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From her distinctive voice, to a vast array of influences, and even her signature dreadlocks there's little about Valerie June that doesn't garner intrigue. From Memphis, Tennessee, June squashes expectations and dismisses genre labels with the release of her first full-length album, Pushin' Against A Stone. June has been working at her craft for some years now, self-releasing 3 EPs and lining up fans that range from Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys to producer/songwriter/musician Richard Swift and even a soul legend like Booker T. Jones. All of these men lend a helping hand on Valerie's debut, which is sure to only broaden her fan base.
Much of the greatness of this album comes in the form of love songs and ballads, and Isbell's pairing with alt-country fave, Kim Richey on "Stockholm" is nothing short of gorgeous.
Southeastern is the new album from singer songwriter Jason Isbell, and quite simply it's satisfying on a number of levels. First and foremost, it's an album that reflects the sober and rejuvenated lifestyle of a songwriter who for years, many had pegged with potential greatness. As a collection of songs, it's as honest an album as we've heard in quite some time and musically it's warm and comforting. With Southeastern the shadow of once being a member of the Drive-By Truckers has all but disappeared with Jason's own artistry taking center stage.
Even before she released her debut album, Sing to the Moon on Columbia, the buzz and anticipation surrounding Laura Mvula was building. And it's easy to understand why after just one listen. The English singer possesses a rare charisma and one of the most beautiful voices we've heard in some while. Unlike many of the British female soul singers to emerge over the last several years, whether it be Amy Winehouse, Adele, or Emeli Sande, Mvula sets herself apart aiming not to overpower her audiences but rather to seduce them. With the songs of Sing to the Moon, her enchanting debut, she succeeds.
The anticipation for Modern Vampires of the City (XL Recordings), the third album from Vampire Weekend, has been building for quite a while now. The band has given us a little taste of what to expect through some calculated live performances and online videos, but this week the full scope of what's been brewing for the past few years finally comes to realization. A band always tied to high expectations and hype, Vampire Weekend consider Modern Vampires of the City to be the final piece of a trilogy that began with their 2008 self-titled debut and their Billboard topping follow-up Contra in 2010. This new album doesn't just follow in the footsteps of their first two albums, it challenges both its predecessors to be musically more creative and lyrically more stimulating.
There is a breeziness, a coolness and an ease that casts itself over this collection.
Much is made of the evolution of Sam Beam and his musical endeavors as Iron & Wine. A career that started over a decade ago as a delicate solo songwriter, Beam has matured into a band leader with robust artistic vision.
2013 is shaping up to be a great year for Philadelphia and the musicians who craft the soundtrack for the city. One early indicator is the new album from Philly singer-songwriter Birdie Busch and her band The Greatest Night. Birdie’s fourth full-length album further embraces her charming storytelling, but amidst a sonic backdrop that is all at once more confident and dynamic.
It’s not always easy for young bands to channel their youthful exuberance and still come away with a finished product that’s as representative as their intentions. For most bands, it usually takes a few records. But in the case of Kids Raising Kids, the debut full-length from the Nashville based Kopecky Family Band, the highly energized six-piece hit their target and then some. And that’s not to say that the Kopecky Family Band hasn’t taken some time to formulate their sound.