January 15, 2010

 

* Vampire Weekend – Contra (world)

* La Otrabanda – Pueblo Vivo/Vibrant People (world)

Two impressive releases with a cosmopolitan vibe bode well for new directions in global fusion.  Vampire Weekend combines pop instincts and bouncy energy with southern African rhythms and guitar styles.  La Otrabanda combines Venezuelan, American, and a smattering of other musical traditions to create a sound with mellower, dreamier grooves.  Vampire Weekend’s production is expansive, including tasteful electronics alongside xylophones, assorted percussion, occasional strings and a core of guitar/bass/drums.  La Ortrabanda isn’t far behind, with a rock band augmented by acoustic guitar, cuatro, percussion, and even bagpipes on one tune.  Both of these represent the possibility of adventurous sounds infiltrating unsuspecting American ears.

Listen to Vampire Weekend “White Sky

Listen to La Otrabanda “Indigenas

 

* Ray Wylie Hubbard – A. Enlightenment  B. Endarkenment (Hint: There Is No C) (country)

Hubbard’s is the Americana of fallen angels.  He’s drawn to the redemption of old gospel hymns, but is more at home with hard-living blues and honky-tonk.  His sound digs deep in the gutbucket with bottleneck slide, blue harmonica, and a voice with edges like a chainsaw.  His lyrics reveal a literary mind and a barroom brawler’s fists.

Listen to Ray Wylie Hubbard “Drunken Poet’s Dream

 

Sean Corbett – Keep On Walkin’ (R&B)

Louisiana-style keyboard funk that’d give Dr. John himself a mischevious grin.  Horns and backup singers build a thick sound over a rhythm section that cooks.

 

Listen to Sean Corbett “Keep On Walkin’

 

T-Model Ford – The Ladies Man (blues)

T-Model is one of the last of the backwoods bluesmen, and on this album delivers a stripped-down acoustic set that’s miles deep.  If Lightnin’ Hopkins were still around, he’d be making albums like this one.

Listen to T-Model Ford “Two Trains

 

 

* highly recommended

! highest recommendation

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