Author Archives: Brian Furman

Tori Amos: Native Invader

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Tori Amos: Native InvaderTori Amos
Native Invaders
(Decca)

Tori Amos: Native Invader

Tori Amos has always held a special place in my heart. Her voice is so vulnerable, but you can see shards of glass just beyond the veiled horizon of her soft sound. I implore you to play the Little Earthquakes masterpieces “Silent All These Years” or “Winter” at full volume (with just her and a piano) and tell me they are not some of the most powerful pieces of songwriting that you’ve ever heard.

Her cover of Lloyd Cole’s “Rattlesnakes” is better than the original. Tori Amos is where I go when I need a ...

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MADM: MADM

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

MADM: MADMMADM
MADM
(Independent)

MADM: MADM

MADM is the moniker used by Indian songstress, Sanjana Rajnarayan. The flurry voiced singer from up and coming music magnet Chennai, India uses her breathy, sexy, and siren-like voice to pull you into her landscape.

MADM’s self-titled debut is exotic, but almost Victorian-like in a Sade kind of way. With production from fellow Chennai duo, Sapta, MADM spins a record that is equal parts heartache, equal parts dream. MADM requires your undivided attention and respect luring you into a labyrinth of beats, arpeggios, and blurry sound.

Album opener “Mother and Caroline” begins with an abstract chant that ...

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Queens of the Stone Age: Villains

Queens of the Stone Age: VillainsQueens of the Stone Age
Villains
(Matador Records)

Queens of the Stone Age: Villains

Josh Homme is the coolest guy with a guitar on the radio right now and Queens of the Stone Age are that band. Homme is a badass, and rightfully so. He makes original rock n roll that has always been left of center, heavy, groovy, and just damn good. Anyone who can have Dave Grohl play drums on an entire record, write a song with Billy Gibbons, and co-write and produce an album and tour with Iggy Pop gets my vote.

QOTSA’s brand of music is not a brand, it doesn’t have to be. The band, with Homme as their rat-pack leader, slink through their music in crooner fashion with old school rock star charisma. In fact, Homme might be one of the last bastions of actual rock stardom, and he knows it. Which makes the new Queens record, Villains that much better.

As I’m sure you have heard from multiple media sites, Villains was produced by none other than the current king of the radio, Mark Ronson. Yes, “Uptown Funk” Mark Ronson. And while you ponder that notion for a minute, keep in mind that Ronson’s stepfather is Foreigner guitarist Mick Jones. So, while pop swagger is his meal ticket, rock music is in his veins, and a QOTSA / Ronson partnership makes a lot more sense than you may think.

The whole record is solid. You can hear the Ronson influence on the first two songs “Feet Don’t Fail Me Now” and “The Way You Used to Do” with a guitar boogie, memorable chorus, and danceable rhythm. The chorus of “Domestic Animals” will be in your head the rest of the day with perfectly placed synths. “Fortress” slows it down with Homme’s croon put front and center. “Head Like a Haunted House” has a 60s rock feel filtered through punk rock purity. “The Evil Has Landed” is the most full throttle rock song on the record, with an instant signature QOTSA style riff.

Homme has teased that get up and dance boogie on a number of occasions. Think “No One Knows”, and “Monster in Your Parasol” among others. There is something embedded in those songs that brings out the hip shaking along with the head banging. There is something on this record though that feels as if it needs to be defensive right out of the gate, whether it be Ronson’s presence, or the flag bearing rock band that QOTSA are. Make no mistake this is a QOTSA album, but this one might incite some twerking.

Nine Inch Nails: Add Violence

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Nine Inch Nails: Add ViolenceNine Inch Nails
Add Violence
(The Null Corporation)

Nine Inch Nails: Add Violence

At this point in the game, Nine Inch Nails doesn’t really have to do anything outrageous. They pretty much drove the definition of a genre, and inspired a generation of angry kids to don fishnets and buy Casio keyboards. Trent Reznor and company have been moving in some shape or form for 25+ years from the likes of Pretty Hate Machine to the Academy Awards with the soundtrack to The Social Network.

