Dig These Discs :: Suzanne Vega, Angel Olsen, Candice Glover, Cibo Matto, Girls Volume 2
It’s Valentine’s Day, and Dig These Discs is all about the ladies! Check new releases from American Idol winner Candice Glover, and Missouri-born singer Angel Olsen. Japanese duo Cibo Matto is back together with "Hotel Valentine," and Suzanne Vega drops her first new album in seven years. And enjoy music from the second season of the hit HBO show "Girls." Love is in the air; can you dig it?
"Music Speaks" (Candice Glover)
Only 24 years old, season 12 American Idol winner Candice Glover looks like she could be one of the Huxtable kids, and sings like an angel. With her new album, she starts things off by showing off those shimmering pipes of her, singing sweetly and sadly about domestic abuse in her debut single ballad "Cried," accompanied by a tinkling piano. She vows her love is strong in "Die Without You," singing, "You’re my purpose, you’re all I know," with deep bass pounding in the background. She captures the Diana Ross vibe as she sings, "Why don’t I run while I can, cause I always end up loving the ’Same Kinda Man.’" Glover sings of being the other woman in "Damn," and says, "my everything is you," in "Passenger," a song that demonstrates the higher range of Glover’s silky voice. She strikes a very marketable balance between R&B and soul, as seen in songs like "Forever That Man" and "Kiss Me," which employs unusual percussion. She captures a rollicking ska sound in "In the Middle" and slows things down in "Coulda Been Me." She includes her version of the Cure’s "Love Song," which Idol judges called the best performance ever on a reality show. She finishes the album with an acoustic version of her Idol coronation song, "I Am Beautiful," which ran up the music charts after her win. With her blend of funk, soul and R&B and those amazing pipes, you’re gonna love her!
"Burn Your Fire For No Witness" (Angel Olsen)
Missouri-born singer/songwriter Angel Olsen drops her second album, chock full of confessional material, but this time, with a band backing her. Others describe the vibe as excited and angry; she just says it’s defiant. "I quit my dreaming the moment that I found you," she mumbles over reverb-laden guitar in the track, "Unfucktheworld." The reverb drones on in "Forgiven/Forgotten." The video for this track came out this winter, and listeners are already abuzz with Olsen’s ’90s lo-fi sound, comparing it to early material by The Breeders. "I feel so lonesome I could cry," sings Olsen in "Hi-Five," a song that has a country twang under layers of synthetic twing. Her first single, "White Fire" features her spare, melancholy singing with complex acoustic arrangements and lyrics like, "burn your fire for no witness, it’s the only way it’s done." She eases up on the dolor in "Lights Out," with punchy drums to keep it moving along. "Stars" is another nice piece of work, with Olsen singing, "I think you like to see me lose my mind." She hits the high notes in "Iota" and moves slowly through "Dance Slow Decades." In songs like "Enemy" Olsen comes across as a heavily sedated Liz Phair: just as angry, only slower to deliver. Olsen is new to the game, but her confessional style should take her far.
"Hotel Valentine" (Cibo Matto)
Cibo Matto, the outrageous girl group of Miho Hatori and Yuka C. Honda, brought to life our anime dreams in the ’90s, with absurd songs like "Know Your Chicken." The girls experimented wildly with the sounds of pop and hip-hop, Brazilian music, African and Latin jazz. After working on their solo careers, the two reunited after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011, during a benefit concert in New York City. From that point, they continued to perform and tour sporadically while working on new material. "Having spent some time apart, we became more aware of our magical chemistry, our magnetic bond. We both realized we had unfinished business," said Honda. On February 14, 2011 a Cibo Matto light bulb flickered and they struck upon the idea of this album. "’Hotel Valentine’ is the cinematic bricolage of Yuka and me," said Hatori. "Our medium is music." The album begins, logically, with "Check In," a study in the snare drum, with a strong pop vibe. They follow with "Déjà vu," an odd song that blends discordant verses with a harmonious chorus with a Brazilian backbeat, complete with horns. Cibo Matto’s music is still populated with delightful nonsense. "She talks like American, she walks like Egyptian, maybe international ghost girl," they sing in "10th Floor Ghost Girl." A mélange of drums and horns peps up the wacky "Emerald Tuesday" and a cacophony of curse words pepper "MFN." The title track is a haunting blend of hand drums and sax, "Empty Pool" is a dystopian soundscape, and "Lobby" has fantastic percussion with a spoken word intro. The album ends with "Housekeeping" and "Check Out," as appropriate an ending as any. Fangirls, rejoice! Cibo Matto is back again.