a review of cool new music
by Jeff Pinzino
! The Raconteurs – Consolers of the Lonely (rock)
All that is pure and holy in Rock & Roll findeth expression in this release. Rough-hewn, hook-laden songs shine through wailing, overdriven guitars. I sometimes wonder what it must have been like to hear Led Zeppelin IV the week it came out. Listen to this album, and believe.
* Tony Trischka – Territory (folk)
One of the world’s best banjo players cuts a brace of tunes worthy of the Smithsonian Folkways label. Trischka’s note-perfect picking sparkles on songs from a variety of traditions – old-tyme fiddle tunes, celtic reels, Hawaiian steel, and, of course, bluegrass. Guests such as Mike Seeger and Bill Keith round out the string band.
* Chimpanzé Clube Trio – Chimpanzé Clube Trio (world)
Hot Brazilian jam-funk – a South American answer to Medeski, Martin, and Wood. The instrumental syncopations are serious, and largely indebted to (North) American funk. Still, there’s enough Tropicalia influence to give this a unique twist.
Scott Wheeler – The Construction of
An Americanist operetta in the tradition of Copeland and Bernstein, which follows three lives responsible for the architecture and spirit of the city. Harmonically, this is a modernist piece with difficult yet beautiful passages. In tone, it is playfully self-conscious, with characters representing the land, wharves, and even the opera itself.
Kassav’ – All U Need is Zouk (world)
Justin Townes Earle – The Good Life (country)
An impressive honky-tonk debut album. A retro sound blends rock influences from his dad (Steve Earle), folk balladry from his namesake (Townes Van Zandt), and classic country laments from his muse (Hank Williams). Lyrically, it’s blue and lonesome from end to end.
Chicha Libre – Sonido Amazonico (world)
Chicha Libre is a retro Peruvian surf guitar band, definitely a one-of-a-kind ensemble these days. A sample tune does a minor-key send-up of Vivaldi’s Spring, to the Spanish lyrics “In the Amazon jungle, there is no spring.” Chicha Libre gives a first impression of bizarro-cool, with repeated listens revealing an infectious style of dance music.
In the blog this week: B-52’s, Head of Femur.
* highly recommended
! highest recommendation