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New releases from Anohni, Car Seat Headrest, and Charlie Faye & The Fayettes 

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click to enlarge Anohni
  • Anohni

Anohni

Hopelessness

Secretly Canadian

File next to: Anna Meredith, Perfume Genius, Chairlift

With Hopelessness, Antony Hegarty has changed his gender identity to become the female-identified Anohni, adding electronic beats in the process. But what could have been a clean break from Antony & The Johnsons albums is actually a smooth transition, featuring the same near-falsetto tenor and the occasional odd orchestral arrangements. Nevertheless, Anohni has added EDM elements never present in Antony's music, while making the lyrics ruthlessly political. "Drone Bomb Me" talks about the nature of warfare, while "Obama" is an ode to all leaders, even our outgoing president, betraying hope by becoming yet another manifestation of the ruling class. Oddly enough, given the album's title, this work is not a downer. Instead, Anohni suggests that the listener take it for granted that we are moving into an era of repression, but can always come up with a reason to dance. — Loring Wirbel

click to enlarge Car Seat Headrest
  • Car Seat Headrest

Car Seat Headrest

Teens of Denial

Matador

File next to: The Microphones, The Modern Lovers, Coma Cinema

Lots of artists have been accused of recording throwaway tracks, but that's literally the case of Car Seat Headrest's "There Is a Policeman." Matador Records was forced to recall the first version of Teens of Denial after Ric Ocasek insisted rights had not been secured for its sample of The Cars' "Just What I Needed." Fortunately, the remaining 70 minutes of this first major-studio effort by Car Seat Headrest (aka Leesburg, Virginia's Will Toledo) is an unqualified gem. Toledo's style has been compared to Guided by Voices and very early Conor Oberst, but his long, complex-riffed songs and sarcastic observations owe more to Parquet Courts or vintage Jonathan Richman. And while the early lo-fi work on his Bandcamp site may be somewhat embarrassing, eight-minute rock odes like "Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales" and "Drugs with Friends" make it all worthwhile. — Loring Wirbel

click to enlarge Charlie Faye & the Fayettes
  • Charlie Faye & the Fayettes

Charlie Faye & the Fayettes

Charlie Faye & the Fayettes

Bigger Better More Records

File next to: Nancy Sinatra, Dusty Springfield, Burt Bacharach

Though she's previously released two albums and an EP under her own name, Austin's Charlie Faye has engaged in a radical makeover for her latest project. Gone are the alt-country trappings of those earlier discs, replaced by a sound that focuses squarely on '60s pop of the Stax and Brill Building varieties. Ably abetted by two excellent singers (BettySoo and Akina Adderley, the latter a scion of jazz royalty), she joins forces here with a superb group of musicians that includes Pete Thomas, Lyle Workman, and Roger Manning from Jellyfish and Moog Cookbook. Faye's songs never fail to evoke the sound and aesthetic of classic girl-groups and Southern soul. Yet somehow the album never feels like an overt pastiche; when they sing about giving a guy the go-ahead ("Green Light") or love in general ("Sweet Little Messages"), Charlie Faye & the Fayettes sound like they mean it. — Bill Kopp

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