Thursday, January 24, 2008

Casual Listening 1-25-08

Casual Listening

a review of cool new music

by Jeff Pinzino

January 25, 2008

! Ellis Paul – The Dragonfly Races (folk)

If you’ve got a young friend in your life, do yourselves both a favor and buy this album. These are imaginative acoustic tunes that go beyond the usual bathtime/playtime/bedtime fare to sing about road trips, chameleon protest marches, and the dragonfly races mentioned in the title. Brimming with hope for a better world, this is one of the best new folk recordings for any age that I’ve heard in a while. My son’s going to get a strong dose of this, and I hope yours enjoy it too.

* Cat Power – Jukebox (rock)

Fine and mellow renditions of familiar songs in unfamiliar settings. Cat Power’s Chan Marshall is a capable crooner who has rewritten classics such as “New York, New York” and Joni Mitchell’s “Blue” in moody, resonant ways. Amidst cavernous reverb, these songs are cave paintings – suggestive and lasting.

* Drive-By Truckers – Brighter Than Creation’s Dark (country)

Epic country-rock that drives deep into the psyche of America. Wailing guitars and lonely pedal-steel accompany stark rural narratives of hard times and changing times.

Matt Costa – Unfamiliar Faces (rock)

Wry pop songcraft. Costa’s ear for a good tune is well-calibrated. The spotlight is on the vocals and acoustic guitar, held against a variety of instrumental backdrops, some sunny, some cloudy, all satisfying.

Get Set Go – Sunshine, Joy, & Happiness: A Tragic Tale of Death, Despair, and Other Silly Nonsense (rock)

If music were breakfast cereal, Get Set Go would be Sugar Corn Pops. Sounding instantly delicious and energizing, the grim lyrics represent the misgivings of questionable nutrition and an impending sugar crash. They’re fun! Eat them anyway!

Note: next week Jeff will be out of town, and you’ll be in the capable hands of special guest Listener, Yesh Pavlik.

* highly recommended

! highest recommendation

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Anonymous said...

if you like Matt Costa - you might dig Johnathan Rice.

his latest album, Further North is a GEM. beautiful and understated.

They're gonna hit the road together starting in late Feb.

Jeff Pinzino said...

See the 9-14-07 archive for my review of Further North