Sky Ferreira | Ghost
The future girl-pop superstar?
On her sophomore EP, this 20-year-old Hollywood chanteuse has made a name for herself as a dreamy synthpop star. This collection of five songs features Ferreira’s bluesy and airy voice, creating a mellow feel similar to Lana Del Rey.
While two of the tracks (“Sad Dream” and “Ghost”) are more acoustic, with soulful guitar harmonies and reflective lyrics, the other three go for a stronger synthpop approach, a pleasant contrast with her faded vocals and percussive rock elements.
“Everything is Embarrassing” may be the most attainable track among them all, as a dance number that emphasizes her lush vocals paired with ‘80s-referencing backbeats and bass. There’s something attractive about Ghost, something that brings up that early ‘00s pop we used to love (don’t deny it).
Recommended If You Like: Lana Del Rey, Robyn
By Molly Pfeffer
Bat For Lashes | The Haunted Man
Bat For Lashes combine trip-hoppy synth beats with soaring ethereal vocals.
On her third album, Natasha Khan draws as much from current trends in dream pop as she does from the female alt-rock of the ‘90s. The merge of sound creates an album that has the soft core of synthy dream pop and the rough edge of Dido and the Cranberries.
Most of the songs on this album revolve around understated 808 beats and orchestral synths over which Khan croons in her angelic voice. Breaks from this form provide some of the brightest moments of the album, such as “Oh Yeah,” which incorporates gospel, trip-hop and R&B into one of the busiest songs on the album, and “Laura,” which goes in the opposite direction with a powerful stripped-down organ and vocal delivery.
RIYL: Dido, Sade, Gotye
By Sean Meehan, Show: “We’re Hilarious” Saturdays, 6 to 8 p.m.
Paul Banks | Banks
Guy from Interpol makes some mopey music.
Interpol’s 2002 debut album “Turn on the Bright Lights” became a hallmark indie rock album by building its tense atmosphere while maintaining a subtle, yet infectious energy. On “Banks,” Interpol frontman Paul Banks seems to excel in the former, while completely ignoring the other.
The songs all stick to a similar formula: mid-to-slow tempos, simple and painfully clear guitar lines, detached and monotone vocal delivery. Occasionally (like on “Arise, Awake” and “Another Chance”), Banks adds in some spoken word samples. But rather than diversifying the songwriting, the samples sound overly dramatic and out of place.
It would be wrong to say that Banks doesn’t show his skill for songwriting here. Songs like “Young Again” and “No Mistakes” showcase an almost post-rock-like quality of building tension and dynamics throughout the song as they climax to the end.
But for the most part, the songs fail to provide any real direction, and regrettably, the listener often finds themselves sucked into Banks’ world of apparent brooding rather than anything remotely more interesting or exciting.
RIYL: Death Cab For Cutie, The Postal Service, a really sad and down-on-their-luck Interpol
By Bill Oldham, Show: “Kerwin’s Korner” Tuesdays, 10 p.m. to midnight