Savages - Silence Yourself
SILENCE YOURSELF is the highly anticipated debut from London’s Savages, an all-female four-piece. The band has received early press from Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, Spin, NPR, and The New Yorker calling them “the most exciting band I’ve seen in the last year.” The track “She Will” received Pitchfork Best New Track. The first pressing of the LP will be limited edition clear vinyl. The band will be performing on the summer festival circuit including Coachella, Primavera Sound, and Pitchfork Festival. "Shut Up." Silence Yourself. Turn off your damn cell phone. London post-punks Savages are cognizant of, if not obsessed with, trying to cause a break in the feedback loop where their galvanizing music causes the kind of hype that can distract you from it. To that point, "Shut Up" is an inspired choice for Silence Yourself's opener, as it actually demands patience, not just your undivided attention. It's the first true example of Savages as a studio band that's dedicated to delayed gratification, as expansive reverb and treated cymbals guide Jehnny Beth's path as a "bullet to the sun." But in between, it's Savages delivering what we've come to expect, which to say, some of the most immediate rock music of recent times that deals with a particularly modernist anxiety: how will I be noticed amongst all this noise?
--Ian Cohen, PItchfork
For the record, and for the sake of the matter at hand, Steve Martin is a fine and accomplished banjo player, good enough to play with the likes of Vince Gill, Tim O'Brien, Tony Trischka, John McKuen, and Pete Wernick, and, oh yeah, he's played with Earl Scruggs too, which alone should state the case. Yep, Martin can play the banjo, and better yet, he composes on it, and his gentle, lilting, and chiming banjo lines have easy, natural melodies embedded in them. This is where Edie Brickell enters the picture. On Love Has Come for You, Martin's third album for Rounder Records, Brickell's lyrics bring those gracefully easy melodies to life, stretching them into likewise graceful songs with a sparse, whimsical, and artfully open-aired narrative style. Her singing sounds relaxed and unpressured, just like Martin's easy-rolling banjo lines, and the two of them together are no novelty act. This is a true collaboration, and songs like the opener, "When You Get to Asheville," which features a muted chamber string section that wraps around Martin's banjo like a bright, warm blanket (the album was produced by Peter Asher), the odd, compelling "Sarah Jane and the Iron Mountain Baby" (about a baby thrown off a train in a suitcase, it could almost be called an Appalachian murder ballad, except no one dies, and the song is delivered with a sort of slightly bemused warmth), and "Shawnee," a simple, lovely, and gentle song about missing someone, all make it clear that Martin and Brickell are no accidental tourists. This is a sweet-sounding album with subtle depths, not really bluegrass, but a precisely gentle folk album that grows more graceful and revealing with each listen. ~ Steve Leggett, Rovi
San Francisco native Hanni El Khatib has a sound that evokes the eclectic mashups and warbling voice of Devendra Banhart and the grungy blues of Jon Spencer, Khatib made his debut with a pair of singles released on Stones Throw imprint Innovative Leisure in 2010. In 2011, Khatib opened for Florence + the Machine before eventually releasing his full-length debut, Will the Guns Come Out. Head In The Dirt, produced by Dan Auerbach, (busy guy! See Bombino) is the 2nd album by Hanni El Khatib, where he takes a lucky eleven songs and makes the entire history of rebel music something all his own. He's got cut-to-the-bone rhythm 'n' blues and overcranked Stooges-style stompers. He's got bottomless Black Sabbath riff-outs and dub-a-delic garageland rockers that call up the spirits of the Clash and the Equals both. By the end of Head in the Dirt, you'll realize that El Khatib actually made something out of everything. ~Rovi
