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Meaghan Smith – Have a Heart (2014) [FLAC]

Genre: Pop/Rock
Styles: Indie Pop, Singer/Songwriter
Source: CD
Codec: FLAC
Bitrate: ~ 1,000 kbps
Bit Depth: 16
Sample Rate: 44.1 kHz

01 Have A Heart
02 Mirror
03 Friends Like You
04 You Don’t Wanna Love Me
05 The Moon Makes A Fool Of Me
06 Sucks To Be You
07 Je T’Aime
08 Get You Back
09 Can Of Worms
10 Somebody
11 Mirror (Acoustic)

The daughter of a two musicians, Canadian singer/songwriter Meaghan Smith grew up listening to a variety of older genres of music — jazz and swing chief among them — as well as contemporary sounds, which helped fuel her own eclectic compositions. Her debut EP, 2008′s The Cricket’s Quartet, found the songwriter embracing everything from jazzy torch songs to elements of hip-hop, and she promoted the disc while touring alongside k.d. lang in 2009. That same year, she placed songs on the TV shows One Tree Hill and Grey’s Anatomy and worked with T Bone Burnett on a cover of the Pixies’ “Here Comes Your Man,” which wound up on the soundtrack to the film (500) Days of Summer. All that activity led up to the release of her debut album, The Cricket’s Orchestra, which arrived in October 2009 on Sire Records.       




Lily Allen – Sheezus (Special Edition) (2014) [FLAC]

Genre: Pop
Styles: Dance, Rhythm and Blues, Singer/Songwriter
Source: Parlophone, Warner Music Special Edition 2CD
Codec: FLAC
Bitrate: ~ 1,000 kbps
Bit Depth: 16
Sample Rate: 44.1 kHz

01 Sheezus
02 L8 CMMR
03 Air Balloon
04 Our Time
05 Insincerely Yours
06 Take My Place
07 As Long As I Got You
08 Close Your Eyes
09 URL Badman
10 Silver Spoon
11 Life for Me
12 Hard Out Here


01 Wind Your Neck In
02 Who Do You Love?
03 Miserable Without Your Love
04 Holding On to Nothing
05 Somewhere Only We Know

With her omnivorous musical tastes and cheeky attitude, London-based pop singer/songwriter Lily Allen made a name for herself almost as soon as she released her demos on the Internet. The daughter of comedian Keith Allen, Lily spent most of her childhood bouncing from one school to another; in fact, she attended 13 different schools between the ages of five and 15. This constant moving meant she didn’t have much of a chance to make lasting friendships, so Allen entertained herself with books and, especially, music: she listened to everything from T. Rex, the Specials, and the Slits to the Happy Mondays and drum’n’bass, and even ran away to see the Glastonbury Festival when she was 14. After she left school a year later, she realized that music was the only career for her. Allen concentrated on her songwriting and singing, developing a style that was equally sweet and bratty; late in 2005, she set up a MySpace page and posted demos of her songs, as both individual tracks and as part of two limited-edition “mixtapes” that also featured tracks by Dizzee Rascal, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Ludacris. The critical acclaim for her work fueled Allen’s publicity, leading to tens of thousands of friends on MySpace, airplay on BBC Radio One, and a record deal with Regal/Parlophone before the end of 2005.   



Lemongrass – Mémoires (2014) [FLAC]

Genre: Electronic
Styles: Downtempo, Ambient, Chillout
Source: CD (log + cue)
Codec: FLAC
Bitrate: ~ 900 kbps
Bit Depth: 16
Sample Rate: 44.1 kHz

01 Journal Intime
02 Liaison
03 Sacred Dreams
04 I’m Stellar
05 Oiseau de Paradis
06 Summer Fields
07 Bossa del Mar
08 Poetry Without Words
09 Heartbreaker
10 Moment de Conscience
11 Tropical Nights
12 Shinkansen
13 Love is the Answer

Roland Voss, aka Lemongrass, moved through several musical phases before hitting his stride as a drum’n’bass/downtempo producer in the late ’90s. The German-born Voss began taking drum lessons in 1974, and played with a variety of funk and (mostly) jazz ensembles over the rest of the decade. When the ’80s arrived, Voss became interested in new wave, and from there began experimenting with electronic means of sound production. During the second half of the ’80s, Voss founded a number of projects — mostly dance groups, but also a punk band called Klappstuhl — and landed in a Berlin band called New Nations, where he began working in earnest with electronic instruments and sampling techniques. Voss eventually released his first album, 1993′s breakbeat-oriented Wuwei, under the alias Succa V, and soon began working with drummer Torsten Kötter as Jungle-Moon; their first release in 1994 marked Voss’ first full-fledged venture into jungle. Voss spent the mid-’90s working on large-scale multimedia projects with a variety of other artists.

