a review of cool new music
by Jeff Pinzino
Happy post-Thanksgiving, all. We’re into the end of the year, and new releases slow to a crawl, so I’ve got a series of special features for you over the next few weeks:
Nov 27: Christmas Album Roundup
Dec 4: Greatest Misses: stuff I’ve overlooked
Dec 11: The best of 2009
Dec 18: The best of the decade
Dec 25 & Jan 1: No reviews, possibly some special features
Jan 8: Launch of the new casuallistening.com
Christmas Album Roundup
* Kermit Ruffins – Have a Crazy Cool Christmas (jazz)
It doesn’t snow in
Listen to Kermit Ruffins “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”
Andrea Bocelli – My Christmas (vocal)
As a recording of a beautiful voice with over-the-top orchestration, Bocelli’s album belongs in the same category as Bing Crosby’s Christmas recordings. Some of the carols have a more classical bent, others more pop, but all of the have the kind of sentimental feel that brings families together around the hearth this time of year.
Listen to Andrea Bocelli “White Christmas”
Bifrost Arts – Salvation is Created (rock)
This collective of indie rock artists came together as a group to explore Christian themes in traditional music – which made a Christmas album a natural. The settings draw on a chamber orchestra, with various tracks having violins, xylophone, and electric guitar. These are adventurous and often dark takes on mostly familiar standards.
Listen to Bifrost Arts “Let All Mortal Flesh”
Straight No Chaser – Christmas Cheers (A Capella)
The novelty song is a venerable Christmas tradition, and Straight No Chaser carry it on honorably. Both more listenable and more clever than “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer,” this album is a big dose of jolly.
Listen to Straight No Chaser “The 12 Days of Christmas”
* highly recommended
! highest recommendation
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