Thursday, September 17, 2009

Casual Listening - Mujerez, Q-Tip, Chris Knight

Casual Listening

a review of cool new music

by Jeff Pinzino

September 18, 2009

! Mujerez: Juana/Dolores/Tomasa (world)

Hands down the most powerful flamenco I’ve heard. The passion you hear in the voices of these three women is enough to knock you off your chair. Despite wide differences in vocal style, they share the soulfulness that’s made people across the globe fall for this music.

Listen to Mujerez “Te Quise Sin Darme Cuenta

* Q-Tip – Kamaal the Abstract (rap)

Abstract is the operative word, and in this case it signals masterful creativity. Q-tip is embracing a tradition of Black experimental music, and you can hear its overtones throughout the album: Miles Davis’ fusion and Prince’s pop-funk are two reference points. This album is a challenging listen, but it rewards you with a sophistication that mainstream rap doesn’t even attempt.

Listen to Q-Tip – “Heels

* Chris Knight – Trailer II (country)

Knight wears country lonesome like a favorite flannel shirt. He has a gutsy drawl that’s more troubadour than twang, and a simple guitar accompaniment leaves plenty of space for beautifully crafted, heartbreaking songs.

Listen to Chris Knight “It Ain’t Easy Being Me

Muse – The Resistance (rock)

Muse creates for a giant-sized world: epic, dramatic, and with grand scale. Driving rhythms with guitars, synths, and earnest vocals characterize most of the songs. File this next to The Killers, although their palate is broad enough to pull in everything from Queen to Beethoven.

Listen to Muse “The Resistance

Simian Mobile Disco – Temporary Pleasure (electronic)

This one’s just a pleasure to dance to. Simple electronic beats carry big hooks and harmonies, more music than metronome.

Listen to Simian Mobile Disco “Cruel Intentions

Chris Russell – Merge (ambient)

While Casual Listening often strives to present music you can enjoy while doing other things, ambient music is purposely designed as creative background noise. Chris Russell’s newest project presents a range of electronic textures that manage to convey a sense of warmth amidst the machines. Let this wash through your subconscious while you’re going about your day.

Listen to Chris Russell’s track “Sky Watcher” at AtmoWorks

Cowboy Troy – Demolition Mission: Studio Blue Sessions (rock, etc.)

Cowboy Troy is one of my guilty pleasures. Best known as the inventor of the county-rap hybrid “Hick-Hop,” Troy takes this album in the direction of straight-ahead rock. Whatever he’s playing, he’s got a real pop sensibility that works.

Listen to Cowboy TroyThat’s Me

* highly recommended

! highest recommendation

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