New Music Friday Vol. 3

Once upon a time, there was a man named George Harrison who was in a band called the Beatles. That man had a son. Also: a New York Voice releases a new album, and a violin plays in a river.


Dhani Harrison - IN///PARALLEL

In 2008, Harrison-the-son's band, thenewno2, released their debut recording. It relied heavily on electronic sounds, electric guitars, and rock 'n' roll beats, and Harrison's gentle voice benignly sat atop it all. At times, there was an element of shoegazing there, and while pleasant enough, this is was not music in pursuit of much of a climax.

The band's second album, Thefearofmissingout, dialed up the energy: punchier beats, interesting arrangements, and smarter engineering/production that gave Harrison's otherwise mild vocals more immediacy. It wass poppier music scattered with sounds born in the dancehall.

In between those records, he made a jangly, acoustic guitar-driven, singer-songwriter "supergroup" album with Ben Harper and Joseph Arthur. And if you know either of those names, you know what this sounds like. Even if you don't, if you've ever heard three cerebral singer-songwriters having fun singing and strumming guitars together, you know what this sounds like. But because it's three people who are good at that, it's good.

IN///PARALLEL is Dhani Harrison's first solo record, and based on the tracks available before release, it follow's more in the footsteps of the second thenewno2 record. Relying less on the obvious dancehall loops for drama (though, they're still there) and more on big beats with guitars and orchestra and some occasional Beatles harmonies. The track linked below, "Admiral of Upside Down," as you'll see, starts with George Harrison's influence painted all over it. Then it feels to me like a bit of Led Zeppelin creeps in, followed by some (she's so) heavy Beatles action, and as it reaches it's orchestral climax, Harrison's voice morphs into this kind of Dave Matthews growl. Which feels a bit too much like a guilty pleasure, but I like it anyway.

Lauren Kinhan - A Sleepin' Bee

I'm cheating on this one. I actually already have this album, even though it's "official" release date is today. And I've listened to it. But the conceit of this here blog is that I share new music that I'm looking forward to listening to on the weekend of its release. I can listen to it this weekend even if I've already done so. I'm not breaking my own rules. I promise.

Anyway, back when I was a young lad working at a mall record store, I happened upon a CD in the jazz section by a group called The New York Voices. I liked jazz, I liked (the idea of) New York (I hadn't been there yet), and I liked voices. It was their album of all Paul Simon tunes. I was hooked, and that remains one of my favorite recordings of all time.

Ms. Kinhan is a member of that group of voices from New York, and I have since had the pleasure of meeting Lauren a number of times. She is a truly gracious woman with a beautiful and lively spirit, and her joy shines through her music.

She has released a few solo albums of original work previous to this project, but this is her first collection of standards. It took as its launching point the music of the great Nancy Wilson. I've only listened through once, but the title track (below) is lots of fun, and a couple of immediate standouts: "Save Your Love For Me" is gorgeous and "Born To Be Blue" is wonderfully sassy. I am happy to have this in my collection, and I'm looking forward to repeated listens.

Andrew Bird - Echolocations: River

I have a confession. I am very late to the Andrew Bird party. So late, I haven't even gotten there yet. Many people I know will experience bewilderment upon reading that. It happens. You can't listen to everything under the sun, as much as you may try. For anyone who hasn't received their invitation to the party yet and don't know, he's a violinist/singer-songwriter. I think.

Well, Andrew Bird has a new record, and I am positive that this is not supposed to be one's introduction to Andrew Bird. And that's exactly what makes me want to start with it. From what I gather, it is the second recording in a planned series of instrumental albums recorded "on location" with the ambient noise and acoustic of that location. The first one was called Echolocations: Canyon. Extrapolate from that, the obvious.

This video gives me at least an idea of what to expect, and I can get on board with the concept. Why not? And then maybe I'll go back and listen to all of those other records I probably should have listened to first.

Brian HinmanComment