quinta-feira, 28 de junho de 2012

Paul Simon - The Rhythm of the Saints 1990

Though he recorded the album's prominent percussion tracks in Brazil, Paul Simon fashioned The Rhythm of the Saints as a deliberate follow-up to the artistic breakthrough and commercial comeback that was the South Africa-tinged Graceland. Several of the musicians who had appeared previously were back, along with some of the New York session players who had worked with Simon in the 1970s, and the overall sound was familiar to fans of Graceland. Further, Simon's nonlinear lyrical approach was carried over: he continued to ruminate about love, aging, and the onslaught of modern life in disconnected phrases and images that created impressions rather than telling straightforward stories. But where Graceland had seamlessly merged its styles into an exuberant whole, The Rhythm of the Saintswas less well digested. Those drum tracks never seemed integrated effectively into what had been dubbed over them; at the same time, they tended to lock the songs into musical patterns that reined them in from the kind of excitement the South African music on Graceland generated, making the melodies harder to grasp. At the same time, Simon sang his lyrics in a less involved way, which sometimes made them seem like collections of random lines rather than the series of striking observations Gracelandseemed to contain. No Paul Simon album could be lacking in craft or quality, and The Rhythm of the Saints was a typically tasteful effort. But this time around, Simon hadn't quite succeeded in bringing the wide-ranging elements together; the album sold about half as many copies as Graceland (that is to say, a none-too-shabby two million), and that's about right -- where Graceland was an exotic adventure, The Rhythm of the Saints was more of an anthropology lesson. AMG.listen here

The Gun Club - Miami 1982

The sophomore record by the Gun Club bore the curse of having to follow a monolith of their own making. Fire of Love sold extremely well for an independent; it was a favorite of virtually every critic who heard it in 1981. Miami showcased a different lineup as well. Ward Dotson replaced Congo Powers (temporarily, at least) on guitar, and there were a ton of guest performances, including Debbie Harry andChris SteinStein produced the album. Off the bat the disc suffers from a thin mix. Going for a rougher sound, Stein left the instruments at one level and boosted Pierce's vocal. There is plenty of guitar here, screaming and moping like a drunken orphan from the Texas flatlands, but next to its predecessor it sounds drier and reedier. Ultimately it hardly matters. Going for a higher, more desolate sound, frontman and slide player Jeffrey Lee Pierce and his band were literally on fire. The songs here, from "Carry Home," "Like Calling Up Thunder," "Devil in the Woods," "Watermelon Man," "Bad Indian," and "Texas Serenade," among others, centered themselves on a mutant form of country music that met the post-punk ethos in the desert, fought and bloodied each other, and decided to stay together. This is hardcore snake-charming music (as in water moccasins not cobras), evil, smoky, brash, and libidinally uttered. Their spooky version of an already creepy tune by Creedence Clearwater Revival, "Run Through the Jungle" runs the gamut from sexual nightmare to voodoo ritual gone awry. Finally, Pierce and company pull out all the roots and reveal them for what they are: "John Hardy," is a squalling punk-blues, with the heart of the country in cardiac arrest. Dotson proved to be a fine replacement for Congo Powers, in that his style was pure Telecaster country (à la James Burton) revved by the Rolling Stonesand Johnny ThundersMiami was given a rough go when it was issued for its production. But in the bird's-eye view of history its songs stack up, track for track, with Fire of Love and continue to echo well into this long good night. AMG.listen here

