BEAR CREEK Brandi Carlile Sony Music
THE Washington State-based folk singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile offers a fresh, indie sound with Bear Creek, her fourth studio album.
I still can’t get over the fact that this 31-year-old artiste is not from the South, given her Americana, folksy, bluegrassy music since her debut self-titled album in 2005.
It’s very evident in the banjo-happy Raise Hell, rockin’ I’ll Still Be There, Hard Way Home and Keep Your Heart Young, with a catchy singalong chorus: “You can’t take back what you have done/You’ve gotta keep your heart young.”
Of the slower songs, the ballad, What Did I Ever Come Here For, tugs the heart with its strings, while the confessional tone, with Carlile on piano, is moving, in That Wasn’t Me.
If you like Adele and Bonnie Rait, then Bear Creek should be on your iPod too.
WHAT a beautiful sound Willie Nelson still has, after 60 years in country music. In this umpteenth album, but his first with Sony Music, the iconic Texas musician-singer-songwriter offers 13 songs.
Produced by Buddy Cannon (Academy of Country Music producer of the year 2006), Heroes was released in time for Nelson’s 79th birthday on May 15.
On it, he has roped in guest vocalists on several of the tracks, including Snoop Dogg and Kris Kristofferson on the funny Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die, a Nelson original.
Covers interpreted by Nelson include a sensitive version of Pearl Jam’s Just Breathe, and a jazzy My Window Faces South. That inimitable tenor gives the original gospel song, Come on Back Jesus, a reflective tone with its shoutout to another iconic Western figure, John Wayne in the repetitious chorus.
Unfortunately for me, son Lukas joins dad on most of the tracks. Lukas’ nasal tone grates on my ear, as it lacks the warmth and honesty of Nelson’s well-worn voice, even if I did like the lyrics on the Lukas original, Every Time He
Drinks He Thinks of Her. Here are two lines: “But the party life is dangerous, when you left your love behind/ Cause it hides in every bottle that you find.”
Heroes offers much poignancy in its songs. It should keep country music fans satisfied.
THE opening track on this Swedish garage rock band’s fifth full-length album has mainly “Howlin” Pelle Almqvist shouting “Come On!” amid frenetic drums and guitar riffs — and that’s all he says for 1.08 minutes. Laugh all you want, but this band continues to get you in that rockin’, headbanging groove since its debut EP in 1996.
The sound on Lex Hives is anthemic, screaming happy, while the Lex Hives album cover continues the tradition of the band members togged in black and white suits.
If you want to get in the mood to do some down and dirty — like washing the car yourself — put on The Hives.
DANCE away your blues with Good Feeling, an irresistible song on Flo.Rida’s fourth studio album. Born Tramar Dillard, the rapper performed the song on the finale of The Voice 2, with contestant Juliet Simms.
This album is filled with hip-hop and electrohouse dance beats, starting with the opener Whistle to the ninth and last song, Run, featuring RedFoo of LMFAO. The title track features Australian recording artist Sia Furler while Sweet Spot has Jennifer Lopez carrying the chorus well. The slower song, Thinking of You and I Cry, are all right but the best is the last — Run. Expect heavy radio play on that song alone.
A MILLION LIGHTS
THE Girls Aloud member, Cheryl (the Cole has been dropped following the split from footballer Ashley Cole), is offering dance-pop again on 12 tracks. You may recall her name more for the controversy around the American version of The X-Factor, where you didn’t know if she was on as a judge or not, and why.
On this album, Call My Name is catchy enough as too are the others — Love Killer, Under The Sun and All Is Fair — but the best is Sexy Dun A Mutha on which she is Flo Rida in a dress. A catchy house number to get you on your feet.
The album is generally radio-friendly fodder.