Kacy Crowley: Anchorless
Connecticut-born Kacy Crowley made many stops along the way to recording her raw and introspective debut album, Anchorless.
She tried the New York and L.A. scenes, only to get caught up in a world of drugs and partying. After landing in Austin about two-and-a-half years ago, Crowley hooked up with another struggling singer/songwriter and earned her keep playing the corners of Sixth Street.
A few local and regional gigs later, she landed a recording contract with Carpe Diem Records, which eventually led to a major label deal with Atlantic. Crowley's weather-beaten lyrics began going national.
Anchorless is a solid first release for Crowley, showcasing her raspy, uninhibited vocal style against a steady rock edge. The world-weariness of songs like "Hand to Mouthville," "Rebellious" and "Nickel to the Stone" skim the surface of an earlier Sheryl Crow while allowing the singer to make her own mark.
"Jewel meets Alanis Morissette," mused a friend upon hearing pieces of Anchorless, and indeed, the singer nicely meshes a sensual wispiness with a forcefulness in lyrics and presentation. Crowley manages to find a nice in-between.
She drops the ball a few places, like the flailing irony of "Singers Are Ugly," on which Crowley whines, "I'm still tryin' to be pretty." One listen to the quiet power of a track like "Vertigo," though, brightly illuminates this potentially powerful diamond in the rough.
Katell Keineg: Jet
On her latest album, Jet, Katell Keineg follows in the tradition of '90s female vocalists like Alanis Morrissette, Merril Bainbridge and No Doubt's Gwen Stefani
There is really nothing extraordinary about this New York girl who was born in Wales and spent seven years in Dublin.
Keineg's got some good points, though. She writes her own stuff, which I really appreciate because you get to know and enjoy the singer better.
The exception appears in "Ole, Conquistador," where Keineg uses lines from the socialist Cuban song "Guantanamera," written by Jose Marti.
"Leonori" tells a story of a life, and it sounds like the facts are just being thrown on top of each other. Keineg's breathless way of singing is another point worth a listen.
However, most of her songs are no more than whispers and whines. If you want to check out her style, just listen to the first song "The Battle of the Trees." There isn't a real change after it.
Madder Rose: tragicmagic
Her voice is the sweetest. She has a light and rhythmic tune. Mary Lorson's contribution to Madder Rose's latest release, tragicmagic, is just great.
Tragicmagic is an album of different moods. The more you listen to it, the more romantic you get, or it can calm you down when you need to relax or do some paperwork.
The melody on tragicmagic is sensitive most of the time. "Best Friend" will make you think of how innocent and jealous friendships usually were in the good-ol'-days of adolescence. In the sequence of life comes "Float to the Top" with a nice beat and the visible changes of adult relationships.
I put it on for all the occasions mentioned, plus one: when I went to bed.