Express Milwaukee - Album Reviews http://expressmilwaukee.com/articles.sec-204-1-album-reviews.html Mon, 01 Sep 2014 00:00:00 EDT en hourly 1 Black Wings: Everything Comes to an End http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23889-black-wings-everything-comes-to-an-end.html 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) http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23890-tom-chang-tongue-groove-%2528raw-toast-records%2529.html 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) http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23891-quraishi-mountain-melodies-%2528evergreen-music%2529.html Magic Sam: Live at the Avant Garde, June 22, 1968 (Delmark) http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23824-magic-sam-live-at-the-avant-garde-june-22-1968-%2528delmark%2529.html 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) http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23825-the-gun-club-fire-of-love-%2528superior-viaduct%2529.html 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) http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23789-various-artists-wired-for-sound%25E2%2580%2594mozambique-%2528freeground-records%2529.html  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

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Zebrina: Hamidbar Medaber (Tzadik) http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23790-zebrina-hamidbar-medaber-%2528tzadik%2529.html  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

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Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young: CSNY 1974 (Rhino Records) http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23791-crosby-stills-nash-young-csny-1974-%2528rhino-records%2529.html  From The Eagles to The Fleet Foxes, the harmonies of CSNY served as a template. What the band later called their Doom Tour of 1974 is documented here on three CDs and one DVD, thanks to the painstaking archival efforts of Graham Nash. The long acoustic set is the highlight

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Chlopcy Kontra Basia: Oj Tak! (Riverboat Records) http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23792-chlopcy-kontra-basia-oj-tak_-%2528riverboat-records%2529.html  Basia Derlak is an outstanding vocalist for emotional range. Sassy, insistent, reflective and breathless, she fronts a Polish trio whose percussive funky jazz is rooted in folk-based melodies and embraces Eastern klezmer modes.

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Vardan Ovsepian: Lighthouse http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23794-vardan-ovsepian-lighthouse.html  Lovely but never insipid, pianist Vardan Ovsepian and multi-lingual (and sometimes purely sonic) vocalist Tatiana Parra make music that slips between categories. The echo of Brazilian melody doesn’t make Lighthouse a samba recording, and if Ovsepian’s

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Keith Jarrett/Charlie Haden: Last Dance (ECM) http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23750-keith-jarrett_charlie-haden-last-dance-%2528ecm%2529.html Ernest Ranglin & Avila: Bless Up (Avila Street Records) http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23751-ernest-ranglin-avila-bless-up-%2528avila-street-records%2529.html  Ernest Ranglin can claim to be one of the fathers of Jamaican music. As a guitarist in the late 1950s at Kingston’s Studio One, Ranglin is credited with

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Greetings From The Imposter: Impressive Debut Release http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23708-greetings-from-the-imposter-impressive-debut-release.html  Dance music styles come and go and come around again by way of their recycling into a seemingly ever-flowing stream of new sub-genres. The dance-oriented rock of the ’80s seems to have been bypassed in that process of reconsideration, however. Remedying that dismissal is Saintpaul Brellis whose ’90s band

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Fred Hersch Trio: Floating (Palmetto) http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23709-fred-hersch-trio-floating-%2528palmetto%2529.html  The award-winning pianist Fred Hersch returns with a new album of jazz a la Dave Brubeck. Intricately knotted melodies, angled sideways to the rhythms, are delivered with cool panache throughout Floating. Hersch focuses on his own compositions but includes a pair of standards and concludes the disc with Thelonious

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ZZ Top: The Very Baddest of ZZ Top (Warner Brothers) http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23710-zz-top-the-very-baddest-of-zz-top-%2528warner-brothers%2529.html  Anyone looking for a ZZ Top CD culled from four decades of the trio’s career need look no farther than the two-disc Very Baddest. Early album tracks share space with hits from the “Sharp Dressed Man” and “Cheap Sunglasses” era as well as less-heard numbers from the 21st century. The Texans seldom strayed for long from

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Jethro Tull: A Passion Play: An Extended Performance (Chrysalis) http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23704-jethro-tull-a-passion-play-an-extended-performance-%2528chrysalis%2529.html

 Among the score or more of wildly creative rock bands to emerge from Britain in the late ‘60s, Jethro Tull was among the most diverse in direction. Early albums included blues and proto-heavy metal, jazz, British folk and the brain-searing distortions of psychedelia. And then, in the early ‘70s, Tull

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Henry Butler & Steven Bernstein: Viper’s Drag (Impulse) http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23671-henry-butler-steven-bernstein-viper%25E2%2580%2599s-drag-%2528impulse%2529.html  What’s old is new again, againespecially in Brooklyn. Amidst the borough’s prohibition-era cocktails, faux speakeasies and timeless sea of ’20s-ish clever caps and facial hair, lies Katrina refugee and New Orleans piano traditionalist Henry Butler. His latest effort finds him alongside New York

