Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Album(s) of the Week: Laura Marling, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings

One of the things I love most about sites like Last.fm, Lala, and NPR's First Listen is the ability to "try before you buy." In the days before the fast internet, you either had to have access to a cool radio station that played more than the hit single, or take a risk on an unheard artists. Needless to say, I'm taking far more risks now. I have two new albums I want to showcase about this week: Laura Marling's I Speak Because I Can, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings' I Learned The Hard Way. And both are fully streamable, here and here.

Laura Marling is a newish, British singer-songwriter whose husky voice belies her age. (She's just twenty.) Her debut album, Alas, I Cannot Swim, nabbed her a nomination for the Mercury Prize and tons of critical acclaim to boot. Oh yeah, she's got some guitar chops, too. Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings fourth full-length, I Learned The Hard Way continues where their breakout record's retro soul left off. Like 100 Days, 100 Nights, it's reminiscent of the old Stax sound: tons of power and warmth. 

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