The High Note releases for Friday, April 22 are retro, in a way. Singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright puts his spin on Shakespeare on his latest release, “Take All My Loves: 9 Shakespeare Sonnets.” Post-punk rock band Wire releases its 15h studio album, “Nocturnal Koreans,” that sounds just as warm and fuzzy as its first release in the late 70s. Carlos Niño & Friends don’t bury the lead on their latest collaboration, “Flutes, Echoes, It’s All Happening!” New York indie rockers and part-time comedians We Are Scientists make weird work with “Helter Seltzer.”
Meanwhile, the music world mourns the loss of Prince. Read the New York Times obituary.
Share what you’re listening to with #TheHighNote on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and Pinterest.
I bet you didn’t know you wanted to hear what it would sound like if Rufus Wainwright put nine of William Shakespeare’s sonnets to music. Perhaps you think the bard a little passé, considering your knowledge of Shakespeare from high school or a college-level course. Released Friday, April 22, Wainwright puts ole Willie Shakes in context on “Take All My Loves: 9 Shakespeare Sonnets.” The album includes guest appearances from his sister Martha Wainwright, William Shatner, Carrie Fisher as well as a full cast to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the death of Shakespeare including: Helena Bonham Carter, Fiora Cutler, Peter Eyre, Inge Keller, Siân Phillips, Anna Prohaska oh and Florence Welch. This collaboration with producer Marius de Vries spans 16 tracks and adapts nine sonnets: Sonnet 10, Sonnet 20, Sonnet 23, Sonnet 29, Sonnet 40, Sonnet 43, Sonnet 66, Sonnet 87, and Sonnet 129; the last in the lineup features Shatner and is a must-listen for a fan of either William. See Rufus Wainwright Friday, May 20 at The Foundry in Philadelphia, Pa. Get “Take All My Loves: 9 Shakespeare Sonnets” from Rufus Wainwright, iTunes and Spotify.
Rockin’ never gets old. It’s proven time and again. This week we are reminded of that fact yet again with the 15th studio album by Wire, “Nocturnal Koreans,” released Friday, April, 22. The British band released its post-punk debut in 1977 and “Pink Flag” separated itself from the punk rock pack.
The band has shifted gears on this album. Fans of Wire will recognize the warm, fuzzy tones but the Wire mood has changed with the sands of time. Three of the original band members remain: Colin Newman, Graham Lewis and Robert Grey. They bring to this album the attitude of a band with nothing to lose. It’s similar to the recent Nada Surf album, where the same attitude that allowed these talented artists to challenge the limits of their creativity and expression now allows them to record music without fear. In case you have never heard of, or have forgotten about Wire; the band released its 14th, self-titled album last year and its members are showing no signs of slowing. The album includes a lot of production effects to achieve this very vaguely distorted tone that wafts around inside your ears.
The title kinds of gives it away, doesn’t it? Before five minutes, we hear it all happening; the flutes, echoes, sounds of nature and Carlos Niño along with his friends, including Madlib and Kamasi Washington.
The album is a mosaic of sounds chopped up and mashed together, but in a complete turnaround from what I love about Girl Talk, “Flutes, Echoes, It’s All Happening!” has a common thread with nature, not pop. Sure, there are some rhythmically-charged beats on the title track, “It’s All Happening,” but this album seems to almost focus as much on the negative space in the album; drawing attention to the lines between the notes.
The album is a test of artist’s boundaries and show love for all of his influences. There are sounds that come straight from classical and jazz as well as R&B, hip-hop, funk, soul and folk. This, the fourth album by Carlos Niño & Friends (but by no means the fourth album by Niño) allows each of the musicians to adapt their worldly influences to the studio production. “Flutes, Echoes, It’s All Happening!” is the most original album released to date this year. Get “Flutes, Echoes, It’s All Happening!” from iTunes and Amazon.
The New York City indie rock band We Are Scientists release its fifth album “Helter Seltzer,” Friday, April 22. Consisting of Chris Cain and Keith Murray, the band has a unique style and a sense of humor that comes alive in its music videos.
The duo combines really catchy hooks with real songwriting and music in a way that I can’t tell if they’re poking fun at pop music or embracing its success and incorporating it into “Helter Seltzer.” Singles like “Buckle” harken to a time of early 2000s Weezer with more pop smoothness. The album is part cross eyed look at the hipsters in New York City and part full-on embrace of the culture that makes a band like We Are Scientists so popular in their adopted home, as they are originally from Berkeley, California. The band also attacks its themes of heartbreak with its signature indie flair while making this album sound polished and seemingly retro.