Hanni El Khatib - Savage Times [3LP+10''] (download, limited)
Woodstock, New York-based singer-songwriter Hannah Cohen's third album, Welcome Home, displays a new level of confidence and comfort. Taking her time with the songs, she wrapped herself in the fulfilling quiet of a new home, and a new creative partnership with Sam Evian. Folk and R&B influences blend with vocal-powered pop production, electronic accents, and bursts of pulsing guitar, bass and drum energy. Welcome Home is almost brutally honest in its self-examination, as Cohen couches truths in velvet-lush settings. Her remarkably evocative voice is surrounded by dreamy, swooning incantations, from the rippling ''This Is Your Life'' and the slow-burning, forthright statement of ''All I Want,'' to the soul swagger of ''Get in Line'' and dramatic vocal leaps of ''Wasting My Time.'' Echoes of soul enchanters such as Carrie Cleveland (an early touchstone for Cohen and Evian), Marvin Gaye, Bill Withers and their friend and sometime collaborator Nick Hakim blend with the reflective shadings of forebears such as Carole King and Harry Nilsson.