The Blue Aeroplanes - Swagger 1990

It may seem like a slightly boastful title, but Swagger is anything but an attitude-laden in-your-face rip, and all the better for it as well. By the time the Aeroplanes decided to take a chance on major-label existence, their combination of poetic ramalama and neo-guitar jangle and shake had been well established, so Swagger was, if anything, merely a polishing of the group's form rather than any radical leap. Gil Norton's production definitely has a pitch towards sounding good on the radio, but Langley's poems are still generally dead set against easy singalong, no matter how much the music lends itself to just that. His delivery is nonetheless quite attractive, and on songs like the lead single "World View Blue," his ruminative approach slips alongside the low-key grooves and guitar strums just so. When they want to, the Aeroplanes can turn up the heat, avoiding full-on sludge for a combination of electric force and quick, liquid playing. The complex melody line on "And Stones" and the exultant rush of "Love Come Round" are two instances of many. Bruschini, Allen, and Lee come up with any number of lovely melodies and performances throughout the record; to cite one instance of many, the descending chords on "Weightless" add a perfect drama to Langley's depiction of future shock. Allen himself takes the singing lead on "Careful Boy," a nice mandolin-touched piece. The core rhythm section of McCreeth andJohn Langley goes about its business well, adding in brief touches of flair or flash when needed. Echoes of the group's inspirations perhaps inevitably crop up -- a musical quote of "Sweet Jane" here, hints ofthe Byrds there -- but the one open source of inspiration used is a smart one. "The Applicant" sets one ofSylvia Plath's poems to music, Langley delivering the sharp lyrics with bite while the music keeps up the album's electric rush with style. AMG.listen here

George Benson - Big Boss Band 1990

This project had its genesis back in 1983 with a Benson promise to Count Basie that he would record an album in his style, a promise partially fulfilled the following year with 20/20's "Beyond the Sea." Focusing on standards that steer commendably clear from tunes normally associated with BasieBensontakes on the dual challenge of big-band singer and lead guitarist and succeeds with authority in both roles. The robust playing of the Basie band under Frank Foster poses absolutely no problems for Benson's muscular guitar, for he punches out the notes and octaves in irresistibly swinging fashion (for prime mature Benson, check out "Basie's Bag"). As a vocalist, he sounds solid and debonair, blending well withBasie vocalist Carmen Bradford on "How Do You Keep the Music Playing?" There are two deviations from the format, though. "Baby Workout" starts out as an electronic dance number, augmented by horns, that harks back to his run of routine '80s albums. The sole Robert Farnon-arranged track, a lush orchestral treatment of "Portrait of Jennie" recorded in London, was salvaged from an aborted project that was promised back in 1988. Clearly Benson had wrestled control of his music from the accountants, and though the direction is conservative, it makes better use of his talents. AMG.listen here

Lou Reed & John Cale - Songs For Drella 1990

John Cale, the co-founder of The Velvet Underground, left the group in 1968 after tensions between himself and Lou Reed became intolerable; neither had much charitable to say about one other after that, and they seemed to share only one significant area of agreement -- they both maintained a great respect and admiration for Andy Warhol, the artist whose patronage of the group helped them reach their first significant audience. So it was fitting that after Warhol's death in 1987, Reed and Cale began working together for the first time since White Light/White Heat on a cycle of songs about the artist's life and times. Starkly constructed around Cale's keyboards, Reed's guitar, and their voices, Songs for Drella is a performance piece about Andy Warhol, his rise to fame, and his troubled years in the limelight. Reed andCale take turns on vocals, sometimes singing as the character of Andy and elsewhere offering their observations on the man they knew. On a roll after New YorkReed's songs are strong and pithy, and display a great feel for the character of Andy, and while Cale brought fewer tunes to the table, they're all superb, especially "Style It Takes" and "A Dream," a spoken word piece inspired by Warhol's posthumously published diaries. If Songs for Drella seems modest from a musical standpoint, it's likely neither Reed nor Cale wanted the music to distract from their story, and here they paint a portrait ofWarhol that has far more depth and poignancy than his public image would have led one to expect. It's a moving and deeply felt tribute to a misunderstood man, and it's a pleasure to hear these two comrades-in-arms working together again, even if their renewed collaboration was destined to be short-lived. AMG.listen here

