The latest solo album from We Are Gypsies Now author, visual artist and The Ministry of Wolves member is a great example of art that belongs to no place. The description that comes to mind is high-desert, industrial-ambient music—but of course Tacoma, Wash. (Picciotto's birth place) isn't in the desert at all and is far away from Germany, where Picciotto has lived most of her life. Songs like “Es Gibt Kein Zurück” and to a lesser degree, “I Have Love” are reminiscent of the German industrial band Einstürzende Neubauten; the track “In Transit” is a combination of experimental music with spoken word, something Picciotto does in a deliberate but pleasing way. Whether speaking or singing, Picciotto's vocals are beautifully enmeshed in this sometimes harsh yet pretty music. A good headphone album.
Dawn & HawkesYours and Mine(Self-Released)
Dawn & Hawkes bring the easy listening side of Americana to your ears on this well-produced album of pretty much flawless playing and singing. There are a lot of groups like Dawn & Hawkes these days, playing traditional instruments in safe arrangements without anything surprising or special coming out of the music or lyrics. Even though the innocuous nature of what are all pretty much love songs leaves some imagination to be desired and the phrasing does sometimes gets repetitive, I must say Yours and Mine will appeal to quite a few fans of Americana and alt-country. Dawn & Hawkes write nice tunes and the band's got talent, I just wish there were some imperfections in there somewhere—and maybe a bit of loathing or discontent.
Noah WallMy Father's Father(Self-Released)
This is some pretty weird stuff. The second track sounds like a recording of Cookie Monster burping, the third track is an inane Casio melody underneath recordings of hundreds of people saying “grandma”, “nana”, “bupee”, “papa”, “Morris” or whatever name can be used for “grandparent.” Ok, all five songs are like this. Noah Wall made this recording specifically for his abstract animated short film. It’s also called My Father's Father, which, according to Wall, is “directly inspired by Drums West, an early short by Jim Henson that visualizes the drumming of Chico Hamilton.” I'm down. The whole package (film and music) is pretty neat, but the soundtrack itself is probably not going to bear repeated listening by a very wide audience.