Tag Archives: Music Reviews

Perfume Genius: No Shape

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Perfume Genius: No ShapePerfume Genius
No Shape
(Matador Records)

Perfume Genius: No Shape

Perfume Genius, the alias of Mike Hadreas, has crossed coasts and musical genres since the early 00s. Combining breathy indie rock with stately, epic folk, and often influenced by his classical training, his latest album No Shape is a true work of art.

The first single, “Slip Away” has a driving beat and masterful harmonies in the choruses.  “Go Ahead” has a sense of urgency with its chant of “Go ahead and try.” It’s sparse and effective, perhaps an anthem of defiance and doing better than them, whoever “they” are: “Baby, I’m already walking ...

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Mary J. Blige: Strength of a Woman

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Mary J. Blige: Strength of a WomanMary J. Blige
Strength of a Woman
(Capitol Records)

Mary J. Blige: Strength of a Woman

There’s no other way to put it, Mary J. Blige is an R&B Icon. Her career started at Uptown Records as a backup singer in 1989 to the release of What’s the 411? in 1992. Thirteen albums and 150 appearances later,  she is still standing. I grew up learning Love & Life lessons from this woman. She has earned the respect of legends and young superstars alike.

She has sold over 50 million records and bared her soul on record after record. Her being a native New-Yorker of course gives me ...

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Jomo: What I Want

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Jomo: What I WantJomo
What I Want
(Lyles-Belton Entertainment)

Jomo: What I Want

Atlantic City rapper Jomo’s new EP What I Want reveals a tough, and at at times, quite melodic rap attack with production that includes William “WhiteKeys” Harding helping out (on the opening title track specifically). Jomo K. Lyles-Belton does the honors here providing us beats and lyrics. He is a strong rapper with a good ear for production.

The title track, has wonderful horns and keys backing, tough lyrical lines, and a real driving poppin’ beat. “Jersey Strong,” the tune that follows, isn’t much more than layered spoken parts, but it is an interesting ...

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Phoebe Legere: Heart of Love

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Phoebe Legere: Heart of LovePhoebe Legere
Heart of Love

Phoebe Legere: Heart of Love

Heart of Love is Phoebe Legere’s 17th album, and the seminal American songwriter/multi-instrumentalist, has just broken into the Roots Music Report Chart’s top 20 with this collection. The title track starts us off, Legere mostly manning a mandolin, and talking/warbling a lilting country opener, while a picked acoustic and drums, atmospheric piano and electric guitar inform “Men From Boys.”

“Ok Cupid” is as much nearly spoken verses as sweet harmonies with a jaunty violin. It’s a fun tune about finding love across the net.

It’s evident even this early on into the baker’s dozen that ...

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Dan Auerbach: Waiting On A Song

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Dan Auerbach: Waiting On A SongDan Auerbach
Waiting On A Song
(Easy Eye Sound)

Dan Auerbach: Waiting On A Song

The Black Keys front man, Dan Auerbach is back with his second solo release in eight years, Waiting On A Song. It’s billed as his love letter to Nashville where he now resides, and the album certainly plays that way. With more resources and plenty of high profile help from John Prine, Duane Eddy, Bobby Wood, and others, Auerbach hits a home run with this album. It’s a departure from the grit so prevalent on Black Keys albums, making it fresh, fun, and a pleasant surprise for fans of the band. ...

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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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Passafire: Longshot

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Passafire: LongshotPassafire
Longshot
(Easy Star Records)

Passafire: Longshot

At the risk of sounding like the biggest hipster to ever hipster about anything, I was thrilled to hear that Passafire had a new one, because (here we go) I went to SCAD with them and remember when they first started out as a band, seeing their name on flyers in Savannah over a decade ago and hearing them play downtown.  Look at them now. They’ve played the Vans Warped Tour, and have played with John Brown’s Body, 311, Matisyahu, and The Wailers. So as someone who’s known their music for so long, I was really curious ...

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Roger Waters: Is This the Life We Really Want?

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Roger Waters: Is This the Life We Really Want?Roger Waters
Is This the Life We Really Want?
(Columbia Records)

Roger Waters: Is This the Life We Really Want?

