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Monday, April 30, 2012

Smashups (Foam@TheMouth Records)

The idea of blending cool jazz with heavy rock, melding “I Can See for Miles” with a touch of Miles Davis, may sound like novelty shtick—and it almost is, except that the Jazz Punks pull it off without a hitch. The proficient Los Angeles band shifts...
Monday, April 30, 2012

Slipstream (Redwing Records)

The two Dylan covers, both from Time Out of Mind, no less, reveal the state of Bonnie Raitt's old heart: full of appreciation, wonder and tough nostalgia for “the rest of us, who used to rule the world.” Sure, the smooth blues...
Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Canibalismo (Barbes/Crammed Discs)

Although the band is far away in time and place from the origins of the music that inspires them, New York City's Chicha Libre builds from a long-lost Peruvian genre, chichi—the sound of Latin music converging with the Swinging '60s...
Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Lincoln Has Won (Reel to Reel Records)

Few bands claiming the Americana label are as alive in the present as well as the past as The Habit. Lincoln Has Won opens with the rousing “War Is Done,” which reverberates with Dylan's...
Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Story for Scheherazade

So wildly varied is the recording output of Milwaukee poet, singer, trumpeter and activist Harvey Taylor that one never knows where he will go from one album to the next. Inspired by last year's Middle Eastern uprisings, Taylor and various local...
Tuesday, April 17, 2012

America's Physic

With its recreation of a raucous fundamentalist prayer meeting, “Devil Take the Hindmost” opens America's Physic on a Flannery O'Connor note. What follows can often be categorized as Americana, but not everything by Milwaukee's New Harmony Indiana is...
Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Happiest Way to Be Sad

On his 13th album, Milwaukee's beloved proponent of old-time Americana, Lil' Rev, places himself on new ground. It's his first collection of all-original songs and the first time he has recorded with a drummer. “I've usually been focused on finding dusty old...
Thursday, April 12, 2012

Rodrigo y Gabriela, Ceremony and Cults

Decades into a career of recording everything from jazz to pop to R&B, Rickie Lee Jones continues to throw curveballs to her fans. Her 1997 record Ghostyhead experimented with drum-heavy trip-hop...
Monday, April 9, 2012

The Complete Bowdoin College Concert 1960 (Smithsonian Folkways)

Pete Seeger turns 93 in May, but he already seemed like an elder when he played Maine's Bowdoin College in 1960. His earnest and rather studious approach to folklore may seem unfashionable nowadays, yet Seeger was a brave and significant force...
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Jerry Grillo has been at it long enough to call himself a veteran—even if he answered his calling as a jazz singer relatively late in life. Only after retiring from a career as a schoolteacher in 1992 was Grillo able to devote himself to his first love...

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