Thursday, May 28, 2009

Casual Listening - Ashley Cleveland, Vieux Farka Toure, Black Moth Super Rainbow

Casual Listening

a review of cool new music

by Jeff Pinzino

May 29, 2009

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* Ashley Cleveland – God Don’t Never Change (gospel)

Cleveland reworks depression-era gospel blues for the new age of anxiety, hoping these songs can bring comfort from the hereafter to the recently afflicted. She invokes the music of the early greats: Blind Willie Johnson, Mississippi Fred McDowell, and Reverend Gary Davis among others. Her settings range from simple acoustic to church gospel to blistering blues-rock. This is a deep river of music, and it’s encouraging to see a talented musician of the digital age willing to take a drink.

Listen to Ashley Cleveland “When This World Comes to and End

* Vieux Farka Toure – Fondo (world)

Toure brings an outsized version of the Malian-style blues of his late father, Ali Farka Toure. His twisting electric guitar and vocal lines draped in reverb are spellbinding with or without a full band in tow.

Listen to Vieux Farka Toure “Wale

Black Moth Super Rainbow – Eating Us (rock)

The mix of sound on this groovy electronic rock record is good enough to eat. Put on your best headphones and work your way through course after course: crunchy, silky, delicate, velvety, piquant, creamy. Melts in your mind.

Listen to Black Moth Super Rainbow “Born on a Day the Sun Didn’t Rise

Wisin and Yandel – La Revolución (Latin)

A heavy reggaeton album from two masters of Latin rap-reggae. Close harmonies alternate with wild rap-en-español above rolling dance beats and synthesizers. W&Y bounce in ways you just won’t hear in American rap.

Listen to Wisin and Yandel “Encendío

Dave Alvin and the Guilty Women – Dave Alvin and the Guilty Women (country)

You’ve just dropped in on a back porch country jam session. The musicians are spinning through different styles just for kicks. “How about a Cajun tune?” “You guys ever listen to Bob Wills?” “Try this blues shuffle.” Everyone’s having fun and no one’s taking anything too seriously. If the style they’re playing this time isn’t your thing, well, that’s just an excuse to go to the cooler and open another cold one.

Listen to Dave Alvin and the Guilty Women “Marie Marie

Hot n’ Spicy – Hot n’ Spicy (jazz)

A three-piece band with the classic guitar-violin pairing that echoes Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grapelli. The style is easygoing, with vocals on most tracks, and interesting arrangements, including a moody take on the Beatles’ “Eight Days a Week.”

Listen to Hot n’ Spicy “Guitar Hero

* highly recommended

! highest recommendation

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