mind the Alanis I knew back when I first picked up her Jagged Little Pill CD. I particularly enjoyed Straitjacket with its very sharp and pointed observations about relationships and the problems that are inherent in any human interaction. Some were worried that Guy Sigsworth's techno influences would do damage to the rock edged Alanis' visions but that is hardly the case. The songs have a definite techno flavor to them but Alanis is still the center and the focus of each song. Her voice and her lyrics are what  you listen to each song for and the beats only add to that attraction.

If you had been put off by what you had heard over the past few years from Alanis you owe it to yourself to pick up a copy of Flavors of Entaglement in your chosen format and get reaquainted with someone who continues to grow and change along with the rest of us. There has been a 4 year gap since her last studio release but as far as I'm concerned the time was well spent getting back in touch with the basics of what made Jagged Little Pill such a success. No one wanted to hear Jagged Little Pill II but they did want to see the sensibilities that made that CD resonate with so many fans and with her new CD she has stepped up to the plate and delivered once again. Highly recommended.  

Visit Alanis' website


Pillar of Stone by Joelle


 Every once in awhile a real gem of a CD shows up in my Cutting Edge Voices PO Box and my hat is off to Luck Media and Marketing for putting this CD into my hands. Joelle is based out ofCalgary Canada and will be exporting this CD to theU.S. early in 2007 and after listening to it constantly since it showed up a few days I'd have to give it a big thumbs up. This may be Joelle's break through release but with a producer like Chris Omartian (son of Michael Omartian) behind her the CD has a feel to it of a performer who is already hitting her stride and not afraid to let loose with everything she has. Joelle offers us up a power/pop rock mix that grabs hold of you from Tongue Tied which opens the disc right on through So Alive which closes out this 10 song CD. There are some tasty guitar licks throughout the disc provided by Tommy “Slash” Collier which only serves to emphasize the fact that Joelle’s voice is more than capable of holding her own against the strong instrumentation that accompanies her on this project. A good example of this is the song Your Love is (Deafening) which is one of my personal favorites on this disc.  The song pounds out a steady drum beat as the lead guitar wails in around this strong beat Joelle’s voice acts as the glue that pulls it altogether into a memorable song that will probably have you on your feet before it is over.   

Lest you think that this CD is nothing but power chords and heavy beats there are songs like So Alive or Natural Beauty which dials back the heavy beats and the electric guitars and allows Joelle to showcase her ability to sing a more delicate ballad type of a song. It also allows the listener the chance to see that her voice is just as meaningful and expressive while singing these ballads as it is when she is going head to head with the more in your face elements of some of the other songs found on this CD. So Alive even features some keyboard work from Chris’ father Michael Omartian who some of you may remember from a string of well received albums from the 70’s including White Horse and Adam Again and it is this delicate keyboard work that allows Joelle’s voice to be the spotlight of the song. Listening to the lyrics I also detect some not so subtle messages being conveyed to Joelle’s listeners about the role that women occupy in a lot of modern  relationships and how that is not going to be the case anymore. Check out In Your Dreams which moves back and forth between what is the norm and what is really being felt and with lyrics like “You prima donna, I’m not your mama, do your own damn dirty laundry” you start to get the picture of what this title really means. The same theme is pounded out again and again in songs like Pillar of Stone and All 4 Me that of finding your inner strength, your individuality in face of pressures to compromise what you believe and the confidence to be yourself above all else. 

The one song that seems out of place on this CD is the song God Forgive Me which delves into social consciousness, spirituality and how we as individuals should be more aware of our surroundings and on the look out for ways to help those less fortunate than ourselves. That is not to say that this is not a good song or that the lyrics are not relevant to those who hear them but it just seemed a little odd sitting there among all the other ballads and edgy pop/rock tunes that comprise this CD. It definitely has some great hooks with the lead guitar right up front again along with a nice moving beat that pulls you into the song but maybe this one song might have been better off on a collection of music that was more pointedly aimed at this type of song. This one song is certainly not going to change my mind about the CD as a whole though. 

This is a first class production and I can see Joelle has a musical future ahead of her that looks quite bright from my vantage point. With the forthcoming release of her CD Pillar of Stone in 2007 Joelle shows a musically maturity that  was not completely realized in her previous full length CD Look At Me Now or her EP Sugar. Her own growth as an artist and the addition of Chris Omartian to the production mix were just the final two ingredients to take Joelle’s music to the next level. I would definitely recommend that you get out there and get yourself a copy of this CD when it becomes available and then keep your eye on Joelle as I think that her star is on the rise. Highly recommended!

