Entertainment » Music

Dig These Discs :: Gossip, Mr. Fogg, Rye Rye, Adam Lambert, Lisa Marie Presley

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by Winnie McCroy

"Eleven" (Mr Fogg)

English electronic musician Mr Fogg drops his second album, an amalgam of soft vocals set over layers of subtle melody and bells, piano, strings, and brass. He set out to write 20 songs in five months; the ten he chose for the album are presumably the cream of the crop, and serve his reputation well. With a flourish of fairy-like xylophone chimes, the album kicks off with the track "Make a Fuss," a rather dark song that ends abruptly. A dub intro starts "Head Fuck," with Mr Fogg singing, "I’ve got things you don’t know you want, if you’d only open your eyes/ I’ve gotta water it down just ’cause your brain cannot adjust." The album is rife with melancholy, and influenced heavily by current events in 2011, hence the name. In "A Little Letting Go," a spare composition showcases the lyrics, "You’ve got a voice just like everyone else does/ you’ve got ideas filling up in your skull." A fine orchestral opener kicks off the slow ballad, "Black Eyes," a profoundly sad song. "Stay Out of the Sun" paints a future where those who venture outside must wear safety gear, or face ugly blisters; a metaphor for love, perhaps? This Reading/Berkshire-based electronic musician took his stage name from Phileas Fogg, the main character in the Jules Verne novel, "Around the World in Eighty Days," saying it was close to his Christian name, Phil. This fascination with sci-fi comes through his music, like "Plant No Seeds," an electronic-driven song with the lyrics, "If you never try then you’ll never know." Mr Fogg, who prefers to work alone, said his heavy use of instruments in "Eleven" reflected his desire to make a less machine-driven album than his first release, the 2010 album, "Moving Parts." In "Tightrope," strings back a steady machine beat, to nice effect. And bells lighten up "Levers," a somber song about surviving a house fire, with a deep bass guitar beat added later, a nice balance to Mr Fogg’s falsetto-high vocals. This bell intro is complemented with brass horns in "Sprint," with Mr Fogg singing, "When the building collapsed, you were standing on the porch. Stones grazed your heels on the way down." The album ends with "Oh Pearl," a piano-driven ballad featuring Mr Fogg’s fine falsetto to spare and lovely effect, as he sings, "Try to let in some daylight without getting burned." In "Eleven," a host of beautiful instrumentals disguise a world of pain. (Kompakt/Kicking Ink)

"Storm and Grace" Lisa Marie Presley

Lisa Marie Presley follows in her daddy’s storied footsteps with the release of her new album, "Storm and Grace," a rich country, folk, and blues album that showcases her fine, deep voice while firmly staging her music somewhere between country and pop. She performed her moody, smoky single, "You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet" on Good Morning America on May 15, and will perform later this month on "American Idol," "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," and "Jimmy Kimmel Live." In her title track, "Storm and Grace," an oom-pa-pa beat backs Presley as she croons, "You are the most beautiful man that I’ve ever known." The song reaches right to the heart. The album is a beacon call for Presley, challenging music critics and fans alike to revisit what they think they know about the first daughter of American rock and roll. She kicks things off with a country twang in "Over Me," a kiss-off song featuring rocking acoustics and piano, and Presley’s rich voice. This stripped-down musical foray suits Presley much better than her previous releases. At the same time, it speaks to the current climate of the nation, hewing closely to a bare-bones, no-frills Americana vibe. The lazy acoustics in "Weary" paint the mood, and the slow pacing of "Close to Me" transports the listener into a dreamy trance. Presley goes even darker in "So Long," a fast-paced song featuring fine acoustic finger-picking. She introduces some electronic distortion to nice effect in "Un-Break," a hard-rocking, unforgiving song with a catchy break reminiscent of ’80s rock/pop fusion. "Soften the Blows" is a sweet and sad country song with a rolling guitar. Presley sings, "When the well has no water and the wheels start to run off the road, where do we go?" In a time when the promises of the American dream don’t seem to be attainable, this song speaks to the multitudes. "Storm of Nails" features Presley’s soft vocals, fueled by keyboards, acoustic, and drums. It falls somewhere between Conway Twitty and The Cure, and oddly enough, it works well for that. She keeps things slow in "How Do You Fly This Plane?" a sleeper hit tinged with regret, with a soaring chorus. "I want to be like you, can you teach me how to be ’Forgiving’" sings Presley at the album’s end. With songs like these, no apology is needed. (Universal Republic/XIX Recordings)

Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women’s news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York, where she writes about local restaurants in her food blog, http://brooklyniscookin.blogspot.com/


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