With members that live in the UK and the U.S., Gomez convened in - where else? (huh?) - a recording studio in Virginia to work on their seventh studio set, which they produced with producer Sam Farrar (Maroon 5, Phantom Planet.) Written in large part by internet correspondence, the songs here carry through with Gomez trademark sound, whether its the acoustically-based resignation anthem Options; the piano-festooned title song; the uber-catchy Place and the People; or what is perhaps the most alt-rock track on the set, Equalize. Its nothing unusual, but thats not bad - its simply another set of solid new Gomez tunes.
Marianne Faithfull - Horses and High Heels - Naïve
Faithfulls 19th album finds the singer in her mid-60s and in the same quirky form of voice that her vocals have always resided in since her early days. This album is pretty equally divided between new songs for Faithfull and a half-dozen 60s cover song versions; both approaches work well for the singer, most effectively on the title track, which she co-wrote about places shes been, and the Dusty Springfield number Goin Back, which she rearranges a little and gives her own vocal twist. Other highlights include Love Song, No reasons, Past Present and Future, and the poppiest track here, her light take on Gee Baby.
Bon Iver - Bon Iver - Jagjaguwar
A direct contrast to Bon Ivers previous effort, this set finds singer-songwriter Justin Vernon with a host of musical guest collaborators, and an approach that pushes his songs out of their folky comfort zone and on to musical experimentation, especially in the percussion and world instruments divisions. Perth opens the set with marching drums fighting for space with the vocals, while Hinnom TX introduces 80s-style synthesizer runs; Towers and Holocene are perhaps the two songs that keep more of Bon Ivers original sound while still infusing them with some new and interesting elements that actually work well.
Jill Scott - The Light of the Sun - BB Records
Scotts latest is less produced and more jam-like than her other albums, as produced by Scott herself along with Faith Evans collaborator J.R. Hutson. Blessings opens the collective on an upbeat note, as Scott sings and speaks her way through a grocery list of the things shes thankful for on Blessings. Most of the up-tempo songs are on the albums first half, from the Donna Summer-like So In Love to the horn-synths of All Cried Out Redux and the funky Shame; the rest of the set, including ballads Missing You, When I Wake Up, and the jazz-inflected Rolling Hills lower the beats to a more mellow approach.