Visit Joelle's website


Inland Sea by Rin'


 

This CD arrived in Cutting Edge Voices’ mailbox the other day and I was not sure what to expect. I am very familiar with the Domo label but my mental associations with the music that this label produces always drift towards new age or more specifically Kitaro’s music. If you are not familiar with Kitaro then Google the name and you’ll see what I mean when I say I was surprised to find the new CD by a Japanese female trio called Rin’ peeking out of the envelope at me.
Rin’ is not unknown in Japan but rather they are a pop sensation with 2 full length CDs available, a Christmas album and a live DVD. It just goes to show that the world is alive with music and you can still find wonderful music if you just spend some time looking for it. Another surprise were a couple of the guest vocalists that you will find on this CD once you start listening. Lisa Loeb and Leigh Nash lead singer of Sixpence None the Richer lend their distinct voices to this debut American CD with marvelous effect. Mana, Tomoca and Chie who comprise Rin’ are graduates of the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music and whose goal is to make Japenese music accessible to the American ear.  

On this CD you will find elements of traditional Japanese music played on traditional instruments right along side elements that would be right at home on many of the top 40  radio stations here in the U.S. Lest you think that this would be a jarring juxtaposition of styles let me assure you that it all blends together seamlessly while allowing the listener to be immersed in music that they may not be familiar with but making them feel comfortable with nevertheless. Domo records’ founder Eiichi Naito’s stated mission with Domo records is “To provide a home for both the creators and aficionados of quality music beyond the borders of categorization.”  Some stand out songs on this CD are I Never Knew What Love Meant featuring Leigh Nash on vocals and Anti Hero featuring Lisa Loeb on vocals. I was very impressed with this  CD right from the first song straight through to the end of the disc. Stop up at the Rin’ Myspace page and listen to some of the songs and then be sure to scroll down the page and check out the 3 videos that are posted there as well. Once you are done with checking out the samples I’m sure that you will be a fan of this trio of women and will be looking forward to future releases to add to your music collection. Definitely recommended.

Visit Rins'artist page at Domo or visit Rin' on Myspace


Hurts to Purr by Hurts to Purr

Lots of times I'll follow the links imbedded in e-mails I receive here at Cutting Edge about recommended vocalists and from there I'll follow links off the various sites I end up on seeing what kind of new music I might discover. I even go so far as to Google names of other artists with or without a URL just to see who's on the other end. That's how I ended up on Hurts to Purr's homepage. Going off the strength of what I heard on this group's My Space website which is 4 full length songs I'd have to say that I this CD is well worth taking a chance on. The CD has a total of 14 songs so I can't say for absolutely sure that everyone of them is a gem but 4 good songs on any given CD is a great start. Liz Pappademas who is the lead singer for this interestingly named group reminds me of a cross between Fiona Apple and Rickie Lee Jones. Maybe with the help of Brian Kehew who co-produced Fiona Apple's Extodinary Machine CD in the mixing department that  has something to do with it. Laid back feel to the music that I heard but some well thought out lyrics to stimulate the mind. Take a listen and see if you agree.  Visit Hurts to Purr on Myspace.


Bastard Daughter by Kelly Buchannan

Wandering the web in search of good music has it rewards at times and this was one of those CD's that really jumped me once I started to listen to it via the samples at the CD Baby site. First off let me simply say that this is a kick ass CD that delivers the rock n roll goods ala Liz Phair's earlier CD's. The songs cover a variety of topics with energy and cutting honesty. This is not a CD for those who want to kick back and relax while their minds float peacefully within a haze of mind numbing lyrics and melody. Kelly's music will grab you and shake you until you pay attention to what she has to say. Her guitar work is first class and shines clearly through most of the songs on this CD. For those of you who are NIN's fans be sure to stop by Kelly's website and check out her acoustic rendition of Trent Reznor's Closer. It will give you a new perspective on this classic NIN song. Her CD Baby site offers samples of each of the 12 songs from this CD and I'm sure that after you've gone through all 12 like I did you'll be forced to agree that there is very little about Bastard Daughter that you won't like.
Visit Kelly Buchannan's CD Baby website.