Tuesday, October 9, 2012

New Releases - Diana Krall, Nelly Furtado, Pneuma compilation

Diana Krall
Glad Rag Doll
Label: Verve Records
Released: 10/2 2012
Genre: Jazz

I've known of Diana Krall for a long time now, one of those artists that pops up every now and then and I think "wow, I love her voice, I should get some albums." But jazz of any style rarely makes it into my collection, which is something I can't explain since I love the genre. But, here it is, finally I picked up this album.

Her voice is made of silk, it's just smooth and soft, without losing any power at all. A great lounge style voice and some soft (though not easy listening soft) and lighter jazz. The album also punctuates itself with some torch-and-twang in the middle. A definite country feel to break up the jazz tunes. It works well, you can tell she had a lot of fun making the album. And her voice, did I mention her voice? Just amazing.
Nelly Furtado
The Spirit Indestructible
Label: Interscope Records
Released: 9/18 2012
Genre: Pop

While I only own Nelly's debut album, she's another artist that falls on and off my radar as I listen around. In this day and age her brand of softer, less dance-floor, influenced pop music gets drowned in the more boisterous artists. Another artist with an amazingly smooth voice, though in a different way that Diana.

This album bounces back and forth between a kind of smart-pop style and a slightly more bouncy radio-pop style (though never thankfully gets near the EDM-influenced dance-pop ala Lady Gaga). I ended up with the Deluxe version of the album, which adds six extra songs. Five tracks not on the normal release, and one remix of one of those tracks. Here's where the review gets weird.

The first 12 tracks (the standard release) for a great, tight, sensible album of smart pop music with just the right amount of bounce and serious, love songs. The 6 bonus tracks by themselves are good songs, and I'm never one to turn down more music. But as a whole, all 18 tracks  together create an overly long album that drags out, I started to not like the back third after a few listens all the way through. If you're a big Nelly fan, get the deluxe release, the bonus tracks are excellent and worth it. If you're a passing fan, or just getting into her and aren't sure, get the standard release and keep it short and sweet.

Label: none (
Released: 9/30 2012
Genre: Ambient, Industrial, EDM

This compilation was put together to raise funds for Lung Cancer research (hence the name). 22 songs of exclusive donated material by the bands for the release. That means if you follow any of the bands on here as a "hard core" fan, you'll probably pick this up. Beyond the good that it does for research into the disease.

The music itself, is almost all completely in a 'dark' ambient range. A lot of the bands on the release are known for a harsh industrial/EBM style, and some are known for other genres than what predominates this, but all are well versed in the electronica/EDM zone of music. The result is that everything fits, unlike a lot of fundraiser compilations which musically come across as haphazard as the bands they got to donate a song.

Getting 22 donated songs is hard enough, getting all of them to fit well together, and the creators managed to get the album to flow well too, is another matter. So, just from a perspective of adding some good music to your collection, and being able to play the album all the way through, this is a pretty solid compilation.

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