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Alternative & Indie - Released March 13, 2020 | Marathon Artists

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Alternative & Indie - Released March 9, 2004 | Touch and Go Records

An enchanting debut, CocoRosie's La Maison de Mon Rêve is a dreamy yet challenging confection of found sounds, folk-blues, trip-hop, girlish pop, and experimental recording and production techniques. The Casady sisters' breathy, slightly different, but equally lovely vocals circle each other atop delicately plucked and strummed acoustic guitars, chirping birds, and fractured beats, making for a sound that is hard to define outside of its own beauty and creativity. A strong Billie Holiday influence colors the sisters' vocals, particularly on La Maison de Mon Rêve's most accessible songs, but even then, CocoRosie isn't so much aping Lady Day as it is invoking her style in unique ways. Layers of crickets, birds, pianos, and intensely sweet backing vocals make "By Your Side" an unusually intimate and spontaneous-sounding, while lyrics like "I'd wear your black eyes/Bake you apple pies" give it a subversive, feminist angle. "Butterscotch" mixes ethereal sensuality with a mischievous sense of humor, and "Good Friday"'s whispered remembrances make it the most romantic moment on La Maison de Mon Rêve, which -- as if it needed any more romance -- was recorded in Paris in the springtime. The unusual found sound samples and percussion that pepper the album give it a uniquely immediate, you-are-there feel that is especially evocative on its more impressionistic tracks like "Candyland" and "Not for Sale." "Tahitian Rain Song" explores the most experimental edges of CocoRosie's music, with its samples of rain, Asian-sounding flutes, and distant vocals all cloaked in a layer of radio static; "Hatian Love Songs" adds a subtle hip-hop influence to the duo's repertoire of sounds. As lovely and distinctive as La Maison de Mon Rêve is, it's difficult to find fault with it. One tiny flaw appears on "Jesus Loves Me," a frayed, bluesy song inspired by the children's hymn; on this track, the soulfulness that makes the rest of the album sound so unique crosses over into a grating parody. Still, La Maison de Mon Reve is so bewitching that it's almost hard to believe that this is CocoRosie's first album -- along with Touch & Go brethren TV on the Radio, CocoRosie is one of the most sonically interesting bands of the 2000s. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 13, 2005 | Touch and Go Records

After hearing Noah's Ark, any concerns about CocoRosie becoming too tasteful or straightforward after the widespread critical acclaim for their debut album, La Maison de Mon Reve, can be put to rest. If anything, the album errs in the opposite direction: alternately rambling and hypnotic, it's much more somber and insular (despite the presence of such kindred spirits as Devendra Banhart and Antony of Antony & the Johnsons) than the duo's subversively angelic-sounding debut. La Maison de Mon Reve certainly had a dark undercurrent that added considerable sting to its sweetness, but it's much more prominent on Noah's Ark; sad, eerie lyrics like "K-Hole"'s "All of the aborted babies will turn into little Bambies" are paired with equally spooky, mournful music instead of the deceptively light tones of the group's first album. There's a lot of power in the album's darkness, particularly on the apocalyptic campfire singalong "Armageddon." However, Noah's Ark occasionally feels too mannered and unfocused, and overly reliant on the sound effects and toy instruments that made their first album so surreally charming: in particular, interludes like "Milk" and "Bear Hides and Buffalo" sound like noise collages missing the key pieces that would hold them together. That said, the album still has many moments of transporting beauty, especially on the songs that feel less cloistered. On "Beautiful Boyz," Antony's gorgeous croon adds a touch of cabaret to the song's tale of star-crossed jailhouse love, and Banhart's Spanish-language mysticism on "Brazilian Sun" advances CocoRosie's dreamy exoticism, giving it a more organic feel than it had on La Maison de Mon Reve. Indeed, the more natural moments on Noah's Ark are often the best: the title track, "South 2nd," and "The Sea Is Calm" all put the focus on the Casady sisters' delicate singing and playing. A disappointment mostly in comparison to the seemingly out-of-nowhere brilliance of La Maison de Mon Reve, Noah's Ark might fail to charm those not already bewitched by that album, but it won't break the spell for devoted fans. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released April 10, 2007 | Touch and Go Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 21, 2020 | Marathon Artists

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 12, 2020 | Marathon Artists

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 30, 2019 | Marathon Artists

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 14, 2004 | Touch and Go Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released August 9, 2019 | Marathon Artists

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Pop - Released May 3, 2010 | [PIAS] France

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 16, 2016 | F A N T A S Y music

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 13, 2008 | Touch and Go Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 28, 2013 | Transistor Recordings

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Alternative & Indie - Released June 5, 2012 | Touch and Go Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 28, 2013 | Transistor Recordings

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Alternative & Indie - Released April 2, 2013 | Transistor Recordings

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 19, 2013 | CocoRosieRecordings

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Alternative & Indie - Released April 19, 2010 | Sub Pop Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 10, 2010 | Sub Pop Records

Grey Oceans' unfortunate cover art is a reminder of everything that can be seen as irritating about CocoRosie -- a pity, because there is a lot of beauty on this album. Sierra and Bianca Casady's songwriting and approach matured in the three years between these songs and The Adventures of Ghosthorse and Stillborn; even though it still sounds like Ouija boards and wax cylinders are vital pieces of equipment for them, Grey Oceans has a more expansive and polished sound than any of the sisters’ previous albums, and they don’t try to fill each song to the brim with sonic doodles. “Trinity’s Crying” begins the album by proving that CocoRosie sound as witchy as ever with its mix of odd samples and acoustic instruments, but as its coolly hypnotic vibe unfolds, it’s clear that it was made in a more professional setting than, say, a Paris apartment. “R.I.P. Burn Face” also shows how far the duo have come since Ghosthorse and Stillborn, fusing warbling synths, wandering beats, and a delicate melody into a song that is equally sophisticated and ethereal. Grey Oceans' arrangements and instrumentation are also among CocoRosie's finest. “Lemonade,” for example, captures summer’s idyllic beauty by melding a melody that sounds like it could be from a long-lost Broadway musical with trip-hop-tinged beats, electro synths, and brass. Not all of the album’s daring combinations work as well, though -- for every inspired turn like “Fairy Paradise,” which fashions static into a ghostly but persistent beat, there’s a song like “The Moon Asked the Crow,” which, with its mix of gamelan, classical piano, hip-hop beats, and a train whistle, puts too many ideas into play at once. More importantly, the whimsy that sounded charming on the Casadys’ previous albums ends up holding them back here. “Hopscotch”'s switch from rinky-dink pianos to jungle-inspired breakbeats is daring but jarring, and the keening, Joanna Newsom/Björk quality to the sisters’ vocals sounds grating. Meanwhile, “Here I Come”'s pitch-shifted recitation of phrases like “A hollycaust/A pussy wussy willow” is plain off-putting. At their best, the Casady sisters’ music borrows from folk, electronic, pop, world, jazz, and whatever else suits their fancies with innovative boldness. Not all of Grey Oceans' experiments and changes succeed, but enough of them do to suggest that CocoRosie can gain a wider audience without sacrificing their essence. While they have many good ideas, sometimes they have too many good ideas at once and end up gilding the lily (or putting a blue fake fur mustache on it, as the case may be). ~ Heather Phares