Share on Tumblr
The weather is finally starting to turn. The windows are rolled down or thrown open, depending on whether they’re in your car or your house. And there is a new-found spring in your step, as the laid-back, lazy days summer of lay ahead. All you need now is a good pair of sunglasses, some walking shoes and tunes to set the rhythm of the day. And that’s where we come in, with a list of the year’s best music for your springtime, easy-feeling enjoyment.
 
BAND OF HORSES “INFINITE ARMS” (Brown Records/Fat Possum/Columbia, $11.98) bandofhorses.com

Cee-Lo GreenCEE-LO GREEN “LADY KILLER
(Elektra/Asylum, $18.98)
ceelogreen.com
On their own, Band of Horses and Cee-Lo Green produced striking albums in 2010. Band of Horses raised their 70s inspired Southern California folk rock to ethereal heights on “Infinite Arms” while Cee-Lo’s stingingly smart mix of soul and hip hop on “Lady Killer” brought a brilliant playfulness to the airwaves. So it’s not at all surprising the two formed a mutual admiration society.  Cee-Lo covered Band of Horses “No One’s Gonna Love You” which led Band of Horses to tackle Cee-Lo’s “Georgia”, upping the ante by using the University of Georgia Redcoat Marching Band as back up.
 

BROKEN BELLS “BROKEN BELLS”Broken Bells
(Sony, $11.98) 
brokenbells.com
Cee-Lo’s partner in Gnarls Barkley, Danger Mouse, teamed up with James Mercer of The Shins for a most inspired marriage of indie rock and techno. Under the aptly named Broken Bells, the pair created 40 minutes of shimmering music filled with organs, string sections and every other instrument in existence, which gave quite a bite to Mercer’s beautiful, longing vocals.
 
Florence and the MachineFLORENCE + THE
MACHINE “BETWEEN TWO LUNGS”
(Universal Republic, $31.95)
florenceandthemachine.net
 Pure simple power is what Londoner Florence Welch and her band delivered in 2010. With her bright red hair and intense vocal stance, Welch saved the year from it’s bland self.  “Between The Lungs” is a double CD import of her 2009 disc “Lungs” that showcases Welch’s Kate Bush-like vocals that revealed a mystical quality. “Dog Days Are Over” is the standout pop gem while “Girl With One Eye” is a bizarre, way too descriptive tune that no other chanteuse could get away with.
 
David RawlingsDAVID RAWLINGS MACHINE
“A FRIEND OF A FRIEND”
(Acony Records, $13.98)
davidrawlingsmachine.com
The less public half of Gillian Welch’s musical output, David Rawlings struck out on his own with a 9-song set of lovely, southern tunes that are a throwback to a simpler time. “Sweet Tooth” is a brilliant candy coated Depression era jaunt. Rawlings resurrected “To Be Young (Is To Be Sad, To Be High)”, a song he co-wrote with Ryan Adams for Adams’ “Heartbreaker” and made it all his own. “For A Friend Of A Friend” is a long overdue debut from one of music’s most skilled musicians and producers and, hopefully, not the last singular work we hear from Rawlings.

 THE CAROLINA CHOCOLATE DROPSTHE CAROLINA CHOCOLATE DROPS
“GENUINE NEGRO JIG”
(Nonesuch, $15.98)
carolinachocolatedrops.com
Reviving the near century old tradition of black string music, The Carolina Chocolate Drops transformed the music of 1920s minstrel shows in to an entertainingly smart homage to vintage American music. Produced by singer/songwriter Joe Henry, the North Carolina trio swapped acoustic instruments with abandon, delivering “Genuine Negro Jig” in a swift 38 minutes. The highlight was a cover of the Blu Cantrell R & B dance song “Hit ‘Em Up Style” that lead singer Rhiannon Giddens made all her own, magically dissolving the decades between musical past and present.
 
“WHO IS HARRY NILSSON?HARRY NILSSON
 (AND WHY IS EVERYBODY TALKIN’ ABOUT HIM”
(Lorber Films, $29.95)
www.whoisharrynilsson.com
This thoroughly exhaustive documentary on the life of singer/songwriter Harry Nilsson was a mind blowing revelation in bringing to light the little known musical genius behind the honey-soaked vocals of 1970s AM radio hits “Without You” and “Everybody’s Talkin’ About Me”, the theme song to the film, “Urban Cowboy”.  Equal to his talents was his propensity for wild, out of control behavior, including orchestrating John Lennon’s infamous “Lost Weekend”. Nilsson’s voice is heard throughout the film as he had the foresight (or narcissistic nerve) to tape record his own life story. Family and friends like Micky Dolenz, Yoko Ono and Brian Wilson share eyewitness accounts of Nilsson’s self-destructive tendencies and in-studio brilliance. His lack of touring led to his under-the-radar popularity but this touching and detailed documentary will leave a lasting impression.
 
The Low AnthemTHE LOW ANTHEM “OH MY GOD,
CHARLIE DARWIN”
(Nonesuch Records, $15.98)
thelowanthem.com
Beautiful, shimmering and haunting best describes this trio and their take on Americana that would fit perfectly alongside the late 60s Newport Folk Scene. With the falsetto vocals of Ben Knox Miller and inspiration drawn from Walt Whitman, Ayn Rand and Charles Darwin, The Low Anthem are a literary marvel when it comes to vintage harmonies on the first track, “To Ohio”, and a thrashing rock band through the clash and clang of “The Horizon Is A Beltway” and the Tom Waits/Jack Kerouac penned “Home I’ll Never Be”. Smart and sophisticated, “Oh My God, Charlie Darwin” is a must listen for fans of vintage Simon and Garfunkel and The Band.
 
Charlotte GainsbourgCHARLOTTE GAINSBOURG “IRM”
(Elektra/Asylum, $13.95)
charlottegainsbourg.com
The reigning King and Queen of Hipsterville could easily be actress/singer Charlotte Gainsbourg and Beck so their partnership in song is no surprise. Gainsbourg, whose father was the renowned French musician Serge Gainsbourg, sings with an elegant whisper throughout “Irm” but reveals a tougher edge on tracks like “Voyage” and “Trick Pony”. Beck brings a modern edge to counter her sophistication and their duet on the sweet and jaunty piano-driven “Heaven Can Wait” is as charming as any thing you heard all year.
 
Mountain MnaMOUNTAIN MAN “MADE THE HARBOR”
(Partisan Records, $11.00) 
mountainman.bandcamp.com
The best record of the past year belongs to a trio of ladies whose angelic, haunting a cappella echoed the loveliest sounds Appalachia ever produced. Molly Erin Sarle, Alexandra Sauser-Monnig and Amelia Randall Meath met at Bennington College and stumbled upon their shared love of America folk music by sheer luck. Recorded in an old ice cream parlor, “Made The Harbor” featured stoic hymns (“Babylon”) and spirituals (“River”) felt more like a session eavesdropped upon than a formal recording.   Themes of nature, animals, love and kinship are both haunting and singable, making Mountain Man the sweetest of sounds for spring.
 
www.Dishmag.com / Issue 119 - September 5042
Turnpage Blk


Home | Links | Advertise With Us | Who We Are | Message From The Editor | Privacy & Policy

Connect with Dish Magazine:
Find us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter

Search www.DishMag.com:

Copyright (c) 2013, Smash Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Smash Media Group, Inc. is prohibited.
Use of Dishmag and Dish Magazine are subject to certain Terms and Conditions.
Please read the Dishmag and Dish Magazine Privacy Statement. We care about you!