a review of cool new music
by Jeff Pinzino
! Randy Newman – Harps and Angels (rock, for lack of an appropriate category)
Randy Newman is the Kurt Weill of contemporary American song – a composer of intelligent satire and sentiment aimed at an everyman audience. His latest album of bluesy piano cabaret is notable for its heart. Amidst the omens of declining civilization there are riffs of optimism, including the title track’s recounting of a near-death experience. There are also two of the most beautiful love songs I’ve heard in years. It’s the album I’d put in a time capsule to remember what it felt like to live in the millennial decade.
Listen to Randy Newman “Feels Like Home”
* Mr. B – Joybox (blues)
Elegant piano blues. Each song displays a different facet of the art form – barrelhouse, jazz, gospel. Mr. B makes it all look easy, which is the charm of this album. He uses his copious skills not to show off, but to bring you along on a joyride through some terrific music.
Listen to Mr. B “Circle Blues”
La Shica – Trabajito de Chinos (world)
Flamenco guitars with a Europop twist. She raps as well as sings with modern style and traditional Spanish flair.
Listen to La Shica “Zingara Rapera”
The Weight – Are Men (country)
Despite the reference to classic-era recordings of The Band, The Weight borrows from several corners of the alternative country map, including the rural gothic sound of the Drive-By Truckers, Neil Young’s electrified laments, and Uncle Tupelo’s Midwestern grit. Rock band instrumentation plus pedal steel and an unvarnished vocal style defines the sound.
Listen to The Weight “Sunday Driver”
The Real McKenzies – Off the Leash
A raucous album of bagpipe punk. Loud, peppie, and fun.
Listen to The Real McKenzies – “Chip”
In the blog: Closure in
* highly recommended
! highest recommendation