Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged ethereal

Secret Transit

Even the most ramshackle noise requires a hint of skill to be executed effectively. Despite dismissive cries from its many detractors, good pop music requires a precise attention to detail, a keen ear, and a strong awareness of how to strike that delicate balance between catchy and plaintive. That being said, there is also a delicate balance to be struck between polished crystalline pop and overly savvy saccharine songs. It's just this sort of precarious tightrope that Brooklyn indie pop duo KaiserCartel seems to walk with their second full-length album, Secret Transit.


Who can hate Kylie? She’s an Aussie superstar in Europe, Britain’s most beloved celebrity, and a global gay icon. She survived several decades in the entertainment business, even flourished there, and perhaps most impressively, also beat breast cancer. After she finished chemo in 2006, she headed back to the studio.


Anyone who follows music press would agree that Brooklyn has been a hotbed of indie creativity during the past decade. The styles run the gamut from freak-folk to experimental noise, to sugarcoated pop, to singer-songwriter confessionals, to good old fashioned rock and roll.

Get Color

In today’s huge hype musical landscape, it can be near impossible for a band with a successful first album to parlay that success into a long career. Health seem ready to beat the odds. Their sophomore album Get Color starts out with a bang: huge guitar riffs, whirring electronics, and almost shoegazey, wall of sound vocals coat “In Heat,” the album’s opener, in sound from top to bottom.

Jessie Murphy in the Woods

While some might not be into the cutesy, fairytale-like sound and lyrics of the New York City pop-folk group Jessie Murphy in the Woods, there is no denying the magical harmony produced by the three talented women.

Troubled, Shaken Etc.

British rock band Sian Alice Group’s latest effort can be categorized somewhere between prog rock, ambient folk, and experimental. Clocking in anywhere between two and eight minutes, their songs wind around and bump up against one another, creating a cohesive sophomore album.

You May Already Be Dreaming

I stepped onto my balcony in the bright, cool morning and put in my earphones. Once I pressed play, everything seemed to slow down. As though following the tempo of this album, traffic slowed from its _Grand Theft Auto _pace and enjoyed the sunshine. Having been compared to The Mountain Goats and Iron & Wine - with lyrics like “I’ve been dying for a year and ten days” or “It's so hard to love your body from the ground” - Neva Dinova’s music has that special something you can’t quite figure out.


There are some records that are meant for rocking out with all the windows down as you go flying down the highway, and others that are perfect background music for a chill, low-key evening with friends. Natalia Clavier’s Nectar is definitely in the latter category, and in a good way.


Take everything you love about Tom Waits’ junykard orchestra and combine it with the elegance and beauty of Icelandic folk music. This is Amiina, the female quartet who will make you wonder why more musicians don’t learn to play the saw. Their debut album, Kurr, (the Icelandic word for a bird’s coo), is a 12-song lullaby on acid. It employs twenty instruments, each woman taking a turn at playing each instrument to achieve a multitude of unique sounds.

The Sky Observer's Guide

Written over the course of a month, Amy Cook's second album, The Sky Observer's Guide, is a strong albeit average album. Whereas Amy’s first album was just her and her guitar, this album showcases her band: Nina Singh on drums, Brad Rice on guitar and Bobby Daniel on bass. Cook's songs have been featured on many television dramas, including Dawson’s Creek, Veronica Mars, Laguna Beach and The L Word.

Remixed & Covered

“Experimental” and “avante garde” may be the best ways to describe a band like Xiu Xiu. In earlier years their albums have come across as mind-boggling, nearly indescribable noise. Their newest release, Remixed & Covered, offers up some big-named friends that help decode the language that is Xiu Xiu. Some may call it pretentious and others may question its integrity, but it can certainly be said that credibility is brought to this double disc by the likes of Devendra Banhart, Gold Chains and Kid 606, to name a few.

The Dust of Retreat

The Dust of Retreat is an impressive, eclectic debut from an eight-piece band that easily navigates the waters of folk rock, chamber pop and alt-country. Like Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes, singer and multi-instrumentalist Richard Edwards can tell compelling stories with just an acoustic guitar, but many of his songs, while simple in melody and structure, ascend to thrilling heights when backed by the right combination of instruments.

Moments in Movement

Formerly Romy Hoffman, Australian rapper Macromantics has released a debut hip-hop album that will keep her listeners guessing from track to track. After discovering hip-hop on a 1995 American tour with her pop punk band Noise Addict, Miss Macro spent the next few years fine-tuning her solid rhymes and traditional beats. It’s when she veers from the traditional path, however, that the album is at its best.

Live and Learn

Drive Thru Records appears to have taken a gamble on House of Fools and won. The Greensboro, NC sextet - recently on tour with Brand New - is quite a departure from the label’s notoriously pop-punk roster. Following their eponymous 2006 EP, House of Fools released their first full-length album, Live and Learn.

M’Bem di Fora

If you wish to fully appreciate this album, I would recommend that you read about the artist and the music first. I was lucky in that I received a press release with the album. I listened to the music, which varies from slow, ethereal songs to finger-snapping, toe-tapping beats. Then I read about Lura, and the background of each song. I was able to go back and listen, again, for real.