As music columnist for hellomagazine.ca, each week I’ll bring you my selections for the best and most notable new music, albums you’re going to want to add to your collection plus a five-song playlist to try out. Happy listening!
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Lana Del Rey – Honeymoon
She’s known for darkly cinematic songs that have made her one of pop’s most compelling figures. She loves the surreal world popularized by David Lynch’s Twin Peaks and it’s exactly that noir-ish quality that permeates the Grammy-nominated singer’s third major-label album. On the ballad “Salvatore,” Del Rey sings to an Italian lover about a limousine, soft ice cream and tangerine dreams in a hypnotic voice full of mystery. The wind and wave-swept “High By the Beach” suggests a late-night coastal drive, while “Terrence Loves You” has a narcotic-laced ’50s jazz vibe with simple piano accompaniment. Equally spare is the title track, which marries a ghostly double-tracked vocal over eerie strings and quivering keyboards. The most filmic number is the jazz-tinged “Music to Watch Boys To,” which opens with acapella singing and echo effects that create a distinctly haunting effect. Del Rey conjures up moody soundscapes that linger long afterwards.
Metric – Pagans in Vegas
On their sixth album, Toronto’s indie rockers continue to delve into the synth-laden new wave sound that dominated the group’s last recording, Synthetica. This time around, singer Emily Haines’ cautionary tales about artificiality in our technologically-driven world take on a dire urgency, best heard on the opening “Lie Lie Lie.” There are plenty of disco elements, from “Celebrate” to the electro-squelch of “Cascades.” But fans who fell in love with stadium-sized anthems like “Gimme Sympathy” and “Breathing Underwater” can rest assured that Metric is still crafting infectious, hook-filled numbers. The catchiest tracks are “Too Bad, So Sad” and “The Shade,” in which Haines expresses her unwavering desire for love in its fullest. “Eternal love, the stars above, all there is and ever was, I want it all,” she sings, leaving no doubt that however bleak the landscape love, for Metric, reigns supreme.
OTHER NOTABLE RELEASES:
Tami Neilson – Dynamite!
Belting out winners like “Cry Over You” and “Walk (Back To Your Arms),” this Canadian torch singer (by way of New Zealand) is injecting some welcome sass and twang into country music.
Glen Hansard – Didn’t He Ramble
Hansard, of the Dublin indie-rock act the Frames and the Oscar-winning folk duo the Swell Season, displays his strengths as a formidable singer-songwriter on tracks like the Irish-laced “Grace Beneath the Pines” and the soulful “Have Mercy.”
Darlene Love – Introducing Darlene Love
Featured in the Oscar-winning documentary 20 Feet from Stardom, this revered backup singer gets her own showcase album, delivering soulful renditions of songs by Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello and others.
Keith Richards – Crosseyed Heart
Rock’s legendary survivor shows his love of reggae, blues and honky tonk on this long-awaited solo album, singing a tender duet with Norah Jones on the ballad “Illusion” and delivering a slow, heartfelt version of Leadbelly’s “Goodnight Irene.”