Friday's Grab Bag

No, I’m not talking about Aitken and Hearn’s after work activities. I’m talking about herohill’s new music recommendations. These are the cds that have been rocking our ipods this week:

Imogen Heap – Speak for Yourself
Fresh off the hype from the Frou Frou track featured in Garden State, Imogen financed her own solo album. For fans of Frou Frou, her voice is as beautiful as ever, and the electronic beats are still present on a few tracks. This album is more diverse than the Frou Frou material, and my second favorite tradck (Hide and Seek) is almost 100% a cappela (like those dudes from Where in the World is Carmen San Diego). She is so good she can make a song that borders on stalking completely fun and groove-able.

Devendra Barhart – Cripple Crow
Mr. Barhart is not everyone’s cup of tea. His folky, finger picking and interesting lyrics may turn you off more than a girl talking about her rash. If you are a fan of Sam Beam, and other fantastic folk acts, please give this a listen. The album is more upbeat than previous effort (Nino Rojo, Rejoicing the Hands, etc.) but not as strong. Normally, if an album features Spanish jams, I get bitter that I can’t understand the lyrics, but half the time I can’t understand his rambling anyway.

Mando Diao – Bring Em In
An oldie but a goodie. Snagged this off Lapaix, and BA BA BA BA – I’m loving it. Swedish post-punk that is lumped with the Hives, Mando Diao is going to explode. More accurate comparisons are to the Beatles and early Stones, but once people here statements like that, they instantly get all bitter and start saying the band sucks. Paralyzed was the single, but it isn’t even close to my favorite track.

A Race Of Angels - Broadcast No. 1
I don't know much about this group. There's at least one guy in the band as he sings, but the band could be one guy or 50. I can't find anything more about them online. Their bio describes the album thusly: "It's soulful, emotive, electronic, organic, thought-provoking, and above all else, completely unique." I can't really argue with that, I can see the emotion put into very song. They kind of sound like Seal-lite or something. Michael & The Force is a good jam, I really like it, and if the album was full of songs like this I'd be into it more. But the other beats are a little too sparse and the vocals are kind of same-y sounding no matter what the backing track sounds like. But I can't argue with the uniqueness, so if you get the chance to check this album for yourself I would recommend it.

Greenhouse Effect - Columbus Or Bust
Greenhouse Effect is comprised of Blueprint and Manifest, and you guessed it, they are reppin' for underground hotspot Columbus Ohio. They've produced a solid, for lack of a better term, underground hip hop album. You might know Blueprint from his solo work (The Weightroom, 1988) or his work with RJD2 as Soul Position. You might know know Manifest from...well I only know him from this album, so you might not know him. Manifest is a solid mc, but Blueprint is the reason to get this album. He's a great producer as evidenced by the beats found here, and he's a standout mc as well. Most of the songs are solid, covering some pretty standard underground lyrical territory (getting drunk, trolling for slimmies, bashing internet haters (E-Thugs has some funny lines "LOL around real thugs and get smashed in the teeth"). Songs like Still Shook (with it's beat & lyrics homage to Mobb Deep) and Columbus or Bust (Great song despite them saying they hate the Wloverines, Go Blue!). If you're looking for a mid-summer straight-ahead hip hop fix, Greenhouse Effect can hook you up.

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