Air - Le Voyage dans la lune
110 years after it was released, the classic French silent movie, A Trip to the Moon (Le Voyage dans le lune) is finally getting a soundtrack. There is probably no better a band to provide this film with music. Air, also from France, made a name for themselves scoring Sofia Coppola's The Virgin Suicides in 2004. The new soundtrack brings Air together with other amazing ambient/dream pop acts such as Victoria Legrand (of Beach House) and Au Revoir Simone. A restored and colorized version of the film has been making the rounds at film festivals this season, hopefully it comes to Cincinnati soon!
Ben Kweller - Go Fly a Kite
Kweller founded his own record label, The Noise Company, back in 2007, but this will be the first release exclusive to that label (previous issues, including 2009's Changing Horses, were released in conjunction with ATO Records). This is his fifth solo album and promises to continue in his straight-forward, personal style.
"Mean to Me"
of Montreal - Paralytic Stalks
Kevin Barnes has said that his key to preventing his band from becoming one-note or stale has been to reinvent the sound with every album. That drive has been evident on each of their releases. They've dipped their toes into psychedelic rock, avant pop and even recorded soul-inspired songs with Janelle Monae and Solange Knowles on their last release, False Priest. This one sees them experimenting with psychedelic and progressive elements. The constant change of sound has allowed the band to achieve what Barnes set out, to constantly revitalize the band and keep them fresh. Difficult to achieve these days, but they prove it can be done.
Paul McCartney - Kisses on the Bottom
With such a cheeky title, you know you can't be getting anything to involved; with this release, you're really not. Following a long line of older musicians with little else left to do (Al Jarreau, Rod Stewart), this is an album of pop standards. I had been hoping his new-found love would inspire some great music, but alas! He does a nice enough job with the tunes, but there's nothing earth-shattering here.
Sharon van Etten - Tramp
A bad breakup a few years ago has carried this artist very far. Despite being about pain and heartbreak, Sharon succeeds at making the songs more introspective than whiny, making them emotional and heartbreaking to listen to. For this, her third album, she has enlisted the help of a number of other prominent musicians; The National's Aaron Dessner, Wye Oak's Jenn Wasner and Beirut's Zach Condon. Despite the greater presence of guest musicians, the music still manages to sound extremely personal. I've had the change to preview the album over at NPR and it is already proving itself to be one of my favorites this year.