"Colour the Small One"
Available at All That Jazz for $16.98
Sia sounds like she could be the new Norah Jones, but her style is more diverse. Her voice hangs over the edge of what you love about powerful female vocalists.
She's compelling, edgy and soft enough to listen to when you are lying on your bed feeling lonely.
"Breathe Me" slowly turns the pages of Sia's journal. It's honest -- and one minute into the song, she hits you with her strong vocals and a brawny drum beat as soon as you let your guard down.
The light guitar in the song "The Bully" should be played on sunny decks on cruise ships with tropical cocktails in hand.
This Australian singer sounds like she experiments with music in the same way she experiments with her heart. It's a refreshing new edition to the ever-increasing list of gifted female vocalists.
Rated: Move Fionna Apple, Norah Jones and Heather Nova a little to the right on the CD shelf -- there's a new album moving in.
"On an Island"
On sale at All That Jazz for $15.98
The CD opens with the long musical intro you would expect from the guitarist of Pink Floyd. The opening song, "Castellorizon," feels like it's leading you down a long hall until it drops you into the lyrics of the song "On an Island" as if you woke up out of a dream.
You don't reach the end of one long, continual musical thought until the song "This Heaven." The tempo takes such a sharp turn that you will almost want to snap your fingers to the beat.
A surprising banjo rears its head in "Then I Close My Eyes" to lead you down a sampling of Gilmour's imaginative sounds.
Some of the songs must have undetectable pitches to the human ear, because they made my dog cock his head to one side a couple times.
If your old Pink Floyd CDs are scratched beyond repair, give them a break and listen to David Gilmour's first album in 10 years.
Rated: Gilmour creates his own little musical island. Meet him there with this CD.
"Songs We Sing"
On sale at All That Jazz for $13.98
Stock your freezer with popsicles, because this CD makes it sound like summer is coming soon. Or even better -- a summer romance. This CD would be its soundtrack.
Matt Costa sounds like Jack Johnson with a shiny new guitar. Maybe that's why they are such good friends.
Both have captured the art of the sweet, sultry, sexy-sounding male vocalist.
"Cold December" starts with a Johnny Cash guitar beat to lead you into Costa's first flirty song.
"I've got jackets, blankets and sheets, it's going to be a cold December/it could be warm you see, a statue next to me swimming away from ice and snow," he sings.
The song "Sunshine" is the feel good song of 2006. It's one of those songs that you could play after something really bad happened and still feel like the world is an OK place to be.
"These Arms" brings a little piano into lyrics in which Costa sounds like he is pleading to a girl who probably broke his heart.
After you wipe the tears from your eyes, "Yellow Taxi" will renew your hope that love might exist.
"I need a yellow tax cab today/so take us driver, take us far away/in her arms I laid my head/she listened to everything I said," Costa sings.
This CD unravels like a love affair on a long summer night.
Rated: This one definitely belongs in the rainy day CD category. Pray for rain.
-- Allison Plean