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Tuesday Reviewsday: KT Tunstall, Wild Feathers, Washed Out

KT Tunstall performs at agit8 at Tate Modern, ONE's campaign ahead of the G8 on June 12, 2013 in London, England.
KT Tunstall performs at agit8 at Tate Modern, ONE's campaign ahead of the G8 on June 12, 2013 in London, England.
Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images

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Now it's time for Tuesday Reviewsday our weekly new music segment. Shirley Halperin, music editor of The Hollywood Reporter joins us today.

Artist: KT Tunstall
Songs: “Feel It All,” “No Better Shoulder”
Album: Invisible Empire // Crescent Moon (out Aug. 6)

First up is Scottish singer KT Tunstall, who some may remember from back in 2005. She had a pretty massive hit that year with “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree,” a song that catapulted up the charts after an American Idol contestant performed it. Known for performing live with a loop pedal that she controlled – talk about ambidextrous, she was practically a one-woman band. But on this album, her fourth, she’s going mostly acoustic and very mellow. The song, “Feel It All,” is the most rockin' track on KT’s latest:

This is a two-sided album, if there were such a thing these days. Instead of side A and B, we get two titles, “Invisible Empire” and “Crescent Moon.” Both halves are melancholy and reflective – songs about divorce and death, two life issues that KT seems to be working through. It’s a girl that hurting, maybe even torn. The album cover has her staring down a desert landscape wearing a cowboy hat and with her hair half-shaved – almost looks like a scene out of "Breaking Bad". This is her Nebraska, and she has the glowing reviews to prove it.

Artist: Washed Out
Songs: “It All Feels Right,” “Paracosm”
Album: Paracosm (out Aug. 13)

The next album worth paying attention to is from the artist known as Washed Out, who some people may know from the "Portlandia" theme, which is in fact a Washed Out song (called “Feel It All Around”). Although the name sounds like a group, Washed Out is actually a person, Ernest Green, who hails from Georgia and is really the poster child for the “Chill Wave” movement.

Take a listen to “Paracosm,” the title track from the album which comes out today. I actually had to look up the word paracosm, which I’ve now learned is “a detailed imaginary world, or fantasy world, involving humans and/or animals, or perhaps even fantasy or alien creations.” Thank you, Wikipedia.

It’s an appropriate name for a record that has a surf-like essence to it. Sometimes the waves come in all gentle and sometimes they crash onto the shore with more intensity. It’s a bit of a departure from the dreamy synth-pop of his previous release, as Ernest Greene recently said, it’s “very much a daytime-sounding album.” And that’s certainly true for a song like “It All Feels Right.”

Artist: Wild Feathers
Song: “The Ceiling,” “American”
Album: S/T (out Aug. 13)

Here we have a band from Nashville giving a reverential nod to great power pop bands of the 1970s – the ones who can write a good bridge, like this one from the song “American.” You don’t hear the air-guitar worthy riffs inspired by the likes of Tom Petty, Neil Young and The Band on the charts which are heavy on the EDM, hip-hop and pop, but these guys have a song that is definitely reacting as they say in the music business. It’s called “The Ceiling,” check it out:

You can definitely hear the Nashville-ness in their sound, but it’s also worth noting that Memphis is but 200 miles away because there’s an awful lot of Big Star-esque goodness to be heard too, along with hints of the Black Crowes and Ryan Adams. A very promising debut from a band that’s bound to cross over – or at least one can hope.