Thursday, May 22, 2008

Casual Listening Extra 5-23-08

Casual Listening

a review of cool new music

by Jeff Pinzino

May 23, 2008

! Billy Boy Arnold– Billy Boy Sings Sonny Boy (blues)

Jukehouse revival, updated with the utmost respect for the original. Acoustic harmonica, upright piano, hollow-body guitar, and a minimal drum set peg the sound of this 2008 release closer to 1958, the golden age of Chicago Blues. Sonny Boy Williamson made some of the most influential blues recordings of an even earlier time, the 1930’s. Although his style influenced nearly every harmonica player that came after, Billy Boy Arnold’s tribute is the first in modern times to capture the spirit of the Sonny Boy’s genius.

* Donna Summer – Crayons (dance)

This is the album Madonna wished she released this year. Funky dance grooves with huge appeal for multiple audiences. Kids today hearing this would never believe that this is the same Donna Summer that sang those disco oldies.

* Foxboro Hot Tubs – Stop Drop and Roll!!! (rock)

Brash and beautiful garage rock with equal parts loud attitude and 60’s pop innocence. You’d never guess this band to be the secret masquerade of Green Day (which it is). Talent by any other name still smells as sweet.

Orchestra BaobabMade in Dakar (world)

Mambo from the Motherland. Their sound of Cuban rhythms refracted through Senegalese sensibilities – smooth guitars and vocal gymnastics propelled by subterranean funk – is definitive Afropop. After 40 years, Baobab is at the top of its game.

Honorable Mention

The Ting Tings – We Started Nothing (rock)

Edgy, fun Brit-pop, a slightly less-flamboyant cousin to the B-52’s and Franz Ferdinand.

Free Kitten – Inherit (rock)

Indie pop royalty get together for an album of low-fi space rock. Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon leads this too-cool-to-let-you-in-on-the-joke experience.

* highly recommended

! highest recommendation

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