a review of cool new music
by Jeff Pinzino
! 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”
This one’s just a pleasure to dance to. Simple electronic beats carry big hooks and harmonies, more music than metronome.
Listen to Simian
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
Listen to Cowboy
* highly recommended
! highest recommendation
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