Music Of The Week
By Lauren Harris
See Mystery Lights
'As one half of kitschy electronica outfit The Blow, Jona Bechtolt honed his beat-making craft, creating a type of emo-electronica that was the perfect complement to his former bandmate's off-kilter, often tentative vocals. In 2007, Bechtolt broke off to form Yacht (which varies in spelling and capitalization) with Claire L. Evans, a band that's as much an art project and relies heavily on both spirituality and technology. For the band's second record on downtown dance label DFA, Bechtolt and Evans found inspiration in a southern phenomenon -- the mystery lights that appear in the skies over artist-friendly Marfa, Texas. Like a happier The Knife, or a less ironic LCD Soundsystem, the duo don't disappoint with an album peppered with thoughtful bangers.
'It seems the music supervisor for the film Adam is familiar with a place called the Hotel Caf'. Tucked into a corner of Los Angeles, a group of singer-songwriters is single-handedly soundtracking episodes of Grey's Anatomy and Old Navy commercials, and they all haunt the aforementioned club. Here, sensitivity and talent are equally weighted currency, and the players don't so much 'rock' as 'folk.' 'Adam, a deceptively pretty vehicle about a young man with autism (that's already earning star Hugh Dancy rave reviews) features a few well-known players from the Hotel Caf'. There's husband-wife duo the Weepies with a harmony-laden pop strummer, as well as a previously unreleased track from Miranda Lee Richards, and a duet from Saddle Creeker Maria Taylor and Joshua Radin.
'It's hard to know how self-aware Ms. Tisdale is being with her title, but armed with a new nose and darker hair, the Disney also-ran is releasing her second album, which she's describing as'(wait for it) edgier. Citing Pat Benatar and Katy Perry as inspirations, the now-23-year-old spent a year putting together the album, and said that she's been involved in nearly every aspect of the album, co-writing many of the songs, and having the sense to hire bona fide hitmakers like Diane Warren and a pack of Swedes to do the heavy lifting. The result is a kid-friendly blend of the chart-topping minxes of the past five years (think Britney, Kelly and Ashlee), but without all the thinking.