A week’s new music for your weekend pleasure

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It’s another varied week in musicdom with an ‘80s deconstruction revival from Devo, a dance mini-opus from Robyn, the welcome return of Sarah McLachlan, the jazzy pop of Lucy Woodward, and the women of Lilith Tour 2010.

Robyn
“Body Talk, Part One”

imageWhy is it that some artists release an album and you think, “Really? This was the best you could do?”

And then there are artists like Robyn who always leave you wanting more. This album, the first in a series of three mini-albums, is packed with six outstanding tracks that are equal parts electronica and excellence.

“Fembot” is a fierce declaration of female power, and “Don’t Fucking Tell Me What To Do” is a chronicle of all of the things that get Robyn down (PMS, her shoes, her label, etc.). “Dancehall Queen” finds Robyn asserting her ownership of the dance floor, while “Dancing On My Own,” the album’s lead single, paints Robyn as the jilted and lonely lover.

The last two tracks, “Hang With Me” and “Jag Vet en Dejlig Rosa” (a traditional Swedish song “I Know of a Lovely Rose”), are pure and unadorned. Robyn’s voice takes center stage with instrumentation and nary a dance beat or crackle and sizzle of electronica in earshot. The results: a magical ending to a must-have album.

Robyn, your gays are ready for the next installment!

Devo
“Something for Everyone”

imageIt’s been a long, long time since their last album (20 years, in fact), but Devo is back and, boy, that is a good thing.

The band who brought us “Whip It” teamed up with producers Greg Kurstin (of Bird and the Bee, a talented producer in this own right), Santigold’s Santi White, and John Hill, for this collection of surprisingly fresh tracks.

Yes, the album has a retro feel, but you can’t deny the current sound of tracks like “Later Is Now” or “Human Rocket,” which is a delightful marriage of modern vocal effects and slick production.

Genius, thy name is Devo.

iTunes has a deluxe version available with four bonus tracks and a music video for the delicious “Fresh.”

Sarah McLachlan
“Laws of Illusion”

imageMcLachlan finally returns with a package of new music seven long years after her last album. And it’s about damned time.

Time hasn’t diminished McLachlan’s talent at all, but a major life change has fueled her artistic fire. McLachlan and her husband of 11 years, drummer Ashwin Sood, divorced in 2008, so you know that means “Laws” is a great break-up album.

The tracks cover the gamut of emotions from rage and loss (“Forgiveness,” “Changes,” “Don’t Give Up On Us”) to recovery and optimism (“Bring On the Wonder,” “Love Come”). Lead single “Loving You Is Easy” is the most upbeat song on the album with most of the other tracks in McLachlan’s midtempo sweet spot.

Vocally and stylistically, McLachlan sounds as fantastic as she did back in the day, which is in part due to her timeless style. With Lilith Tour kicking back into gear this summer, a new generation of fans can discover her artistry.

iTunes features a deluxe version with a piano version of “Love Come” and videos where McLachlan talks about and performs five tracks from the album.

“Lilith 2010”
Various artists

imageSpeaking of, Lilith Tour 2010 starts up on June 27 in Calgary, so grab this compilation of today’s hottest female musicians to get you in the mood for the show.

Included are 16 tracks, including music by Court Yard Hounds, Rihanna, Corinne Bailey Rae, Tegan and Sara, Chantal Kreviazuk, Colbie Caillat, Ke$Ha, Sara Bareilles, Norah Jones, and Kelly Clarkson.

Sarah McLachlan, the tour den mother, contributes the exclusive “One Dream,” written for the Opening Ceremonies for the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games.

Lucy Woodward
“Hooked!”

imageSomewhere between pop, jazz, and R&B lies this appealing mix of cover tunes and original songs.

Hoagy Carmichael’s “Stardust,” Peggy Lee’s “San Souci,” and “I Wan’na Be Like You (The Monkey Song)” from Walt Disney’s “Jungle Book” sit alongside some snazzy originals, like the upbeat “Another Woman,” which is all about looking at a man who belongs to someone else.

Other great tracks are “Slow Recovery” and “Ragdoll,” but “Babies” (an ode to Woodward’s biological clock ticking) is a grating and abrasive centerpiece to an otherwise enjoyable album.

iTunes features a version of the album with the bonus track “Fashion.”

imageProfessional university administrator by day and roving entertainment reporter by night, Buck Cooke moved to Atlanta in 2000. Armed with a passion for pop culture and rabid appetite for music, Buck scours the entertainment landscape for treasures in music, TV and cinema.

Of course, supporting your local gay retailers with your hard-copy music purchases is always encouraged. Remember Brushstrokes and Outwrite when you’re out shopping for CDs, DVDs and other gay sundries. Both places are great about orders for out-of-stock items, too.

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