atlas genius - inanimate objects (2015)

this is not music i normally gravitate towards.

it is more in step with what my kids are listening to - so i figured i would give this a spin.

the stone mill bleeds right into molecules. "it falls and rises up again" is the lyric that repeats again and again. transitioning to a "safety dance" synth groove.

stockholm begins with guitars enter the sports anthem drumming and the guitar riff from the 80's new wave song.

always interesting to hear how the old plays into the new. a drum beat from the 70's. a synth line from the early 80's. a guitar line from the mid 80's. a vocal style of today.

by the time refugees begins i feel they have defined their sound and they aren't going anywhere new with it. my hope is that in the next seven tracks they will give me something to boggle my ears.

a perfect end comes close. one of the better produced songs so far on the album.

friendly apes with its duran duran undertones and power station finish passes by quickly.

friends with enemies is the slow, semi-ethereal track.

where i belong is the concert closer.

balladino is the encore.

the city we grow is a very poppy throw away tune.

levitate is the acoustic song. the one for the teen guy to sing to his girlfriend and play at the talent show.

not overly impressed with this one. background music for the z generation.

star rating: * [of 5]


eva quartet & hector zazou - the arch (elen music, 2014)

eva quartet & hector zazou - the arch (elen music, 2014)

hector zazou's name on a production means that you are guaranteed a treat for the ears. the arch is no exception. and it takes doing some homework just to realize the breadth of talent from which is drawn upon to make this work.

this release comes posthumously 5 years after the death of zazou and brings into the mix more than 50 musicians from all realms of music, including: laurie anderson, robert fripp, bill frisell, ryuichi sakamoto and many others.

at the core of this recording are four bulgarian vocalists cherry picked from the radio choir known best for the le mystere des voix bulgares recordings. the result is softer and subtle, pleasant for the ears, but potentially disappointing for those expecting groundbreaking new sounds.

rating: *** (out of 5)

foster the people - "supermodel" (columbia, 2014)

foster the people - supermodel (columbia, 2014)

it was important that ftp didn't just deliver "pumped up kicks 2."

here then is a quick walk-through the new release.

so it is welcome ears that receive latin-laced "are you what you want to be?" slight harken back to message in the bottle era sting vocal riffing.

acoustic strains and claps guide draw the listener into "ask yourself." the smiths are back (strains of "hand in glove") and bleeding into the now signs of today. "is this the life you've been waiting for?"

"coming of age" seems to be the theme.with questions like "are you what you want to be?" and "is this the life you've been waiting for?" kicking off the A-side.

digging this lilting, latin guitar lead-in to "nevermind." voice floating over. "life can bloom when something breaks." "you gotta find what you're looking for." "it's hard to know the truth."

"the angelic welcome..." draws to mind todd rundgren.

"best friend" is the song for the dance party. ("celebrate...it will be alright." this seems like the old foster the people. doesn't quite fit with the artsy ensemble i've been hearing thus far.

"a beginner's guide to destroying the moon" gets us back on track. heavier guitars. "staring at the moon. wondering why the bottom fell out." falsetto alternating with speaking voice. with a bit of beasty shout thrown in for measure.

i love the title "goats in trees" because i've recently seen pictures...of goats in trees. it certainly is madness.

part of coming of age is searching for "the truth." the meditation for the 10th song on this disc. "there is a truth...there is a hope." an inkling of faith...maybe.

"fire escape" begins very bare bones. voice with a small room reverb and untainted guitar. "save yourself" an invitation? pimps and prostitutes the company of one who was.

closing out an album of seeking. in all those places we seek. dance parties and eighties music included. this is an album for dreamers and believers and seekers.

rating: **** (out of 5)


the cure – “4:13 dream” (geffen, 2008)

the cure age fairly well. in fact i rather liked this release.

smith and crew continue to draw from the same palette of sounds as we’ve heard for the past 20 odd years: chimes, layered, heavily chorused guitars. the drums are heavier and the mix more modern (more low end on drums and bass, crisper on robert’s vocal).

“underneath the stars” is moody and warm. it is the cure set in a contemporary sound.

“the only one” has a very classic “love cats”-like sound.

“the reason why” is a bit dark, bit over the top. “the real snow white” is certainly one of the stronger tracks.

“i know the dress was tight but it was all i had to wear.” the other track that stands out is “this. here and now. with you.” like the distorted bass and over-effected guitar lines.

star rating: *** [of 5]

the cure - "greatest hits" (elektra, 2001)

looking for a cure fix?

the hits are all hear. spanning 1979 to 2002 (pre-release) this collection does pull together some of their greatest. i kept tabs on the cure for roughly the first half of the songs, from “boys don’t cry” (off the album by the same name) to “love song” (off disintigration).

rating: **** (out of 5)

Branford Marsalis “Contemporary Jazz” (Columbia, 2001)

Branford Marsalis – Saxophones
Joey Caladerazzo – Piano
Jeff “Tain” Watts – Drums
Eric Revis – Bass
Recorded 12/1-4/1999 Bearsville, NY

In the Crease – Great opening track. This is what I wanted ot hear when I picked up this CD. Classy, elegant, great playing across the board.

Requiem – Things  slow down a bit with this elegant ballad.

Elysium – My 7 year old thought this onde sounded like music from a Tom & Jerry cartoon. More free flowing. Sax scurrying. Piano chasing. Drums effecting. And then they all catch the groove.

Cheek to Cheek – Just watched Fred & Ginger in “Top Hat” the other night. Was nice to catch this rendition.

Tain Mutiny – Lots of drums in this one from Jeff “Tain” Watts.

Countronious Rex – Brings you into a jazz house for a bit of southern style jazz fun.

Rating: **** (out of 5)


silversun pickups - carnavas (2007)

take the vocal of the three o’clock, the wall of sound of the smashing pumpkins, the driving bass of the pixies, the quirkiness of the throwing muses and then throw in a bit of t-rex pop-styling and interesting guitar layering of spoon for good measure; blend it up; and you’ve got the silversun pickups.

this l.a. quartet features vocalist, guitarist brian aubert, bass player nikki monninger, drummer christopher guanlao and keyboardist joe lester. like many quintessential ‘80s bands (pixies, smashing pumpkins, concrete blonde).

the female bass player is back in as are the keyboards (a staple of 80’s alternative fare).

on carnavas, these guys draw upon some of the best of the late ‘80s cool influences to paint an interesting array of tracks.

star rating: *** [of 5]

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