Unencumbered by the gravity of his indie-rock band The National, American singer Matt Berninger (below) goes on a divergent track in his solo debut album, Serpentine Prison.
There is a palpable sense of longing in the tracks, many of which are lush, forlorn ballads.
Berninger is almost unrecognisable in Collar Of Your Shirt, where he abandons his trademark baritone to sing in a higher register.
In the mellow and minimal Silver Springs, he duets with singer-musician Gail Dorsey, best known for playing bass for the late David Bowie. She takes on the lower notes while he goes high.
One More Second, which Berninger has described as a reversal of the Dolly Parton classic I Will Always Love You, has a lounge-like quality. Like many of the album's tracks, it features hammond organ lines from album producer Booker T. Jones, a soul veteran from Booker T. & The MG's.
There is a tactful balance between despondent lyrics and upbeat instrumentation in tracks such as Oh Dearie. "I am near the bottom / Name the blues, I got 'em / I don't see no brightness / I'm kinda startin' to like this," Berninger croons over sparkly guitars.
SAM SMITH LIVE AT ABBEY ROAD STUDIOS
English singer Sam Smith (below) will celebrate the release of the album Love Goes with an online show performed at London's iconic Abbey Road studios.
Fans will not want to miss out as it is said to be the singer's only full concert of the year. Viewers will also have the chance to interact with Smith via a question-and-answer session. Besides hits such as Stay With Me, Lay Me Down and Too Good At Goodbyes, Smith will also perform tunes such as Love Goes, My Oasis and Kids Again live for the first time.
WHEN: Oct 31, 5pm ADMISSION: From US$13 (S$17.60) INFO: samsmithworld.com/live
JASS@HOME: TWO'S COMPANY
Some of Singapore's most prominent jazz names will be performing a series of duets over the next three Sundays.
The online shows by The Jazz Association (Singapore) (Jass) will feature not just established acts like Cultural Medallion recipients Jeremy Monteiro and Louis Soliano (below), but also budding talent such as Siti Nur Iman.
Other participating musicians and singers include Weixiang Tan, Kerong Chok, Aya Sekine and Alemay Fernandez. They will perform renditions of jazz standards such as What A Difference A Day Makes, Our Love Is Here To Stay and Stompin' At The Savoy.
WHERE: jazzassociation.sg/youtubelive and jazzassociation.sg/facebooklive WHEN: Sunday, Nov 1 and Nov 8, 8.30pm ADMISSION: Free; those who wish to donate to Jass, an Institution of a Public Character charity, can do so at jazzassociation.sg/donate
FAKE IT FLOWERS
This debut album by British-Filipino singer-songwriter Beabadoobee (below) would not have sounded out of place if it had been released at the height of the early 1990s alt-rock boom.
In fact, I dare say it would have been feted and its songs would have become staples of classic indie-disco playlists.
The 20-year-old, whose real name is Bea Kristi, has the sonic aesthetics of songs from three decades ago down pat - from the grungy, distorted power chords to the crashing cymbals of the drums.
Her luscious voice has the qualities of 1990s female alt-rock titans such as Belly's Tanya Donelly and Throwing Muses' Kristin Hersh, while the guitars sound like they come from old, seasoned Fenders favoured by the likes of Nirvana's Kurt Cobain or the Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan.
With tracks such as Care, Dye It Red and Emo Song, which detail teenage travails from self-harm to bullying, the release has enough genuine spunk to make it a lot more than mere pastiche.
BILLIE EILISH - WHERE DO WE GO? THE LIVE STREAM
Like other musicians, pop singer Billie Eilish (below) had to cancel her global arena tour this year. This live-streamed show is one way she is making up for the canned gigs.
The concert promises to be multi-dimensional and interactive, and the 18-year-old Grammy winner will perform in a 3D virtual environment reconfigured from the set of her cancelled tour. Joining her will be her brother and collaborator Finneas, and drummer Andrew Marshall.
WHEN: Sunday, 6am ADMISSION: From US$30 ($40.67) INFO: livestream.billieeilish.com
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