It has taken nearly a quarter of a century for Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters to give us Is This the Life We Really Want? Was it worth the wait?

“When We Were Young,” a layered spoken piece opens into the sardonic “Déjà Vu” revealing an acoustic/piano/orchestra mix reminiscent of Waters’ last Floyd album, The Final Cut.

“Picture That,” is the first real rocker, trading strings for swirling synth leads, with flumping bass and drummer, Joey Waronker’s laid back beat. The title track begins with a Trump “I ...

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The Move: Magnetic Waves of Sound – The Best of the Move

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

The Move: Magnetic Waves of Sound – The Best of the Move

The Move
Magnetic Moves of Sound: The Best of The Move
(Esoteric Recordings)

The Move: Magnetic Waves of Sound – The Best of the Move

Although they scored nine Top 20 UK singles in five years, The Move was one of those unique British bands that never really hit in the U.S. Led by main songwriter/vocalist/guitarist, Roy Wood, this Birmingham-based outfit would come to include drummer Bev Bevan, and later on, Jeff Lynne (and even for a time keyboardist Richard Tandy), all of whom would lead The Electric Light Orchestra. The same ELO that was just inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

In this sprawling 21-song collection, Magnetic Waves ...

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Alphaville: Strange Attractor

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Alphaville: Strange AttractorAlphaville
Strange Attractor

(Universal Music LLC)

Alphaville: Strange Attractor

The last time we heard from 80’s synth pop icons Alphaville, it was 2010 and they had just released Catching Rays On Giant, which capitalized heavily on the emergence of EDM into mainstream music and thus, its subsequent trending and almost constant presence. It’s hard to believe it’s been 7 years, but they’re back again and this time, the few club hits are supplemented by a few mellower tracks.

The album starts with the dark and contemplative “Giants,” which is slow and unexpectedly beautiful in its textures, a perfect opener. This was the ...

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Willie Nelson: God’s Problem Child

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Willie Nelson: God’s Problem Child Willie Nelson
God’s Problem Child
(
Legacy Recordings)

Willie Nelson: God’s Problem Child

Willie Nelson’s 61st studio album God’s Problem Child, (yes, you read that right, 61st) features 13 songs, 6 of them written by Nelson and his producer, Buddy Cannon (they collaborated on the lyrics via text) revealing an American icon still at the top of his game.

The jumpy “Little House On the Hill” opens, a tribute to one’s home, while the slower, piano plod of “Old Timer” follows. Both songs were informed by Nelson’s longtime harmonica player, Mickey Raphael playing fast and slow, respectively. This second tune is ...

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Gorillaz: Humanz

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Gorillaz: HumanzGorillaz
Humanz
(Parlophone Records Limited)


Gorillaz: Humanz

Gorillaz albums are like seasons of Louie: they’re completely unique but always high quality, you never know what’s going to happen or who’s going to pop up, and you can trust that they’re anchored by a creative genius. They’re also similar in that you never know when the next one is coming, but you can’t wait for it. After a much publicized falling out between Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett it looked like 2010’s The Fall might be the last word for everyone’s favorite animated band. We’re all fortunate that those two mended fences and ...

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Richie Kotzen: Salting Earth

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Richie Kotzen: Salting EarthRichie Kotzen
Salting Earth
(Headroom Inc)


Richie Kotzen: Salting Earth

A stumbling drum beat and picked flang-y echoed guitar with Richie Kotzen’s wailing vocal, rolls into the plodding “End of Earth” opener of Kotzen’s latest, Salting Earth. The lead guitar work here is bendy and effective, into the heavy big sing-able chorus proving, as we all know, Kotzen’s solid guitar prowess and big song ability. “Thunder” follows, a solid rocker, with a doubled slight harmony vocal and a strut of a bridge (and again) a big commercial chorus; it’s got a Whitesneake-80’s feel to it that just rocks!

“Divine Power” slows things down, ...

