Review: Alela Diane – Alela Diane & Wild Divine

FINALLY made it back to Graywhale on Thursday. As I was upstairs scanning the indie CDs, this familiar voice drifted over the in-house stereo. Of course, just like any store, when you want help, it’s never around. I patiently waited until someone came back upstairs, which surprisingly took about half an hour. Upon his return, I asked, “Hey, so … a while ago, you had a CD playing that sounded  a lot like Alela Diane. Could you find out who that was?”

Well, ha ha. Guess who just released her newest CD on Tuesday. Guess who bought that very same CD. Guess who’s listening to it right now.

This is the 3rd pass through this new marvel of hers. It gets better and better with each listen. That is by no means to indicate or imply that the first listen was by any means boring; I do not buy boring music. I do take risks from time to time and buy the occasional CD on a hunch, whim, or for no reason at all other than I simply want to buy one. This CD was none of those. Having owned To Be Still for well over a year and The Pirate’s Gospel for just about a year, I was positive that her new CD would be no let-down. As almost always, I was right.

The immediate difference I noticed on this CD is the fact that percussion plays a *much* larger role than on her previous two CDs. about 80% of the tracks on her new CD use drums, as compared to To Be Still, where drums appear on maybe 25-30% of her tracks. It’s a different sound, but it is definitely and uniquely HER. There is just no mistaking that voice. Much like Joana Newsom or Samantha Crain, or Geoff Tate, Geddy Lee … all of whom have incredibly distinctive voices, Alela’s voice shines through as a uniquely polished gem that leaves me begging for more.

Having said all that, the other thing I noticed even while standing around Graywhale was that her voice has grown stronger. Or maybe she’s just using it in a stronger manner. Either way, she has risen to new heights with this new offering.

I love her writing style. Her songs explore her thoughts, feelings and experiences, and she tells them through not just the words, but also through her vocals and how she uses her voice. You can feel the emotion and feeling in how she presents her music. She bares her soul, and you get to live her music–not just hear it.

This is one of those CDs where I have a difficult time picking out stand-out tracks because ALL of them are amazing and beautiful. I can pinpoint “Elijah” as the story-telling track about a woman she meets in France. I love “The Wind” for its incredible ability to relax me even more than the CD does on its own. There’s kind of a Margarita-ville feel to it in that it’s just so … breezy? I can imagine listening to this while sitting on the deck of a boat and staring out at the setting sun off the coast of some place like Pensacola Florida. I dunno. It’s just that easy-going. Love it.

So here’s what you do: find this CD as soon as possible. Amazon has it, as does iTunes. Pick up this new CD, and if you don’t have her other material, pick it up too cuz it’s all awesome.


More New Music!

HOLY crap it’s been forever since I’ve made it to Graywhale. It was like visiting an old friend … basically because I did visit an old friend. Never a disappointment, that Graywhale place.

Today’s haul is *FANTASTIC*. While I was perusing the indie section, I heard this familiar voice coming over the in-house stereo. Pausing briefly to give it proper attention, I was pretty sure it was Alela Diane, but the voice seemed … different. Like it could be her, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it were someone else.

I went back to rummaging through the shelves of CDs and made a mental note to ask behind-the-counter guy who the girl was. He came back upstairs about 25 minutes later.

“Hey, so … about half an hour ago there was some chick singing. Was that Alela Diane? Cuz it sure sounded like her, but I have both her CD and EP, and it doesn’t sound like anything on those.”

“Yup. She just released a CD on Tuesday. Want it?”


Last copy they had, too. Made me very, very happy. He actually had to take it out of the player, which means it was “used,” which means I got it at the used price and not new. My guys know how to hook me up!

So here’s the full list of new stuff:

  • Alela Diane & Wild Divine
  • Casio Kids – Topp Stemning Pa Lokal Bar
  • The Brunettes – Structure & Cosmetics
  • Head Like a Kite – Random Portraits of the Home Movie
  • Kinski – Alpine Static
  • Amy Millan – Honey from the Tombs
  • Million Billion – Ready, Fire, Aim
  • The Most Serene Republic – Underwater Photography
  • Mona – Your Favorite Thing
  • Pretty Girls Make Graves – Elan Vital
  • Saint Etienne – Tiger Boy

Of the lot, I’m most excited to hear Amy Millan, The Brunettes, Casio Kids because I think they’re from Norway or some place over that way, and Pretty Girls Make Graves. To be fair, I’ve already dipped into the Alela Diane CD, and it is indeed everything I hoped it would be. I plan on posting a review of it later today.

New Death Cab for Cutie Single

Their new website owns. I love the Red Laser barcode thing, even though all it does is pull up a page that says “Tune In to Death Cab for Cutie’s ‘You Are A Tourist” Video Event, which was today at 5. YouTube has the new video though!

I’m digging the new song. Truthfully, it sounds similar to their older material, though this is definitively more upbeat musically. The CD comes out May 31st and is entitled Codes and Keys. I’m going out on a limb here (not really), but I’m betting this CD is amazing. Name one piece of music that Ben Gibbard has been involved with that’s sucked. Can’t do it, can ya? The man is amazing. Look at his projects:

  • Death Cab
  • Postal Service
  • All-Time Quarterback
  • These are not light-weight projects (though Postal Service will probably never see a 2nd CD …). Anyway, looks like we have some DCFC happiness on the horizon!

    Songs My Daughter Likes

    I’ve noticed lately that my daughter is picking up on stuff that I listen to and starting to sing along. She’s 6–almost 7. This makes me happy because a few weeks ago she announced her intentions to *marry* Justin Bieber. She has some book of his that she had been admiring for weeks. She and her little 1st grade school friends talk non-stop about him. It drives me up a wall, but she is her own person, and I don’t want to quell her musical interest by laying down the “no Bieber” rule (which I really would like to implement …).  However, it seems that her musical interests are shifting somewhat. As points of interest:

    We were visiting the in-laws today. My wife mentioned to my mother in law that she would probably like Pomplamoose, so we all gathered around the desktop and pulled up YouTube. Started off with “Centrifuge,” moved on to their cover of “Beat It,” went back to original Pomplamoose stuff with “Little Things” and “Expiration Date.” My daughter came in and saw what we were doing, and she started singing along and dancing. THEN she did it again when we were in the car driving home. “Achin’ Heart” came on, and she started singing along to THAT! Blew me away.

    She also knows half the words to Muse’s “Uprising,” “Undisclosed Desires,” and “Hysteria.” If this were a Twitter feed, I’d hashtag this with #raisingthemright.

    It’s just fun to watch her little personality start to break through.

    Sarah Fimm Listening Party!

    On Sarah Fimm’s Facebook page, she has announced a May 5th listening party on AOL for her new CD, Near Infinite Possibility . This makes me *extremely* happy! If you’re not familiar with her material, I would highly recommend becoming such. Ethereal, haunting, moody, and like I said before, just flat-out, downright sexy.

    For the non-inculcated, here are some vids.

    And finally, a duet with the King of Goth, Peter Murphy:

    If this isn’t enough to whet your appetite, you can check out the video for her new single, “Yellow,” on her website. I won’t embed it here so you can all check out her site.

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