June Audio Reviews


Our Audio section has moved online—and it’s more interactive than ever! Stream music, watch videos, plus get the ever-excellent expert opinions from our musical mavens on the newest releases. What’s spinning right now? We've got reviews on the new releases from CSS, Capital Cities, Sally Shapiro and more.



Planta (SQE Music)

4 stars

One of this year's surprising musical delights was Tegan And Sara's Heartthrob, an album that found the sister act slipping easily into the world of sugary electro-pop. And, now, most likely unintentionally, sexy Brazilian quartet CSS have crafted the perfect companion LP to Heartthrob, with their hook-heavy fourth set Planta. TV On The Radio's David Sitek picked up production duties here (look for his knob-twiddling on the recent Yeah Yeah Yeahs material and Kelis' upcoming record, as well), and the result is a hip summer album full of synth gems like the playful "Teenage Tiger Cat," '80s-leaning "Into The Sun" and tongue-in-cheek "Frankie Goes To North Hollywood." Clever.  — RD









In A Tidal Wave Of Mystery (Capitol)

4.5 stars

Allow me to rant for a second about "Safe And Sound," the Little Song That Could by Los Angeles indie-pop dance duo Capital Cities. Before they were signed to, obviously, Capitol Records (watch the spelling), these two released this bouncy single various times, in several different versions. They eventually laid a horn track over it, and, starting in January this year, mainstream radio has slowly been picking it up. Good! "Safe And Sound" deserves to be a sleeper summer hit, up there with Daft Punk's "Get Lucky," if you ask me. The pair's debut album consists of six previously-released numbers, plus a handful of new tracks, like trippy jam "Farrah Fawcett Hair," a quirky collaboration with Andre 3000 and, of all people, NPR personality Frank Tavares. Good stuff for the BBQ and pool season. — RD







Kinky Boots (Sony)

4 stars

Did you expect Kinky Boots, a new musical based on the 2005 British film of the same name about a straight bloke who teams up with a drag
queen to save his father's shoe factory, to land 13 Tony nominations (the most in 2013) this year? And when you heard Cyndi Lauper was scoring the production, were you expecting her to pull tunes this wonderful out of her cap? No, nor did I. The cast recording, led beautifully by Stark Sands and Billy Porter's vocals, is somewhat of a gem on its own. (Lend an ear to the pair's tearjerker "I'm Not My Father's Son" and the giddy show-stopper "Everybody Say Yeah.") But do yourself a favor — snag a ticket to this smash next time you're in New York; it's an uplifting sight to be seen, and Lauper has delivered with songs both familiar and gloriously unexpected. — RD









Elsewhere (Paper Bag)

4 stars

You gotta stay current in clubland, so dance music’s demurest diva and her inventive producer, Johan Agebjorn, have no qualms about putting out a full remix album just three months after their most recent opus, the sparkling Somewhere Else. Every track from that set has been given a sleek rejigging here, from a slew of interesting producers: Lovelock transforms “I Sleep With An Angel Tonight” into a beachy ballad, Mauvais Cliche go full ‘90s on “Architectured Love,” and even bona fide pop star Little Boots lends her touch to the proceedings. As these things go, the results vary but Elsewhere retains enough of its parent album’s dazzling energy to make it an enjoyable excursion. — JH







The Silicone Veil (susannesundfor.com)

4 stars

Trading on the kind of grandiose pop that’s made cult heroines of Tori and Florence, Susanne Sundfør pushes her icy trill of a voice to towering heights on The Silicone Veil, a captivating debut and no. 1 smash in her native Norway. “Stop (Push the Button)” and “Meditation in an Emergency” find the singer-songwriter having Epic Emotional Moments over electronic soundscapes you generally only hear in the movies — fitting, considering Sundfør’s high-profile appearance on M83’s Oblivion soundtrack. Veil’s dramatic peak occurs in the blast-off single “White Foxes,” which is beautifully dark and just a little bit dance-y — if your dancefloor is, say, in the middle of a snow-covered shire at midnight. — JH





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