Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged pop

From The Heart

"Just 'cause I'm laid-back don't mean I'm easy," begins the album. "I am more than just a plaything." I am reminded of the first time I ever waited on a boy to call me. I was sixteen-years-old. Like a dork, I waited all day anticipating his call. My family rolled their eyes at my eager naiveté, and I found myself walking around my parents' backyard with a big cordless phone bulging in my back pocket. Finally, I gave up and called him late that night. He had completely forgotten about me. He realized and quickly made up some lame excuse about a fire.

Here Come the Vikings

Astrid Williamson is a Scottish-born musician, who has been compared to Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac and lists among her influences the canon of American singer-songwriters, such as Bob Dylan and [Joni Mitchell](http://feministreview.blogspot.com

Bitte Orca

At times the catchy melodies and ironically jarring harmonies found on Dirty Projectors’ latest album, Bitte Orca, seem surprising, and at other times, perfectly in place. From the very first listen the Dirty Projectors certainly project something interesting.

Survival Strategies in a Modern World

There are many things to like about the county of Liechtenstein: its tax haven status, its unusually small size, its ski slopes, and its firm resolve to stay out of the European Union. I happen to love the EU in principle, but have an equal amount of respect for wealthy countries that opt to steer clear of large political unions. Did you know that the EU anthem is “Ode to Joy?” Would Beethoven approve? To me, the ideals of a tiny nation like Liechtenstein could easily be represented in a rock band.

White Flags of Winter Chimneys

The last time we heard from Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman was 1998 and they were known as Girl Bros. Before that, they were backing up Prince in his legendary band, The Revolution.

The Fresh & Onlys

While comparing one band to another is often nothing short of calling a group unoriginal, The Fresh & Onlys blend mood and instrumentation so cleverly that they are great in their own right—despite sonic similarities to preceding groups. The ‘60s-flavored rock seems to draw inspiration from The Mamas and The Papas, and breathe a contained recording quality similar to [Fleet Foxes](http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0017R5UAA

I Was Just Comforting Her

During my exploits as a queer culture addict, I’ve heard Gretchen Phillips’ name dropped multiple times, generally paired with admiration and approval, but I never went so far as to investigate the source of her praise.

The Annie Lennox Collection

There are some striking facts that become evident when listening to this collection of the former Eurythmics frontwoman: first, how similar her music sounds to her work with Dave Stewart— lots of thick, fat synthesizers and glassy dance beats.

Poseidon and the Bitter Bug

For more than twenty years, the Indigo Girls have been known for their gorgeous, close harmonies and riveting, emotional lyrics. Amy Ray and Emily Saliers are both exquisite singers and talented guitarists. Poseidon and the Bitter Bug is sure to delight fans with ten tracks of mostly-folk songs with pop, rock, and soul influences.

It's Not Me, It's You

I had never heard any of Lily Allen's songs until "The Fear," the first single off of It's Not Me, It's You, was released in January. I was hooked instantly; I could hardly wait until the U.S. release date for this album. Lily Allen doesn't disappoint.

Like It Or Not

If the latest slate of indie bands are to be believed, feigned disinterest and irony worship are so not cool anymore. It seems as though the hipsters think they've totally moved beyond all that. This season's must-have emotional response to your surroundings? Cutesy glee, couched within a three-word (preferably multi-syllabic) band name. Problem is, it still feels like an affectation, a pose that comes off just as hollow as those other two. Therein lies my biggest issue with Australian group Architecture in Helsinki.  They're fun and funky. They're danceable enough.

A Thousand Shark's Teeth

Late last November, My Brightest Diamond came through my town. I'd heard the name before and was slightly curious, even read a bit about them in the music press. Nevertheless, I didn't go to the show. In hindsight, my decision to skip the concert was a big mistake.  But let's back up for a bit. To refer to My Brightest Diamond as a "them" is both right and wrong.

Oh, The Places We’ll Go

It isn’t an accident when my music reviews start to sound the same. I know what I like: progressive hip-hop, experimental electronica, dance-punk, woodsy indie folk, baroque pop, and twee from the Pacific Northwest. My partner teases me that all of my music has to be good for one of three things, if not a combination of them: dancing, driving long distances, and effecting social change.


In a past life, I put Brit-Brit tracks on my iPod for the gym. Manufactured sounds make my booty shake, and no matter how high-minded I may be about independent music, I can appreciate pop anthems and radio hits. In my present state, I have compassion for the ubiquitous starlet, her public breakdowns, and her compulsive need to set the record straight in her own tangled way. The spotlight is a heat lamp.


