Express Milwaukee - Album Reviews Thu, 23 Oct 2014 00:00:00 EDT en hourly 1 Laetitia Sadier: Something Shines (Drag City) Whether presiding over the politicized lounge of Stereolab or singing on her own, Laetitia Sadier has been tagged as a “chanteuse.” Primarily because she and the word share French heritage. Still, the je ne sais quoi]]> Cocek! Brass Band: Here Comes Shlomo The slightly melancholy, often madcap sound of Balkan brass bands has assumed a more international feel along with a global audience. The U.S.-based Cocek! Brass Band might not sound entirely out of place ]]> Harold Stewart: One People (Tate Music Group) Paulo Padilha: Na Lojinha de Um Real Eu Me Sinto Milionário (Boranda) Back in the 1960s, Brazil was home to a musical-cultural movement called Tropicalism, an organic synthesis of local traditions with ideas distilled from Anglo-American rock and the European avant-garde. Paulo Padilha is a contemporary heir to that movement. On his latest album whose title translates as “At the Dollar ]]> Olcay Bayir: Neva/Harmony (Riverboat Records) Olcay Bayir is a woman whose voice is extraordinary in range and emotional power. She is a Turkish-Kurdish expatriate with roots in Anatolia, a land (in eastern Turkey) that has been home to Greeks, Armenians and Kurds as well as Turks. On Neva/Harmony, Bayir explores the repertoire of Anatolia and finds common ]]> Jimi Hendrix <em>Rainbow Bridge</em> - <em>The Cry of Love</em> (Experience Hendrix/Legacy) Jimi Hendrix scored his most memorable hits as an African-American expatriate in Swinging London (1966-69). Afterward, he continued playing with different musicians and recording prolifically. Two alb]]> Ian and The Dream: California Cauliflower


Though he claims Brian Wilson and Paul McCartney as inspirations, Waukesha native Ian Ash doesn’t quite as much encompass the simultaneous universality and specificity of The Beatles and The Beach Boys at their best (the latter band’s “Vegetables” inspired the album title). Instead, he]]>
Pharaoh’s Daughter: Dumiyah (Magenta)


Basya Schechter’s Hasidic upbringing in Brooklyn laid the foundation for her music, but she continues to reach higher, adding new stories to her groundwork. On the fifth album by her band Pharaoh’s Daughter, Schechter explores the many cross currents that connect Eastern European Jewish]]>
Mark Elf: Returns 2014 (Jen Bay Records) Returns 2014. The album title refers to the long absence from the recording studio of the session’s leader, guitarist Mark Elf. Elf and Hazeltine swim in the cool tide that flowed out of bebop]]> Various Artists: Look Again to the Wind: Johnny Cash’s Bitter Tears Revisited (Sony Music Masterworks) The face of Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian, Johnny Cash’s 1964 concept album, is lined with the stylistic wrinkles of its time, including Cinemascope production and unnecessary sentimental touches like the military-music stylings bookending “The Ballad of Ira Hayes]]> Brian Wurch Band: Say Yes (Sybil Records) Say Yes is a 16-song collection from Milwaukee’s Brian Wurch that draws from the timeless version of rock ’n’ roll that emerged from the doo-wop streets of Dion and the Belmonts and moved to the scrapple of the New York Dolls, ending up at the swagger of Mink DeVille and boogaloo of Mott ]]> Lillian Axe: One Night in the Temple (CME Records) Moraine: Groundswell (MoonJune) Groundswell is tough yet supple, the improvisations are fluid yet often deliver the crunch and shove of metallic rock. The]]> Leonard Cohen - <i>Popular Problems</i> (Columbia) ]]> D’Pop!: D’Pop! (Straight To The Point Records) In the early ’80s a Milwaukee band with a humble-brag of a name, The Pop, issued a lone single with a heavy debt to Merseybeat-era Beatles, and then...nothing, until now. Partially composed of members of that long-ago band, D’Pop compiled both sides of that collectible 45 onto an album of otherwise new material]]> Tour de Force: Battle Cry / Battle Cry Remixed (Dub-Stuy Records) Brooklyn duo Tour de Force recorded Battle Cry, an album of powerful deep-groove reggae in several styles, and handed it off to a worldwide network of DJ remix artists. The ambitious result is housed in this two-CD set. Disc one is Tour de Force’s authoritative handling of reverb-laden dub and tongue-twisting toasts; disc]]> Simo Lagnawi: The Gnawa Berber (Riverboat Records) Simo Lagnawi came to attention busking on London streets. Even in that polyglot capital he must have stood out for his colorful tribal garb and music. The Moroccan Berber expatriate maintains a thrumming, hypnotic groove throughout his latest album, whether accompanied by a chorus of polyrhythmic percussion or ]]> The Bad Things: After the Inferno (Silent City Records) Various Artists: Salsa de la Bahia Vol. 2: Hoy Y Ayer (Patois Records) Salsa de la Bahia collects 15 Bay area bands on two discs. The pervasive salsa grooves provide the backdrop for a dance]]> Grand Fatilla: Global Shuffle (Grand Fatilla Records) Global Shuffle, the band moves convincingly]]> Davina and the Vagabonds: Sunshine (Roustabout Records) Moira Smiley & VOCO: Laughter Out of Tears (Whim Records) A feast of beautiful women’s voices is served in the latest release by Moira Smiley & VOCO. With the inspiration of polyphonic chorales such as the Bulgarian Women’s Choir, Smiley began as a Balkan song collector and has only widened her grasp. On Laughter Out of Tears, Smiley and company bring virtuosic vocals to]]> Iced Earth: Plagues of Babylon (Century Media Records) Iced Earth, the Florida-based band approaching its 30-year anniversary, makes brutal metal for the masses. OK, “for the masses” might be overstating it: The bloody cover of ]]> Black Wings: Everything Comes to an End Everything Comes to an End bristles with gothic metal. Not quite. The band cribs from the spartan arrangements of The Cure’s early albums and offsets the gothiness with the kind of bucolic]]> Tom Chang: Tongue & Groove (Raw Toast Records) Tongue & Groove loud with the appropriately named “Spinal Tap/Goes to 11,” whose whirling jazz is amped up by electric guitar and a heavy touch on the drum sticks while fierce soloing is heard in the sax section. But much of the latest album from the New]]> Quraishi: Mountain Melodies (Evergreen Music) Magic Sam: Live at the Avant Garde, June 22, 1968 (Delmark) No Chicago blues star burned brighter or flamed out faster than Magic Sam Maghett, “The King of West Side Blues.” In 1968, he electrified Milwaukee’s East Side Avant ]]> The Gun Club: Fire of Love (Superior Viaduct) Shaking the late Jeffrey Lee Pierce’s hand was like holding a cold fish, which was 180 degrees from the intensity of his music. Over a generous handful of albums, Pierce’s]]> Various Artists: Wired for Sound—Mozambique (Freeground Records)  This new compilation bears some similarities to Paul Simon’s landmark album Graceland, where sessions began on location in South Africa with local musicians and then those tapes were brought back to New York for polishing by studio pros. This time, producer Simon Attwell brought his

Zebrina: Hamidbar Medaber (Tzadik)  If Miles Davis had been Jewish, his breakthrough fusion albums recorded as the ’60s tumbled into the ’70s might have sounded like Zebrina. On Hamidbar Medaber, released on John Zorn’s Tzadik label, Zebrina fuses propulsive rhythms, improvisation, knockout electric guitars and klezmer