Inspiral Carpets - Life 1990

Inspiral Carpets had been honing their skills in their native Manchester, England, when the replacement of their original singer with Too Much Texas’s Tom Hingley--and an increased reliance on the Farfisa organ--soon put them at the forefront of that northern city’s burgeoning Madchester scene. Their debut album, LIFE, finds the group expanding their sound beyond the poignant hit “This Is How It Feels,” which is included here. AMG. link removed

quarta-feira, 27 de junho de 2012

Wanda Jackson - The party ain't over 2011

Self-styled keeper of the flame Jack White is so steeped in roots nostalgia -- he even left his native Detroit for the greener pastures of Nashville, bringing himself closer to the heart of Americana -- that his art rock roots are obscured. After all, this is a guy who purposely restricts his palettes in the White Stripes and named an early album De Stijl after an early 20th century Dutch movement; art and artifice are part of his roots. He brings that artifice to The Party Ain’t Over, a stylized high-profile comeback for Wanda Jackson that is about as far removed from the natural flow of Van Lear Rose, his similar effort for Loretta Lynn, as can be. White seemed to act as midwife to the music on Van Lear Rose, but here he seems to stamp his imprint directly upon Wanda, the legendary rockabilly singer who briefly dated Elvis Presley and cut the incendiary “Fujiyama Mama” and “Let’s Have a Party.” Clearly, the title of this 2011 effort hearkens back to the latter, and White goes out of his way to evoke the '50s of Jackson’s heyday, selecting such rock & roll classics as “Nervous Breakdown,” “Busted,” and “Rip It Up,” but also having her sing the Andrews Sisters' swinging classic “Drinking Rum and Coca Cola” while recasting the modern classics of Bob Dylan's “Thunder on the Mountain” and Amy Winehouse’s “You Know I’m No Good” as retro throwbacks. No matter the source material, the approach is the same: it’s a '50s pastiche, equal parts rockabilly boogie and jump blues blare, accentuated by Jack’s gonzo skronk and Jackson’s sandpaper growl. Conceptually, it’s interesting -- it’s not a re-creation, it’s a purposeful fantasy -- but the sheer ballast of White’s vision can be exhausting, the individual elements clanking chaotically and never quite gelling. Jackson gives as strong as a performance as she can, tearing into the oldies with ease and valiantly attempting the new songs, but she sounds most at ease with the quieter moments, whether it’s “Dust on the Bible” or a stripped-down acoustic “Blue Yodel #6.” These are the moments that feel like they belong to her, with the rest of The Party Ain’t Over being unmistakably of and for Jack White, who leaps at the chance to re-create the ‘50s in his own image. AMG.

Link removed.

Webb Wilder - Hybrid Vigor 1990

The Webb Wilder character was created for a short film about a backwoods private detective who fell out of the '50s and happened to also be a musician. With his group, Wilder combines the surf guitar of the Ventures with the rock roots of Duane Eddy, drawing on the feel of both country music and film noir. Though sometimes bordering on the gimmicky, the band is quite humorous yet plays serious music. It Came from Nashville featured a cover of Steve Earle's "Devil's Right Hand," appropriate because, like Earle, Wilder rocked too hard to be country but kept a twang that might put off mainstream rock fans. Wilder's next two albums didn't necessarily forge new ground but refined the band's sound somewhat, making its R&B influence more apparent. In concert, Wilder often gives stream-of-consciousness recitations that touch on motor homes, voodoo, television, and other somewhat kitschy subjects; usually they're funny enough to work. An example of his live show, Born to Be Wilder, appeared in 2008 from Blind Pig Records. More Like Me followed in 2009, again from the Blind Pig label.
Straight-ahead rock & roll with a Southern quirkiness that you've gotta experience to love. Hybrid Vigor includes the college radio hit "Human Cannonball," as well as a cover of "Ain't That a Lot of Love?" Good stuff. AMG. listen here

