Tuesday, July 22, 2014
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New Recordings: Neneh Cherry; Real Estate; Lake Street Dive

Lake Street Dive: "Bad Self Portraits"
Lake Street Dive: "Bad Self Portraits"
Lake Street Dive: "Bad Self Portraits" Gallery: New Recordings: Neneh Cherry; Real Estate; Lake Street Dive

 Ratings: **** Excellent, ** Good, ** Fair, * Poor

Neneh Cherry

Blank Project

(Smalltown Supersound ***)

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  • Neneh Cherry is back with her first proper solo album in 16 years after coming in from the cold with The Cherry Thing, a 2012 collaboration with Swedish free jazz band the Thing (who take their name from a song by her stepfather, trumpeter Don Cherry). This one was produced by electronic beat-maker Kieran Hebden, also known as Four Tet, and it's an understated affair that flows with easy confidence and a mellower take on the art-pop/ hip-hop inclinations that Cherry burst upon the scene with on her ahead- of-its-time 1998 hit "Buffalo Stance." "Out of the Black," a duet with her fellow Swedish pop star Robyn, is not quite the epic meeting of voices one might have hoped for, but Blank Project is mostly a deeply personal, subtly enticing, long-overdue return to form.

    - Dan DeLuca

    Real Estate
    (Domino ***1/2)

    Real Estate's third album, Atlas, differs little from its two predecessors: It rolls along to gentle waves of strummed acoustic guitars and a latticework of trebly, picked electric ones, and the vocals are wistful, understated, and comforting. Although the sound will be familiar, both to fans of Real Estate and of the Ridgewood, N.J., band's forefathers such as the Feelies, Galaxie 500, or the easygoing side of Yo La Tengo, Atlas still impresses. It's unassuming but confident, dreamy but precise, leisurely but densely textured.

    The opening trifecta of the shimmering love song "Had to Hear," the nostalgic "Past Lives" (with soulful keyboards from new member Matt Kallman), and the jangly, perky "Talking Backwards" demonstrates a tight sense of songcraft for a band that still luxuriates in a drifting interplay of guitars. Real Estate may not break new ground on Atlas, but it builds something deeply satisfying. The band will be at Union Transfer on April 3.

    - Steve Klinge

    Lake Street Dive
    Bad Self Portraits
    (Signature Sounds ***)

    Lake Street Dive is an indie soul/jazz outfit, formed at the New England Conservatory of Music. The band won fans with TV appearances with Letterman and Colbert. During a Manhattan concert for the Coen brothers' film Inside Llewyn Davis, Lake Street stopped the show with a subtly swinging but folksy take on "You Go Down Smooth," with vocalist Rachael Price leading.

    There is rich revivalism in what Price, Mike Olson (trumpet, guitar), Bridget Kearney (upright bass), and Mike Calabrese (drums) do, a gutsy post-Beat-Gen sound with hints of Etta James for sass and class. Bad Self Portraits has the brightness of a Mark Ronson/Amy Winehouse pairing, a light into the darkness, as in tracks such as "Bobby Tanqueray," in which Price's purr is at its cattiest. This is not, however, a one-woman show. Each band member writes songs, the instrumentation is magnificently unified, and songs such as "Seventeen" and "Stop Your Crying" are hand-clapping, harmony-filled call-and-response gems. 

    - A.D. Amorosi

    Top Albums in the Region

    This Week Last Week

    Locally   Nationally   Locally   

    1   1    Various Artists Frozen   2    

    2   5    Beyonce Beyonce   3    

    3   3    Cole Swindell Cole Swindell   -    

    4   2    Eric Church Outsiders   1    

    5   4    Various Artists     Now That's What I Call Music, Vol. 49     4

    6   10    Toni Braxton & Babyface    Love, Marriage & Divorce    5

    7   16    John Legend Love in the Future    9    

    8   6    Lorde Pure Heroine   8    

    9   9    Issues Issues   -    

    10   14    Candice Glover Music Speaks    -    

    SOURCE: SoundScan (based on purchase data from Philadelphia and Montgomery, Delaware, Bucks, Chester, Camden, Burlington and Gloucester Counties). Billboard Magazine 3/8/14 © 2014


    On Sale Tuesday

    Pharrell Williams, GIRL; Rick Ross, Mastermind; Pink Martini and the Von Trapps, Dream a Little Dream; John Gorka, Bright Side of Down

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