If Joy, the new studio album from Phish, is any indication of what to expect when a band takes an extended breather, perhaps there is a lesson to be learned. Fans relished the band's return to the stage this past year, and will undoubtedly embrace the lively, inspired new studio album that is Joy.
Growing up just outside Detroit, Michigan, Mayer Hawthorne fell in love with the sound of soul music as a kid. Listening to old Motown classics on the radio inspired Hawthorne to not only embark on a music career of his own, but renovate the music he adored with a modern relevancy. On his new album, A Strange Arrangement, Hawthorne strikes that balance between then and now in stunning fashion.
Presently, there is arguably no singer-songwriter that writes songs with as much visual perspective as Ingrid Michaelson. A success story born out of a new generation of fans on MySpace and strategic television placement, Ingrid's cinematic love tales have crossed the ears of millions, whether knowingly or unknowingly. And her second proper full-length album, titled Everybody, has the potential to set the proverbial scene yet again.
On their second full-length release the Providence, Rhode Island band Deer Tick offer a concoction of country, folk and rock. As a follow-up to their acclaimed 2007 debut War Elephant, the new album Born On Flag Day succeeds in capturing the band’s raw and youthful energy.
When you first listen to Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros it's difficult not to be captivated by their revivalist style of jangly folk-rock. It's somewhat striking, an open departure in the current landscape of indie rock. And the band has created a big buzz locally in Los Angeles due in large part to their lively stage shows and their debut album Up From Below.
God Help The Girl is the name of the new project spearheaded and written by Belle & Sebastian's Stuart Murdoch. The narrative of God Help The Girl is scheduled to be produced next year in the form of a musical film, but with the release of this record Murdoch already has his soundtrack ready to go.
Wait For Me, the new release from Moby may have some celebrating a "return to form", but the songs on Wait For Me do more than simply recall his earlier work. Very much in the now, Moby takes back the role of conductor, offering fans a collection of brooding songs unconcerned with demand or destination.
Electric Dirt, the new release from Levon Helm, comes just two years after his Grammy-award winning album Dirt Farmer. And, in an attempt to recapture that magic, Levon again enlists producer Larry Campbell and essentially the same group of players from the Dirt Farmer sessions.
If your desire for that one record that both challenges and inspires you has not yet been satisfied this year, the new album from The Dirty Projectors may be your answer. Bitte Orca offers up a set of songs that defy your usual musical expectations and is overwhelmingly successful.
The French pop band Phoenix continue to write utterly engaging, dance-inspired songs on their fourth studio album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. And while the band has already garnered some minor buzz and success with their previous releases, this new album boasts the potential to draw an even wider fan base.