He made his debut as Lemongrass in 1997 with a drum’n’bass cover of Gershwin’s “Summertime,” which appeared on the small German label Incoming’s Submerged compilation. The first Lemongrass full-length, Dramatic Universe, followed in 1998, and found Voss mixing his early jazz influences into a variety of jungle and haunting trip-hop productions. The album’s reception — particularly warm in France — landed Voss a deal with Mole Listening Pearls, and his label debut, Lumière Obscure, was issued soon after in 1999. The single “Comme Toujours” became something of a club hit, and Voss followed it up with 2000′s otherworldly Voyage au Centre de la Terre. Continuing his fast-paced release schedule, the fourth Lemongrass album, Windows, was released in early 2001 and re-released two years later by Water Music. Voss continued to release albums under his Lemongrass moniker, with Solar Incense (a Japan-only release) arriving in 2002 and Skydiver in 2003. After the debut of Fleur Solaire and the career retrospective Time Tunnel in 2004, Voss founded the Lemongrass label the following year. Pour l’Amour was released in 2008.   



Katie Herzig – Walk Through Walls (2014) [FLAC]

Genre: Pop/Rock
Style: Singer/Songwriter, Indie, Alternative
Source: CD (log + cue)
Codec: FLAC
Bitrate: ~ 1,000 kbps
Bit Depth: 16
Sample Rate: 44.1 kHz 

01 Frequencies
02 Drug
03 Walk Through Walls
04 Summer
05 Say It Out Loud
06 Your Side
07 Lines
08 Thick as Thieves
09 Human Too
10 Water Fear
11 Forgiveness
12 Proud

Katie Herzig struck out on her own after eight years as the frontwoman for Newcomers Home. Herzig was no stranger to the solo game, having released her first solo album, Watch Them Fall, in 2004, so it was no surprise when, following the dissolution of Newcomers Home in 2006, Herzig put together a second album, Weightless, which was released that summer. Comprised of quirky, heartfelt songs that nodded to twangy, warm-voiced artists like Devon Sproule and Neko Case, the album generated quite a bit of critical buzz, and several songs from the album found their way onto network television shows, notably Grey’s Anatomy. Herzig spent the next two years playing gigs, collaborating with other artists, and writing new material, and she even managed to snag a 2007 Grammy nomination for one of her songs, “Heaven’s My Home” (performed by the Duhks). Her third full-length album, Apple Tree, was released in the spring of 2008. Her music continued to find its way onto television shows and in 2011, she released her fourth solo album The Waking Sleep. She returned in early 2014 with Walk Through Walls.   



Joan as Police Woman – The Classic (2014) [FLAC

Genre: Pop/Rock
Styles: Indie, Alternative, Singer/Songwriter
Source: WEB
Codec: FLAC
Bit Rate: ~ 1,000 kbps
Bit Depth: 16
Sample Rate: 44.1 kHz

01 Witness
02 Holy City
03 The Classic
04 Good Together
05 Get Direct
06 What Would You Do
07 New Year’s Day
08 Shame
09 Stay
10 Ask Me

Songwriters and musicians have long used emotional turmoil as a source of inspiration, but on The Classic — which nods to ’60s and ’70s soul with its sound and title — Joan Wasser proves that happiness can make for smart, relatable songs too. Even though this is easily her most joyous album, it isn’t completely new territory. Joan as Police Woman’s previous albums showed that Wasser can set loss, grief, and acceptance to song like few others and also had uplifting moments that broke through like sunbeams. And while plenty of singers — most notably Amy Winehouse’s mod neo-soul and Chan Marshall in her Memphis-flavored era — have revisited this kind of sound, Wasser puts her own stamp on it. The Classic is full of smoky vocals and slinky melodies that are unmistakably hers; they’re just lit up. The results are some of her most accessible music yet, such as the radiant closing track, “Ask Me.” At times, the instrumentation borders on clichéd instead of classic; after half a century of peppy brass and wah-wah guitars signifying “happy” and “empowered,” it’s hard to wring anything new out of those sounds.

