OUTSIDE THE HEARD AUGUST 2012

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Lianne La Havas
Is Your Love Big Enough?
Nonesuch

 
Since her appearance on the BBC's Later... with Jools Holland in the fall of 2011, the excitement around Lianne La Havas - a multi-instrumentalist and singer raised on Jill Scott and Mary J. Blige-- has quickly spread across the UK, Europe and the US. Appearing on that same episode of Later... was Bon Iver, which quickly led to an offer for Lianne to open their December North American tour. "As soon as we saw her play it was so refreshing,” gushed Bon Iver El Hefe, Justin Vernon. “Somebody who could play their instrument, somebody who could use their voice, but in their own way. She is just fantastic," Bon Iver's Justin Vernon. La Havas says that Is Your Love Big Enough? “Acts almost like a map of the route I have taken through life, through love, in the past three years. The title is a question that mixes challenge, defiance, impatience, determination, pride, and, above all, passion. It’s a question deserving of an answer.
 
Said the Whale
Little Mountain
Hidden Pony Records

 
Dashes of Andrew Bird, The Shins and New Pornographers infiltrate Canadian indie outfit, Said the Whale. With careful pop sensibilities held up by assertive swagger, Said the Whale delivers its third album of irony-free production and writing. The band’s second album, Islands Disappear, won the band a much-coveted Juno award in 2011. The two singers, Ben Worcester and Tyler Bancroft, use vocal interplay and big guitars to lead the band’s triumphant sort of sound. For the band’s third album, Little Mountain, everything fans have come to expect has remained intact, with maybe a little more space and breadth in the composition. This may be the result of the songs being introduced by Worcester and Bancroft in a more skeletal state this time, with the flesh being added by the band in the studio. “Big Sky, MT” is an early anthem on the record, with a driving and persistent beat. Barroom love ballad, “O Alexandra” is set to be a fan favorite, but later tracks “Lover / Friend” and “Safe Harbour” exhibit a darker, less pop infiltrated side of Said the Whale.
Milo Greene
Milo Greene
Atlantic
 
In the DIY music world, having proper representation is key. Lacking an actual manager, college classmates Andrew Heringer, Robbie Arnett, and Marlana Sheetz concocted a virtual one - Milo Greene - to promote their individual musical efforts. When they decided to join forces, he became a band. The melodies invoke long drives down the California coast and the feeling of leaving home. Guitar lines swell and recede as ocean waves would. A slight dissonance can be sensed underneath a seemingly passive exterior; a tension can be found in passing, harmonious tones that evoke the sense of waiting for something really big to happen... The themes explored on Milo Greene are timeless: A quest for permanence, a longing for virtue, a need for reciprocity in all that is good. “When, when, when we’re older / Can I still come over?” the band asks in “Silent Way,” looking hopefully into the future. It’s a future less daunting when faced with the strong bond imagined in the song “Don’t You Give Up on Me,” with its solemn vow “I’ll go wherever you go.” You’ll wanna follow along.
 
Angus Stone
Broken Brights
Nettwerk

 
“I feel like it would be my most personal work to date,” he ventures Angus Stone on the topic of Broken Brights. “I think I’m constantly introverting to that place, to that pocket I’ve always wanted to live inside amongst the songs & the tales that I’ve written. This album holds an essence that I’ve been searching for, for a long time.” For the past seven years, he’s been travelling the world as one half of brother-sister duo Angus & Julia, during which time he’s played to spell-bound audiences in sold-out shows at iconic venues like London’s Royal Festival Hall and Paris’s Le Trianon. Together, the artists have sold close to a million records around the world. Stone has drawn upon the ideas and experiences that make Angus & Julia’s music so endearing, whilst offering a fresh perspective on the world that they’ve created. His poignant lyrical musings on life, love, and loss are both familiar and fresh, which will no doubt excite old fans and invite new ones into the fold. What he says about going solo could easily sum up the experience of listening to Broken Brights: “It’s a whole different trip.” Indeed.
Drawing elements from Portishead, Bon Iver, Fleetwood Mac, and Eurythmics, Polica is a group featuring chanteuse Channy Caselle from Roma di Luna, Ryan Olson of Gayngs, Vampire Hands guitarist Chris Bierden, and drummers (that’s right, there are two) Drew Christopherson from Digitata and Ben Ivascu from STNNNG. “Amongster” opens with buzzing, reverberated guitar leads, over which Caselle’s ghostly, layered vocals hover like a mist. An Auto-Tune modification makes it sound like she’s singing behind a whirring fan in “I See My Mother”- all dub-inspired bass and an electric guitar approximating a synthesizer with help from an electronic bow, it’s here where the finesse of the Polica’s two drummers comes shockingly into the foreground. “Violent Games” plays with more menacing tones. Dark drumming patterns give chase to a driving, distorted bass line, while Caselle croons through a slew of gurgling effects. The standout tune “The Maker” gives Caselle more room to stretch out and exercise her dynamic vocal range, though “Wandering Star” (no, not the Portishead song) is the jam (among many jams) that could make Polica huge. You need this.

Polica -
Give You The Ghost

Mom & Pop Music
With Dirty Projectors' swelling and beautiful new album, Swing Lo Magellan, David Longstreth shows he really doesn't know how to do the same thing twice. Where prior DPs albums investigated 20th-century orchestration (The Getty Address), aerated the aesthetics of 80s hardcore and west African guitar music (Rise Above), and explored complex contrapuntal techniques in human voices (Bitte Orca and Mt Wittenberg Orca), Swing Lo Magellanis a leap forward again - with Dirty Projectors delving into the beautiful, generous simplicity of the heart and soul. "It's an album of songs, an album of songwriting," says Longstreth. The songs of Swing Lo Magellan are culled from a sprawling twelve months of constant writing and recording in a weird house in Delaware County, New York. Swing Lo Magellan bears the impress of this informal working style: The album is a collection of moments: Accidental, fortuitous, spontaneous. The performances feel warm and imperfect. Unguarded intimacy is somewhat of a new look for this band, and it turns out to be a good one. Swing Lo Magellan has both the handmade intimacy of a love letter and the widescreen grandeur of a blockbuster, and if that sounds like a paradox - it's because it was... Until now.

Dirty Projectors -
Swing Lo Magellan

Domino
moremusic

The Coalition of Independent Music Stores (CIMS) is a group of some of the best independent music stores in America. CIMS was founded in 1995; its current membership is made up of 29 accounts that handle 47 stores in 21 states. Many of the accounts have been recognized by the music industry and their local communities for their outstanding dedication to customer service and developing artist support.

Each member is bound by its shared love of music, a reputation for great selection and customer service in its community, yet each CIMS account is as unique as the market it represents. Most importantly, CIMS member stores continually seek to challenge the jaded, color-by-numbers advertising and marketing of other retailers.