a review of cool new music
by Jeff Pinzino
!@&#% The Real Jane Martin – Simple Math (rock)
I reserve this absurdly high rating for those releases sharing a singular quality: recordings of me. TRJM is a folk-rock duo who released their debut album this week to wide critical acclaim. The songs are pages from a journal of urban life, with ringing vocals by Allen Rein and agile acoustic fretwork by Mark Burns. The group has assembled a stellar supporting cast, including yours truly contributing virtuoso harmonica stylings and Brian Zieske making magic behind the soundboard.
Hear samples of The Real Jane Martin here
Find them on itunes here
Or at CD Baby here
! Bon Iver – Blood Bank (folk)
Four very different songs constitute this anticipated E.P. The title track plugs in the guitar for a more conventional rock sound, while “Beach Baby” could easily have been included on For Emma, Forever Ago. “Babys” has a piano part that sounds inspired by Phillip Glass in its repetitive simplicity. The real gem is “Woods,” which repurposes an autotuner for a multi-layered a capella benediction. The resulting sound resembles a harpsichord, with punctuated trills and interwoven phrases of clear tone. Gorgeous.
Listen to Bon Iver “Woods”
Quiet songs sung with a beautifully fragile voice with spare accompaniments of piano guitar, and strings. Aching, tender, and not easily forgotten.
* Andrew Bird – Noble Beast (rock)
Artfully composed orchestral pop with some well-placed whistling. Bird has made a seamless album with the attention to detail that rewards repeated listening.
Listen to Andrew Bird “Oh No”
Beausoleil – Alligator Purse (Cajun)
Good Cajun music is hard to find, so a new release by
Listen to Beausoleil “Rouler et Tourner”
(That’s Rollin’ and Tumblin’ for all you blues fans)
Anya Marina – Slow & Steady Seduction: Phase II (rock)
Rebellious rock-edged cabaret energized by
Listen to Anya Marina “All the Same to Me”
Ben Nichols – The Last Pale Light in the West (country)
Rugged country-folk. Jagged-edged vocals and acoustic guitar with pedal steel and accordion flourishes conjure images of solitude and wide-open spaces.
Listen to Ben Nichols “The Last Pale Light in the West”
Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavillion (rock)
Bright, busy electronics and copious reverb lend a psychedelic flair to a set of approachable melodies. Animal Collective comes across as Phish’s artsy cousin.
Listen to Animal Collective “Summertime Clothes”
* highly recommended
! highest recommendation