More often than not, Wasser manages to do just that by playing against the expectations of upbeat soul music as much as she plays into them: the title track mixes beatboxing and doo wop vocals as it sings the praises of being innocent enough to fall in love and mature enough to move on from the past, while “Shame” uses its brassy choruses to banish a “dirty space invader.” The mix of clarity and sensuality in Wasser’s songwriting makes The Classic’s message — that happiness is an active choice rather than a passive state — all the more dynamic. The album’s best songs aren’t about being happy, but what it takes to be ready for happiness. On the bold opener, “Witness,” Wasser depicts her self-defeating thoughts as “a tape that’s played forever”; “Good Together” dispels the nostalgia around an old flame with a massive, cobweb-clearing beat; and “What Would You Do” underscores her impatience with people and situations that don’t work. Joan as Police Woman takes almost as many musical risks as emotional ones on The Classic, particularly on lengthy tracks like “Get Direct” and “New Year’s Day,” but this bravery is usually rewarded, and rewarding. While the album’s brightness may take some getting used to, listeners who love her music for how well she expresses feelings that are universal yet hard to articulate will appreciate how vividly The Classic captures joy and what it takes to get it.   



Ingrid Michaelson – Lights Out (2014) [FLAC]

Genre: Pop/Rock
  Styles: Singer/Songwriter, Alternative
  Source: WEB
  Codec: FLAC
  Bitrate: ~ 1,000 kbps
  Bit Depth: 16
  Sample Rate: 44.1 kHz

  01 Home
  02 Girls Chase Boys
  03 Wonderful Unknown
  04 You Got Me
  05 Warpath
  06 Handsome Hands
  07 Time Machine
  08 One Night Town
  09 Open Hands
  10 Ready To Lose
  11 Stick
  12 Afterlife
  13 Over You
  14 Everyone Is Gonna Love Me Now

  Ingrid Michaelson’s sixth studio album, 2014′s Lights Out, is a polished, well-produced effort that magnifies all of the sounds and lyrical themes she’s been working with since breaking through with 2007′s Girls and Boys. Michaelson even seems to reference that album with her Lights Out lead single, the infectious “Girls Chase Boys.” However, where Girls and Boys centered around Michaelson’s intimate ukulele and acoustic guitar-driven dorm room pop, Lights Out features a broadened sonic palette and a much more robust vocal performance; it’s a transformation she’s been perfecting since 2009′s Everybody and 2012′s Human Again. This time out, Michaelson has enlisted a handful of producers who include, among others, her bandmate bassist Chris Kuffner, Jacquire King (Modest Mouse, Norah Jones), and singer/songwriter Katie Herzig. Michaelson even reunites with longtime collaborator Dan Romer for the epic ballad “Over You,” featuring A Great Big World. While there are a few of Michaelson’s trademark intimate breakup songs here, including the tear-inducing “Open Hands,” overall the album reveals Michaelson to be in a bright, upbeat state of mind. Cuts like the bluesy, handclap-heavy “Warpath” and the similarly fiery “Time Machine,” with its ’90s-esque sax samples, are more emblematic of the album’s ambitious, empowered tone. Elsewhere, we get the catchy dance-pop duet “One Night Town” with Mat Kearney and the uplifting anthem “Afterlife.” There’s also a very in-the-moment feeling of both poignancy and happiness to Lights Out, which is perhaps best expressed in the midtempo Beatlesque ballad “Wonderful Unknown,” featuring Michaelson’s husband, singer/songwriter Greg Laswell. In it, Michaelson ruminates on the small details of her everyday life, singing “We make bread on Sundays and the little ones are climbing the walls/Up the walls/Nothing lasts forever but the sound of love astounds me every time that it calls.” Ultimately, on Lights Out, Michaelson has captured that sound of love.       



Damon Albarn – Everyday Robots (2014) [FLAC]

Genre: Pop/Rock
  Styles: Alternative, Indie
  Source: Scene CD (outerspace)
  Codec: FLAC
  Bitrate: ~ 1,000 kbps
  Bit Depth: 16
  Sample Rate: 44.1 kHz

  01 Everyday Robots
  02 Hostiles
  03 Lonely Press Play
  04 Mr Tembo
  05 Parakeet
  06 The Selfish Giant
  07 You and Me
  08 Hollow Ponds
  09 Seven High
  10 Photographs (You Are Taking Now)
  11 The History of a Cheating Heart
  12 Heavy Seas Of Love

