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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A Change in the Weather

Trapper Schoepp and his band mates look too young to have mid-’90s nostalgia, but the Milwaukee quintet’s A Change in the Weather makes it sound that way. Schoepp and his fellow musicians would have sounded right at home back when the earnest aesthetics of Hootie and the Blowfish, Sister Hazel and Blues Traveler wended their way into the Top 40.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Girls Sing (Geometriya)

A Russian rock band that emerged during the glasnost era, Auktyon has reinvented itself. For their first album in 12 years, they called on several well-respected American musicians to fill out their sound. Playing prominent roles on Girls Sing are John Medeski, guitarist Marc Ribot and Klezmatics’ trumpeter Frank London. Perhaps taking an unconscious page from Stravinsky, Auktyon’s music is intelligent yet relentlessly primitive, their rhythms a little sideways and with echoes of Russian folk music
Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Odessa/Havana (Tzadik)

Cuban music is usually considered to be West African and Spanish in origin, but its roots run deeper. In recent years, musicians have explored links between the elegant early- 20th-century music of Cuba and Algeria. Similarly, Canadian trumpeter David Buchbinder crosses Cuba and klezmer with his band Odessa/Havana. The organic historical link between the two apparently distant cultures can be discerned in the moody minor chords that passed from the Near . . .
Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings (Geffen)

The Counting Crows sure know how to create a fun and exciting weekend with their latest release, Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings. The six-piece band, which includes frontman and songwriter Adam Duritz, David Bryson, Jim Bogios, Charles Gillingham, Dan Vickery and David Immerglck, delivers nothing less than absolute perfection. Pick this record up on a Friday night and you’ll need to call in sick to work on Monday morning after listening to this immaculately arranged album all weekend long. These men not only play music, they listen carefully to the world around them. Duritz’s gift for writing lyrics shines brighter than ever in the moving, poetic and extremely beautiful “When I Dream of Michelangelo.”
Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Secret Paths (Witchwood Media)

Earlier this year, Dave Cousins—lead vocalist for England’s longtime progressiverock/folk outfit The Strawbs— entered the studio with pedalsteel guitarist Melvin Duffy to record a CD that he could support on his current U.S. “Stories and Songs Tour.” The result is Secret Paths, which is only Cousins’ third proper solo album since 1972. Because it lacks a full band, the 11-song disc isn’t nearly as lively as 2007’s The Boy in the Sailor Suit. But Cousins wraps his Mark-Knopfler-meets-Nils-Lofgren
Wednesday, March 12, 2008

This Year’s Model (Deluxe Edition) (Hip-O

This Year’s Model (Deluxe Edition) (Hip-O) Elvis Costello’s already enormous back catalog has just expanded. Although all of the demos and other bonus material on the latest rendition of the snarling songwriter’s second album has been out for years, Deluxe Edition marks the first official release of a 1978 concert in Washington, D.C. It shows some of the twists taken by a strong rock band on a set of great early Costello songs.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Longacre

Milwaukee quartet Longacre makes adult Americana that is perfect for coffee bars. Acoustic guitar, lap steel and keyboards maintain a balance between roiling and restraint. Singer Claire Chin’s sometimes-enigmatic, philosophical lyrics fit with a meticulous tautness over aural lulls and eruptions, like Sarah McLachlan or Natalie Merchant with a warmly approachable archness. With a dash of reggae here and a pinch of psychedelia there, Longacre has crafted a latte soundtrack that also appeals to those who listen with more focus. Either way, it’s professional and alluring.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Watershed (Nonesuch)

Five years ago, Tony Bennett and k.d. lang had completed A Wonderful World, a tribute to Louis Armstrong, when an interviewer on a radio show asked Bennett about his duet partner. He said, “In my opinion, she’s the best singer since Judy Garland.” After a pause that brought surprise from the interviewer and surprised laughter from lang, he added, “Well, it’s true.” And so it is, but lang has shared with Garland, and with Bennett, an uneven artistic instinct, as though her ability to sing anything has left her helpless to make the smartest song choices. Was it necessary to turn away so completely from Patsy Cline country on 1992’s Ingnue?
03.11.2008 | | Posted at 12:00 AM
By Evan Rytlewski
I�m headed to SXSW tomorrow, so this music blog will go dark for the better part of the week, but expect daily updates on the festival on the site�s SXSW page starting Thursday. In the meantime, I�d be remiss if I didn�t offer some ultra-quick recommendations. The following are worth a spin: Autechre � �Quaristice� Autechre�s ninth album lures you in with a gorgeously subd...
03.04.2008 | | Posted at 12:00 AM
By Evan Rytlewski
Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks � �Real Emotional Trash� Casual Pavement fans needn�t leave the light on anymore. Malkmus� newest album is so far removed from the succinct, messy pop of Pavement that there�s reason to doubt the Malkmus of yore will ever return. That said, Real Emotional Trash isn�t quite the noodly nod to the Bonarro crowd that some disappointed fans have dismissed it a...

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