Express Milwaukee - Album Reviews http://expressmilwaukee.com/articles.sec-204-1-album-reviews.html Wed, 01 Oct 2014 00:00:00 EDT en hourly 1 Various Artists: Look Again to the Wind: Johnny Cash’s Bitter Tears Revisited (Sony Music Masterworks) http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-24100-various-artists-look-again-to-the-wind-johnny-cash%25E2%2580%2599s-bitter-tears-revisited-%2528sony-music-masterworks%2529.html 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) http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-24053-brian-wurch-band-say-yes-%2528sybil-records%2529.html 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) http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-24054-lillian-axe-one-night-in-the-temple-%2528cme-records%2529.html Moraine: Groundswell (MoonJune) http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-24055-moraine-groundswell-%2528moonjune%2529.html 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) http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-24039-leonard-cohen-popular-problems-%2528columbia%2529.html ]]> D’Pop!: D’Pop! (Straight To The Point Records) http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-24024-d%25E2%2580%2599pop_-d%25E2%2580%2599pop_-%2528straight-to-the-point-records%2529.html 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) http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-24025-tour-de-force-battle-cry-battle-cry-remixed-%2528dub-stuy-records%2529.html 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) http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-24026-simo-lagnawi-the-gnawa-berber-%2528riverboat-records%2529.html 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) http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23944-the-bad-things-after-the-inferno-%2528silent-city-records%2529.html Various Artists: Salsa de la Bahia Vol. 2: Hoy Y Ayer (Patois Records) http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23945-various-artists-salsa-de-la-bahia-vol-2-hoy-y-ayer-%2528patois-records%2529.html 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) http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23946-grand-fatilla-global-shuffle-%2528grand-fatilla-records%2529.html Global Shuffle, the band moves convincingly]]> Davina and the Vagabonds: Sunshine (Roustabout Records) http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23916-davina-and-the-vagabonds-sunshine-%2528roustabout-records%2529.html Moira Smiley & VOCO: Laughter Out of Tears (Whim Records) http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23917-moira-smiley-voco-laughter-out-of-tears-%2528whim-records%2529.html 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) http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23918-iced-earth-plagues-of-babylon-%2528century-media-records%2529.html 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 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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