  As the frontman for Blur and Gorillaz, Damon Albarn helped shape the British mainstream during the ’90s and beyond, first establishing himself as a Brit-pop icon before expanding into hip-hop, opera, electronica, and world music. Born in London on March 23, 1968, he was raised in a bohemian household, studying a number of instruments (piano, guitar, and violin) during his youth and befriending Graham Coxon, a fellow student at the Stanway Comprehensive School, as a 12 year-old. Albarn later studied drama before joining the little-known synth pop outfit Two’s a Crowd; at 15, he also won the regional heat in the Young Composer of the Year contest. While a student at Goldsmith University, he again crossed paths with guitarist Coxon, and together they formed a band called the Circus. With the additions of bassist Alex James and drummer Dave Rowntree, the group rechristened itself Seymour before finally settling on Blur upon signing to Food Records. Their debut single, “She’s So High,” cracked the U.K. Top 50, while the follow-up, “There’s No Other Way,” went as high as the Top Ten; however, the baggy beats and shoegazer-inspired textures of Blur’s 1991 debut album, Leisure, earned the band unkind critical comparisons to the dying Madchester scene, and with the follow-up, 1993′s Modern Life Is Rubbish, they consciously set out to evoke a more traditional pop sound.   



Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Only Run (2014) [FLAC]

Genre: Pop/Rock
  Styles: Indie, Alternative
  Source: CD
  Codec: FLAC
  Bitrate: ~ 1,000 kbps
  Bit Depth: 16
  Sample Rate: 44.1 kHz

  01 As Always
  02 Blameless
  03 Coming Down
  04 Little Moments
  05 Only Run
  06 Your Advice
  07 Beyond Illusion
  08 Impossible Request
  09 Cover Up
  10 Impossible Request (Alternate)

  In the middle of 2005, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah were being touted as the hottest unsigned act in America. The band’s self-titled debut — a collection of off-center indie rock songs and quirky pop tunes — was self-produced, self-released, self-promoted, and self-distributed, with a great deal of help from a wide network of bloggers and Internet supporters. There was so much online interest in the band that NPR even did a feature on the emerging phenomena of Internet band buzz, using CYHSY as the prime example. Although the band eventually signed with a label, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah continued blazing their own arty trail, releasing albums that were unconventional but still accessible.       



Chet Faker – Built on Glass (2014) [FLAC]

Genre: Electronic, Pop/Rock
Styles: Downtempo, Indie Pop
Source: WEB
Codec: FLAC
Bitrate: ~ 900 kbps
Bit Depth: 16
Sample Rate: 44.1 kHz

01 Release Your Problems
02 Talk Is Cheap
03 No Advice (Airport Version)
04 Melt
05 Gold
06 To Me
07 /
08 Blush
09 1998
10 Cigarettes & Loneliness
11 Lesson In Patience
12 Dead Body

Seeing as how his come-up number was a trip-hop cover of “No Diggity” and his name is a Kurt Vile-like play on jazz great Chet Baker, Australian electronica producer Nick Murphy aka Chet Faker arrives with two overly clever strikes against him, at least on the surface. Tricky thing is, those who dig into that Blackstreet cover finds themselves enveloped in a warm, soulful slinker of the highest order, but the even better news is that Built on Glass is a rich debut, falling between the two hypotheticals of a James Blake record inspired by joy or a Beck album that should be filed under the category of “earnest.” The lyrics offer a lazy fascination with subjects like love, loss, and afternoons off, while swaying tempos support sounds like bubbling house music, jazzy, Joe Pass-like guitar passages, and Faker’s warm vocals, which are as if Eddie Vedder were born a slow soul man. The great “Talk Is Cheap” is broken beat house with a wonderful Boz Scaggs feel, while “Cigarettes & Loneliness” is a compositional triumph with interwoven guitars and Faker’s lovelorn singing holding the listener’s hand as a whirling dervish develops on a rainy Sunday. The volume is only pumped up to a Derrick May or Carl Craig level as highlight “1998″ bubbles with that Detroit techno feel, and yet sticking with subdued suits the artist at this point. Built on Glass isn’t so much limited as it is a wonderful mood piece, so think calm and cool with purpose, and then get hip to the restrained and resonating sound of Faker.   



Being As An Ocean – How We Both Wondrously Perish (2014) [FLAC]

Genre: Pop/Rock
Styles: Post-Hardcore, Melodic Hardcore
Source: CD (log + cue)
Codec: FLAC
Bitrate: ~ 1,000 kbps
Bit Depth: 16
Sample Rate: 44.1 kHz

01 Mediocre Shakespeare
02 Death’s Great Black Wing Scrapes the Air
03 L’exquisite Douleur
04 How We Both Wondrously Perish
05 The Poets Cry for More
06 We Drag the Dead on Leashes
07 Even the Dead Have Their Tasks
08 Grace, Teach Us What We Lack
09 Mothers
10 Natures

Sounds like:

Catch for us the Foxes
Balance and Composure