Author: Brinley Froelich

Yarah Bravo
Love Is The Movement
Duzz Down San Records
Street: 04.30
Yarah Bravo = Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes + Del tha Funky Homosapien
Combine all of the ‘90s R&B soul by the legendary divas with a motivational message, and mix it with new sounds infused with down-tempo electronics, jazz and pop beats, for an exhilarating blend that only a true legend could muster, with skill and sincerity unmatched. Bravo not only spits raps off her tongue effortlessly (being multi-lingual probably helps, sampled in “Fuerza”), she even handles the instrumental side of the production, with encouraging lyrics to match upbeat tempos. Bravo touches on themes of empowerment through leadership (“Leader”), refusing to be silent (“Hazeem”), the power of love, being fearless and other positive messages, but in a way that avoids being clumped in with clichéd inspirational quote boards. Light it up with one of her Ziggi papers, available with a CD purchase at YarahBravo.bandcamp.com, and sink into the soul of a reincarnated diva. –Brinley Froelich

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Sally Seltmann
Hey Daydreamer
Arts & Crafts
Street: 03.04
Sally Seltmann = Aloa Input + Feist
Produced in collaboration with Seltmann’s husband, Darren Seltmann (of The Avalanches), Hey Daydreamer is an album full of theatrics. Not only is the instrumentation elaborate, with emphasis on the horns and percussion, but the overall feeling I get from listening to this is uplifting, as she sings about finding strength in independence, throwing out bad influences and living with your mistakes. But don’t be fooled—there’s darkness underneath, such as when she sings in “Holly Drive” that there’s a “sunny disposition on the outside, but it’s a shady place I live in on the inside.” You’ll get a sense of this vibrancy when you look up the music video for “Catch of the Day.” The colorful animation with paper-cutting could travel through the songs throughout the album. The imagery is so vivid that not only can I not let go of it during a listen, I don’t want to. –Brinley Froelich
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Georgia’s Horse
Weather Codes
Fire Records
Street: 06.25
Georgia’s Horse = Cat Power + JP Haynie
I haven’t heard an album more Western than Weather Codes since Spindrift’s Classic Soundtracks Vol. 1 was released. Teresa Maldonado truly embodies what I imagine it would be like to hang out in a saloon in Texas, as she sings along to an out-of-tune honky-tonk piano, with lyrical tales about heartbreak and loneliness, especially in “A Brick Hard Heart.” This album is fit for imagery of a lone cowgirl, traveling by horseback across the desert landscapes, and Maldonado’s voice creates kick-ass outlaw imagery. This Western feel is juxtaposed against electronic mixing, evident in “Thistlebombs,” to create an album that is both modern and nostalgic in style. –Brinley Froelich
 
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Tonight Sky
Self-Titled
Sunstrom Sound
Street: 11.05
Tonight Sky = Boards of Canada + Lemon Jelly
As the name suggests, the influences behind Tonight Sky (created by Jason Holstrom) involve a lot of stargazing and space stuff. With that, Holstrom weaves electronic melodies with danceable beats, layered with ambience invoking the nature of space—empty and vast. “Deep Blue and Green” takes you in the opposite direction, to the depths of the ocean, but the weightless sentiment remains. While I dug the instrumentation, the vocals didn’t really resonate with me, and I’d probably like this album more without them. Nonetheless, the arrangements are groovy and fresh, and would probably serve well as a soundtrack for a scientific documentary for kids. –Brinley Froelich
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Simian Ghost

