Tuesday, March 23, 2010

New Releases, Tuesday, March 23

Posted By on Tue, Mar 23, 2010 at 11:47 AM

A few of spring's long-awaited releases are ripe for the plucking.

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We have the highly photogenic duo She & Him, comprised of the dreamy, Ben-Gibbard-snatching Zooey Deschanel and guitar virtuoso M. Ward. (I swear, these two have participated in more photo-shoots together than they've penned songs.) Their new album, Vol. 2, is a follow-up to their well-recieved Vol. 1, which consisted of Deschanel's french-horn-like chords crooning seductively over M. Ward's understated instrumentation. As expected, She & Him's newest release is a continuation in the vein of Vol. 1's country-tinged easy listening, and it's just as sweet and vapid as Deschanel's on-screen characters. Fans of Juno and 500 Days of Summer, take heed: this is prime indie-for-people-who-don't-actually-like-indie. The Starbucks rack will be kind to this record.

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​Electronic sex-kitten Goldfrapp has released her latest twist with her new record, Head First. After a chamelon-like shift into shimmering ambience with 2008's Seventh Tree, the nightclub siren is back in true ass-kicking form. Sinking her claws deep into '80s aerobics and hyper-dramatic ballads (think Heart and Olivia Newton John), Goldfrapp serves up a batch of danceable nostalgia, complete with synths a la Van Halen's "Jump." It's funny, kitschy and at times, starkly beautiful -- the modern, amorphic "Voicething" sounds Imogen Heap floating in space. 

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​She's only twenty, but guitar-toting British songstress Laura Marling is no Taylor Swift. With stormy folk tunes rife with brutal honesty, incisive lyricism and chilling invocations of the bards of old (It's hard to accept yourself as someone / you don't desire, she sings on "Rambling Man,") Marling's songwriting reaches far beyond her years. A former member of Noah and the Whale (and former girlfriend of frontman Charlie Fink,) Marling's solo career has taken a decidedly darker -- and more interesting --- turn following the demise of her and Fink's relationship. A throaty voice recalls Cat Power's less-sober years, but Marling's shuffling guitar lines recall Bob Dylan more than any of her spritely peers. 

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