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Shahed Mohseni Zonoozi: The Journey

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Shahed Mohseni Zonoozi: The JourneyShahed Mohseni Zonoozi
The Journey
(Inter-Continental)

Shahed Mohseni Zonoozi: The Journey

Opening with Salar Hamzei’s high-spirited guitar noodling and percussion, with trilling female vocals and Şefkat Sağlamer’s accordion on top, “The Cyprus Station” begins Shahed Mohseni Zonoozi’s album, The Journey. We get even wilder percussion rolls on “Persian Norwuz,” and an electric piano floating above. The bass and a subtle key bed is just a perfect, rich mix to get your feet tapping, while “Power of Love” employs an electronic backing, electric guitars picked and thrummed, with some James Bond-like melody in the background. And with its big, multi-voiced chorus, this tune is probably ...

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Sonic Death: Space Goth

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Sonic Death: Space GothSonic Death
Space Goth
(Svet i Teni/HOME CULT)

Sonic Death: Space Goth

You have to love a band that introduces themselves on their Bandcamp page as “two horrible motherfuckers with problems.” Sonic Death is a sludgy, psychedelic indie band from St. Petersburg, Russia who I totally dig for their raw-yet-earnest punk attitude. From the very first track on Space Goth, I knew this would be an album that I’d listen to incessantly and straight through, an experience that seems rare these days. “Enter! The Trip” has an opening that could have come out of the Lower East Side in the 70’s or 80’s with a little ...

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Goldfrapp: Silver Eye

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Goldfrapp: Silver EyeGoldfrapp
Silver Eye
(Mute)

Goldfrapp: Silver Eye

Every time Goldfrapp comes out with a new album, it’s a little bit different from the last. Constantly evolving, the Mute Records synthpop duo has run the gamut from the glam of Black Cherry to the dance floor glitz of Supernature. (I guarantee you’ve heard “Ooh La La” if you’ve set foot in a club within the past decade.) On this latest, it’s a delightful grab bag of many of their strengths as a band. “Anymore” is a sassy, anthemic stomper, which sounds like a 90’s Breeders-esque tribute to Fischerspooner. It sounds just old enough to ...

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Robin Trower: Time and Emotion

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Robin Trower: Time and EmotionRobin Trower
Time and Emotion
(V-12 RECORDS)

Robin Trower: Time and Emotion

Legendary blues and rock guitarist Robin Trower is back with another studio release, Time and Emotion. For some musicians advancing in age, it is enough to offer a victory lap of sorts, playing their classics to loyal fans at various venues throughout the country. Having recently seen him in concert, such is not true with Trower, who offered cuts from the new album mixed in with his signature songs such as “Bridge of Sighs” and “Too Rolling Stoned.” As for the new album, he delivers great performances with his signature guitar playing ...

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Ivan Beecroft: Dirty Lie

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Ivan Beecroft: Dirty LieIvan Beecroft
Dirty Lie
(self-released)

Ivan Beecroft: Dirty Lie

We don’t hear the description “Australian retro rock/pop artist” used often, but Ivan Beecroft might just be the living embodiment of that tag. On his new album, Dirty Lie, he delivers a mix of heavy rockin’ tracks mixed with acoustic ditties, all featuring the man’s distinctive, low, masculine vocals. From the driving pair of openers, “Amnesia” and the title track, Ivan as much talks his vocals as sings. He places the higher harmonies in well, into choruses here that move along quite commercially. “Dirty Lie,” with its bed of organ and jumpy beat. “Talk to Me” ...

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Little Dragon: Season High

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Little Dragon: Season HighLittle Dragon
Season High
(Loma Vista Recordings)

Little Dragon: Season High

I’d heard Little Dragon here and there on various Spotify playlists and was always curious about them. When I first got this album and was listening to it at work, my co-worker walked in and recognized them immediately: “Oh yeah! They’re playing Outside Lands this year.” (Needless to say, I’m going!) Their dreamy, synth-drenched electro pop is wonderfully layered in a production style that I think the music industry needs right now; there’s a degree of nuance that makes the tracks sound both tight and huge at once. The album opens with “Celebrate,” featuring ...

