This summer, outspoken women are telling listeners exactly what they think
Lyrically rich, new albums from Bones UK, Inna and K. Flay are musically sound too and sure to keep you moving during these hot summer months.
This Los Angeles-based electro-rock duo comes out swinging on its hypnotic and confrontational debut album.
Comprised of vocalist Rosie Bones and guitarist Carmen Vandenberg, Bones UK’s sound is equal parts dark, mechanized swagger of ’90s Nine Inch Nails and glossy distorted disco vibe of artists like Peaches and Garbage.
Lyrically, the duo tackles subjects like the industry’s preoccupation with image and beauty standards, as well as sexism and toxic masculinity. The results are undeniably danceable and fun, with an undercurrent of ferocity and sneering attitude.
Tracks like “Beautiful is Boring” and “Pretty Waste” kick listeners square in the booty with strong synthetic bass grooves and snarling guitar work. The duo’s cover of David Bowie’s “I’m Afraid of Americans” follows the same blueprint with pleasing effect.
“Filthy Freaks” moves toward energetic punk while “Girls Can’t Play Guitar” is more of a hard-rock anthem. In a surprising and effective curveball, songs “Black Blood” and “Souls” strip away distortion and electronic bombast to deliver something heartfelt with enduring gravitas.
If you’re looking for a sexy and provocative soundtrack for fighting the power and the hierarchy, this is the album for you.
Global Records/Roc Nation
If you haven’t heard of this album yet, you need to step up and check out the Spanish-language debut from Romanian singer-songwriter Elena Alexandra Apostoleanu — who goes by INNA (all caps).
The album never strays far from a pulsating yet understated EDM groove infused with Latin-American instrumentation. The lyrics, delivered in alternating bursts of breathless cooing and melodic commanding choruses, provide an irresistible flair.
Songs “Su Ti,” “Si Mama” and “Locura” feel ethereal, worldly and captivating with classical guitar lines percolating under the spare beats. Meanwhile, tracks “Tu Manera” and “Iguana” turn up the sass and the beats-per-minute while still maintaining a relaxed and easy feel that will keep hips moving.
For interesting but chill dance music to spice up your summer, INNA is more than capable of turning up the heat.
Night Street/Interscope Records
Alternative pop-rock singer K. Flay throws a lot of styles into the mix with her latest album — a brisk collection of 10 songs that comes across as breezy and upbeat.
As a vocalist, Flay sticks with the kind of sultry and raspy midrange that seems to be the go-to for the majority of young singers (i.e., Lorde, Sky Ferreira) straddling the fine lines among avant-garde pop, electronic and rock music.
The style works — but it also means Flay has to distinguish herself from peers another way. Gratifyingly, the music pulls its weight.
Tracks “Bad Vibes” and “Sister” are hard and aggressive. “This Baby Don’t Cry” has a punkish, garage-rock vibe that stands out from the rest of the album’s shiny sonics. “Nervous” also deviates with its spare piano, torch-song vibe.
But the album’s sweetest spots include the happy, bouncy, synth-drenched “Good News” and heavy new-wave closer “Not in California.”
Flay might not be reinventing the alt-pop wheel, but her latest effort has enough attitude and confidence — and incredible composition — to hang with bigger names on the airwaves.