Michael Johnson - Lifetime Guarantee 1984

Stylistically, singer/songwriter Michael Johnson has been all over the map, ranging from folk to pop and soft rock to country. But no matter what kind of music he recorded, he maintained a mellow, pleasant tone that served as his hallmark. Johnson was born in Alamosa, CO, in 1944 and started playing the guitar as a teenager, studying both rock & roll and jazz. At 21, he traveled to Barcelona and studied classical guitar with Graciano Tarrago for a year, then returned to the U.S. and joined the later version of the folk group the Chad Mitchell Trio (when John Denver was a member). Initially signing to Atco, Johnson released his first album, There Is a Breeze, in 1973 and displayed a gentle, folk-influenced sound. He recorded three more albums for smaller labels in the mid-'70s, gradually transforming into more of a soft rock artist, and signed with EMI in 1978 in that capacity. He scored a number one hit on the adult contemporary charts that year with "Bluer Than Blue," which almost made the pop Top Ten, and also made the adult contemporary Top Five with 1978's "Almost Like Being in Love" and 1979's "This Night Won't Last Forever." Johnson recorded five albums in all for EMI and in 1985 moved over to RCA, where he adopted a contemporary country style that stayed compatible with his soft, mellow leanings. He was surprisingly successful, scoring a total of five Top Ten country hits from 1986-1989, including the chart-toppers "Give Me Wings" and "The Moon Is Still Over Her Shoulder." After three country albums on RCA, Johnson moved over to Atlantic in 1991, which effectively halted his commercial momentum. He recorded very sporadically in the '90s for smaller labels. AMG. listen here

The Bus Boys - Minimum Wage Rock & Roll 1981

In the 1950s, rock & roll started out as black music, but you wouldn't have guessed that to pick up Rolling Stone or Creem in the early '80s -- by that time, rock was almost exclusively the province of skinny white guys, and black artists were only to be found on the R&B charts, as if Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Jimi Hendrix had never happened. So if there was more than a bit of novelty in the music of the BusBoys, that's not to say that what they were doing wasn't important or necessary -- as one of the first African-American groups to emerge to national prominence in the new wave scene, the BusBoys were willing to embrace the contradictions and confront the stereotypes that faced black musicians playing what had come to be known as "white" music. If some of the jokes are a bit forced, they're also pretty funny, especially "There Goes the Neighborhood" ("The whites are moving in!/They'll bring their next of kin!") and "KKK" ("Gonna join the Ku Klux Klan/And play in a rock & roll band"), while the music was certainly prescient, blending straight-ahead rock & roll and old-school R&B with George Clinton-esque absurdity and harmonies and new wave synthesizer squeals at a time when Prince was just edging into similar territory (and well before Cameo dropped the B-52's-ish Alligator Woman). Meanwhile, "Minimum Wage" and "D-Day" faced universal anxieties with honesty and bitter humor, and the band plays with fire and enthusiasm throughout. Not exactly up there with Bad Brains, Minimum Wage Rock & Roll is still smart and enthusiastic rock & roll that's unafraid to take chances; too bad the BusBoys never managed another album this strong. AMG. listen here

Poco - Blue And Gray 1981

Talk about bad timing -- had Rusty Young and Paul Cotton only brought this concept album out about nine years later, around the time of Ken Burns' The Civil War, it might well have sold a few hundred thousand copies, or at least generated a little press and gotten a shot at some sales. As it was, in 1981, no one really cared that much about a concept album built around the Civil War -- or, at least not a country-rock concept album. Perhaps, unlike White Mansions, it came out too long after the American Bicentennial -- or that the culture war embodied in Reagan's election in 1980 had wearied too many people on the matter of national conflicts and divided nations. As it happens, this isn't a bad album, and at least benefits from more energy and ambition than its immediate predecessor, Under the Gun. There's some fine playing throughout and generally good singing, and some of the writing is inspired, although there are some lapses into lightweight, unmemorable fare also. A little more consistency might have lofted this album to the level of the band's best recent work, but it's still worth hearing as one of the more ambitious records ever to come from this long-lived country-rock band -- and it certainly didn't deserve the obscurity that enveloped it. AMG. listen here

