The first somewhat major release week of 2012 finds a few major finds including the latest from U.K.'s Maccabees -- an exceptionally bold step forward with Given to the Wild -- and Ireland's longrunning commercial pop/art purveyors Snow Patrol. We've also got the ambitious new album from South Africa's Cherylin MacNeil (aka Dear Reader), classic country covers from the Norah Jones-led NY quartet The Little Willies and the lush retro pop sounds of Canadian songwriter and singer Christine Leakey. Check 'em all out below with links to listen to tracks and buy, read a bit more and view pics and videos.
The Maccabees - Given to the Wild (UK; US: TBA) - Brighton-based indie band's self-described "cinematic" dreamscape of a third album is already getting the Brit critics buzzing: "stunning" gushes The Sun, "majestic and sublime"... Said to be influenced by the disparate likes of Kate Bush, The Stone Roses and David Bowie, the new project, says the band, is "the first time what we really wanted to sound like on record"... Tim Goldsworthy and Bruno Ellingham (Massive Attack, LCD Soundsystem) produced... mature, thoughtful and expansive, with elements of progressive art/rock, Wild moves easily from epic, arena-sized riffs to the most subtle and intimate moments...more DC
Dear Reader - Idealistic Animals - Forget bittersweet reflections on relationships gone bad. For Cherylin MacNeil, this break-up is on a much grander scale: the fundamental issues of faith, purpose, randomness and destiny all figure into the dissolution of her discomforting life view -- big themes that make for the inventive and captivating album of indie alt-pop... theatrical, unpredictable (sm)art/pop with traces of Regina Spektor in its cascading, twisting melodies and bulging kit bag of intricate, propelled instrumentation, Idealistic Animals restores our faith (at least) in the power of musical imagination...
Snow Patrol - Fallen Empires ( Universal) - Led by frontman/songwriter Gary Lightbody, Ireland's Snow Patrol has turned the concept of the "anthem ballad" (or is that ballad anthem) into a platinum sales strategy over five albums since the late 90's...it wasn't until the massive Grammy-nominated single "Chasing Cars" that the band achieved success in the U.S....New album is once again produced by Jacknife Lee and features guest vocals from DC fave Lissie on a handful of tracks along with string arrangements from Owen "Final Fantasy" Pallett... more DC
The Little Willies - For the Good Times (Blue Note) - Five years after their eponymous debut, the NY-based alt/pop and country/folk band returns with a new album featuring a dozen Nashville covers...Started nearly a decade ago as friendly compadres jamming at the Lower East Side outpost The Living Room, The Willies consist of platinum folk/pop songstress Norah Jones, guitarist Jim Campilongo, drummer Dan Rieser, longtime Jones associate and bassist Lee Alexander and singer/songwriter/guitarist Richard Julian... Old school classics get an adoring if modern take...more DC
Christine Leakey - Settle into that red velvet booth, light up a Lucky and immerse yourself in the nostalgic, gorgeously cinematic indie art/pop of Tapping Trees in a Trinket Box of Treasure, the forever-in-the-works debut album from Canadian songwriter chanteuse Leakey . If Duffy is the chirpy Dusty Springfield of the modern retro pop movement and Amy Winehouse it's dark and bedeviled folk/blues sister, Leakey is its Julie London, trading ripped fishnets and streetwise charms for the cushy penthouse and patent leather pumps, offering purring sultry come ons, slow sambas and heavy eyelids...more DC
More January 10 Releases:
And coming next week:
Ani DiFranco - Which Side Are You On?
Bombay Bicycle Club - A Different Kind of Fix
Cate Le Bon - CYRK
Dare Dukes - Thugs and China Dolls
Frank Turner - The Second Three Years
Humming House - S/T
Jessie Baylin - Little Spark DC
Justin Robinson/Mary Annettes - Bones for Tinder
Kathleen Edwards - Voyageur DC
Old Monk - Birds of Belize
Paul Brill - Breezy
Seeker Lover Keeper - S/T US) DC
Taylor Swift - Speak Now (CD/DVD Deluxe)
The Big Pink - Future This
The Duke Spirit - Bruiser (CD)