New Music Wednesday: Lianne La Havas, Elle Varner and More

I have no idea how the hell it got to be Tuesday already but I’m going to celebrate as if it were Saturday because today’s album in my top spot is just too damn good not to. I am still trying to recover from this past weekend’s Lollapalooza festival which, I’m fairly certain, had me lose about half of my body weight in sweat. I’ll be writing up a quick recap and bringing you a few interviews in the next week or so, so be on the lookout!

Lianne La HavasIs Your Love Big Enough? (Nonesuch Records)

About a year ago, one of you dear readers told me about the magnificence that is Lianne La Havas. She was giving away a free live EP and I was enamored at first listen; scouring YouTube and the Internet at large for anything I could find of the young artist from the UK.

It’s taken a long time and La Havas has been busy touring internationally, but her debut is finally here and — to my great relief — it exceeded my already-high expectations and has landed a spot in my favorite albums of 2012.

Front to back, this album is solid and it’s because La Havas has allowed herself to be vulnerable. You can hear her smile through the microphone and you can also hear when she winces through a memory. Through it all her voice is pure, precise and reassuring. It’s as though no matter what life throws her way she’ll be able to make it unscathed. My love is big enough for you, Lianne, I’m just happy to be able to help spread it. Stream the album in its entirety over at Spinner and for a real treat and to hear just how talented she is, check out this live performance of “Don’t Wake Me Up”:

Elle VarnerPerfectly Imperfect (RCA)

Photo courtesy of Facebook

She’s got ’70s funk, hip-hop soul and then slows it down with some jazzy singer-songwriter balladry. She takes risks which don’t always pay off (there are many disjointed pieces, as if she and her production team tried to do too much all at once) but they are still interesting choices which make her an exciting artist to keep your eye on. Extra props for using the violin, fiddle(!!) and a brass section.

BlondsThe Bad Ones (Gluck Music)

Photo by Cyle Suesz

I listened to The Bad Ones while walking around the suburbs in search of coffee and there were times when the songs blended together so that I couldn’t tell one slightly caffeinated dream-rock song from the next. Each song on the album was enjoyable but then there were standouts such as the title track and the kickass album closer, “Locomotion,” which made me stop mid-stride to check out which song was playing. If you’re in the mood for something between Band of Skulls and Best Coast, look no further. You can stream the album in its entirety over at The Blond’s Soundcloud page.

The band has also put out a pretty nice cover of Lana Del Rey’s “Born to Die”:

Honorable Mentions: Los Straightjackets, Antony & The Johnsons and Black Francis.

More Music Extras: For something a little out of the ordinary, why not check out DENA’s video for “Cash, Diamond Rings, Swimming Pools”? It’s kind of like Borat meets M.I.A.

The Luyas have an album coming out in October and have just dropped the first single, “Fifty Fifty.” I can’t wait to hear the rest if it’s anything like this single: Perfect for the impending fall darkness and colder weather.

Labyrinth Ear has a new track out called “Urchin” and it’s pretty darn slick. Stream and download below.

If any of you are Matmos fans out there, be sure to check out this rad ass track, “Very Large Green Triangles.” They are brilliant sound mixers; I’m pretty much in awe.

And for my Ellie Goulding fans who are also into dubstep, I’ve got you covered:

I’ll leave you with Moon Duo’s psychedelic rocking jam “Sleepwalker”:

That’s all for this week but check back tomorrow for my recap of Lollapalooza (aka: Sweatapalooza). As always, you can find me on Twitter, Facebook or if you’re feeling sassy, there’s always email.