Thursday, April 16, 2009

Casual Listening - Mike Farris, Dengue Fever, Choco Orta

Casual Listening

a review of cool new music

by Jeff Pinzino

April 17, 2009

Check out James Mumm’s piece on the band DEATH in the blog

! Mike Farris – Shout! Live (gospel)

Farris’ last album Salvation in Lights was the first album ever reviewed in Casual Listening, and the live version is equally a knockout. Old-school gospel-soul with arresting vocals and a full horn section blows the doors off the small club where Farris’ entourage was recorded. If there’s a jam session in the hereafter, I can only imagine it sounds something like this.

Listen to Mike Farris “Sit Down Servant

! Dengue Fever – Sleepwalking Through the Mekon (world)

Dengue Fever’s predilection for 60’s Cambodian psychedelia takes them to the motherland. With wa-wa guitars and ethereal vocal sung in Khmer, this is the companion soundtrack to a documentary of the American group’s first tour of Cambodia. The band’s music is solid, and the inclusion of some unbelievable tracks from Dengue Fever’s predecessors makes you understand why they’re obsessed with this style of music.

Listen to Dengue Fever “Tip My Canoe

and Sinn Sisamouth “New Year’s Eve

* Choco Orta – Ahora Mismo (Latin)

Orto’s salsa is slick enough for the salseros on the dance floor, but it’s when she leaves the script and starts shouting across from the backups that she really lights up. She’s got a deep penetrating voice that encourages comparisons to the late, great Celia Cruz. Her band is greased lightning.

Listen to Choco Orta “Por Accidente

John Doe & the Sadies – Country Club (country)

Heavy honky-tonk that feels like an unreleased treasure from thirty years back. Rollicking guitar, crying pedal steel, and sweet male-female duets from a next-generation artists who knows his roots.

Listen to John Doe & the Sadies “Stop the World and Let Me Off

University of St. Thomas Symphonic Wind Ensemble – Out of Nowhere (classical)

A collection of pieces commissioned from notable composers for a top tier university band. Mass of St. Thomas Aquinas is a sparkling choral/orchestral work of driving rhythm and modern harmony, while the Armenian Rhapsody for band and solo guitar draws ethnic folk materials together in a lively and lovely celebration. Both of these deserve to enter the modern repertoire.

Listen to University of St. Thomas Symphonic Wind Ensemble

Mass of St. Thomas Aquinas: IV Benedictus

Armenian Rhapsody for Guitar and Symphonic Wind Ensemble: II Bar

* highly recommended

! highest recommendation

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