Dog Days Are Over
The final days of summer are upon us, fading and fleeting, threatening to dilute that sticky, sweet, dreamy haze of residual sunshine and warmth. Arriving without warning, lying hidden amongst the slowly dying flower beds and sun-kissed smiles, it waits. Wanting. You know it’s there, desperate to steal away the last remaining hours of candle-lit nights spent on the back porch, late-hour dinners surrounded by friends and neighbors. You delude yourself into believing it will never end, ignoring how the leaves begin to change, or how the cool air starts to slowly settle in. Sighing, you’ve determined yourself into stretching out the lingering dog days of summer as long as you can, resolving yourself to wear your flip-flops until the middle of November. Ultimately, you realize you must compose a final playlist; a wave goodbye to those summer nights, a wave hello to the intruding face of Fall. Yes, you realize it’s time. It’s time for something new. It’s finally time for some fresh music.
Not even two songs into Invisible Empire // Crescent Moon you understand how personal and mindful KT Tunstall’s new album is. It’s got heartbreak seeping out its pores, a life lesson embedded into each and every lyric. However, it seems KT’s good intentions have out shined her. There’s so many similar styles fighting one another, there’s not enough deviation for the songs to separate themselves. Tunstall’s voice is masked by the music, breathy to a point where her true sound is concealed from view. Initially, you believe it to be disappointing – put off by the monotony of it. Then, you start to find yourself near the end of the album. Truthfully, I don’t think I’ve been so grateful to have shelled out the few extra bucks for a deluxe album version. It’s as if some of KT’s best has been scribbled on the bottom of the last page, momentarily waiting to be discovered.
Without a doubt, my favorite on the record is The Boys of Summer (A Don Henley Cover). Do yourself a favor and download it. Immediately.
In all honestly, you’re going to fight with this album. Your feelings for it are going to change from one moment to the next. It’s been almost three weeks and I still don’t know what to think about it. Yet, I do know I can’t get this Invisible Empire out of my head. That has to be a good thing, right?
Have you ever wondered what would happen if one of those iconic girl bands from the eighties stole Marty McFly’s DeLorean, participated in a few comical, improbable movie-like adventure scenarios, and then settled down in present day Los Angeles? What if they lost the big hair and synth board, instead incorporating a sweet spoonful of indie-pop style into their set list? Although somewhat unlikely, this is what I assume happened to the three sisters from Haim. These relative unknowns already have a strong following, hypnotizing their admirers with understated dance tracks, straightforward lyrics, and energetic harmonies. Days Are Gone (Available September 30th) will be their first full studio album, advertising a realistic combination of several songs from their previously released EP’s and a handful of new tracks. You will undoubtedly fall for Haim strictly unintentionally, as breathy lines of tongue-tying lyrics stand strong against a feisty drum beat – the album’s star single will, ultimately, try to lure you in slowly. With each repeat performance of The Wire, there is a predictable pattern of soft foot taps and wild head bobs, from “Okay, this is good,” to “I can’t stop listening!” The trained response to resist buying the entire Haim catalogue will be utterly useless. It’ll happen whether you like it or not. I should know.
It’s hard to believe it’s been two years since The Head and the Heart made their first appearance on Press Play Friday. They’ve made quite the name for themselves since then, having comfortably found a permanent home, despite those charming Mumford blokes. Their debut was definitely an undeniably unexpected surprise for most of us. With their homespun, distinctive folk-pop style and rustic melodies, The Head and the Heart easily and flawlessly were able to pinpoint specific memories and feelings in our life with their music; like the smell of fried chicken and cornbread, or the sound of a freshly fallen rain; the eager buzz of a highly anticipated road trip with your closest of friends. This time around they’re back with even more foot stomping fun than ever before, introducing their latest anthem, Shake. An amalgamation of their signature delicate strut and a newly acquired poetic vibrancy, the track pulls you in and doesn’t look back, spinning itself inside your head until you’re hopelessly addicted. Let’s Be Still arrives October 15th. Hopefully, we can wait that long.
I’ll see you next week for an all-new edition of Artist of the Month! Happy Friday! – Kim
What did you think of the songs featured in this week’s Press Play Friday? Are there any new albums you are looking forward to? What songs and artists have you been listening to recently? Tell me in the comments!