Casual Listening

a review of cool new music

by Jeff Pinzino

 

January 29, 2010

 

! Corinne Bailey Ray – The Sea (rock)

Writing a convincing love song is almost as hard as love itself.  Corinne Bailey Ray makes it sound impossibly easy.  She lends a perfectly bittersweet delivery to this collection of pop-soul beauties.  Impressionistic guitars and tasteful use of strings makes this feel already like a classic.

 

Listen to Corinne Bailey Ray “Are You Here?’

 

* Four Tet – There is Love in You (electronic)

This is electronic artistry designed for headphones, not the dance floor.  Four Tet employs a warm, clean palate of slowly shifting sounds reminiscent of bells, chimes, cymbals, and voices.  Four Tet’s music is utilitarian in the best sense, a slow-turning kaleidoscope that gently agitates your mind.

Listen to Four Tet “Circling

 

Eric Bibb – Booker’s Guitar (blues)

For a bluesman, having a chance to touch the strings of the guitar of a musical ancestor like Booker (Bukka) White is a fairy tale come true.  Eric Bibb was inspired enough by the experience to write an album’s worth of fables.  He channels ancient spirits into new blues, and the emotional power is palpable.

Listen to Eric Bibb “With My Maker I Am One

 

Pat Metheny – Orchestrion (jazz)

Metheny ups the instrumental ante in wiring an orchestra like a player piano.  His jazz fusion guitar riffs still cascade over the top, but the breadth of sound possibilities available make these recordings stand out.

Listen to Pat Metheny“Orchestrion

And see the Orchestrion in action here.

 

Youssou N’Dour – Music From The Motion Picture “I Bring What I Love” (world)

One of the most famous voices in world music finally gets his close-up on the silver screen.  The soundtrack puts his Senegalese pop in a more deliberately global setting, which N’Dour takes in stride.

Listen to “Mame Bamba/Touba - Daru Salaam

 

Cyrille Aimee & Diego Figueiredo – Smile (jazz)

A reminder of the power of a simple voice and guitar.  Aimee has tremendous vocal control, and Figueiredo’s guitar is powerful yet understated.  Cabaret, Bossa Nova, and jazz standards all rub elbows comfortably here.

Listen to Cyrille Aimee & Diego Figueiredo “La Vie En Rose

 

Citay – Dream Get Together (rock)

 

I’m risking my critic’s credibility in admitting that I love a good jam band.  Citay is one of the best I’ve heard in a long while.  Acoustically based with vocal harmonies and a swirl of psychedelic classic rock.  This band deserves their own Ben & Jerry’s flavor.

Listen to Citay “Return From Silence

It’s an amazing week for music, and I’ve just scratched the surface.  Great stuff also out by Patty Griffin, Magnetic Fields, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Fredrik, Lady Antebellum, Never Shout Never, Basement Jaxx, Brooklyn Rider, Gorevette.

 

* highly recommended

! highest recommendation

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