“Can’t We Be Friends”
Arden House Mursic
Singer Judy Whitmore released her full-length debut album “Can’t We Be Friends” Nov. 18, where she dives headfirst into the Great American Songbook reimagining 12 staples with fearlessness, fire and finesse. Born in New York City and raised in Studio City, Calif., Whitmore is named after the legendary singer Judy Garland, a friend of her grandfather who played violin in the MGM Studio Orchestra. Whitmore’s first foray as a vocal artist and performer began during college when she sang background vocals for Capitol Records in Hollywood, where she returned to record “Can’t We Be Friends.” Despite a detour to raise a family, earn a commercial pilot’s license, and eventually work search-and-rescue missions for the Pitkin County (Aspen) Air Force, Whitmore’s passion for the performing arts would never be too far out of sight.
In 2014, she co-founded the cabaret group, ACT THREE with her brother Billy (a featured vocalist on the new album) and her neighbor Lynn. The trio brought timeless standards to life at legendary venues including Carnegie Hall and the Ritz Hotel in Paris. With her debut album out now, Whitmore reaches new altitudes and gives the extraordinary works created within the Great American Songbook a new flight in 2020.
Golden Wheel Records
Coco Reilly released her timeless self-titled debut album on Dec. 9. Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and film composer Reilly, was recently living in Los Angeles, but self released the album from Iceland, where she was working on film compositions and continues to live during lockdown. The new environment gave her a fresh perspective and she felt compelled to finally release these personal songs into the world. Reilly’s geographic displacement and DIY album release has not hampered the album’s success.
Reilly’s artful reinterpretation of wall-of-sound era dream pop and vintage rock and roll is a concept album boldly attempting to explore the meaning of truth, both personal and political. An accomplished debut, it showcases her songcraft, studio perfectionism and avant-garde imagination for updating retro sounds, from shimmering acoustics to fuzzed-out guitar solos, her kaleidoscopic arrangements created with co-producer Jerry Bernhardt, are the perfect balance of lo-fi and gloss.
“How Many Times”
Father/Daughter Records & Full Time Hobby
Esther Rose’s homespun brand of country music has drawn comparisons to legends like Hank Williams, modern trailblazers like Rilo Kiley, and a host of other luminaries in between. But those who are doing the comparing always make note: she’s got her own thing going on. Rose’s innate ability to reflect on her own feelings, to not cast blame, and to keep a smile while doing so brings a spark to her music that sets it apart from her contemporaries and influences alike. On March 26, Rose released “How Many Times,” her third full-length album and second with Father/Daughter Records.
Overall, it’s her way of handling life that singles Rose out in a crowd of other singers and songwriters. Her positive attitude is uplifting while never seeming too earnest and her heavier moments never crash the party. While comparisons to the musical greats are flattering, Rose is on her own path, marching to not just the beat of a different drum, but to a big brass band in her very own parade.
Australian-born Brighton-based musician Penelope Trappes will release her new album, “Penelope Three,” May 28. The album is the final installment in a trilogy of albums, following “Penelope Two” and “Penelope
“How Many Times”
One” (and a few more dreampop-oriented EPs). Trappes completes her ambitious and other-worldly triptych with an album of healing, on which she looks to release herself from fear and into love, evoked in her signature ambient gothic dreamlands that are equal parts shoegaze pop and surrealist soundscapes.
Crucially, for this final part of the trilogy, Trappes has returned to focus on her voice, her first and original instrument. “The compositions are very driven by the vocals, because it is our primal instrument that can tell our story,” she says. Her singing is swaddled and haunted by brooding and atmospheric soundscapes, her poetic lyrics lifted by sounds sometimes light and hallucinatory, other times menacing and cavernous.
This spot will continue to be filled by news and reviews of new albums, both local and national. Send information about your new releases to Jocelyn Murphy at [email protected] .