New Music: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, The Lumineers, Usher and Frank Ocean

Not all of this music is necessarily super new, but I haven't mentioned it yet (selfish, I know), so here are a few things to try.  Enjoy!

 

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Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros - This group’s newest album, “Here”, follows up their debut album that featured the popular hit “Home,” which I thought had kind of a Johnny and June Cash sound to it.  Despite the hippie album cover on “Here” (which accurately reflects the band), I think they keep that comfortable sound from “Home” through to this album.  I particularly liked “Man on Fire,” “That’s What’s Up” and “I Don’t Wanna Pray.”

 

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The Lumineers - I started listening to this Denver group’s debut self-titled album when I noticed it briefly on the iTunes’ chart.  Their sound is a little reminiscent of folk music, including some knee slapping.  Many of the songs have a pick-me-up sound, but others are quiet and thoughtful; both are enjoyable.  My favorites were “Big Parade,” “Flapper Girl” and “Hey Ho,” the last one being their first single.

 

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Usher - Taking a turn from the more indie music of the first two albums, Usher brings us “Looking 4 Myself.”  Sometimes I think Usher takes himself a little too seriously, but I can’t really argue with the success he’s had, not to mention recognizing a youngster names Biebs as up-and-coming talent a few years ago.  Although Usher’s shtick is more club music, I did like the benign but upbeat title track, and I really liked “Twisted” featuring Pharrell, which has a sixties sound.  It’s so different from what Usher usually does, and I defy you to listen and not do a little twisting yourself.

 

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Frank Ocean - I admit to not being too familiar with Frank Ocean when his album (“channel ORANGE”) was released, but I soon learned that he has plenty of impressive collaborations under his belt, including writing music for John Legend and Justin Bieber (just to cover the spectrum).  Much of the buzz around the release of this album had to do with the fact that Ocean concurrently announced his bisexuality, which is rather uncommon in the hip hop/R&B world.  To focus on that, however, would be to shortchange his music, which gracefully combines those two genres.  The tracks I liked most on “channel ORANGE” were “Lost” (love!) and “Super Rich Kids.”

Filed under: Album Reviews

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