Youth

Playground Music

Street: 02.27.12

Simian Ghost = The Antlers + Here We Go Magic

Youth evokes, as the album title suggests, a nostalgic sound that takes me back to what I wish I could have played in my younger days. Started by singer Sebastian Arnström, this Swedish band hashes out old school (re: the ‘90s) indie pop sounds that revels in all that cutesy hand clapping and skipping around moods, yet with an integrity that avoids being too overwhelmingly upbeat. While the album comes across a bit juvenile, with vocals that could just as easily be voiced by Kermit the Frog, the production takes care for the details in a way that provokes a sound that can almost par with indie legends Broken Social Scene, the similarity most apparent during “Crystalline Lovers Mind.” After all, cheery sounds go well with a budding youth, so perhaps the formative sounds are to coincide with that invincible feeling of being young and so alive. –Brinley Froelich
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Yasmine Hamdan
Ya Nass
Crammed Disks
Street: 03.25
Yasmine Hamdan = Mirah + Yael Naim
While I can’t understand the lyrics of any of these songs, I can understand the sentiment and emotion behind them, which speaks to the universality of music. Hamdan’s elegant voice can take you to her dreamland fantasy, regardless of your knowledge of Arabic. “Shouei” stuck out most for me, evoking the sounds of staring out the window and watching the rain in your cozy setting of choice. The album sways gracefully between the nostalgic sounds, like in “Aleb,” to darker, tormented melodies, such as “Enta Fen, Again” and “La Mouch.” I won’t be surprised when I hear her more in the states, as she’s mastered her craft. –Brinley Froelich
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Benjamin Finger
Listen To My Nerves Hum
Time Released Sound
Street: 06.15
Benjamin Finger = Eluvium + Loscil
Equally as haunting as it is soothing, Listen To My Nerves Hum is perfect for any ambient lover with bipolar tendencies. While “Año Nuevo Acid Crackers,” with sound samples of fireworks, leaves you wishing you were on a blanket in the middle of a baseball field, “Sevilla on Tape” brings to the surface ghost-like chants that might make you wish you were curled under a blanket with a flashlight. Finger composes these piano tunes in a way that comes across as hypnotic, nostalgic and intimate, and is soothing enough to wind down a heated night. The limited edition of this set includes a 8.5"x5” box with a hanging bird mobile, created from parts of antique pianos, and is filled with unique collages and old musical strips, making this an album that pleases multiple layers of senses. –Brinley Froelich

 
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Lauren Mann & The Fairly Odd Folk
Over Land and Sea
Wanderer Records
Street: 04.13
Lauren Mann and the Fairly Odd Folk = Cotton Jones + The Watson Twins
Over Land and Sea starts out with a force that immediately captures your attention. The first song, “Fragile,” was stuck in my head for a solid two days. With the intensity that the album has, I can only imagine they can rock the fuck out during a live show, and with the amount of touring they do, I hope they continue to keep up the stamina. The Fairly Odd Folk use an ample amount of instruments aside from the typical drum and guitar setup, so bear with me while I name them off: OL&S includes a glockenspiel, trombone, flute, clarinet, bassoon, violin, viola, banjo, cello and trumpet. Far from sounding like a marching band, the production of these instruments combined is a blast. I especially enjoyed “The Weight of the World,” which I’m pretty sure had an old-school organ in it to add to the list. –Brinley Froelich

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DieAlps!
Self-Titled
New Granada Records
Street: 09.23
DieAlps! = Rachel Taylor Browns + The Cranberries

Taking classical waltz structures and applying them to a rock n’ roll setup, DieAlps! creates a retro, upbeat sound with lyrical compositions (by Cornelia “Connie” Calcaterra) that cover issues of loneliness and feeling left out. As she moved from Austria to America, Connie paired with husband and bandmate, Frank Calceterra (guitar and vocals), and added a full production that feels festival-worthy (albeit with Barnum and Bailey vibes) in an attempt to connect to her home and deal with the changes that come with moving to a new country. “Rules of Discipline,” with a steady, marching beat, felt like an elephant parade, while she repeats the phrase “No one can ever hurt me”—a nice sentiment, despite sounding like a kid trying to prove herself on the playground. The energy in her voice pars with the passion of Karen O, but I couldn’t quite connect with the pre-tantrum-sounding whines. –Brinley Froelich

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The She’s

Dreamers

Riot Act

Street: 04.15

The She’s = The Blow + Baby Ghosts

Smack on some lip gloss, grab an ice cream cone and head down to the beach with Dreamers as your soundtrack. This three-piece gal band is perfect for summer tunes, with garage pop-punk melodies to get you bouncing as you skip around and smile about how great your life is. Deep with retro jingles and three-part harmonies, these gals feel straight up like a Hollywood-manufactured band (just listen to “Dream Girl” for a sample) and end up feeling a little commercial for my taste, but if you’re looking for a pick-me-up and you’re getting bored of Raffi, this could work. –Brinley Froelich
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