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Album Reviews
Friday, April 19, 2013

No Beginning No End (Blue Note)

 A hand adjustment on a drum kit, a suggestive slow bass-snare groove, a rubbery bottom-strings jive and then the voice—all late-night, hushed and come here, girl—before the sinewy trumpet lines lock it in. So begins the drawers
Album Reviews
Thursday, April 4, 2013

Isle of Magic (Agogo Records)

 Congas, shakers, marimbas, udu drums, something called a karkabou, something else called a bendir—all populate the world music, Afrobeat and spacey postmodern grooves of Mop Mop. But any disc that even moderately features
Album Reviews
Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013

Wulu Wulu (Bik Records)

 With nearly all the news filtering out of North Africa these days concerned with the anti-groove, zero-fun Islamic extremists holding Mali’s rich tradition hostage, a new release of sunny Afrobeat and the very first outside-of-Nigeria
Album Reviews
Friday, Feb. 1, 2013

Buddy and Jim (New West Records)

 In the crowded, mystical jungle of Nashville studio musicians, Buddy Miller may currently have rightful claim to the title of king. His guitar and various string work, production expertise and writing have all featured prominently in the work of Robert Plant, Levon Helm, Willie Nelson and Elvis Costello.
Album Reviews
Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012

The Georgia Bootleg Box (Evil Teen Records)

 Hulking, aggressive, overlong and practically dripping with sun-baked, redneck testosterone, this six-disc, seven-hour package acts as an apt metaphor for the band itself. And what with this Allman Brothers-spinoff
Album Reviews
Friday, Nov. 2, 2012

Brad Mehldau Trio

 Continuing the trend of high-minded jazzers toying with pop cover tunes (see The Bad Plus and Soulive), Brad Mehldau goes the way of Sufjan Stevens, Elvis Costello, Nick Drake and even Jimi Hendrix for his latest batch
Album Reviews
Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012

Carry Me Back (ATO/MapleMusic Recordings)

Other than the archaic notions of paying for music or actually listening to full albums, today's music-digging vanguard is obsessive about all things old. Whether it's the retro soul of Sharon Jones, the vintage grease...
Album Reviews
Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012

The Hidden Treasures of Taj Mahal 1969-1973 (Columbia/Legacy)

 Harlem-folkie-wonder-cum-Chicago-blues-badass Taj Mahal gets the legend treatment as Columbia honors the singer/songwriter/storyteller’s back pages with a hidden treasures/stuff-we-haven’t-made-money...
Album Reviews
Monday, July 16, 2012

Elemental Journey (Landfall)

In what may be best described as progressive swamp blues, Louisiana six-string maestro Sonny Landreth eschews his well-practiced brand of down-home boogie, muscled-up roadhouse rock...
Album Reviews
Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Occapella (FHQ Records)

On Occapella, Jon Cleary—blue-eyed, English-born bastion of 'Nawlins-cooked R&B, barroom killer on the piano (and guitar), and one-time collaborator with Bonnie Raitt—applies his own appropriate brand of playing to '50s soul, grimy '70s funk...