The soundtrack to the Adam Sandler-produced (but not starring) movie Grandma's Boy is out on Sony with new songs from The Futureheads, Fischerspooner, The Mooney Suzuki, Spin Doctors and Aphex Twin. The best track is a straightforward pop rock opener called "Another Day" by newcomers The Twenty Twos, led by electric singer Jenny Christmas. One warning — the disc includes dialogue clips from the movie between every track, which can get annoying.
If you've been thirsting for new ethereal tracks from Enya, your wish is granted. The New Age singer-songwriter's latest disc, Amarantine is now out on Reprise. The disc offers a dozen tracks of Celtic-influenced ballads rife with layered angel-harmonies and heavenly tones.
The Southern California duo of Ryan Lum and Angi Bee bring to mind the cool, sensual jazz of Sade on their nine-track independent CD Free and Easy. They named their record label "Chillcuts" and that's a perfect definition of their downbeat, sultry late-night sound.
Lum plays a sedate electric guitar and gently jazzy Rhodes piano to back up Bee as she croons and seduces at the microphone. It's a deliciously soothing combination.
Lovespirals began as an outgrowth of Lum's former band incarnation, Love Spirals Downwards, which sold more than 50,000 copies of four albums on Projekt Records in the mid-'90s. In 1999, Lum began working with a new lead vocalist in Bee, and changed the band name to Lovespirals to reflect the new sound and direction. The result is a duo that knows how to craft seductive vocal loungey jazz with cooly shifting electronic rhythms.
For more information, podcasts and song samples, check their web site at www.lovespirals.com.
After a six-year absence, Esthero returned in 2004 with an EP previewing songs from Wikked Lil Grrrls, and then finally released the full album late last summer. It's a welcome return.
While her opening track proclaims in its title "We R in Need of a Musical Revolution," this CD doesn't exactly provide one (though it's funny to hear her complaining of always seeing Ashanti on MTV, instead of fresh new music).
What Esthero does provide is a sexy, jazzy vocal style and a fearless attitude. Much of the disc has a jazzy vibe, but unlike the Lovespirals CD reviewed above, this is jazz with edge and melded with a variety of other musical attacks. She opens a couple of tracks with a guest spate of sensual beat poetry, and provides a picture perfect pop single with the help of Sean Lennon in the sing-song "Everyday is a Holiday (With You)."
Several of the tracks on Wikked Lil Grrrls have a sexy tease aspect to them, especially the title track, performed in a 1920's flapper-style, combined with a racy mix of rap, a blurt of woodwinds and a proclamation of "wicked little girls/kiss the boys and make them cry…better keep an eye on your boys and lock 'em up tight."
She offers a beautiful, though sad, ballad in the breathy acoustic guitar-backed "Gone," and a finger-snapping slow swing track with horn and walking bass accompaniment in "Melancholy Melody."
Those horns also come into play in the raucous upbeat anthem "If tha Mood," one of the most energetic tracks on the disc. That song, along with "Wikked Lil Grrrls," "Everyday Is a Holiday" and "We R in Need of a Musical Revolution" make this a must-have album on their own… but the rest of the disc offers some nice melds of sass and jazzy pop, as well.
If you like a tease, a bop, and a wink in your jazz, seek out this enticingly fun album.