Friday, March 21, 2008

Casual Listening 3-21-08

Casual Listening

a review of cool new music

by Jeff Pinzino

March 21, 2008

! Gnarls Barkley – The Odd Couple (R&B)

Gnarles Barkley throws down the gauntlet on nothing less than the reinvention of soul music. The original soul drew heavily on church traditions, and here the electric organ, choral singing, and a revivalist tone are evident. For being such a precisely produced record, the percussion sounds organic: drum kits, handclaps, shakers, and claves. This album also contains some of the most danceable tracks since Chubby Checker did the Twist. I can only hope that in 30 years, the wedding song that brings all ages onto the dance floor is by Gnarles Barkley.

* Haydamaky – Kobzar (world)

Rides the line between traditional Ukrainian music and rock without falling too far in either direction. Accordions and electric guitars seem to get along, playing traditional-sounding tunes with an edge that appeals to the kids.

* Moreland and Arbuckle – 1861 (blues)

With a sound plucked fresh from the juke joint, this trio drives a hard-edged blues. Boss harmonica with a warm, fuzzy sound like a C. B. radio run through a tube amp. Electric guitar, drums, and menacing vocals round out the party.

Yael Naim – Yael Naim (folk)

Uber-cool folk-pop that sounds sophisticated in any of the multiple languages she sings in on this recording. Music to drink espresso, travel Eurail, and, apparently, to buy a Macintosh by.

Be Your Own Pet – Get Awkward (rock)

Incendiary garage punk. A commanding lead vocal performance in a class with Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Black Tide – Light From Above (metal)

You know who you are. Your first rock concert was Def Leppard, and you shed a tear when you put the souvenir t-shirt out at a garage sale. You cut your hair and started a “sensible” music collection, but you still want nothing more than a chance to Rawk. Black Tide will save your soul. Because you can graduate from high school, but the rock goes on forever.

In the blog this week: Mwata Bowden at the Velvet Lounge (for real this time); Gabe Gonzales on Against Me; Melody Gardot.

* highly recommended

! highest recommendation

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