Into Music Reviews: New Music July 2021

Here at Into Music we’ve been enjoying the sun and soundtracking it with some top tunes from the USA. So have a read and check them out.       

Artist: Moby
Album: Reprise

It’s fair to see that Moby divides opinion in the same way the marmite isn’t for everyone. He does though have a long and diverse back catalogue and it’s from that (plus a cover) range of songs that new album, Reprise is made up. It isn’t a “best of” though, rather, it’s a mix of tracks which have been re-recorded with the Budapest Arts Orchestra and a number of guest vocalists including Gregory Porter, Mindy Jones and Alice Skye. 

Moby is the first to admit that his singing voice is not the best and the use of guest vocalists is definitely an inspired move here. None more so than on Natural Blues where Porter and Amythyst Kiah really elevate the track and provide subtle soulful notes. 

Moby’s breakthrough came with the release of dancefloor favourite, Go, in 1991 and that gets quite a radical reworking here. Starting with Latino beats before moving into a more cinematic feel with it’s sample of Laura Palmer’s Theme from Twin Peaks.  

Elsewhere, Moby covers David Bowie’s Heroes with Mindy Jones adding sublime and dreamlike vocals. Now, some say Bowie songs should be left to Bowie and in the main I’d agree with that. Outside of Nirvana’s version of The Man Who Sold The World and Paul Buchanan’s Ashes To Ashes you’ll struggle to find any that do justice to the original. Heroes, I suspect, will also be a topic of fierce debate. But here’s the thing. If anyone says Moby’s cover is like something out of a John Lewis Christmas ad, poke them in the eye with a sharp pencil. And when they begin to recover, poke them in the eye again for they know not what they are talking about! 

Further tracks include Porcelain where My Morning Jacket’s Jim Jones takes the lead and a subtle take on We Are All Made Of Stars.

The Lonely Night is melancholic, mournful and shrouded in desolation. Kris Kristofferson joins original singer Mark Lanegan in providing heartfelt vocals, perhaps the highlight of the album.

To order Reprise, head over to Moby’s website here

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Artist: Sharon Van Etten & Angel Olsen
Single: Like I Used To

Two very influential American singer-songwriters have teamed up to release the fabulous Like I Used To. This is pop perfection, Van Etten and Olsen taking turns on the vocals against a backdrop of swirling keyboards, glockenspiel, shimmering drums and a guitar hook that will have you nodding along in time. 

Of the collaboration, Van Etten said, ‘I finally got the courage in June of 2020 to reach out to see if she would want to sing together. I got greedy and quickly sent her a track I had been working on.’ In turn, Olsen commented ‘The song reminded me immediately of getting back to where I started, before music was expected of me, or much was expected of me, a time that remains pure and real in my heart.’ 

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Artist: Brian Setzer
Single: Checkered Flag

The modern day King of Rockabilly, Brian Setzer, is back with a hot new single, Checkered Flag

Taking a break from the Stray Cats, Setzer’s new release is a diesel driven track espousing hot rods, mustangs, bad boys and babes. The guitar sound is heavier than we’ve heard on previous Setzer solo material and is akin to Link Wray and Poison Ivy in many ways. No bad thing! 

The lead track from Setzer’s first solo album in seven years, Gotta Have The Rumble, will be released through Surfdog Records on 27th August. 

Setzer said about the new album, ‘Obviously, it’s a reference to my motorcycles and hot rods, something that hasn’t changed since I was 15 years old. I still have the same passion for going fast and adrenaline.’

To pre-order the album, visit the Brian Setzer website here

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Artist: Shannon & The Clams
Single: Year Of The Spider

Hailing from Oakland, California, Shannon & The Clams have just released the title track from their new album of the same name, Year Of The Spider.  On production duties is Dan Auerbach of Black Keys fame and his influence is evident on the track. 

 Evoking a 60s vibe, vocalist Shannon Shaw’s husky overtones are at the fore against a backdrop of garage tinged surf pop. Think of the Ronettes meets the Beach Boys meets the Black Keys and you’re about there. The song is packed with harmonies, melodies and cool chords. 

Commenting on the track Shaw said, ‘Year of the Spider is essentially the summation of my 2019 and 2020. I was being stalked by a peeping tom for months and months all while my dad was going through radiation treatment while the mountains around us were being ravaged by wildfires. It was an extremely intense time in my life and just could not dampen the desperate desire to feel safe. I became really obsessive and was seeking comfort wherever I could find it.’

To pre-order Year Of The Spider, the 6th album by Shannon & The Clams, visit their website here

John Welsh
@welshjb

Links:
@moby
@sharonvanetten
@AngelOlsen
@briansetzer
@ShannonandtheClams

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