a review of cool new music
by Jeff Pinzino
* Jim Lauderdale –
This album is notable for a strength rarely found in bluegrass: songwriting. Had there been steel guitars instead of banjos, this album would be a hit with the big hat crowd, but instead it’s an acoustic breath of fresh air. Don’t be surprised to find yourself with these songs stuck in your head hours after you’re done listening.
* Gloria Estefan – 90 Milas (world)
Classic tropical stylings from the most recognizable Cuban-American voice since Celia Cruz. The songs here span the gamut of Cuban rhythms, from romantic ballads to hot dance numbers. Estefan shows this is still vital music for the 21st century.
* Akron/Family – Meek Warrior (rock)
Bombastic, psychedelic – the kind of music one would associate with either the creation or the destruction of the universe. Dense drumming, choral singing, and free jazz interludes are used to magical effect. Quieter, acoustic, though no less epic songs are interspersed. Ridiculously exciting music.
* Thurston Moore – Trees Outside the Academy (rock)
Smart, spare indie rock. The Sonic Youth noisemaker goes solo with a well-crafted, melodic set accented by acoustic guitar and violin. Only occasionally does he let his electric guitar off the leash.
If you only have one lite rock album in your collection, make this the one (and really, do you need more than one?). Babyface lends his soothing tenor to soulful covers of James Taylor (“Shower the People,” “Fire and Rain”), Eric Clapton (“Wonderful Tonight”), and Dan Fogelberg (“Longer”).
Dropkick Murphys– Made in the Shade (Celtic rock)
Blustery Celtic-American pop punk. Raucus and fun with loud guitars and bagpipes, this album is good for a shout-along with a pint of Guinness.
Willie Williams – Comet Ride (jazz)
Post-Coltrane tenor sax fireworks. Williams is a compelling soloist, experimental without becoming obtuse. There’s a broad range of moods on this disc, from frenetic to introspective to edgy to sublime. Jazz with something new to say.
* highly recommended
! highest recommendation