Alela Diane

Alela Diane – The Wind [New Video]

by Woody on November 3, 2011

For some reason we have not gotten around to reviewing Alela Diane’s latest effort, Alela Diane & Wild Divine. It is her strongest effort by far and definitely worthy of your attention. We just added to our recently updated best albums of 2011 so far list.

Alela just released a video for “The Wind,” which you can watch below, and she will be supporting The Fleet Foxes in Europe. For you European readers, get their early. She puts on a great show.

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alela diane

I had the pleasure of catching Alela Diane in Chicago recently, opening for Blitzen Trapper.‚  Oz had been talking up Alela and her debut, A Pirate’s Gospel, for quite some time but it fell on deaf ears. I’d read comparisons to Joanna Newsom (not a huge fan) and immediately stopped paying attention.

As the show drew closer I downloaded Alela Diane’s latest album, To Be Still, and was immediately overwhelmed by her voice. As it turns out, her sound is a perfect match for her appearance. I hate to use to term “hippie” because its somewhat trite, but her natural beauty and vocals lead me to imagine myself listening to this album in field of wildflowers. It’s an amazing thing to have low expectations for an album and then walk away completely blown away.

After downloading A Pirate’s Gospel only the week before, I couldn’t have been prepared for the understated brilliance that Diane delivers on To Be Still. The opening track, “Dry Grass And Shadows,” has some laid back pedal-steel that subtlety permeates the tune and is absolutely hypnotizing. Alela’s father, Tom Menig, sings harmony on “Age Old Blue” a couple songs later and the the contrast of his weathered voice against Alela’s is something special.

To Be Still has a timeless feel to it. It sounds like it could have been released 30 years ago while still sounding very relevant to today. It’s one of the best releases of the year.

MySpace | Rough Trade Records

Alela Diane – White As Diamonds

Video: Alela Diane – White As Diamonds

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New Years 2009

The artwork above was found at Colorcubic, an ultra-hip design firm that handles multimedia, print, branding, etc. This poster will be made available in their online store.

We may say good riddance to 2008 as a nation, but as we posted our top 50 albums of 2008, it was easy to reflect on an amazing year in music. I have a feeling 2009 will be even better. Here are the albums we’re looking forward to in the new year.

1. The Deep Dark Woods – Winter Hours (February 2009)

The first single, “All The Money I Had Is Gone,” is now streaming on their MySpace page. If the album is as good as that track, we’re in for a special treat. Their last album, Hang Me Oh Hang Me, is one of my most listened to of the past two years.

From Hang Me Oh Hang Me:

The Deep Dark Woods – Hang Me Oh Hang Me

2. Andrew Bird – Noble Beast

The best whistler on the planet. Hands down.

Video: Andrew Bird – Oh No (from upcoming album Noble Beast)

2. Dan Auerbach – Keep It Hid (February 10th, 2009)

Ever wonder what The Black Keys might sound like acoustic? Dan Auerbach’s leadoff track on his upcoming album appears to be adding a bit more country and acoustic tastes on his upcoming solo album, along with the signature blues sounds. Look for Hacienda backing him on his upcoming tour.‚  Stream some tracks at Nonesuch Records.

3. M. Ward – Hold Time (February 2009)

This guy can do no wrong. Hold Time features guest performances by Lucinda Williams, Jason Lytle (ex-Grandaddy) and the ‘she’ of She and Him, Zooey Deschanel.

4. Alela Diane – To Be Still (February 17th)

I really loved her debut, The Pirate’s Gospel.‚  She has a soulful voice and a knack for songwriting. Here’s the first track from the upcoming album.

Alela Diane – White As Diamonds

5. Justin Townes Earle – Midnight At The Movies (March 2009)

Early reports from inside Bloodshot Records indicate that Justin Towne’s Earle’s upcoming release is better than his debut. Check out our live session for some songs from his previous album, The Good Life.

6. Neko Case – Middle Cyclone (March 3)

I’m most excited about her cover art.

Video: Neko Case – Making of Middle Cyclone

7. The Decemberists – Hazards of Love (March 24th)

They get better with every album. See no reason why that trend shouldn’t continue.

8. Ox – Burn Out (Spring 2009)

The title track was released recently and it’s another alt-country peach of a tune.

Ox – Burn Out

9. The Thermals – Now We Can See (April 2009)

Found a new label (Kill Rock Stars) but still looking for a new drummer. Get ready for the follow up to The Body, The Blood, The Machine.

From The Body, The Blood, The Machine:

The Thermals – Pillar of Salt

The Thermals – Here’s Your Future

10. Lucero -TBD Title (Summer 2009)

The Tennessee lads signed to Universal Records and will be releasing their sixth studio LP in the summer. Until then, listen to Ben Nichols solo album, Last Pale Light In The West, inspired by Cormac McCarthy’s book Blood Meridian.

Ben Nichols – Toadvine

11. The Everybodyfields – TBD Title and Release Date

We were late to the game but now that we’ve found them, we’re obsessed. They are unreal. We were lucky to get an early taste of two of their new tracks during our live session with The Everybodyfields.

Exclusive: The Everybodyfields – Gun

Exclusive: The Everybodyfields – Mardi Gras

Exclusive: The Everybodyfields – City Noise

12. The Avett Brothers- TBD Title and Release Date

The boys left Ramseur Records for Rick Rubin’s label, American Imprint (under Columbia Records’ umbrella), and are recording a new full length album with Rubin at the controls.

13. Tulsa – TBD Title and Release Date

I Was Submerged has been a favorite for two years, but it just teases us. It’s time for a full length. The band is currently recording in Chicago as we speak.

From I Was Submerged:

Tulsa – #2

14. Ha Ha Tonka -TBD Title and Release Date

Bloodshot Records newbies killed their sets at SXSW 2008 and put out one of the best albums of 2007. We’ve got high hopes for their sophomore effort.‚  Check out our live session to hear some older tracks.

15. Wilco -TBD Title (Spring 2009)

Wilco – One Wing (Live at Lollapalooza via Stereogum)

Video: Wilco – One Wing (also Live at Lolla)

Other notable releases are also coming out from U2, Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band, The Gourds, Built To Spill, The New Pornographers, Handsome Furs, and The National (maybe).

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