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Time, once again, to do a little housecleaning of those albums that I had either missed earlier, when they came out, or just plain didn’t get around to writing a review for, yet. It’s a pretty solid roster for the third installment of Music that slipped through the cracks, with The Hours and Neko Case leading the charge.

The Hours - See The Light

See The Light

The Hours

April 20, 2009 (UK)

Antony Genn and Martin Slattery have done a few things in their day, between the two of them, playing with Elastica, Pulp and Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros, to name a few. However, it is with The Hours that you get to hear them in full stride. See The Light is a powerful album that Coldplay probably wishes they could have made first. Without pomp or circumstance, The Hours deliver a pop rock album on a grand scale.

For a taste, check out the cinematic music video (featuring a broken Sienna Miller) for “See The Light”

“hold on, please hold
cause i know there is light inside of you,
inside of you”

– See The Light

8.5/10

Neko Case - Middle Cyclone

Middle Cyclone

Neko Case

March 3, 2009 (USA)

I must admit that I am in complete awe of Neko Case. She scares me. I fear that her voice could easily choke me if it wished, such is the power of the singer. Middle Cyclone is an album that asserts Case’s rightful place as one of the best female vocalists around. Would it be too much to ask for a duet with Damien Rice?

For a taste, check out this live performance of “People Got a Lotta Nerve”

“so the saying says
an elephant never forgets
standing in the concrete cage
swaying silent, saying

they walked over the ocean
and their dreams, they dreamed awake
until the lights grew dim
until the cop cars came
everybody tells me this is crazy
yes, i know it

i’m a man, man, man
man, man, man eater
but still you’re surprised-prised-prised
when I eat ya”

– People Got a Lotta Nerve

8/10

Joel Plaskett - Three

Three

Joel Plaskett

March 24, 2009 (Can)

Joel Plaskett got pretty ambitious with Three, putting together a three-disc album, each with nine songs. On their own, each disc is solid, collectively, admirable. Three could easily be your no frills soundtrack to the summer patio season, as Plaskett is the consummate bar performer. What stands out, overall, is that Plaskett has basically put together a 27 song love letter to his native Nova Scotia. While none of these songs has the same punch on its own as “Fashionable People” or “True Patriot Love”, Three is Plaskett’s best album as a whole, yet.

For a taste, check out this live acoustic version (with Peter Elkas) of “Through & Through & Through”

“oh, you beautiful creature
you’re a feature presentation
show me a little patience
won’t you meet me at the station
when my train comes in”

– Run, Run, Run

7.5/10Conor Oberst - Outer South

Outer South

Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band

May 5, 2009 (USA)

If you ever felt like an underachiever, you probably despise hearing Conor Oberst’s life story. He’s been putting out music to the masses since he was 13, and he’s still only 29. What a jackass. Seriously. Who starts their own record label as a junior high school student? Oh, right, Oberst does. He’s also been pretty big with a little project called Bright Eyes (you may have heard of them) for the past ten years or so, not to mention numerous other pet things. Outer South is his latest album, and it has divided fans. I’m on the positive side, as I happen to like the alt-country slant he’s put into it.

For a taste, check out this live performance of “Nikorette”

“Jesus off in the water
standing on his feet
yeah, that’s the thing about charisma
it makes everyone believe
but there is nothing impossible
when i’m with you and when you’re with me
i got a sad sinking feeling
that that can never be”

– To All the Lights in the Windows

7.5/10Bat for Lashes - Two Suns

Two Suns

Bat for Lashes

April 6, 2009 (UK)

Bat for Lashes (aka Natasha Khan) is the darling of the British experimental scene, and Two Suns lives up to the billing. It’s a decent album, but requires a lot of effort to enjoy (as experimental forms often do), i.e. being in the “right mood”, which is a slight turnoff. That being said if Sigur Ros or Portishead are your cup o’ tea, you’ll likely enjoy Bat for Lashes.

For a taste, check out the music video for “Pearl’s Dream”

“there’s a place i must go
there’s a place i must go
it’s not a place i have seen
but i’ll get there in a new dream
down the ocean road
past a sign that says ‘good left town’
into a darkness where the stars do drown
but a star in me needs to be free”

– Pearl’s Dream

7/10Ben Harper & Relentless 7 - White Lies for Dark Times

White Lies for Dark Times

Ben Harper & Relentless 7

May 5, 2009 (USA)

I really wanted to love this album. I have always liked Ben Harper (who can’t like Mr. Laura Dern?), but there was a weird feeling as I listened to White Lies that I had heard this before. Wasn’t this a Lenny Kravitz album? Or, is it Jimi Hendrix? (Admittingly, that is lazy journalism). I felt as if there was nothing new, but Ben Harper and crew delivered it in a loose, soulful manner, nonetheless. That being said, I plan to see Harper when he comes to town, begrudgingly, as I’m sure his live show will kick. A couple songs might even grow on me by then.

For a taste, check out this live performance of “Lay There & Hate Me”


“lay there and hate me
cold as a stone
i just hope it’s better then sitting alone
never trust a woman who loves the blues”

– Lay There & Hate Me”

6.5/10

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