Mayer Hawthorne is known for delivering Motown and even Barry White influenced vintage R&B, but his 5th studio album Where Does This Door Go is a little different. He seems to have ditched the retro-soul influenced sound in favor of something a little more modern.
It's weird to say, but That's It!, the new album from Preservation Hall Jazz Band, is about 100 years in the making. Not that the songs are 100 years old, or the musicians, but the spirit and roots of this music harkens back to the earliest days of 20th Century New Orleans jazz, while at the same time taking a cherished institution and pointing it to the future.
At this point in her career, Dessa has little left to prove. In Minnesota, she's achieved total media saturation. Nationally, her profile has steadily risen with vocal support from flagship critics like Robert Christgau and media outlets like Elle Magazine and MTV. And all signs point to Parts of Speech serving as her biggest push toward a mainstream audience yet.
Like 2010's You Are Not Alone, Mavis Staples' latest album One True Vine was produced by Jeff Tweedy of Wilco. Recorded in his Chicago loft, Tweedy and his son Spencer back Staples' signature vocals by performing nearly every instrument heard on the album, but One True Vine has sparse instrumentation---her voice is the real showcase.
Laura Marling's fourth album, Once I Was An Eagle, was expertly produced by Ethan Johns, who is best known for his work with Kings of Leon, Ryan Adams and Ray LaMontagne. It's a wonderful-sounding album, spare and earthy.
With Modern Vampires of the City, Vampire Weekend have created a cohesive record that someone feels more polished and mature and serious than anything they've done, while at the same time loose, raw, and more fun than Contra or their debut.