The Gun Club - Fire Of Love 1981

The Gun Club's debut is the watermark for all post-punk roots music. This features the late Jeffrey Lee Pierce's swamped-out brand of roiling rock, swaggerific hell-bound blues, and gothic country. With Pierce's wailing high lonesome slide guitar twinned with Ward Dotson's spine-shaking riffs and the solid yet off-the-rails rhythm section of bassist Rob Ritter and drummer Terry Graham, The Gun Club burst out of L.A. in the early '80s with a bone to pick and a mountain to move -- and they accomplished both on their debut album. With awesome, stripped to the frame production by the Flesh Eaters' Chris D., Fire of Love blew away all expectations -- and with good reason. Nobody has heard music like this before or since. Pierce's songs were rooted in his land of Texas. On "Sex Beat," a razor-sharp country one-two shuffle becomes a howling wind as Pierce's wasted, half-sung half-howled vocals relate a tale of voodoo, sex, dope, and death. The song choogles like a freight train coming undone in a twister. Here Black Flag, the Sex Pistols, Son House, and the coughing, hacking rambling ghost of Hank Williams all converge in a reckless mass of seething energy and nearly evil intent. As if the opener weren't enough of a jolt, The Gun Club follow this with a careening version of House's "Preachin the Blues," full of staccato phrasing and blazing slide. But it isn't until the anthemic, opiate-addled country of "She's Like Heroin to Me" and the truly frightening punk-blues of "Ghost on the Highway" that the listener comes to grip with the awesome terror that is The Gun Club. The songs become rock & roll ciphers, erasing themselves as soon as they speak, heading off into the whirlwind of a storm that is so big, so black, and so awful one cannot meditate on anything but its power. Fire of Love may be just what the doctor ordered, but to cure or kill is anybody's guess. AMG. listen here

Music Revelation Ensemble - No Wave 1980

One of the first and best free jazz/funk bands. On No Wave, its 1980 Moers Music debut, the band was comprised of James "Blood" Ulmer (guitar), David Murray (tenor saxophone), Amin Ali (electric bass), and Ronald Shannon Jackson (drums). The MRE became Ulmer's baby since he has been the only constant throughout the group's two decades of existence; Murray has made a couple of returns, and Jackson has been in and out. The lineup of the group changed from album to album, especially in the late '90s. Pharoah Sanders and John Zorn recorded with the band (Crossfire), as did Hamiet Bluiett and Arthur Blythe (Knights of Power). Drummer Cornell Rochester succeeded Jackson early on, and Jamaaladeen Tacuma replaced Ali for a time. The band has remained reasonably vital thanks to Ulmer, but one can be excused for preferring their early records, made when Ornette Coleman's Dancing in Your Head was still fresh in listeners' ears. AMG. listen here

Fela Kuti - Black President 1981

It was during the early '80s that Fela Anikulapo Kuti's profile was high enough to warrant releasing his records in the U.S. So for the first time, one did not have to scour the import bins or pay import prices to get a dose of Afro-beat. On Black President, the politics are at the forefront as Fela rails against colonialism and the military government growing rich at the expense of Nigeria's poor. The grooves are dense and supple and in many ways this is classic Fela, it just doesn't kick quite as hard as Expensive Shit or He Miss Road. AMG. listen here

King Crimson - Three of a Perfect Pair 1984

Upon its release in 1984, Three of a Perfect Pair caused some unrest among fans of King Crimson. Most of their audience felt that the band had made a conscious and obvious decision to try to break through to a more mainstream pop audience. But in hindsight, this is hardly the case; it sounds unlike anything that was out at the time. Like 1982's Beat, Three of a Perfect Pair doesn't quite meet the high standards set by 1981's Discipline, but does contain a few Crimson treats. The opening title track has an unrelenting groove that never seems to let up, while "Sleepless" starts off with Tony Levin laying down some funky bass until Adrian Belew's trademark paranoid vocals kick in and assure the listener that "it's alright to feel a little fear." Also included are the seven-minute instrumental soundscape "Industry," and the cautionary tale of a "Model Man." This would prove to be the new King Crimson's last release for nearly ten years; the group disbanded soon after as its members concentrated on solo careers and other projects, until a mid-'90s reunion brought them all back together. AMG. listen here

