Friday, February 29, 2008

Casual Listening 2-29-08

Casual Listening

a review of cool new music

by Jeff Pinzino

February 29, 2008

! Erykah Badu – New Amerykah (R&B)

If the reinvention of R&B is becoming a requirement for a graduating class of divas, Badu is validectorian. With hard funk, torch ballads, and Hendrix-insprired space jams, Badu delivers neo-retro with a trippy twist. A great vibe that takes you East of ordinary.

* Toumani Diabate – The Mande Sessions (world)

Diabate is a virtuoso of the kora, a traditional West African harp. On this solo record, the intricacy and expressiveness of his playing puts him in a category with the best players of any stringed instrument -- Ravi Shankar comes to mind.

Dolly Parton – Backwoods Barbie (country)

Dolly has the midas voice - here she even makes a Fine Young Cannibals cover sound golden. This album grins with ringing high harmonies and a countrified band that's more taste than twang. If all you know of Dolly is 9 to 5, Backwoods Barbie will show you just how much you've been missing out.

Punch Brothers – Punch (bluegrass)

Wildly creative acoustic music led by former Nickel Creek mandolinist Chris Thile. Classical influences bring an element you rarely hear in even the most adventurous bluegrass: dissonance. This album represents the release of newgrass 2.0.

Janet Jackson – Discipline (dance)

Never doubt the ability of a member of the Jackson family to create amazingly catchy and danceable music. The production pops like an electronic bubble machine, and there are multiple tracks here that I'd recommend for the next version of Dance Dance Revolution.

The Dirtbombs – We Have You Surrounded (rock)

Garage rock so vivid you can smell the fumes.

In the blog this week: Salvador Santana Band

* highly recommended

! highest recommendation

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