Entertainment » Music

Dig These Discs :: k.d. lang, Deep Dark Robot, Cass McCombs, One Eskimo, Hiromi, Tindersticks

by Bill Biss
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Thursday Apr 14, 2011
Till the clouds roll by...slip One eskimO into your own sunny day.
Till the clouds roll by...slip One eskimO into your own sunny day.   

"Hey! Will somebody put some music on? I don't wanna track dirt in the house." With the advent of spring and the coming summer of 2011, EDGE asked me to be a gardener of sorts. I'm tending to the latest CDs available. Should you "Dig These Discs?"

Some of them are quite colorful and exotic and some are sure to grow on you with each listen. Others may only bloom at night in the solitude of darkness. No digging holes yet...I'll let you know when something is so bad, it should be buried. Likewise, keep this music alive by keeping it out of sunlight and not adding water... Now, let's do some disc digging, shall we?


Sing It Loud (k.d. lang)

Sing It Loud (k.d. lang)

It’s a great day in k.d. lang land. Lovers of her distinctive voice should rejoice with the new release of Sing It Loud. And for good reason, as this is the first time she has put together a band of her own in over 20 years. She is putting her songwriting skills to good use and several of the songs were recorded on the spot in Nashville. "I Confess," the first single presented harkens back to her early days with the Reclines. It slides in slow and cascades like a breaking wave of heartbreak. The song is torchy, twangy and simply terrific. Lang has always excelled in any musical arena she throws her hat into...whether it’s a duet with Tony Bennett or honoring her roots with a collection of songs from Canadian songwriters. There is a soft spot though for some, when she gets a notion to slide back into the saddle of country-tinged/blues material. Sing It Loud definitely shines brighter because of the band members in the line-up of her band, Siss Boom Bang. All of them earn a blue ribbon for musical excellence on all accords. As k.d. lang has said of this recording, "It was just easy and fun. I didn’t suffer for my art." (Available now)


Eight Songs About a Girl (Deep Dark Robot)

Eight Songs About a Girl (Deep Dark Robot)

It’s about time Linda Perry stepped in front of the microphone. Along with drummer Tony Tornay, she has formed a new band called Deep Dark Robot. Perry is highly recognized for her producing, writing and overall musicianship for Christina Aguilera, Pink, 4 Non Blondes and numerous other musical artists. Now... she lays it on the line with an emotive, car crash of emotional baggage called Eight Songs About a Girl. Right out the gate, the first song, "I’m Coming For You" is figuratively a revved-up karate kick in the jaw. The back-story on these eight songs is unrequited love. It’s a severe explosion of emotions encompassed in both the boiling point of passion and the melancholy of realization that this certain love was not meant to be. The soft core of Perry’s voice is perfectly displayed in the quietness of despair on "Speck." Let’s not go there that it’s as simple as a lesbian falling for a straight woman on this one...listen to the lyrics and realize it’s about the complexities of love... period. (Available now)


Wit’s End (Cass McCombs)

Wit’s End (Cass McCombs)

There is a haunting sadness and a mystery of tone to Cass McCombs. For Wit’s End, he dissolves like watercolor into a mist of moods that rarely elevate in beat past the tempo of a funeral march or cynical lullaby. His musical world on this is filled with lonely dolls, county lines, hermit caves and lost souls. Even on his composition called "Saturday Song," he actually seems to be singing "sadder day." It’s almost if Edgar Allan Poe had a hand in creating these songs at times. It also has that dark and twisted appeal with a David Lynch quality, such as the music created by composer
Angelo Badalamenti. There is a sensation present that is of the essence of Twin Peaks or Blue Velvet...something is not quite right in the world. Cass McCombs is simply the bearer of bad news or hopeless circumstances. His lyrical imagery is such that when presented in the context of these songs, the feelings of remorse, loneliness, longing and despair become quite overpowering at times. Wit’s End is not a CD to put on when there is a desire to go into any kind of "happy" place. (April 26)


One eskimO (One eskimO)

One eskimO (One eskimO)

The essence of a sunny day with clouds of memories floating by seems somewhat of a good analogy for One eskimO. Their sound encompasses a mellow and peaceful vibe with a distinct touch of folk, soul and acoustic guitar swirled together throughout each song. This debut fits like a favorite worn pair of jeans and deserves two or three initial spins to ease into the comfort of the One eskimO brand. Lead singer/songwriter Kristian Leontiou aptly gauges the pendulum of life and simply living... quite well with his lyrical skills. Just listen to the back-to-back tracks of "Simple Day" and "Givin Up" to realize that life isn’t always just a bowl of cherries. There is a distinctive (dare I say) 1970s rock tonality to tripping on the groove lyrically as well. "We’re like chocolate in the sun" - "Chocolate." Pass me a hash brownie on that one. If some of the songs ring a cognitive bell in your memory, it is possibly because the band’s music has been featured on shows such as Bones and their songs "Kandi" and "Amazing" are bouncing around on the buzz meter. Till the clouds roll by...slip One eskimO into your own sunny day. (Available now)


Voice (Hiromi)

Voice (Hiromi)

Highly skilled musicianship is at the forefront of Hiromi’s Voice. The contemporary and innovative jazz styling of Hiromi on piano, Anthony Jackson on contrabass guitar and the drumming of Simon Phillips are phenomenal. With the exception of "Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 8, Pathetique," Hiromi is the composer of each track on this release. The selections presented bring forth a musical dialogue of enjoyable complexity. Hiromi elaborates on the vision for Voice, "When I play music, I realize that it filters emotions. I believe that people’s real voices are expressed in their emotions. It’s not something you really say. It’s more something you have in your heart. Instrumental music is very similar. We don’t have any words or any lyrics to go with it. It’s the true voice that we don’t really put into words, but we feel it when it’s real." On this passionate recording, flavors of improvisation, bossa nova, ragtime or boogie-woogie all make their voices heard. The only thing missing is the exuberant joys of seeing this trio perform live. Hiromi’s skill at taking the listener down the winding road of all the keys on which she effortlessly plays is stunning to behold. (June 7)


Claire Denis Film Scores 1996-2009

Claire Denis Film Scores 1996-2009

The collaboration of Tindersticks and French filmmaker Claire Denis is a fruitful one. Between 1996 and 2009, Tindersticks performed the film scores for no less than six soundtracks. Four of them are previously unreleased and now available on this box set for the first time. Playful, melancholy, contemplative and calming are just some of the emotive qualities presented by Tindersticks for films such as 35 Rhums, Trouble Every Day, L’intrus and others. The collection has sort of a "Sunday morning" kind of vibe to it. There are subtle textures instrumentally that never become intrusive to the ear. Often times, the tinkling of a piano glides in, creating the essence of the pattering of raindrops on several compositions. This ambient quality of Tinderstick’s work creates a thoughtful simplicity of beautiful structure. This musical feeling matches the directorial vision of Claire Denis as often times, as a filmmaker she evokes the balance and interaction of nature with the reality of contemporary France in her cinematic vision. Of note is that each box set comes with a perfect-bound booklet of color film stills and an essay on these soundtracks by noted music critic Michael Hall. These extra touches are an added bonus to the over three hours of cinematic scoring presented. (April 26)


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