Reznor has bleeped, and blopped his way to superstardom on a razor’s edge with a sound that was molten ...

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Haim: Something to Tell You

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Haim: Something to Tell YouHaim
Something to Tell You
(Columbia Records)

Haim: Something to Tell You

The Haim sisters are just tremendous. They have found something in their sound that has been missing from rock music for a long time. They are masters at writing pop songs and move seamlessly from guitar laden California beach tunes, to R&B tinged love songs, to unrequited ear worms that burrow deep in the cerebral cortex. You can’t help but bop your head along and give in to nostalgic. Their new record, Something to Tell You is something of an anomaly in modern times. It is a record that is solid from start ...

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Little Steven: Soulfire

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Little Steven: SoulfireLittle Steven
Soulfire
(Universal Music)

Little Steven: Soulfire

If you want find a blueprint to what real rock n roll is, Little Steven can point you in the right direction. As a member of the E Street Band and having played with Bruce Springsteen for 40+ years, the guy has his PhD in rock music and showcases his vast love of it on his new record, Soulfire.

Each song on the album is a microcosm of a style of music that he has picked up over the years, stretching from Motown, to doo-wop, funk, and even nuggets-style, punky, 60s anthems. Little Steven is ...

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Ride: Weather Diaries

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Ride: Weather DiariesRide
Weather Diaries
(Wichita Recordings)

Ride: Weather Diaries

Ride is arguably one of the most lauded British bands to come from the “shoegaze” movement. Their debut album, 1990’s Nowhere, was heaped with praise by critics and fans alike for its wall of noise, and the band’s name is often uttered in the same breath as My Bloody Valentine and Sonic Youth.

However, Ride were also just really good at writing songs, not saying the other bands weren’t, but Ride slowly moved their focus from that wall of noise and art rock, to songs that use the noise as another instrument within the pop ...

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Dreamcar: Dreamcar

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Dreamcar: DreamcarDreamcar
Dreamcar
(Columbia Records)

Dreamcar: Dreamcar

God, I love the music of the ’80s, especially those surrounding New Wave with cheap, plastic beats, catchy, campy, reverb-heavy songs to dance to. I have found myself numerous times screaming A-ha’s classic “Take on Me” trying to hit that high note in the chorus, but realizing my voice is shot and instead scratching my vocal chords like someone squeezing a cat.

Anything by Tears For Fears, The Cure, Human League, Level 42, fucking Spandau Ballet, dude, all of it, top notch. And I think others might like it too because there are an awful lot ...

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Phoenix: Ti Amo

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Phoenix: Ti AmoPhoenix
Ti Amo
(Loyaute/Glassnote)

Phoenix: Ti Amo

The effortless pop that Phoenix bring to the music spectrum is as airy as laundry blowing in wind on a spring day. The merry band from France have released six albums altogether since they formed in the late ’90s with their break out album 2009’s, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix cementing their rightful place as masters of modern pop music. The band is genuinely concerned with whether you are dancing, and they show it thoroughly on their newest album, Ti Amo, a collection of songs that, whether sung in Italian, French, or English, beg the listener to shake ...

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Incubus: 8

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Incubus: 8

Incubus
8
(Island Records)

Incubus: 8

Incubus has always been an anomaly in the music world. A pendulum swing away from superstardom, complete with heartthrob lead singer, Brandon Boyd. Along with that, the band has had HITS, with multiple songs crossing over into the pop spectrum; see “Drive”, “Love Hurts,” and “Stellar” for example. The band has also always stuck to their guns; see Bush-era “Megalomaniac,” and everything off of “S.C.I.E.N.C.E”. So when the band debuted new music for their eighth record with the tongue-in-cheek title 8, I wasn’t sure which incubus I was going to get as they seem to ...

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