Saturday, July 28, 2007

Dylan controversy

Helium, an online writers' website, recently solicited opinions on the question "Is Bob Dylan a Folk Singer?"

My response is here:

Friday, July 27, 2007

Casual Listening 7-27-07

Casual Listening

a review of cool new music

by Jeff Pinzino

July 27, 2007

* La Plebe – ¡Hasta La Muerte! (Spanish rock)

Boisterous, political punk-en-espaƱol. The lyrics switch back and forth between English and Spanish, but the guitars are so loud you won’t even notice. A horn section opens the throttle even further, to where it’s hard to keep from bouncing around the room while you listen.

* Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Is Is (rock)

Crashing guitar and Patti Smith-inspired vocals drive this EP. Raw production gives the band’s sound a jagged edge. Four out of the five songs here are gems.

Preservation Hall Jazz Band – Made in New Orleans: The Hurricane Sessions (jazz)

America’s best-known traditional jazz band shares some rare tracks salvaged from the studio after the Hurricane, along with a few new recordings. The jazz is hot, but it takes on particular resonance knowing what the people of that city have been through. There’s a whole new level of heartache attached to “Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?”

Riders in the Sky – Public Cowboy #1: A Centennial Salute to the Music of Gene Autry (country)

Faithful remakes of some great old cowboy tunes. Gene Autry helped put the “western” in country & western, and Riders in the Sky keep the campfire flame alive. Full vocal harmonies, strings, accordion, and even some lightning-fast yodeling characterize these classic arrangements.

* highly recommended

! highest recommendation

Check out the new blog at . To subscribe or unsubscribe, or just to say hi, send an e-mail to

Welcome to Casual Listening!

Welcome to the Casual Listening Blog! About a month ago, I started sending a weekly e-mail tipsheet of new music to friends and family, and response has been so good that I've been asked to put it on the web. I also hope to use this space to talk about music with readers, and maybe review some music that didn't make the weekly post.

Here are a few commitments I'd like to make with this blog -- I'm hoping you'll hold me to them.

1. Keep it Casual -- My guess is most people don't really care about trivia like the name of the drummer's high school band, they just want to know how the music sounds. So I'll try to keep things simple and focused on the music.

2. Focus on the Good Stuff -- I rarely do negative reviews, most of which are more about the critic's ego than about helping out the listener. Although I reserve the right to an honest opinion, I try to keep an open ear to the music, and will plead "no comment" on music I don't like more often than trashing it.

3. Bring the Unexpected -- Although I can't give great tips in every genre, I think I've got a wider range than most. My hope is that you'll find something here you never thought you'd catch yourself listening to and give it a try.

That's it. I'm hoping this will be as interactive an experience as possible, so don't hesitate to send questions, suggestions, challenges, new ideas, and even your own reviews if you think I misjudged something. Let's have fun!