Various artists “Girls” soundtrack, Volume 1: Music from the HBO Original Series/Fueled By Ramen
As the popular cable series about a group of hipster 20-somethings in New York gets ready to start up its second season, the powers that be at “Girls” has seen fit to release the first in what is sure to be a series of music collections from the show.
Since the music on the show is every bit as trendy as everything else involved, fans of the series will no doubt be excited by the inclusion of current “it” bands such as Harper Simon, Icona Pop, The Vaccines and Lia Ices.
For those of us who don’t necessarily have to claim to like bands that may or may not yet exist, there are a few more familiar names in the track listing.
Swedish pop star Robyn shines on “Dancing on My Own,” while Fleet Foxes fans will appreciate the inclusion of “Montezuma.”
Also worth noting are new tracks from Santigold (“Girls”) and Michael Penn (“On Your Way”).
Each of the 14 tracks seems to have been carefully selected in such a way as to ensure that even the most finicky fan of modern music can find something to like here.
Key Tracks: “Dancing on My Own,” “I Don’t Love Anyone,” “On Your Way”
Moving Sidewalks The Complete Collection/Rockbeat
Anybody who knows anything about classic rock knows the name ZZ Top.
That “little ol’ band from Texas” has spent the last four and a half decades bringing its special brand of rock ’n’ roll to the masses.
What many don’t realize, though, is that before he was in ZZ Top, guitarist Billy Gibbons fronted another band: Moving Sidewalks.
Formed in Houston in the mid-’60s, Moving Sidewalks’ sound was more psychedelic than blues, and the band even scored primo gigs opening for the likes of Jimi Hendrix, The Doors and the 13th Floor Elevators.
Now, fans of the ’60s psychedelic sound, or folks who are simply curious about what Gibbons sounded like prior to his current gig, can sample the best of what Moving Sidewalks put out with a 2-CD collection, “The Complete Moving Sidewalks.”
Better known songs such as “99th Floor” and “Joe Blues” can be found among more obscure tracks.
Not to be missed is a suitably tripped-out cover of The Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”
Not everything here is a home run, but it’s interesting to hear the sound that eventually morphed into ZZ Top.
This new collection makes for interesting listening, especially given the recent announcement by Gibbons that he would be reuniting the original members of Moving Sidewalks.
Key Tracks: “99th Floor,” “Joe Blues,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand”
Paloma Faith Fall to Grace/Epic
First there was Amy Winehouse, then it was Adele that stole the spotlight from every other female vocalist out there.
Now it appears that Paloma Faith is being groomed as the next big British singer to carry on the tradition of torch songs popularized in the ’60s by Dusty Springfield.
While there still isn’t anyone who comes close to being able to emulate Springfield’s brilliant vocals, Faith makes a pretty impressive attempt.
Moreover, most of the time Faith doesn’t really sound like she’s trying to be Springfield, which isn’t something either Winehouse or Adele could ever lay claim to.
Faith’s voice is clear and clean, with just the right amounts of swagger and self-assuredness to let the listener know she means business, but not so much that she sounds arrogant.
Tracks such as “Picking Up the Pieces,” “Black and Blue” and “Let Me Down Easy” demonstrate this beautifully.
She allows those vocals to soar in all the right places, giving you the same kind of goosebumps you got when you heard Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” for the first time.
Perhaps the best song on the album is “Beauty of the End,” which charms with its acoustic guitar riff and just the right amount of reverb on Faith’s vocals to make it sound like she was recorded by Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound. Perhaps it’s best that Faith simply re-created that process.
Key Tracks: “Picking Up the Pieces,” “Let Me Down Easy,” “Beauty of the End”
By Devin Grant