a review of cool new music
by Jeff Pinzino
* Paola Prestini – Body Maps (classical)
Gorgeous vocal lines anchor a chamber orchestra which includes cello, clarinet, marimba, and hand drums. Prestini’s emotional landscapes share a mournful, dreamlike quality with expansive harmonies that still gravitate to a tonal center. These pieces reward careful listening.
Listen to Paola Prestini “Body Maps”
* John Zorn – Filmworks XX: Sholem Aleichem (world)
Eastern European Jewish folk music is the inspiration for this film soundtrack, based on the life of the writer whose stories became Fiddler on the Roof. Zorn’s pieces carry forward the cultural resonance of that musical, with more artistry and less “Tradition.” A five-piece ensemble features intriguing interplay of harp and accordion.
Listen to John Zorn “Shalom, Sholem!”
Tejas Brothers – Tejas Brothers (country)
Tejas Brothers serve up the most compelling Tex-Mex fusion since Los Lobos, with killer vocals to boot. With ranchera-style button accordion, pedal steel guitar, and lyrics in English, this is the missing link that shows these two musical forms as closer cousins than we tend to think. File under Country & Southwestern
Listen to Tejas Brothers “I Can’t Sleep”
Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson – Rattlin’ Bones (country)
Alternative country’s rising star enlists her husband to deliver pitch-perfect folk harmonies. Thanks to Jesse Kornbluth at Head Butler for tipping me off to this release – his write-up says it better than I can: here.
Listen to Rattlin’ Bones at MySpace here
Metallica – Death Magnetic (metal)
You gotta hand it to these guys for still cranking out solid, aggressive rock & roll. I don’t know if “enjoyable” is an appropriate word here, but there is something satisfying about giving release to all of that anger.
Listen to Death Magnetic on Metallica’s website here
* highly recommended
! highest recommendation