Jazzy piano pop
Fiona Apple The Idler Wheel … (Epic Records)
The title for Apple’s fourth LP could’ve been Fuck You, I’ll Make Whatever Music I Want. Along the lines of 2005’s Extraordinary Machine, there’s a clunky, jazzy, burlesque-y structure that sounds like she’s been hanging with composer Jon Brion again. One can imagine Apple plunking away in a smoky dive, much to the dismay of those drowning sorrows in a whiskey glass. The ballsy rawness and emotion-laden vocals are commendable, though far from heavy-rotation worthy. ★★☆☆☆
Local Indie Rock
Slow to Surface Race the Heart, Calm the Soul EP (Independent)
Why this Las Vegas band doesn’t get more love we’ll never understand. They’ve been on the scene for more than a decade, and Slow to Surface’s forthcoming EP continues their aural evolution with an in-your-face assault of rock. It begs to capture your attention—and it does. The album balances melodic songwriting with layers of instrumentation and diverse moods. And an undercurrent of urgency lends richness to the four tracks. The only flaw we can find is there aren’t more songs. ★★★☆☆
Local Rock ’n’ Roll
The Dirty Hooks Electric Grit (Independent)
Goddamn that’s some kick-ass rock ’n’ roll! Vegas trio Bobby McCall, Anthony Ratto and Jenine Cali have released a seriously sick debut LP that balances both grit and polished musicianship. Scenesters may recognize Cali—now drumming up a storm—from her previous band, The Day After, and McCall and Ratto from the Ill Figures. Sharing vocal duties, McCall and Cali bring to mind The Dead Weather—but without going too weird. Electric Grit is a fantastically solid, legit and timeless rock offering. ★★★★☆
Upcoming albums on Deanna’s radar ...
JULY 10: They may be known to the EDM world as Swedish songstresses, but Rebecca & Fiona are producers first, and they’re debuting their first North American release I Love You, Man. JULY 17: There seems to be a lot of changes going on in Matisyahu’s world, including ditching the sidelocks and yarmulke. Should be interesting to see how his music has changed as well with Spark Seeker. JULY 24: Bringing her brand of “underground pop,” DJ/producer Audrey Napoleon (profiled in Vegas Seven on May 17) releases her first EP Ornamental Egos. SEPT 4: Japanese instrumental-rock quartet Mono will release their sixth studio album, For My Parents. SEPT. 11: Finally, Brit indie pop/downtempo/trip-hop outfit The xx releases Coexist, the follow-up to 2009’s incredible self-titled debut.