John Renbourn - The Enchanted Garden 1980

An unusually enchanting album, even for John Renbourn; The Enchanted Garden is a follow-up to the John Renbourn Group's 1977 A Maid in Bedlam, devoted to medieval and Renaissance dance and classical music, as well as folk material and Indian ragas. The opening "Pavane" and "Tourdion," not to mention the 18th century carol "The Truth from Above" -- all among the prettiest pieces with which Renbourn has been associated -- are the sort of material that Noah Greenberg and New York Pro Musica used to do for classical audiences in the late '50s, and there's a Rameau harpsichord piece transcribed for dulcimer here, as well. Not that they don't "folk out" in various sections of this record -- "The Plains of Waterloo," with Jacqui McShee's vocals, could almost have passed for a Pentangle track, and she turns in one of her best performances ever (rivaling Sandy Denny's best) on the eerie and haunting "The Maid on the Shore" and "A Bold Young Farmer" (in her own arrangement). The dazzling eight-minute finale, "Sidi Brahim," is arguably one of the finest meldings of Eastern and Western musical influences you'll ever hear, with a subtlety and developmental sophistication that would humble George Harrison and Co. John Molineux, who plays the mandolin and dulcimer as well as fiddle, succeeds fiddle player Sue Draheim in the band, which also includes Glen Tommy on snare drum, Tony Roberts on flutes and recorders, and Keshav Sathe on tabla and finger cymbals. AMG. listen here

Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros - Rock Art And the X-Ray Style 1999

It has taken Joe Strummer ten years to follow up on his first solo album, Earthquake Weather, with Rock Art and the X-Ray Style, and while the vocals and occasional moments in the music are identifiable as the work of a man who was once a singer, guitarist, and songwriter in the Clash, no one should purchase this album expecting to hear a direct extension of his old band. Strummer, who helped lead the Clash beyond punk rock to a variety of rhythmic styles, has only expanded his range since, and Rock Art and the X-Ray Style is an album of songs built on often exotic, funky beats, few of which rock very hard. Over those rhythm tracks, Strummer sings highly poetic, apparently freely associative lyrics whose meanings usually seem to be either private to him or just not literal. Unfortunately, the vocals are high in the mix and the musical tracks are subservient to the lyrics (which are printed in the booklet) so that one is left to ponder what Strummer is talking about. Coming back after a decade, even on an independent label, it might have been hoped that Strummer would return to action with a more accessible effort than Rock Art and the X-Ray Style, which is unlikely to re-establish him as a major force in popular music. AMG. listen here

Baba Zula - Gecekondu 2011

Founded in 1996, the band features founding members Levent Akman and Murat Ertel as well as Coşar Kamçı, who replaced original member Emre Onel in 2005. BaBa Zula added live drawing artist Ceren Oykut into the mix in 2004. She left the band in 2010. Her presence onstage had added an important visual aspect to BaBa Zula's live performances. Akman, Ertel, and Onel originally formed Baba Zula as a side project of now disbanded Anatolian rock group Zen.

In 2005 Baba Zula was exposed to a wider international audience when they were featured in a documentary, Crossing the Bridge by Fatih Akin, which took an in-depth look at Istanbul's contemporary and avant-garde music scene.
Musical style

Described as "Turkey’s most beloved alternative music purveyors"[3] Baba Zula create a unique psychedelic sound, combining Traditional Turkish instruments, electronica, reggae and dub. The core of their sound is the saz, a Turkish bouzouki like stringed instrument with a bright, high-pitched sound. AMG. listen here

quarta-feira, 20 de junho de 2012

Tippett Moholo Minafric Orchestra - Live 2008-09-02 Sant'Anna Arresi

For those who are familiar with Louis Moholo's "Viva la Black" from the 1990's (and who may have seen my posts of two albums by this group), I want to point out that this is a re-incarnation in a different size and shape, relaunched in 2004. The constant element is Louis Moholo himself. The new elements are Keith Tippett, who contributes a fair number of the compositions, Julie Tippetts, and the Minafric Orchestra led by the Italian trumpeter Pino Minafra.
As Owen, a frequent and competent commentator on all things Moholo, said, "So, it’s a different Viva la Black [...] for sure, but by no means is it a lesser Viva la Black." listen here

