Monday, July 15, 2019

Originality mined on new releases

A highly-anticipated return by Two Door Cinema Club, as well as a number of stellar independent albums and EPs make for a strong field of new releases.

Artist: Two Door Cinema Club
Title: False Alarm (Glassnote Records)
You might like if you enjoy: A R I Z O N A, Duran Duran, Neon Trees
Tell me more: On their newly-issued fourth studio album False Alarm, Northern Irish trio Two Door Cinema Club has once again unleashed an irresistible batch of great originals blending pop, indie rock, electronica and neo-disco dance music. A casual listener is likely lured in by the catchy beats and glorious choruses, but there is plenty of textured and luxurious creativity enhancing the 10 tracks on the set. Singer-guitarist Alex Trimble, lead guitarist Sam Halliday and bassist-synths player Kevin Baird have joined forces with producer Jacknife Lee (U2, R.E.M., The Killers) to push the boundaries of Two Door Cinema Club's sound to new frontiers. "Talk" is a dance floor-meets-electronica gem; "So Many People" offers up a nuanced R&B soundscape. The driving electronica cut "Dirty Air" is undeniable; the robotic "Satellite" harkens back to '80s New Wave but exudes a bright sheen that defies its retro roots. The disco-flavored "Nice To See You" is bolstered by hip hop artist Open Mike Eagle; the explosive "Already Gone" closes out the terrific LP. Information:

Artist: Farrington
Title: Pictures of Pretty Things (Magic Stone Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Jeff Lynne's ELO, Queen, David Bowie
Tell me more: Farrington's debut album Pictures of Pretty Things is both ambitious and melodic, drawing positive comparisons with notable recordings from Badfinger, Electric Light Orchestra, Queen and Cheap Trick. Farrington  the moniker for tunesmith/singer/multi-instrumentalist James Patrick  and a super-talented group of surrounding players (including guitarist-bassist Anthony King, vocalist Nikki Paige, drummer Marcos de la Cruz and backing vocalist Kai Danzberg) have crafted a memorable disc that is rooted in the past while also striking a claim in the here and now via inventive songcraft and bona fide power. Standouts abound on the 14-track masterwork; the shimmer of "Blue," pulsating piano-anchored "Stupid Plastic War" and the Bowiesque "Maybe If You Leave Her" impress with a single listen. The glam punk-styled "Long Way to Nowhere," tuneful "Long Way to Nowhere" and "When I Was You, and the tender ballad "The Love Show" showcase an artist able to create musical magic at every turn. When Farrington sings "Music Is The Drug" who would dare argue? Information:

Artist: R. Scott
Title: Flashpoint (R. Scott)
You might like if you enjoy: John Carrillo, Paul Williams, R. Stevie Moore
Tell me more: Over the years some of my favorite albums have been released by independent artists, notably Michael Ubaldini, Bright Blue Gorilla and Psychic Rain. Southern California-based singer-songwriter/pianist R. Scott has impressed me over the years with a unique voice and original approach at capturing the world around him and bringing it into song. On his newly-issued EP Flashpoint he once again proves there is plenty to celebrate. The fast-moving five songs that comprise Flashpoint include the opening gem, "Time Of Our Lives," which could have been penned by Burt Bacharach. The disc's additional delights include the confessional "Wishful Thinking," Celtic-tinged "I Can't Recall" and emotive "Come Alive." As R. Scott notes on his website: "This EP is about getting through our modern day madness, the moments that shape our lives and holding on to the things we hold dear." Information:

Artist: Yes Gabriel
Title: Yes Gabriel (Yes Gabriel)
You might like if you enjoy: Guster, the Finn Brothers, Pugwash
Tell me more: An introspective and intimate release, veteran musical theater composer Gaby Alter's Yes Gabriel is an impressive debut much larger than the five tracks that comprise the eponymous effort. Fans of a wide range of artists (notably Ron Sexsmith, Guster, Nick Drake and the Morning Phase version of Beck) will all find something to love on this striking collection, which is marked by top-tier lyrics and rich musical layers that enhance each of the songs. Recorded over five years, Yes Gabriel is a perfect blend of indie folk and chamber pop as evidenced by the probing "Dear To Me," wistful "Fall Asleep" and lovely "You Got Through." Information:

Robert Kinsler

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