Tegan and Sara
If you want to talk about the evolution of a band, you should talk about Tegan and Sara.
I bought my first T&S album somewhere around 14 years old. I fell hard for the angst and indie-hipness of their first three releases, and accepted it when they gathered up a deeper and more electric sound through their next few.
Heartthrob is their latest release, and it's the farthest thing away from their modest roots. This album is a weaving electric wave of club hits. At least we knew it was coming, their latest releases all incorporating more and more of these elements. It only seems natural that they would peak and go full electronica.
Although I'm not crazy about it, it's still Tegan and Sara. They couldn't release a record that I wouldn't like. Heartthrob is still as melodically rich as their previous albums. Everything is incredibly tight, exciting, and danceable. With many elements of 80's pop and today's New Wave, Heartthrob is a very fun listen.
Tegan and Sara don't break in tradition with their spectacular harmonies and songs about breakups. They still carry with them the ability to release fantastic pop music that doesn't sound like Top 40 crap, and give you nostalgic goose bumps at the same time.
Although I'll still yearn for the days of So Jealous (2004) and The Con(2007), Heartthrob is an amazing record. It shines in its technical melodies and tight harmonies, soaring synths and sharp percussion. I will shamelessly dance to this record and you should too. It's streaming right now on their website. www.teganandsara.com
Low and Behold, High and Beyond (Deluxe Edition)
Low and Behold, High and Beyond is a monstrous release by Aukland, NZ based Sola Rosa. What was once one man has turned into a massively talented live collective, and releasing 24 tracks on one disc suggests the creative juices cease to flow. Thick elements of funk, reggae, electronic, and soul group around a heavy down tempo beat to produce some pretty astounding sounds.
I'm going to admit, I'm stepping pretty far outside of my comfort zone by exploring this album. It's quite far away from the quaint folk, americana, or beachy indie rock that I enjoy but it also has all the elements that I look for in music. LBHB is so rich with hooks and rhythms and tasteful melodies that I just can't stop listening. The songs are packed with confidence and an overwhelming genius. The small touches of a chime or a few notes from a synth really make a huge difference. It's the understated melodies mixed with the strong bass lines and repeated rhythms that make this an interesting and deep listen.
Each song features a different singer, which I think is a very cool way of doing things. Although each song follows a set of influences, each is given its own life by the voice that's spouting sharp and witty hip-hop lines. The album is divided evenly in two parts, the latter being instrumentals with a few remixes at the tail end. Now, the strange thing is the instrumentals are the same 11 songs without words, and this is what gives us the deluxe edition. It's a good thing the music itself is strong enough to stand alone without lyrics, and in some cases I liked these versions better. Able to escape by just listening to these delicious sounds was fantastic.
LBHB is definitely a summer record. The warm sounds and upbeat/down tempo feel really make you yearn for hot summer nights and ice cold cocktails. So, buy the record, enjoy it, and have a BBQ. Put it on shuffle and entertain for hours. http://music.solarosa.com/