Casual Listening

a review of cool new music

by Jeff Pinzino


April 24, 2010

 

! Kings Go Forth - The Outsiders Are Back (R&B)

 

Kings Go Forth are a straight-up 70’s soul express.  The band is a well-oiled machine – choral vocals, horns, and lots of percussion (bongos!).  You’ll hear whispers of funk, disco, and hip hop because each of those genres drew on this style for source material.  Somewhere, Curtis Mayfield is smiling.

 

Listen to Kings Go Forth “I Don’t Love You No More

 

* Ozomatli - Fire Away (rock)

 

Latin-tinged funk with a capital PH (that’s PHunk!).   They’ve got a robust sound with electric guitars, keyboard, horns, keyboards - the backdrop for your next outdoor party.

 

Listen to Ozomatli “Elysian Pesuasion

 

Cage Match!

 

Willie Nelson  - County Music (country)

Merle Haggard - I Am What I Am (country)

 

The contest: gumfight

 

In this corner, the red-headed stranger, the pony-tailed, bandana-ed veteran of country music, and every other music, Willie Nelson! (WILL-AAAAAAAAAY!)

 

In this corner, The Hag, the outlaw’s outlaw, still chewin’ it up and spittin’ it out, the one, the only, Merle Haggard! (HAAAAAAAAAAAAAG!)

 

The dusty street clears out, the two gumfighters face each other.  Willie draws!  He’s packin’ Hubba Bubba!  Merle draws!  He’s packin’ Hubba Bubba too!  OOOOOOHHHH!  Both go classic style, but this one’s anybody’s chew!  Merle looks like he did in the golden age of Honky Tonk, and although he’s mellowed with age, he’s still got plenty of fight in him.  Willie looks like he’s channeling the old-time gumfighters – Ernest Tubb, Mother Maybelle Carter, and Bill Monroe - those guys would out-gum you with one tooth tied behind their back.  The bubbles come out!  Merle’s is a little rough, while Willie’s is smooth, almost too smooth for his own good.  This is too close!  Dadgummit!  POP!  POP!  It’s Mearle by a hair! (HAAAAAAAAAAAAAG!)

 

Listen to Willie Nelson “Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down

Listen to Merle Haggard “I’ve Seen it Go Away

 

And if you have no idea what a gumfight is, you need to watch this.

 

The Apples in Stereo - Travellers in Space and Time (rock)

 

Music for androids.  This half-organic, half-electronic pop uses 21st century technology to achieve the same kind of musical fusion that blinded Thomas Dolby with science twenty years back.

 

Listen to The Apples In Stereo “Dream About the Future

 

Glee: The Music, The Power of Madonna (vocal)

 

Okay, so it’s a bunch of Madonna covers by a TV choir.  Do you remember just how good classic Madonna is?

 

Listen to Glee “Express Yourself

 

Trio Globo - Steering by the Stars (jazz)

 

Ask any harmonica player worth his Hohner who’s the best in the world and more often than not you’ll hear the name Howard Levy.  He’s never put out an album under his own name, although he shows up in the most unlikely places.  Trio Globo is one of his semi-regular gigs - a jazz ensemble that draws influences from all over the world.  The jazz is good, and the harp playing is in a class by itself.

 

Listen to Trio Globo “Steering by the Stars