Casual Listening

a review of cool new music

by Jeff Pinzino

 

January 22, 2010

 

! Eels – End Times (rock)

Heaven help us if the end of the world sounds this beautiful.   The songwriting sparkles like diamonds intentionally left in the rough.  Simple guitar on some tracks, pedal steel and electronics fill in behind the band on others.  The apocalyptic theme that runs through this song cycle works to intensify a sense of nostalgia and isolation.  Above all, these are songs that will bear a hundred listens without getting old.

 

Listen to Eels “End Times’

 

* Makoto Ozone featuring No Name Horses – Jungle (jazz)

Listening to a great big band is one of the true pleasures of jazz.  Ozone’s manages to do it all – heavy swing, sizzling mambo, and several modern compositions that show the potential of the form to cover new ground.  Big brass, lots of percussion, and fluid piano work from Ozone.

Listen to Makoto Ozone “Coconuts Meeting

 

 

Sizzla – Crucial Times (reggae)

Sunny Jamaican roots music with a heavy dose of Rastafarian devotion.  Electric organ and saxes bounce along with Sizzla’s rubberband voice, along with a couple of tracks with more experimental settings.

Listen to Sizzla “Precious Gift

 

 

Tracy Thornton – Steel Drum Fever (world)

Carnival time is coming, and in Trinidad, that means steel drum bands playing in the streets.  This is a representative set of Calypso and other party music that’ll help melt away the snow.

Listen to Tracy Thornton“Bum Shaker

 

 

* highly recommended

! highest recommendation

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