The Smashing Pumpkins - Oceania 2012

Following up on, and in many ways amending, much of the bombastic overcompensation of 2007's Zeitgeist, Smashing Pumpkins 2012 release Oceania is an exuberant, gloriously melodic, fluid return to form for Billy Corgan. While Zeitgeist certainly contained many of the elements that make for a classic Smashing Pumpkins release -- including slabs of distorted guitars, passionate vocals, and poetic lyrics, not to mention drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, who was the sole remaining original member besides Corgan and who subsequently left the band -- there was something cold and perhaps a bit too calculated about the production. Ultimately, Zeitgeist didn't do much to dissuade audiences that Corgan, undeniably the mastermind behind the best Pumpkins work, was now overvaluing his abilities in an attempt to recapture fans disillusioned by his various side projects. Thankfully, none of these concerns are applicable to Oceania. Ostensibly an "album within an album" of the greater 44-track Teargarden by Kaleidyscope concept project, Oceania works as a stand-alone album. Conceptual conceits aside, these are some of the most memorable and rousing songs Corgan has delivered since 1993's Siamese Dream, the album that Oceania most closely mirrors in tone and aesthetic. Which isn't to say that Corgan is treading old ground; on the contrary, there is something fresh and inspired about the songs on Oceania. Admittedly, kicking the album off with the heavy psychedelic acid rock groove of "Quasar" -- in which Corgan croons several EST-era-style affirmations including, "God right on! Krishna right on! Mark right on!" -- is a move that almost begs comparisons to Smashing Pumpkins' euphoria-inducing 1991 single "Siva." A similar sentiment comes to mind with the latter album rocker "The Chimera," a classic rock-sounding groover that sparkles with crisscross laser-beam guitar lines recalling the jewel-toned guitar heroics of Queen's Brian May. But these are welcome comparisons, born out of Corgan finally delivering a gorgeous and cohesive set of songs that balance some his more arch, cerebral inclinations with his generously romantic and sweepingly cinematic gift for revelatory guitar rock. Elsewhere, we get the soaring "Panopticon" and the minor-key, prog rock-inflected drama of "Violet Rays." However, Oceania is perhaps best represented by the euphoric mid-album ballad "Pinwheels." Starting with a repeated keyboard line and building to swells of acoustic and electric guitar before settling into one of the most swoon-worthy melodic anthems Corgan has ever written, "Pinwheels," much like the rest of Oceania, is a masterpiece of pop songcraft and rock production. As Corgan croons on the song's chorus, "Sister soul, lovers of the tune, sing!/I got you/I got you." On Oceania, the Smashing Pumpkins definitely have us. AMG. link removed

Marion Brown - Why Not 1968

Alto saxophonist Marion Brown was an underappreciated hero of the jazz avant-garde. Committed to discovering the far-flung reaches of improvisational expression, Brown nonetheless possessed a truly lyrical voice but was largely ignored in discussions of free jazz of the '60s and '70s. Brown came to New York from Atlanta in 1965. His first session was playing on John Coltrane's essential Ascension album. He made two records for the ESP label in 1965 and 1966 -- Marion Brown Quartet and Why Not? -- and also played on two Bill Dixon soundtracks. It wasn't until his defining Three for Shepp (including Grachan Moncur III and Kenny Burrell) on the Impulse! label in 1966 that critics took real notice. This set, lauded as one of the best recordings of that year, opened doors for Brown (temporarily) to tour. He didn't record for another two years because of extensive European engagements, and in 1968 issued Porto Novo (with Leo Smith) on the Black Lion label. In 1970, Brown recorded Afternoon of a Georgia Faun for the ECM label, his second classic. This date featured Anthony Braxton, Andrew Cyrille, Bennie Maupin, Jeanne Lee, and Chick Corea, among others. In 1973, he cut his second Impulse! session, Geechee Recollections, with Leo Smith. Brown registered at Wesleyan University in the mid-'70s, studying ethnic instruments and black fife-and-drum corps music and maintained a regular recording schedule. He also recorded with Gunter Hampel in the late '70s and '80s, as well as composer Harold Budd on his Pavilion of Dreams album (issued on Brian Eno's Obscure label), Steve Lacy in 1985, Mal Waldron in 1988, and many others. There are numerous duet and solo recordings that may or may not be sanctioned. Due to health problems, Brown didn't record after 1992. After the turn of the millennium he lived for a while at a New York nursing home before moving to an assisted living facility in Florida. Marion Brown died in October of 2010. AMG. listen here