The next greatest soundtrack to your decidedly indie rock life, Tilly and the Wall deliver nothing short of compositional greatness on their third album, O. Known for their youthful, glossy, happy-go-lucky doses of indie pop, this album takes on fun fare while addressing a few deeper issues. “Pot Kettle Black,” for instance, critiques girl cliques and name-calling all too familiar to women of all ages.

The Marvelous Wonderettes (9/13/2008)

When The Marvelous Wonderettes, a crinolined quartet of powerhouse girl singers, line up friskily behind their mics and belt out the opener, “Mr. Sandman,” with such flawless harmony and contagious glee, you instantly know you’ve been transported to pop musical heaven. Suddenly ‘50s nostalgia feels fresh and fun again. The recently opened Off-Broadway show is set in 1958 at the Springfield High Senior Prom, and then later fast-forwards to the 1968 reunion.

Someone Else's Deja Vu

What would it be like to do a double-take at the memory of another? How would this be communicated? The simple dot-with-a-tail in this band’s name changes it from a death van for male offspring to a juxtaposition of a human and vehicle - or a parent, hand on shoulder, naming the thing with the siren as it passes.


Wrongkong bounces through the speakers with a mix of haunting electronic and club sounds. They defy typical song structures through their use of daring beats and tempos, which makes their self-titled debut album both energetic and soothing.

The Jealous Girlfriends

When the package arrived in the mail containing The Jealous Girlfriends' new, self-titled album, I had just been laid off. Requesting to review the album solely on what I deemed to be an excellent band name, I've been in the mood for quiet lovelorn angst, I suppose. If both the words “quiet” and “lovelorn” may reside in a territory of artistic license and open-ended transition, that is.

Boo Human

Chicago-based Joan of Arc, and the family Kinsella, return with their second Polyvinyl release Boo Human. This time they have arrived with 14 musicians in tow to create a more complex and thorough album. Staying true to their quirky indie rock roots, Boo Human starts of with a medley of sounds and styles.

Hard Candy

The great thing about following Madonna’s musical career is to see just exactly what sort of musical guise she’s going to adopt next. She’s always been heralded for her chameleon-like ability to change her image, but she’s equally restless with her musical style, letting her brand of dance-pop change along with her image. Her latest, her last for long-time label Warner Brothers, before her switch over to the record-breaking deal she inked with Live Nation, _Hard Candy _partners Madonna with some of the best urban-pop producers working today.

Lake Bottom LP

The Chapin Sisters are a trio of gifted recordings artists who have managed to reinvent the love song by incorporating a touch of irony into their modern interpretation of folk- and roots-inspired pop.


Few will want to admit it, and even fewer actually will, but Britney Spears' Blackout is a scintillating, effervescent slice of post-millennium pop that will be a guilty pleasure for many in the coming months. Say what you will about the circumstances of Spears' personal life, which have certainly exceeded the threshold of outlandish, but those circumstances have no effect on her splashy radio and club-ready formula.

Misbegotten Man

There is always something gratifying about a woman striking a discordant chord towards positive social and political change. After all, these are the days when America vies for a female president. Never more than now is that Helen-Reddy-cry so prevalent: “I am woman hear me roar. Cheesy as it might sound, it still rings true. There is power in the roar.

Sittin’ in a Tree

If you’re like me, you were totally shocked to learn that Sittin’ In a Tree is Juliana Hatfield’s eighteenth recording.

The Con

The biggest key to deconstructing Tegan and Sara’s The Con can be found in the line “I won't go my whole life telling you I don't need.” It’s a break-up album: a tale of love lost, and clearly one of the twins is blaming herself.

Bees and the Birds

The Bee Team (formerly known as the Bees and the Birds) presents a sweet sample of songs on its EP Bees and the Birds. With melodies that seem to have been born somewhere in the Appalachian Mountains, the songs with flit between folk, pop and rock. This Philadelphia band is self-described as a group that makes fun and honest music.


Volta, the sixth studio album from Icelandic musician, Bjork, delivers the kind of offbeat, quirky music that only she could make. With its lo-fi sonics, Volta sounds less polished than some of Bjork's previous releases, which is refreshing.


Finland's own multi-instrumentalist Astrid Swan’s debut album, Poverina, was released on Minty Fresh Records on May 22. The opening track, "They Need You if They Think You Love Them," starts out gently with a tapping glockenspiel and cleverly transitions into Astrid's husky voice and piano. The arrangement is intense and dramatic at times with almost a full orchestra of instruments. It is hard not to compare Ms.

We Belong To the Staggering Evening

Ike Reilly’s charm lies in the fact that he asks for salvation quite frequently, knowing damned well that he has no intention of repenting. The devilish genius behind the pop-sensible major label release, Salesmen and Racists _(among a slew of others titles), is back in the saddle with the independent, roadhouse-ready _We Belong To The Staggering Evening.