Thursday, September 18, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Life, Life, Love

New Recordings: Nikki Lane, Lana Del Rey, A Sunny Day In Glasgow

Lana Del Rey: "Ultraviolence" (From the album cover)
Lana Del Rey: "Ultraviolence" (From the album cover)
Lana Del Rey: "Ultraviolence" (From the album cover) Gallery: New Recordings: Nikki Lane, Lana Del Rey, A Sunny Day In Glasgow

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

Nikki Lane

All or Nothin'

(New West ***1/2)

The connection with Dan Auerbach - the Black Keys' front man cowrote five songs, duets on one, and served as producer - will likely draw some folks to Nikki Lane's second album. One thing's for sure: Once she has your attention, Lane doesn't let go.

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  • The title All or Nothin' hints at the attitude that enlivens much of the album. Lane is country with an edge, and if she's a bit presumptuous to compare herself to Willie Nelson ("Hell, we're both outlaws"), she displays the talent to back up the bravado. The key is savvy material that presents a full-bodied personality, not a caricature. In other words, she's a spitfire who'll warn a loafing romantic partner to "Man Up," but in another moment, as in "Seein' Double," she'll reveal an aching vulnerability: "I got a hole in my heart / Mighty deep, cold, and dark."

    - Nick Cristiano


    Nikki Lane, with Max Gomez, plays at 8 p.m. Thursday at the North Star Bar, 2639 Poplar St. Tickets: $10, $12. Information: 215-787-0488 or www.northstarbar.com.

     

    Lana Del Rey

     

    Ultraviolence
    (Interscope ***1/2)

    First thing you'll notice about Lana Del Rey's new album is that, like its predecessor, Born to Die, the melancholy Ultraviolence is filled with stories about lousy guys and the ladies who love them, accompanied by retro, down-tempo melodies more at home in a Douglas Sirk film than in the present. Does that mean Lana Del Rey is obvious or tedious? Is Springsteen, when he sings about the working class?

    What Del Rey, her septet, and producer Dan Auerbach have done differently is to remove all elements of hip-hop from her self-described "narco-swing" and move to a live, vintage-soundtrack vibe. "Pretty When You Cry," "Shades of Cool," and "West Coast" have the feel of Chris Isaak at his best, but with a psychedelic ambience for gauzy measure. In a fragile yet effortlessly breezy voice, Del Rey sings of femmes fatales now willing to dispense with bad men (in "Cruel World" the singer "shared my body and mind with you / that's all over now"), even if those women slept their way to the top. Beyond that, Ultraviolence is unobvious, contagious music that sounds like nothing else.

    - A.D. Amorosi

    A Sunny Day in Glasgow

     

    Sea When Absent
    (Lefse ***1/2)

    Although its six members now live in Sydney, Australia, and Brooklyn in addition to Philadelphia, A Sunny Day in Glasgow still qualify as locals: they reconvened here with producer Jeff Zeigler (who works with the War on Drugs and Kurt Vile) to record their third album, Sea When Absent.

    The band, as ever, uses My Bloody Valentine as a template, but the densely layered guitars, sudden dynamic shifts, and sweet female vocals shine more brightly, with greater clarity, this time. Credit in part vocalist Jen Gorma, who also appears on the recent Pains of Being Pure at Heart album, for bringing the melodies to the forefront: fans of M83 - former ASDIG tourmates - and Heaven or Las Vegas-era Cocteau Twins will relish the pastoral grace of "Crushin' " and the vocal polyphony of "Never Nothing (It's Alright [IT'S OK])." Sea When Absent is also an excellent headphone record, swirling with sharply articulated details.

    - Steve Klinge

     

    Top Albums in the Region

    This Week Last Week

    Locally   Nationally   Locally   

    1   1    Jack White Lazaretto   -    

    2   3    Various Artists "Frozen" Soundtrack   4    

    3   7    ColdPlay Ghost Stories   3    

    4   2    Miranda Lambert Platinum   1    

    5   5    Various Artists    "The Fault in Our Stars" Soundtrack    5    

    6   6    Various Artists    Now That's What I Call Music, Vol. 50    6    

    7   8    The Black Keys Turn Blue   10    

    8   9    Michael Jackson Xscape    7    

    9   13    O.A.R. The Rockville LP   -    

    10   12    Passenger Whispers   -    

    SOURCE: SoundScan (based on purchase data from Philadelphia and Montgomery, Delaware, Bucks, Chester, Camden, Burlington and Gloucester Counties). Billboard Magazine 6/28/14 © 2014

     

    In Stores Tuesday

    Mastodon, Once More 'Round the Sun;

    Phish, Fuego;

    Ruben Blades, Tangos;

    Ginger Baker, Why

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