Thursday, October 16, 2008

Casual Listening - Buena Vista Social Club, Little Big Town, Lucinda Willimas

Casual Listening

a review of cool new music

by Jeff Pinzino

October 18, 2008

! Buena Vista Social Club – Buena Vista Social Club at Carnegie Hall (world)

A decade after the fact, you can finally hear what all the fuss about BVSC was about. The pristine production of the original studio release made these masters of Cuban son sound like a museum piece instead of a dance party. The concert recording has the hot sound and live energy that characterize the roots of salsa. If BVSC is still on your “I should listen to that someday” list, listen today, and listen to them live.

Hear the difference yourself!

Here’s the studio version of “El Cuarto de Tula

Now listen to the live version of Buena Vista Social Club “El Cuarto de Tula

* Little Big TownA Place to Land (country)

Hipster bands have capitalized on some pretty unusual influences, but I never thought I’d see the day that someone could make Fleetwood Mac sound cool again. Little Big Town poses larger-than-life vocal harmonies in a rootsy tableau with country overtones. An easy listen that manages to avoid being Easy Listening.

Listen to Little Big Town “Evangeline

Menahan Street Band – Make the Road By Walking (jazz)

An all-star New York big band with veterans of funky groups like the Dap Kings and Antibalas. Surprisingly, it’s not the rhythm but the texture that’s the compelling part of this record, with horn-heavy instrumental soul laced with vibraphone and keyboards.

Listen to Menahan Street Band “Tired of Fighting

Lucinda Williams ­– Little Honey (rock)

Williams’ unpolished vocal style has a love-it-or-hate-it appeal; I’m definitely in the love camp. A solid album of literate honky-tonk, including a duet with Elvis Costello and a random AC/DC cover

Listen to Lucinda Williams “Tears of Joy

Shugo Tokumaru – Exit (world)

A quirky gem of Japanese pop. The instrumentation is expansive – xylophone, harmonium, steel drum, recorder – and the vocals are breezy. I can guarantee you that you haven’t heard anything quite like this before.

Listen to Shugo Tokumaru “Green Rain

Martin Sexton – Solo (folk)

Sexton is an artist who takes the singer part of singer-songwriter seriously. He has a resonant voice moves freely from bluesy to sensitive to falsetto. The album is a live set from a recent tour of folk festivals.

Listen to Martin Sexton “Diggin Me

Armin van Buuren – A State of Trance 2008 (dance)

Two hour-long mixes of swirly electronic sounds. Put on a strobe light and dance yourself into another state of consciousness.

Listen to Armin van Buuren “A State of Trance 2008 CD2

* highly recommended

! highest recommendation

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