Patti Smith - Banga 2012

In the eight years since Patti Smith's last studio effort of new, original material, Trampin', she's toured, assembled art installations, had her photographs collected for global exhibition, and written Just Kids, a National Book Award-winning memoir. On Banga, Smith marries together her various forms of literary expression with rock and pop in an iconic assemblage. Her collaborators are (mostly) familiar: guitarist Lenny Kaye, drummer Jay Dee Daugherty, bassist Tony Shanahan, guitarist Tom Verlaine, her children Jackson and Jessi, and guitarist Jack Petruzzelli. Italian band Casa del Vento and Johnny Depp also appear. The album is saturated with poetry, sung or spoken -- sometimes both. Its themes range from a non-didactic reflection on environmental crisis, the dominion of art as man's greatest gift to the divine -- as well as its own species -- homages, elegies, and love songs, all offered with authority and tenderness. Musically, the album is absent the dynamic, free-form chaos that marks her earlier recordings, but is better for it. This is true even when the band stretches to improvise forcefully on a theme by Sun Ra in the glorious "Tarkovsky (The Second Stop Is Jupiter)." This is not to say that Banga doesn't rock; it does, all over the place: in the aforementioned cut, in the dramatic "Fuji-San," and in the blistering title track (named for a dog in Mikhail Bulgakov's Master and Margarita). But there are the pop songs, too: the hooky "April's Fool" (a song about nomadic lovers that echoes the themes in Just Kids), the sweet ballad "This Is the Girl," for Amy Winehouse, and the elegant waltz "Maria" (for Maria Schneider). "Mosaic," driven by Daugherty's mandocello riff, is a lush, sensual rocker that spiritually counters the rebellion and betrayal in the album's title cut. "Amerigo," with a lilting backdrop of strings, explores Amerigo Vespucci's vision after discovering the New World. Smith imagines that after encountering its indigenous people, his colonial ideology was turned inside-out. At over ten minutes, "Contantine's Dream," offers a feverish juxtaposition of painter Pierro Della Francesca's death, his painting (the title of the cut), a dream she had of Saint Francis weeping at the current state of the environment in the 21st century, and the ecstatic vision of Columbus as he saw the New World for the first time-- on the same day De Francisca died. Smith's poetic skill -- she improvised the lyrics on the spot -- is astonishing. She pulls it all together with visionary social and spiritual context. The set closes with a lilting cover of Neil Young's "After the Gold Rush," underscoring the previous tune's apocalyptic meaning albeit more gently with a children's chorus on the refrain. Banga is an event; it's not only provocative and expansive lyrically, but abundantly enjoyable musically. As an artist, Smith embodies the highest calling of her vocation: she completely absorbs everything she encounters, then gives it back to the culture in a manner that holistically edifies it. AMG. listen here

terça-feira, 19 de junho de 2012

Nick Haeffner - The Great Indoors 1987

Nick Haeffner's 'The Great Indoors' is a great, lost, quintessentially English project. Echoes of Nick Drake, Kevin Ayers, John Cale, Pink Floyd and Robert Fripp loom large, but Haeffner's originality eclipses his folk, psych- and art-rock influences. There's a deftness, a lightness of touch here that is delightful. Vocally, he's no Caruso, but if you like Eno's vocal work, you'll love this. 'Steel Grey', 'Don't Be Late', and the title track are classic pastoral meditations. The album was recorded in the late eighties, but hasn't dated and is ripe for re-evaluation. listen here