Born in northern Niger, Bombino is an ethnic Tuareg, a nomadic tribe spread out across the Sahara Desert, and if he inherited a steady urge for going, it shows in his guitar playing, which is informed by the fluid, melodic, and graceful style of so many great African guitarists. But he's also listened and studied the playing of Jimi Hendrix and Mark Knopfler closely, and maybe a little of J.J. Cale, too, another man whose guitar style embraces a sharp, dusty-tinged desert tone, and somehow out of all this, Bombino emerges as a sort of Dick Dale of the Sahara, with a guitar style that is uniquely all his own. For this, his second album, Bombino traveled to Nashville to record with the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, and the result is a marvelous set, full of grit and funky elegance, a kind of mesh of Tuareg rhythms with Deep South delta country trance blues, and psychedelic, too, as if Jimi Hendrix and John Lee Hooker somehow got spliced together. It's a wonderful listen from start to finish, with heavily echoed vocals, and layers of snaky, sinewy guitar lines that build and weave, separate and expand as each track goes on, until everything seems to burst transformed into the immense sonic space of an ocean, or a desert, for that matter. Highlights include the thickly chugging garage guitar epic "Amidine" that opens the set, the amazing serpentine guitar lines of "Imuhar," the back porch Sahara country sound of "Imidwan," and the lovely "Tamiditine," which closes things out, but everything here certainly belongs and contributes to the rich, gritty, and ultimately joyous tone of this wonderful album. ~ Steve Leggett, Rovi
American Kid is Patty Griffin's first album of primarily original material since 2007's Children Running Through. It's her most stripped-down recording since her debut, Living with Ghosts. Acoustic guitars of all stripes, mandolins, earthy drums, percussion, bass, and occasional piano and organ accompany her instantly recognizable voice. Co-produced by the artist and Craig Ross, she is joined by longtime guitarist Doug Lancio, as well as Cody and Luther Dickinson. Robert Plant appears on three songs, including the single "Ohio." The set was recorded in Memphis and Brooklyn. The feeling of home and hearth saturates her excellent reading of Lefty Frizzell's "Mom & Dad's Waltz," while the musical sensation -- if not the form -- of the folk-blues courses through the disquieting "Faithful Son," with a haunting backing vocal by Plant. "Irish Boy" evokes an early 20th century parlor song; Griffin's only accompaniment is her piano. "Get Ready Marie" is a barroom waltz, complete with a male backing chorus and made loopy by an off-kilter Hammond B-3While the theme of mortality runs deep through American Kid, so does the celebration of life. Roughshod and unpredictable songs engage it in the present as well as the past, through courage, fear, love, memory, and the grainy, knotty, often invisible ties that bind. With its immediacy, economy, cagey strength, and vulnerability, Griffin delivers these 12 songs not as gifts or statements, but as her own evidence of what is, what was, and what yet may come. ~ Thom Jurek, Rovi
On his 2013 release The North Borders, British producer Simon Green (aka Bonobo) continues along the organic-meets-electronic path that his 2010 release Black Sands followed, but this walk takes place as it's turning to dusk, and there are varying degrees of mist and chilliness along the way. Opener "First Fires" with Grey Reverend (singer/songwriter L.D. Brown) sounds like it could be quite warm, but it's entirely autumn-minded sweater music that wistfully wonders what to do with "faded dreams" as Green allows bits of glitchy sunlight to shine through his cloudy synth construction. "Emkay" is the clangs and echoes of a seaside port at night that wonderfully shuffles its way up to a lighthouse tune, then there's majestic songstress Erykah Badu wonderfully vibing ("We don't need no truth/Got plenty/Now it grows on trees") on "Heaven for the Sinner" over Bonobo's deep version of the broken beat. "Towers" suggests sleepy urban buildings in twilight with a vibraphone representing the little bits of life and light that will sparkle through the night, while "Don't Wait" is just before the dawn, as innocent chimes chase away the eerie things that lurk in the darkness. Still, it's not all drifting as the great "Know You" drops a jazzy breakbeat while the high stepper "Ten Tigers" struts to something sounding like an inverted handclap, although there's little here that will make sleeping cats jump off the couch. Fine song structure and an overall album flow that's nearly perfect are things Bonobo regulars might expect at this point, but his discography hasn’t offered up a rainy day soundtrack so fitting until this one, so hope the weatherman has bad news and plan on staying in. ~ David Jeffries, Rovi