Thursday, September 25, 2008

Casual Listening: TV On The Radio, John Adams, Thievery Corporation

Casual Listening
a review of cool new music
by Jeff Pinzino

September 26, 2008

A ridiculously good week for music. 18 reviews – 6 here and 12 more in the blog.

! TV On The Radio – Dear Science (rock)

Dense, exquisitely produced rock, with soul elements. I've heard critics recently compare TV on the Radio to a dozen different bands, and they're all wrong. This is one of few groups that deserve the "original" moniker. Fuzzed electronics, several different vocal styles, stray saxophones. This is one of those albums that words don’t do justice to, so do yourself a favor and go listen to it.

Listen to TV On The Radio “Golden Age”

! Rudresh Mahanthappa – Kinsmen (jazz)

Two saxophonists, one Indian-American adding new wrinkles to the jazz tradition, the other reinterpreting South Indian classical music through his horn. They come together on the common ground of improvisation, and the results are ear-opening. The musical back-and-forth between these masters is dizzying, gorgeous stuff.

Listen to Rudresh Mahanthappa “Congergence (Kinsmen)”

! John Adams – A Flowering Tree (classical)

The premiere recording of a new opera by one of America's most lauded living composers. Inspired by Mozart's The Magic Flute and an Indian folk tale, the sound is identifiably Adams', with a rhythmic intensity underlying expressive, angular vocal lines. For opera neophytes, this one's approachable – a captivating story and lyrics in English.

Listen to John Adams’ “A Flowering Tree: Act 1 – Kumudha’s Prayer”

! Beto Villares – Beto Villares (world)

A brilliantly fresh take on Bossa Nova. Lush harmonies and easygoing tunes backed with acoustic guitar, and some electrified elements. This vibe of Villares’ music is all joy.

Listen to Beto Villares “Aboio”

* Thievery Corporation – Radio Retalliation (electronic)

A global gumbo set to dance and dub beats. Thievery Corporation takes Indian, Jamaican, Nigerian, and other transnational sounds, artfully remixing them for the benefit of the dance floor.

Listen to Thievery Corporation “Mandala”

* Jazmine Sullivan – Fearless (R&B)

Sullivan’s vocal virtuosity shines over a soul backdrop that’s something old and something new. She’s equally at home singing about heartbreak over strings, reggae, and breakbeats. Jazmine taps a deep musical vein of inspiration and emotion.

Listen to Jazmine Sullivan’s “Need U Bad”

In the blog: Blitzen Trapper, Old Crow Medicine Show, Soul Stirrers, and much much more!

* highly recommended
! highest recommendation
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