Looking for new music? DJs at WVAU share their thoughts on a range of recent releases.
Jim James | Regions of Light and Sound of God
Yet to peak, Jim James might actually have a pact going with God.
It’s official. The My Morning Jacket frontman and frequent contributor to side projects such as Monsters of Folk and New Multitudes can do no wrong.
Unlike so many artists who seem to put out a disingenuously experimental solo album, James succeeds in having a unique, stylistic sound while still delivering something that fans of his other projects will be able to enjoy.
“Regions” doesn’t quite showcase James’ vocal range as extensively as an MMJ album would. But the songwriting is superb, ranging from groovy tunes that sound like they came out of the ‘70s, to soulful jazz numbers, to folk songs you could picture being sung around campfires. James effortlessly blends these styles and genres into a cohesive-sounding album.
James expertly displays his ability to convey warmth and emotion through his incredible vocals and proves once again that he is one of the most talented artists out there today.
Recommended If You Like: My Morning Jacket, Monsters of Folk, New Multitudes, M. Ward
By Josh Castellanos, Don’t Techno For An Answer, Saturdays 8-10 p.m.
Solange | True EP
You could call her a rebel Beyoncé, but you’d be wrong. Watered-down ‘80s dance never sounded so hip.
She starts out with a bang. “Losing You,” the lead single off of Solange’s “True EP,” embraces everything and more that the next six tracks will echo. The song conjures images of a hot summer day, and the heat easily finds a home among layered harmonies, smooth vocals and perfectly-placed hand claps.
It’s a commendable and long-overdue effort from the R&B and indie hybrid — arguably the best song she’s put forth — but it may take the help of the repeat button to extract every ounce of fervor.
It’s not a feel-good EP. But even with a string of break-up inspired titles like “Lovers in the Parking Lot,” Solange adjusts her sound from one track to the next. Nicely paced, hardly predictable and continuously forceful, Taylor Swift should take notes.
RIYL: Miguel, Azealia Banks, Jessie Ware
By Mandi Ray
Unknown Mortal Orchestra | II
UMO brings the funk (sort of) on their strong followup.
Upon releasing their 2010 debut, Unknown Mortal Orchestra created a distinct sound that combined classic psych rock stylings with nimble guitar work and surprisingly funky drums.
The aptly named followup, entitled “II,” is more of the same, maintaining the band’s lo-fi production while still showing off leader Ruban Nielson’s knack for crafting memorable melodies. Unfortunately, you may have already heard the two best songs on here. Singles “Swim and Sleep” and “So Good at Being In Trouble” are the easy highlights, with the former boasting uncharacteristically triumphant chord crashes, while the latter features a slinking, soulful groove. While the guitar playing is reliably inventive throughout, some of the tracks do meander, particularly the album’s longest cut, “Monki.” Still, there’s undoubtedly more killer than filler (shout out to Sum 41) on this strong sophomore effort from everybody’s favorite boys from New Zealand. (Unless you’re a big Flight of the Conchords fan, I suppose.)
RIYL: Tame Impala, Melody’s Echo Chamber, Foxygen
By Cameron Meindl, Rhyme & Reason, Wednesdays 8-10 p.m.