Tag Archives: iTunes

New Album: Holly Miranda

I’m picky when it comes to female vocalists. It takes a certain combination of honed skill, raw talent, and lack of nasally pompous tone to really capture my attention.

Holly Miranda has seemed to captured my attention.

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A laid back alternative singer-songwriter who’s been kicking it with the music industry since 2004, she’s come into her own as an artist, and knows her sound. And I’m not surprised, with her skills as a trained pianist and self taught guitarist and trumpet player. An 11-track album, Holly Miranda’s 2015 self titled album is one for the books. A strong start to the record, “Mark My Words,” is a track that begins with hints of a Explosions of Sky-esque guitar instrumental leading into some dreamy vocals and calming bells in background. The way Miranda rifts off into “You were just what I needed” in the first minute of the song is a beautiful demonstration of the very clean tone to her voice. The song is quiet and calming, and is a great hint to listeners of the overall vibe of the album.

And for the most part, her sound throughout the entire album is pretty consistent in terms of vocal and instrumental arrangements. She’s simple. She likes to coo and draw out her soft lilting voice with the help of a piano, and hey it works in a song like her last track of “Hymnal.” Fully demonstrating her vocal range on this track, you see this girl can almost take it to the opera level and you’re impressed.

Leading into the next track, “All I Want Is To Be Your Girl,” I get a more upbeat folk pop vibe, almost reminiscent of The Mowgli’s, but I think what I dig most are the chilled out tracks that have an Ingrid Michaelson feel, especially with the drawn out lovelorn vocals in songs like “Everlasting,” and “The Only One.”

“It’s not until we’re faced with death that we truly understand,” sings Miranda in Heavy Heart, overlain by a beautifully simple piano melody, a track which brought tears to my eyes. These tracks are too real for words, and it isn’t because of some phenomenal innate musical composition (although that is present). Miranda discusses themes of love, heartbreak, and that sense of not being to get someone off your mind, and these concepts if not relatable, are at least ones that evoke emotion.  

Best track of the album by far  “Desert Call.” Starting it off clean with Miranda’s vocals and some clean, clear cut guitar, “Desert Call” also takes you back to childhood in the summer. The saxophone near the latter half of the track makes you swoon with the sheer amount of jazzy sophistication coupled with Miranda’s suave vocals.

Think Ingrid Michaelson. Think stripped down Florence & the Machine. Think girl next door singing to you about love.

But in actuality, stop thinking and just listen because the album just dropped TODAY on iTunes and is most-definitely dope.

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Ariana Rivera

Alabama Shakes: “Don’t Wanna Fight”

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On February 10 Alabama Shakes released the first single on their new album called Sound & Color, out on April 21. As a follow up to their 2012 album Boys and Girls, I’m expecting really good things from the Shakes’ new material. I already love what I’ve heard in “Don’t Wanna Fight,” but I’m excited to see what else they’re going to bring to the table. 

Here’s the “Don’t Wanna Fight” animation video, check it out–

This funky, soulful song revolves around lead singer/guitarist Brittany Howard’s mesmerizing voice. The power of the lyrics in “Don’t Wanna Fight” is upheld by the depth in Howard’s voice and the surrounding instrumentals. 

The Alabama Shakes have been working on Sound & Color for the past year. Since teaming up with Blake Mills, a California-based songwriter/producer, the band has produced and recorded 12 tracks for this new album that will be released this spring. Sound & Color will be full of genre-bending songs, showing how the band digs into music history, touching on psychedelia and punk, gospel and classic rock, while maintaining the originality that attracted so many listeners when the group emerged from Athens, Alabama in 2011.

The group is planning an international tour upon the album’s release and will be playing at music festivals like Coachella and Bonnaroo, as well. The band will also appear on an upcoming episode of Live from the Artist Den, premiering on public television stations this week.

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You can preorder this album on iTunes, Amazon or the band’s website. Prepare yourselves for the release of Sound & Color this spring and keep your eyes peeled for the Alabama Shakes’ upcoming tour dates, too. 

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nilorap