DC January 24 New Release Recap

Lots to consider this week as you contemplate parting with some funds for this week's spate of new releases. From the hi-energy pop/rock of Nada Surf and Hold Steady's Craig Finn to the smart adult pop of Madi Diaz, Ingrid Michaelson or Alexz Johnson to the alt-pop indie finesse of Cheyenne Marie Mize, Laura Gibson and John K. Samson of The Weakerthans, we've got something for you. Try a 70's Laurel Canyon country/folk excursion with Sweden's fantastic First Aid Kit, ogle the 75+ Bob Dylan covers in the charity-supporting Chimes of Freedom box, or dig the beat-friendly vibes of Polica. Find out what the late Heath Ledger found so irresistable about fellow Aussie Grace Woodroofe, imagine what the rockin' flamenco guitars of Rodrigo y Gabriela might sound like with a Cuban big band or get a taste of what's new with Austin songwriter Dana Falconberry. Need more? Really? Check our full list below.

Click on More DC to read more and stream music (videos, too)...

Nada Surf - The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomy (City Slang) - A mere fifteen years after Matthew Caws, Daniel Lorca and Ira Elliot broke through with the hit "Popular", the trio of power/pop-sters return with another brash and relentlessly upbeat -- in every sense of the word -- collection of sunny rock anthems and razor sharp hooks...Much like Fountains of Wayne, Nada Surf remain remarkably inventive in their retro pop melodies -- new upstart bands can only pray they're this fresh on their first album let alone their sixth...more DC

Madi Diaz - Plastic Moon (TinyOgre) - Nashville-based singer/songwriter  turned not only to her writing and performing partner (and Berklee School of Music classmate) Kyle Ryan for her new album, she also decided to bring in noted producer John Alagia (Dave Matthews, John Mayer) to help shape and expand the sound of the new songs. The result is the mostly sunny, fan-funded album  , a eleven-track collection that leans a little more heavily on melodic pop/folk fare while retaining at times the more acoustic/Americana elements of her fine 2007 debut Skin and Bone...more DC

First Aid Kit - The Lion's Roar - Swedish siblings Clara and Johanna Söderberg graduate from dewy, baby-faced teen folk prodigies to breakout indie Americana queens with their much buzzed sophomore album...could it really be five years since the then Söderbergs, then just 14 and 17 years old, recorded their debut EP Drunken Trees?... Maybe it's the shared genes (see: The Watson Twins), but rarely do two voices in harmony join with such perfect, effortless and loose-limbed precision...more DC

Cheyenne Marie Mize - We Don't Need EP (Yep Roc/Roaring Colonel) - Louisville singer/songwriter/violinist has been best known for her collaborations with fellow Kentuckian Will "Bonnie 'Prince' Billy" Oldham while own fine 2010 solo album Before Lately was described here as "Americana folk, flickering torch ballads and spacious chamber pop of somber melancholy"...New project plugs in and turns up the heat dramatically, moving from Lately's somber and spacious folk/pop toward the outskirts of edgy, occasionally frayed, indie pop...more DC

Grace Woodroofe  - Always Want (Modular) - Five years ago, a handful of song demos from then-16-year-old singer/songwriter found its way into the hand of fellow Aussie Heath Ledger via the actor's sister. Brought by Ledger to L.A., Woodroofe also met folk/rocker Ben Harper who agreed to produce her 2010 debut album utilizing his backing band Relentless 7 in the studio -- the result is a remarkable collection that defies easy stylistic pidgeon-holing...An indescribably expressive voice and some moody, quietly powerful songs -- tinged with blues and jazz overtones -- make this a particularly compelling listen...more DC

Alexz Johnson  - Skipping Stone  - "I feel stronger, wiser", says the 25-year-old Vancouver-raised, NYC transplant -- positive words indeed from the singer/songwriter (and actress) who has seen her music tied up in major label turmoil not once, but twice in the last five years. Finally following the release of her debut LP Voodoo (and it's 2011 remix Reloaded), Johnson has regrouped creatively for her next project: a 2012 full-length preceded by this five-song preview EP promising torchy ballads, retro country and seductive alt-pop. The fine title track, mixed by Greg Wells (Adele), leads the way...more DC

Dana Falconberry - Though I Didn't Call It Came (January 24, Crossbill) Songwriter's digital four-tracker serves as something of a preview of a full length project due later this year. Like the upcoming album, most of the EP's songs were recorded in a church sanctuary near her home in Austin, TX but unlike her more recent stripped down acoustic and mostly solo affairs, Didn't Call heralds a more orchestrated and dreamy sound for Falconberry. With string arrangements by keyboardist and co-producer Christopher Cox...more DC

Poliça - Give You The Ghost - Vocalist Channy Leaneagh and producer/electronica wiz Ryan Olson (GAYNGS) have merged their particular talents for dreamy alt-pop with a subtle, beat-friendly R+B tip with the formation of   and a mesmerizing new album... We knew they must be doing something right when we heard Leaneagh's subtley auto-tuned vocals and didn't have our usual reaction (disgust, dismay, disinterest) -- maybe it's the killer, hooky melodies, maybe it just fits with the whole updated lush trip-hop feel, but for some reason it just works. Bon Iver's Mike Noyce guests...more DC

Various Artists - Chimes of Freedom - Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International - Massive 75-track box set of Bob Dylan covers is also, appropriately, an equally massive charity album benefiting the human rights activism of Amnesty International, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning organization ...an impressive array of contributors, from My Morning Jacket to Steve Earle to Lucinda Williams, from Sting to Mark Knopfler to Diana Krall, from Elvis Costello to Sugarland to Pete Townshend, all come together for a diverse -- and occasionally head scratching (Miley Cyrus?) -- collection of Dylan compositions...more DC

 

Big Deal - Lights Out
Bhi Bhiman - Bhiman
Cardinal - Hymns
Chairlift - Something
Craig Finn (Hold Steady) - Clear Heart Full Eyes
Dion - Tank Full of Blues 
Idiot Glee - Paddywhack
Ingrid Michaelson - Human Again
Joe Cocker - Hard Knocks
Kellie Pickler - 100 Proof 
Laura Gibson - La Grande
Liam Bailey - Out of the Shadows (UK)
Madi Diaz - Plastic Moon DC
Martin Sexton - Fall Like Rain EP
Matt Pryor - May Day
moe. - Whatever Happened to the La La's
Rodrigo y Gabriela - Area 52
Sean O'Connell - Free at First Light
The Darcys - Aja
U2 - From the Sky Down (DVD Documentary)