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9Bach: Tincian (Real World Records) http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23672-9bach-tincian-%2528real-world-records%2529.html  Something magic clings to the gossamer notes heard on Tincian. 9Bach is all about its homeland. The lyrics are in Welsh and the album cover proudly proclaims: “Made in Wales.” And yet, Tincian is not another album of folk music or an ill-considered update of tradition, but a contemporary

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The Shoe: I’m Okay (Community Records) http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23654-the-shoe-i%25E2%2580%2599m-okay-%2528community-records%2529.html  Among actorly forays into music, The Shoe is closer in spirit to She & Him than to Dogstar, and not just because Jena Malone is much less famous than Keanu Reeves

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Bryan Cherry: Black Holes http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23655-bryan-cherry-black-holes.html  Although Bryan Cherry shifted his billing from bandleader to soloist, his way of overlaying genres atop each other hasn’t changed a bit. The Milwaukee singer/guitarist

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Led Zeppelin: Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II, Led Zeppelin III (Atlantic/Swan Song) http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23630-led-zeppelin-led-zeppelin-led-zeppelin-ii-led-zeppelin-iii-%2528atlantic_swan-song%2529.html

 Rock was already getting heavier before Led Zeppelin emerged at the end of the ’60s, but their first LP, with the exploding Hindenburg cover, set the pace for the direction of

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Bucky Halker & Andy Dee: The Ghost of Woody Guthrie (Revolting Records) http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23631-bucky-halker-andy-dee-the-ghost-of-woody-guthrie-%2528revolting-records%2529.html  Political activist, musician and music scholar Bucky Halker is a Wisconsin native back now in Racine. Working with another Badger musician, Andy Dee (formerly of the

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House Of Spirits: “Holding On/Keep Holding On” (Beats In Space Records 12-inch and digital single) http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23632-house-of-spirits-%25E2%2580%259Cholding-on_keep-holding-on%25E2%2580%259D-%2528beats-in-space-records-12-inch-and-digital-single%2529.html If Milwaukee has produced any examples of soul-gospel-club music, it’s been a while. The city’s latest (or first?) comes courtesy of Tom Noble’s House of Spirits project

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Hank Williams: The Garden Spot Programs, 1950 (Omnivore Recordings) http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23589-hank-williams-the-garden-spot-programs-1950-%2528omnivore-recordings%2529.html  Hank Williams was a country music star but he was also a comet, streaking across the horizon of American popular culture in the early 1950s. He recorded

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Ama-Dots: Ama-Dots (Rerun) http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23590-ama-dots-ama-dots-%2528rerun%2529.html  Ama-Dots were a mainstay of the early 1980s Milwaukee alternative music scene, and are most often given the overly broad label “post-punk.” Perhaps that’s fitting, because post-punk was a term coined by a music press for bands that weren’t easily categorized and Ama-Dots’ strikingly

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Cascada de Flores: Radio Flor (Ita Music) http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23591-cascada-de-flores-radio-flor-%2528ita-music%2529.html  The booming, cross-continental signals of the old Mexican radio stations have been celebrated by ZZ Top and Wall of Voodoo, but never with the loving nostalgia of California’s Cascada de Flores. On Radio Flor, this versatile ensemble evokes the Mexican radio shows from the 1930s and ’40s

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Modern Mod: Tunnels (Crasseaux Records) http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23561-modern-mod-tunnels-%2528crasseaux-records%2529.html  Funny how the good intentions behind putting together different parts can create something wholly different than expected. The Madison high schoolers of Modern Mod claim as influences the sort of garage rock favored by Little Steven Van Zandt on “Underground Garage” and surf music

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Zvuloon Dub System: Anbessa Dub http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23562-zvuloon-dub-system-anbessa-dub.html An Ethiopian-Jewish reggae band based in Tel Aviv? Yes, it makes perfect sense if you understand the genesis of Rastafarianism. Zvuloon Dub System started as a roots-reggae band but began incorporating influences from the superb pop music of Ethiopia from the ’60s and ’70s before the

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NAWA: Ancient Sufi Invocations & Forgotten Songs from Aleppo (Lost Origins/Electric Cowbell) http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23563-nawa-ancient-sufi-invocations-forgotten-songs-from-aleppo-%2528lost-origins_electric-cowbell%2529.html  Aleppo had always been Syria’s cultural center, a place where minority groups usually coexisted. The country’s civil war changed that, especially the depredations of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, a jihadist group seeking to destroy anything out of sync with their own militant brand of Islam

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The Iguanas: Juarez (Piety Street) http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23515-the-iguanas-juarez-%2528piety-street%2529.html  In the heartbreaking 2013 documentary Narco Cultura, Juarez, the Mexican border city, is painted in strokes just this side of hell, and spoken of in terms of “end of

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