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Jamiroquai: Automaton

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Jamiroquai: AutomatonJamiroquai
Automaton
(Virgin)

Jamiroquai: Automaton

It’s been seven years since Jamiroquai released an album, but it sounds like they haven’t missed a beat on their new release, Automaton. The album features 12 tracks ranging from funky, electronic dance songs to moody R&B-style jams, which all feature some allusions to new technologies and artificial intelligence. The title track is one of the highlights and it gives an idea of what to expect with it’s cool electronic intriguing rhythm, smooth vocals, old-school style rap interlude, and catchy chorus. The lyrics aptly state, “I said goodbye to the world I knew” as the song seems ...

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Blondie: Pollinator

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Blondie: PollinatorBlondie
Pollinator
(BMG)

Blondie: Pollinator

The jumpy “Doom or Destiny” opens Blondie’s 11th studio album, Pollinator. Lead singer/face-of-the-band Deborah Harry is in fine voice here, even though her voice is distorted slightly. It’s a solid, singable song to open this collection of 11 tracks. Despite enlisting a bunch of songwriters this time, the original Blondie members (Harry, guitarist Chris Stein, and drummer Clem Burke) create a pretty much spot-on, old-sounding Blondie record here. (Matt Katz-Bohen plays keys and Tommy Kessler is on second guitar rounding out the band.) “Already Naked” has a wide-open space sound and Harry’s echoing vocals is ...

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Future Islands: The Far Field

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Future Islands: The Far FieldFuture Islands
The Far Field
(4AD)

Future Islands: The Far Field

To me, the most striking thing about Future Islands is their vocalist Samuel Herring, whose passionate style invokes 80’s new wavers The Fixx or perhaps a slightly less cinematic Simple Minds. It’s a striking presence for a band whose simple, stark bass lines and sweeping synths bring us a sort of newer wave for the modern world. On The Far Field, Future Islands collaborated with producer John Congleton, who led post-punk band The Paper Chase and went on to work with artists such as St. Vincent and Swans. Congleton lent a polished, refined quality ...

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Jacob Didas: Lucid

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Jacob Didas: LucidJacob Didas
Lucid
(self-released)

Out of the sunshine of Honolulu, Hawaii comes Jacob Didas’ Lucid. “Drumroll” opens with an acoustic guitar, but soon features noisy, gated synth and drum sounds under a rap that drills down into a bubbling, nearly-atonal concoction. I love such drive and desperation from the outset of a record! The sweet synth strings of “Manic” follows, which roll right into synth strikes and a stuttering beat, again with a desperate rap over the top. According to his bio, Didas worked as a psychiatric nurse, was in the army, and has faced some challenges that certainly inform ...

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Saint Blasphemer: Theotokos

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Saint Blasphemer: TheotokosSaint Blasphemer
Theotokos
(self-released)

Saint Blasphemer: Theotokos

Californian alternative metal group Saint Blasphemer hits us directly in the face with their latest Theotokos. And though this is heavy stuff to be sure, vocalist John Castellon has lots to say in his lyrics (he is the head of the Orange County Poetry Club) and the players here, Castellon on guitar as well as singing, bassist Steve Shell, and drummer Steve Ybarra deliver nuance in their heaviness. It makes for a layered, enjoyable listen. I just love how they roll ’round the jangly and tight bass spaces, then into the thickness of the first ...

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Shawna Virago: Heaven Sent Delinquent

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Shawna Virago: Heaven Sent DelinquentShawna Virago
Heaven Sent Delinquent
(Tranimal Records)

Shawna Virago: Heaven Sent Delinquent

Transgender music pioneer and cult solo acoustic artist Shawna Virago’s new studio album Heaven Sent Delinquent is simply brilliant. It’s great when you hear someone basically just singing along to a well-played acoustic who has something truly worth saying. Virago manages a seemingly raw approach in a punk-folk sensibility across 10 songs about us all, should we be a misfit, outlaw, or garden variety suburbanite looking for identity. “Bright Green Ideas” is a slipping solo acoustic number built around Shawna’s lower-register slight growl. The chorus is spiky and fun, informing an upbeat little ...

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