Haute Coutunes


December: Haute Coutunes

Three hot new discs to check out this month

Click on the albums below to read a review and listen to a sample track >




Radiohead Shad Raine Maida


(Click on album cover to hear a track)
 

Radiohead
In Rainbows

With such hot anticipation, fans struggled to foresee which musical path Radiohead would take with their latest disc, In Rainbows. But after years of record label disputes (the band is currently without), fans were ecstatic to learn that the answer to their four-year long question was just a click away. At www.inrainbows.com , a simple download will find Radiohead-lovers more than satisfied. It’s not just the price that has them gloating, since the denomination is “up to you”—no really, it’s up to you—but the music is as good, if not better, than expected.

In Rainbows, Radiohead’s seventh studio album, has an accessible beauty that their previous records lacked. Although always triumphantly innovative in the past, with In Rainbows, the band’s brilliance is likely to be more readily understood by the masses. Furthermore, the haunting quality of Thom Yorke’s vocals has veered from its creepy tendency. Perhaps, it was his solo work in between the band’s last and most recent album that helped to melt the edge, but the lead singer’s voice finally does something more ethereal than terrorizing. Not to worry, Yorke hasn’t gone completely soft—“Bodysnatchers” stands to prove that much—but there is a curious sincerity to his approach on some of the slower paced tracks like “Nude” and “All I Need”, which is a welcome change.

In Rainbows isn’t over-thought and it shows. The tracks flow through clearly (you can even decipher Yorke’s usually muffled lyrics) and effortlessly. Likely, longtime fans and the newly exposed will receive the album with equal ease.

Stand-out track: 15 Step
Download now: Nude

< back
Return to Haute Coutunes Main Page
For more great looks and products visit the Shopping Directory
or
(Click on album cover to hear a track)  

Shad
The Old Prince

The Old Prince, Shad’s sophomore release and first with new label Black Box Recordings, brings much needed innovation and heart to hip-hop. In a genre that has let few ‘Common’s leak through the cracks of ‘gangsta rap’ and ‘money, cash, hoes’, it’s hard to know when and where another conscientious rapper will make the spotlight shine. But the London-raised Shad, whose full name is Shadrach Kabango and heritage is rooted in war-torn Rwanda, is an artist that needs to be heard because he’s got what hip-hop needs.

Beyond the sick rhymes that will have you cheering in your cubicle, and beyond the rare combination of rap and live instrumentation—even beyond the crazy fresh beats (thanks to DJ T-Lo)—what makes The Old Prince special is its unbeatable combination of heart and mind. From tracks like “I Don’t Really Like To” which is infectious with its comical immodesty, to “What We All Want” which explores the struggle for freedom, the album is a well-rounded package. “The Old Prince Still Lives At Home” will crack you up as the rapper justifies his (hopefully fictitious) bargain-basement ways, and “Angel” will overload your thoughts.

It’s not easy to be serious without taking yourself too seriously, but this young artist seems to have no problem straddling that line. As the opening track suggests, Shad is on a “Quest For Glory”, and well, The Old Prince lays a promising path.

Stand-out track: Brotherman ‘Watching’
Download now: Compromise

< back
Return to Haute Coutunes Main Page
For more great looks and products visit the Shopping Directory
or
(Click on album cover to hear a track)  

Raine Maida
The Hunters Lullaby

In his first solo effort, Raine Maida, lead singer of Our Lady Peace, is anything but a rocker. A poet, a spoken word artist, an acoustic musician…maybe even an activist, all of these words now better describe the former rock star. But, the identity that The Hunters Lullaby most clearly reveals is that of songwriter.

Perhaps his lyrics were always this clever, except that the noise of a backing band didn’t allow them to reach through, but with the subtlety of Lullaby’s instruments, Maida makes it clear that he is a songwriter above all else.

Touching on subjects from religion to courage to global warming, on this album, Maida is in pursuit, as he says, of being a decent human being. Whether Lullaby took Maida any closer, only he knows, but it certainly provokes the listener to mull through some heavy thoughts and provides a touch of musical courage for the process.

Stand-out track: Sex Love and Honey
Download now: Yellow Brick Road

< back
Return to Haute Coutunes Main Page
For more great looks and products visit the Shopping Directory
or
 
Filed under:

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

FLARE - Newsletter Signup

Subscribe to FLARE Need to Know for smart, sassy, no-filter takes on everything you're interested in—including style, culture & current events, plus special offers—sent straight to your inbox each day. Sign up here.