summer album preview: begin to hope.

Regina Spektor used to bore me, but the minute I heard “Fidelity”, the opening track off her new album Begin to Hope, my mouth dropped in amazement. Was this the same anti-folk pianist I brushed off my shoulder with no regrets back in 2004? Yes. But better…or as Ms. Spektor would say “beddo”.

The album proves that this Russian singer-songwriter isn’t afraid to experiment, messing with her old piano formula by bringing in electric guitars, drum machines, and electronic loops. She retains her eccentric lyrical style while bringing in a poppy sound. a new formula that works ten times better than the old one.

Unfortunately, the album suffers in it’s inconsistency. “On the Radio” (listen at Kill Your Co-Workers) is a short, upbeat ditty-doo followed by the 5 minute and 18 second piano ballad “Field Below”. While both songs are equally good, there is no transition between the tracks, leaving the listener very confused. In the end, the only consistent thing about the album is it’s resistance to be consistent or have any flow for that matter. While it’s annoying to some degree, something about that is very charming and that something is sure to help Regina gain a spot on several “top albums of 2006″ lists.

DOWNLOAD: REGINA SPEKTOR- Fidelity
DOWNLOAD: REGINA SPEKTOR- 20 Years of Snow

BUY Begin to Hope, release date is tomorrow!

BLOGWATCH: Check out the new Jurassic 5 (unfortunately featuring Dave Matthews) over at Gorilla vs. Bear.

summer album preview: loose.

Nelly Furtado‘s new material has gained her titles ranging from slut to sellout to comeback queen. The lead single in the US, “Promiscuous”, is in heavy rotation on video channels and radio. Some are shocked by her new sexy, “hip-hop” sound and image. Some are shocked by the fact that she’s working with Timbaland

These people are idiots.

Okay, that’s a bit harsh…You may be among those people. If you are, let me educate you dearie. Ms. Furtado and Timbaland have collaborated as early as 2001 on the “Turn Off the Lights” remix. She was featured on Missy Elliott‘s “Get Ur Freak On” remix (2001) and Ms. Jade‘s “Ching Ching”…both produced by Timbo and recorded a year or two after her debut album was recorded. They’re not strangers. On top of that, she has collaborated with The Roots, Jurassic 5, and Swollen Members. She even experimented with rapping and spoken word poetry on her first album. Nelly Furtado and the hip-hop genre aren’t strangers either.

With that said, let’s address the sexy image. Nelly has recently split with her husband. Quite simply, the girl is doing her thang and letting…um…Loose. You may be surprised to hear that the material of the album isn’t all sex-charged pop. “In God’s Hands” addresses the end of her relationship with her husband, “Afraid” is a classic soul-searching Furtado song that just happens to have a Timbaland beat, and “What I Wanted” showcases the same acoustic-guitar bearing Nelly who sang about birds. The album maintains Nelly’s power of making every song a cultural and emotional explosion. It’s the same Nelly we know and love (or hate), but she’s back with a bit more…uh…flava.

And she sort of needs it. While her debut album Whoa, Nelly! managed to push two million off the shelves in the US, the follow-up, Folklore, only pushed a quarter of that off the shelves. This was partially due to issues with the record company and lack of promotion, as the album was minorly successful on a global level (“Try” reached #1 in Mexico) and embraced by her die-hard fans. In any case, Nelly had to switch things up if she wanted to keep making music. Timbaland was the man to help her do it.

Random interruption: Have you heard that Timbaland and Bjork are collaborating? I hope more than anything that this is true.

The track that stood out most for me was “Do It”, mostly because it is a dance anthem strangely between two of the album’s slower, more introspective tracks. “Do It” is sure to be compared to the style of Gwen Stefani’s Love Angel Music Baby, a much more accurate comparison than Paris Hilton‘s “Stars are Blind” (which is reminiscent of Gwen, but on the No Doubt album, Rocksteady). The straight-up 80s feel of this track will likely enable it to be adopted as an underground dance party gem.

Another surprise on the album is the exciting alternate conclusion to the UK single “Maneater”, which brings in the genius Mr. Mosley chanting “I been around the world, never seen a girl like this.”

In less words, Loose is a strange collection of songs that are sure to gain a new collection of fans without straying too far from the formula that gained her the old ones. Will the original fans embrace it? Honestly…I don’t even think that matters at this point.

DOWNLOAD: NELLY FURTADO- Do It
DOWNLOAD: NELLY FURTADO- Maneater (album version)

PRE-ORDER Loose, out on June 20th

BLOGWATCH: The big blogs are catching on to Tigarah…check out “Fake Out” and “Roppongi-Dori” at bigstereo.

summer album preview: impeach my bush.

PEACHES has taught you well. But seriously…are all you motherfuckers ready for the Fatherfucker? No? Well, maybe you’re ready for Impeach My Bush, the third album by the queen of obscene, sucky-sucking, genderfucking electroclash.

Impeach My Bush finds Peaches out of her element in…an actual studio. But have no fear! The vocals have been treated in such a way to make them sound like they were recorded in a small, shitty room. There’s still that gritty Peaches sound, but with a touch of smoothness. And she hasn’t lost her edge either. With songs like “Slippery Dick”, “Tent in Your Pants”, and “Fuck or Kill”, you know this is the same lady who once urged you to fuck the pain away. How can you not love an album that contains the lyric, “I’d rather fuck who I want than kill who I have to”?

Strangely, the biggest surprise of the album is a a special guest appearance by Ms. Leslie Feist, Peaches’ former roommate. WHAT??? As a friend pointed out, “That’s like Al Gore and Tommy Lee Jones but less musical”. The duo collaborate on the song “Downtown”, an incredibly mellow song for Ms. Nisker. I’m not going to lie…the song is almost sexy enough that even I’d let Peaches show me “her thing”.

DOWNLOAD: PEACHES f/ FEIST- Downtown

To make up for the faulty link to “Do Ya”, may I recommend that you head over to Pardon My Freedom to d/l two other new tracks from Impeach My Bush? I’ll replace the “Do Ya” link as soon as I get my computer up and running back in NJ.

PRE-ORDER Impeach My Bush, to be released on July 11th