Thursday, June 11, 2009

Casual Listening -- Anti-Flag, Oumou Sangare, Mos Def

Casual Listening

a review of cool new music

by Jeff Pinzino

June 12, 2009

Follow me on the free music site Lala here

! Anti-Flag – The People or the Gun (rock)

Since the election of Barack Obama, outrage has taken a holiday. Even the Daily Show is biding its time taking potshots at Fox News. Meanwhile, millions of Americans are joining the ranks of the unemployed and kids are still coming home in body bags. Anti-Flag reminds us what righteous anger sounds like. Blistering punk grafted to stick-in-your-head melodies, and uncompromising lyrics that would seem crazier if they didn’t match today’s headlines. Whether or not you agree with the message, you’ll find it hard to ignore and maybe even be a little envious of a political voice that is neither cautious nor measured.

Listen to Anti-Flag “The Economy is Suffering…Let It Die

* Oumou Sangare – Seya (world)

It’s been an amazing time for music from Mali, with Sangare’s album following weeks after excellent releases from Amadou & Mariam and Vieux Farka Toure. To my ears, Seya is the strongest of the three. With traditional string instruments, dense percussion and Sangare’s powerful voice, this album grooves hard.

Listen to Oumou Sangare “Sounsoumba

* Mos Def – The Ecstatic (rap)

An exquisite-sounding rap album, with samples of Eastern ecstatic music on several tracks. Mos Def has some bravura lyrical turns and a message that is positive with some political and spiritual elements.

Listen to Mos Def “Quiet Dog

* Dirty Projectors – Bitte Orca (rock)

Dirty Projectors bring an artistic flair to their music that puts them in a league with Talking Heads. Unconventional harmonies, angelic vocals, and instrumentation that layers guitar-bass-drums with violins, electronics, and whatever else happens to be on hand. There’s a complexity here that rewards multiple listens.

Listen to Dirty Projectors “Cannibal Resource

Fernando Benadon – Intuitivo (classical)

The album, ostensibly of a modern string ensemble with clarinet and percussion, is chamber jazz that threatens to spin out of control but just manages to hold together. In actuality, Benadon has sculpted and assembled the improvisations of the various musicians, recorded separately. Given that compositional task, the cohesiveness of the musical lines is remarkable.

Listen to Fernando Benadon “Inverosímil

Also of interest this week: Black-Eyed Peas, La Plebe, Iron Maiden, Trey Anastasio & Don Hart

* highly recommended

! highest recommendation

Check out the blog at . Follow me on Lala here

To subscribe or unsubscribe, or just to say hi, send an e-mail to

No comments: