a review of cool new music
by Jeff Pinzino
*Helen Sung – Sungbird: After Albeniz (jazz/classical)
A brilliant crossover concept from a consummate pianist. Sung’s inspiration is Isaac Albeniz’ suite for solo piano España, which is itself a classical vision of traditional Spanish music. Sung alternates the six original pieces with jazz reinterpretations played with a small combo. Her virtuosity and creativity in both styles are on display, and hearing the two versions back to back deepens the experience of each piece.
* Aesop Rock – None Shall Pass (rap)
Aesop Rock is the musical incarnation of a wildstyle graffiti piece. His lyrics are surreal, often cryptic, yet endlessly compelling. The production is equally intricate, sampling cool jazz, congas, old spoken word records, and scratch vocals.
Sarah Johns – Big Love in a
The songs from Johns’ debut album may soon end up in endless replay on a country music radio station near you, but don’t let that turn you off to this talented singer. Johns has a freight train of a voice that invokes the great country divas of yesteryear. Plus you get great lyrics like “If you could hold your woman like you hold your whiskey, I’d still be in your arms.”
Atreyu – Lead Sails Paper Anchor (rock)
Atreyu fill their plates at the loud buffet – metal, punk, alternative, and guitar rock. It’s an unlikely meal that somehow goes together well, and leaves you alternately humming along and screaming along.
* highly recommended
! highest recommendation