“What A Life”
Erin Boheme dropped off the radar after making an impressive debut as a traditional jazz singer at age 18. Seven years later, she‘s released "What A Life," the first album by another singer Michael Buble has produced.
A more mature Boheme has transformed herself into a pop singer-songwriter on "What A Life," performing tunes reflecting her own experience of falling in and out of love.
Boheme uses her jazz technique to accent her girlish yet seductive vocals on the relaxedly swinging "He Isn’t You‘’ and the Motown-soulful “One More Try.‘’ Although some tracks are overproduced, Boheme‘s voice is an expressive instrument that needs only minimal backing as exemplified by the Henry Mancini-inspired title track.
Among the handful of covers, Boheme adds a feminine perspective on unreciprocated love to Coldplay’s "In My Place‘’ and turns the Gretchen Wilson country hit "I‘d Love To Be Your Last" into a romantic duet with jazz singer Spencer Day.
Jamie Lidell revs up the funk
His fifth full-length release -- self-produced in his home studio -- is an 11-track homage to the funkadelic days of 1970s and 1980s disco pop. Think Cameo and The Gap Band.
"I’m Selfish‘’ is bouncy with vocals resembling Prince and additional synth, while "What a Shame‘’ enters dubstep territory with its booming beat and catchy chorus.
The tune "why-ya-why,‘’ with its happy trumpets and uneven beats, oddly turns into a Skream & Benga effort halfway through. It‘s a heavily produced sonic assault -- and that’s not necessarily a good thing.
The album has loads going on, and at times you‘re almost begging for a timeout. Thankfully there’s "Don‘t You Love Me," a mellowish, D’Angelo-esque love song, and it saves the day.
Literate offering from Nick Cave
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
"Push the Sky Away‘’
(Bad Seed Ltd)
After the furious "Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!‘’ and a pair of swaggering records from primal side project Grinderman, fans of Nick Cave may have expected another slab of guitar distortion and sex and death from the first Bad Seeds album in five years. Instead, "Push the Sky Away‘’ delivers spare strings and electronic loops -- and sex and death.
The band‘s 15th album in nearly three decades finds Cave introspective again, reminiscent of 1997’s brooding "The Boatman‘s Call." This cohesive collection is built around the six-plus minute "Jubilee Street," a meditation on pain and obsession featuring a beauty with a little black book, "and my name was written on every page."
Hannah Montana gets a shout out, along with Robert Johnson and Lucifer himself, in the haunting god particle dirge "Higgs Boson Blues."
"Push the Sky Away" is yet another gem in a long string of fiercely literate offerings from the poet laureate of post-punk.