December 9, 2018

Macy Gray – Ruby– Artistry

FourScore
By Kristi Kates | Nov. 17, 2018

Gray, best known for her '90s hit “I Try,” a slice of unhurried soulful blues-pop imbued with regret and a catchy refrain, is back with more on her latest set. Album opener “Buddha,” featuring attentive guitar work from Gary Clark Jr., shows off Gray’s abilities with a gospel hook as well, while “Witness” adds in reggae, showing off the singer’s vast genre range. Standouts include the Southern trap feel of “Tell Me” and the lively “Sugar Daddy,” on which she partners with Meghan Trainor. ** ½

Local Natives – Gorilla Manor – Frenchkiss
This L.A. band’s debut disc unifies log-cabin fireside vocals with several interesting contrasts in tone, from '80s drum rhythms to noodling, jamming guitar riffs, all tied up with focused production. The first track, “Wide Eyes,” is all west coast pop-rock, while “Camera Talk” heads north to siphon some of the influences of '90s Screaming Trees. “Cards and Quarters” gradually shuffles in a few chilly layers of harmonies, while tracks like “Shape Shifter” chuck everything out there to try and amp-up the mix. **

Beta Band – The Three EPs– Because Music
Just arrived in outlets is this long-awaited re-release from The Beta Band of their classic compilation collection, 20 years in the making. Here’s where you can snag the band’s first three psychedelic pop EPs, in their entirety, with beautifully compressed and remastered sound. This set is also only the first part of an ongoing reissue of their full discography; it includes standout singles “She’s the One” with its choir refrain, the Beck-ish “Dry the Rain,” and the loopy “Houses Song.” It’s definitely a great place to start. ***
 
Dave Grohl – Play– RCA
Recorded at East/West Studios in L.A., Grohl’s latest venture finds him performing one song – yes, just one – a 23-minute rock epic as tracked by Darrell Thorp to showcase his compositional skills, as the track shifts through several different moods. You won’t hear any of Grohl’s trademark guttural vocals here, nor his power ballad chops. Instead, he incorporates some unexpected instruments, from vibraphones to creatively placed piano riffs. Foo fans will hear little nods to familiar tunes throughout. ** ½
 
 
 

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