Thursday, September 10, 2009

Casual Listening - Jay-Z, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Come O Spirit!

Casual Listening

a review of cool new music

by Jeff Pinzino

September 11, 2009

Jay-Z – The Blueprint 3 (rap)

An inventive album from a megastar who largely delivers on his promise “I don’t run rap no more, I run the map.” Thanks to Kanye West’s production, you’ll hear overtones of classic soul, rock, and jazz, shout-outs to Frank Sinatra, and even a klezmer clarinet riff. Jay-Z’s rhymes promise a peek at the secret to his success, both financial and musical, as well as tributes to neighborhood New York.

Listen to Jay-Z “Empire State of Mind

Rodrigo y Gabriela – 11:11 (world)

Punk flamenco? Fiery acoustic guitar propels this set of funky instrumentals. For sheer kinetic energy, this duo is in the same caffeinated neighborhood as Ani Difranco.

Listen to Rodrigo y Gabriela – “Hanuman

Come O Spirit!: Anthology of Hymns and Spiritual Songs Vol. 1 (folk)

Folklorists of the last century scoured the mountain villages of West Virginia for ordinary people doing simple renditions of traditional church songs. Now, a new wave of hip folksters are singing their way into the tradition. Sufjan Stevens, Damien Jurado, and friends sound like they just pulled the dulcimer off the wall for John Hammond to record on an old reel-to-reel for posterity.

Listen to “Hard Times” from Come O Spirit!

Les Triaboliques – rivermudtwilight (world)

The combination of guitar, saz, and bouzouki roll across the open landscapes of the world: Arabian Desert, Cuban Tropic, the Mississippi Delta. Laid-back traveling music to accompany a well-worn passport.

Listen to Les Triaboliques “afasundi (I have been corrupted)

A Fine Frenzy – Bomb in a Birdcage (rock)

Sweet vocals cruise along an understated pulse with intricate pop production. Place this one in the Feist/Jem galaxy.

Listen to A Fine Frenzy “Electric Twist

* highly recommended

! highest recommendation

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