Hear Me Out: Sigur Ros, LeAnn Rimes

By Chris Azzopardi

Sigur Ros, 'Kveikur'

When frontman Jonsi Birgisson went stag for his kaleidoscopic solo venture, he introduced sunshine and rainbows to the stirring atmospherics he'd already established with Sigur Ros. What a difference a few years, and a couple bandmates, makes: "Kveikur," their seventh album released just a year after "Valtari," rocks so hard in parts that it's easy to forget Jonsi's little gay side project. Thunderous bass rumbles through "Brennisteinn," a whirling marvel that's grayer and more restless - but still harmonious - than nearly all of Sigur Ros' recent output. The Icelandic trio's once mellowing Zen state is replaced with cranked guitars, clanging drums and an enveloping sense of panic dispelled into brash cacophonies; "Hrafntinna" plods with isolated sadness into a dreamy horn outro and "Yfirboro" sounds like the impending apocalypse, where darkness looms and hope barely exists. "Isjaki," though, breaks some of the sinister tension, evoking the majestic tranquility of their earlier work with a lightness that teeters on Coldplay pop. The calm of "Rafstraumur" also brings levity - as does the piano closer "Var," sans Jonsi - but "Kveikur" isn't rooted in the rock vanguards' modus operandi: optimism. It has audacity, aggression and doom. This is Sigur Ros getting their hands dirty. Grade: B+

LeAnn Rimes, 'Spitfire'

It's hard to separate LeAnn Rimes "the tabloid magnet" from LeAnn Rimes "the Grammy success story." Now you don't have to. With her latest, Rimes flips through her diary to confess deeply personal thoughts on husband Eddie Cibrian's ex (hissing diss song "Spitfire"), the extramarital affair (the surprisingly honest "Borrowed") and breaking hearts (she takes the blame on "What Have I Done"). Throughout, the country singer pulls no punches - even unleashing a burn about some guy's tiny manhood on the vengeful breakup self-booster "God Takes Care of Your Kind" (written with ex-hubby Dean Sheremet, so it's probably not his) - as she backtracks on the emotions consuming her post-divorce and post-marriage. Rimes' slays these songs - and has co-writing credits on many of them - with her now supremely underappreciated and overshadowed-by-drama voice, sounding particularly powerful when she finds every pain in Missy Higgins' "Where I Stood." Another fine choice in cover material, "Gasoline and Matches," has her getting randy with Rob Thomas. "You've Ruined Me," punched up with a gale of slide guitar and pulsating drums, and the buoyant "Bottle" could be hits ... you know, in a world where a major talent's personal life has no place on the charts. Grade: B

Also Out

Laura Mvula, 'Sing to the Moon'

Laura Mvula knows the power of being true to yourself. Not once on her debut does the former receptionist go for a big Beyonce belt or any other gimmicky move that might earn her the mainstream following she's certainly worthy of. "Sing to the Moon" is dreamy soul beyond her 26 years, and you won't find many recent moments of musical beauty as exquisite as "Father, Father" or "Like the Morning Dew."

'The Bling Ring': Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

This is what robbing the homes of the rich and famous sounds like: thrashes of blown speaker static on Sleigh Bells' "Crown on the Ground," Kanye West ("All of the Lights") and, of course, M.I.A.'s "Bad Girls." But most indicative of the flick? "Super Rich Kids," a slow groove released last year on Frank Ocean's solo masterpiece that epitomizes everything about fame-hungry teens.

The Lonely Island, 'The Wack Album'

It has a shelf life, for sure, but The Lonely Island's latest isn't without some laughs and surprising guest cameos. The highlight, of course, is Robyn and the troupe mocking follow-the-leader club music on the hooky "Go Kindergarten." Solange also turns "Semicolon" into an unexpected pop pleasure (it's really about punctuation), while Gaga and Justin Timberlake do their "SNL" classic, "3-Way (The Golden Rule)."

Chris Azzopardi is the editor of Q Syndicate, the international LGBT wire service. Reach him via his website at http://www.chris-azzopardi.com.

MI Marriage Trial

Michigan Same Sex Couples Demand Respect And Equal Treatment

Michigan Leaders React To Feds Recognition Of Marriages

MI Marriage: Schuette Asks For Full Appeals Court Review

The Stay Delayed Allows 315 Couples To Wed In State

Gay Marriage Defines Schuette's Reelection Campaign

Snyder Says Schuette Going Against Trend

Sixth Circuit Continues Stay

Michigan Marriage Ban Struck Down

Michigan Makes History With First Marriages

Elected Officials, Advocates Petition Schuette To Drop Marriage Aappeal

Pictures from Ingham County - Getting Married

Pictures from Oakland County Clerk's Office - Part 1

Pictures from the Oakland County Clerk's office - Part 2

Pictures from the Oakland County Clerk's Office - Part 3

Pictures from Washtenaw County

White Nationalist Group Files Brief Supporting AG's Appeal In Marriage Ruling

Discredited Witness Part Of Right-Wing Cabal

Schauer Celebrates Overturn Of Michigan Marriage Ban

Equality Michigan Circulating Petition to Drop Appeal

Why Are Governor Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette Wasting Michigan Taxpayer Dollars On A Costly Appeal?

Michigan Marriage Ban Co-Author Goes 'Moral'

BTL's Wedding Expo: Like Pride in April

Snyder Says Marriages Invalid

Elected Officials, Advocates Petition Schuette To Drop Marriage Appeal

Request To Remove Stay Based On Process And Substance

Schuette Lies To Satisfy Political Base

DOCUMENTS: The decision, the stay, and more

BREAKING: Holder Asked To Recognize Michigan Marriages

Michigan Marriage Ban Ruled Unconstitutional

BREAKING: Sixth Circuit Court Of Appeals Issues Temporary Stay On Michigan Case

BREAKING: Same-Sex Couples Across Michigan Get Hitched

BREAKING: Judge Friedman Declares Michigan's Same-Sex Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

Judge Could Rule Late Today In Mich. Marriage Ban

Michigan Marriage Trial: And Now We Wait

Editor's Viewpoint: Our Long Journey To Justice

Federal Marriage Case Decisions Outside Michigan In Circuit Court of Appeals

Peers Distance Themselves As Regnerus Takes The Stand

Marriage Supporters, Protestors Brave Cold At Courthouse

Highlights From Michigan Same-Sex Marriage Hearing

Brown Says Schuette Instructed Clerks To Defy Court

Michigan Marriage Equality Trial Begins Second Week

Marriage Equality Trial Opens : Science v. Fear

Michigan Marriage Center Prepares State For The Possibility!

Michigan Marriage Case Begins

A Trial Full of Experts: Incredible and Not So Credible, In Hazel Park Case

like us on facebook follow us on twitter follow us on google+