Ron – Shakey Graves: Can’t Wake Up
If you’re going to be born Alejandro Rose-Garcia, and want to stand out in the music world, it makes sense you’d adopt a stage moniker given to you by friends at a campfire when you’re all coming up with Indian guide names. Whether he liked the name or not, Alejandro became firmly attached to Shakey Graves after the massive success of “Dearly Departed” with former Paper Bird member Esmé Patterson singing along. On this 5th full-length CD, I got the feeling Shakey opened his mind to aural possibilities. In December he Tweeted “Next album. New sound. Sell your suspenders.” On Can’t Wake Up he “plugs in” with some very dream-like layered guitar sounds (“Kids These Days”) and seems very open to various organic sounds like a ringing phone and (what seems like) band members packing up their studio gear after the recording is done. Like having a number of different dreams in your head flow together, each of the disc’s 13 tracks segue right into each other, blurring the lines. If an artist is going to stay fresh, they need to grow. And Shakey takes a big, rewarding leap here. See Shakey at Red Rocks with Jose Gonzalez on August 30.
Margot – Arctic Monkeys, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino
The Arctic Monkeys have long been an established success story. They are superstars in their native Britain and have an enormous following everywhere else. When you’ve had that amount of success, coming back after a long hiatus might be nerve-wracking but on their 6th album,Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, the Arctic Monkeys seem to have no such reservations. Not only that but their 5-year hiatus seems to have reinvigorated them and given them a fresh way to approach their music. First, the album is a complete idea about a space colony told through various narrators. It’s an odd idea but it works, especially since the band complements the concept with retro instruments. If you listen to Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino expecting the same old Arctic Monkeys sound, you’re in for a surprise and (on most tracks) a treat. Listen with an open mind to this audio left turn – in all likelihood, you’ll appreciate the new direction.
Stacy – Bombino: Deran
Niger-born singer, songwriter and Tuareg guitar virtuoso Bombino just released his seventh album Deran. Recorded entirely at Studio HIBA in Casablanca, Deran marks a deliberate return to Africa and Bombino’s roots. He intentionally sequestered his band in Morocco to avoid the celebrity-producer shadow, as his last two releases were produced by Dan Auerbach (Black Keys) and David Longstreth (Dirty Projectors). In stepping away, he’s returned with a beautiful tapestry of sounds, from the upbeat opener Imajghane (The Tuareg), to the rolling lilt of Midiwan (My Friends). Sung entirely in Tamasheq, the language of the Tuareg, the album is a perfect opener for the summer. You don’t have to be fluent in the lingua franca to appreciate the authenticity of this desert-inspired, blues-infused, melodic disc.
Benji – Parker Millsap: Other Arrangements
If you like your music eclectic, Parker Millsap’s Other Arrangements may be the perfect record for you. The album is a new direction for the Purcell, Oklahoma songwriter. After 3 pretty straight-forward Americana releases, Parker broadens his direction with some straight-ahead rock tunes, well-crafted pop songs and even some very soulful ballads. Fans of Parker’s earlier material need not worry – the fiddle still makes an appearance – yet he experiments in a variety of new ways. Whether it be with different drums or looping, Other Arrangements lives up to its’ title. Check out the wonderfully weird “Your Water” as a good example of a pop song with a twist or the first cut on the record “Fine Line”- a delicious hard-driving rock song that will take your breath away. Whatever your cup of tea, you’re sure to find something to your liking on Parker Millsaps’ Other Arrangements. See Parker live at the Bluebird Theater on Aug 10th.
Listen to The Colorado Sound all across the front range at 105.5 FM, and check them out online at TheColoradoSound.org