To some of my friends, people like Matt Dentler, I can be a little behind the curve, music-wise. Of course he works at possibly the best place on the planet to get the jump on new music, so I don’t feel too bad about that. Then there’s my nephew Michael who used to be one of the people I looked to, to learn about new music, but he went and got himself a “real” job and now he doesn’t have enough time to follow these scene as closely as he used to, so now I tell HIM about new tunes. That said, for the great number of people out there, I am still what you might call “ahead of the curve” when it comes to new tunage, so without further ado, here’s a pair of new CD’s that actually have more in common than one might think, while being decidedly individual, too.
Nicole Atkins & The Sea – “Neptune City”
Oh lord. I have to say that not since Antony & The Johnsons have I been bowled over by such a voice and such a debut CD and to think it’s all because of an email from concert promoters Live Nation. Seriously. I got the email, looked at the picture of Ms. Atkins and thought My god, she’s hot. (Yes, sometimes I’m that shallow.) Then I went to her MySpace page and heard “Party’s Over,” “Maybe Tonight” and “Brooklyn’s On Fire” and I was completely hooked.
The best thing about this CD? As fantastic as those tunes are, they aren’t the best on the disc. That honor belongs to broken heart ballad extraordinaire “The Way It Is.” Opening with a sensuous mix of breathy vocals, bass, strings and guitar, it evokes mid-90’s Siouxsie sharing a martini and a good cry with Angelo Badalamenti, but not without a healthy dose of self-respect. For 2 verses it slinks along, threatening menace and then Atkins’ voice opens up and the heavens are laid bare. Maybe I’m a little biased (genders reversed, this song is eerily appropriate to my current state of mine, in parts) but I’d like to think I can still recognize a special song when I hear one, personal emotions aside.
And in my ears, my blood is just roaring,
’cause he’s the only one I’ve ever wanted.
I suppose that’s just the way, it is.
This song shivers my timbers more than any in a LONG time.
Siouxsie Sioux – “Mantaray”
She’s goth, she’s back, get used to it. Ok, so it doesn’t rhyme and it reminds you of the high school cheerleaders you use to hate but fuck it, any “cheer” with goth in it, rules. This CD is a fantastic solo debut from one of the more original, influential and oft-imitated musicians of her generation and yes, it’s her first solo release. This disc rocks (“About to Happen”), it swoons (“Heaven and Alchemy”) and it vamps (“Here Comes That Day”) with the best of them.
Wanna buy these CD’s? You should!
For US readers, click here:
Nicole Atkins & The Sea – Neptune City
Siouxsie Sioux – Mandalay
For those of you in the UK: