music blog

Monthly Archives: April 2012

Where were you then? Greenpoint vocalist Shelley Hirsch and Swiss keyboardist composer/arranger Simon Ho’s new CD is an evocative, nostalgic, and stylistic exploration of personal and cultural memory.

Personnel: Shelley Hirsch (vocals); Simon Ho (accordion, piano, organ, keyboards, sequencer); Karel Boeschoten, Misa Stefanovic (violin); Stephanie Griffith, Sibylla Leuenberger, Karri Koivukoski, Daniela Bertschinger (viola); David Gattiker, David Inniger, Kathrin Boegli, Tomas Ulrich (cello); Dave Hofstra (tuba); Tony Buck, Michael Suchorsky (drums, percussion); David Simons, Andi Hug (drums).

mp3 320 kbps | 144 MB | DF

Exploring musical genres of Americana, Modern Folk, Alternative-Country, and Bluegrass, Susie Fitzgerald’s debut album, Plenty, follows the arc of a year-long trajectory of reinvention.Musically, Plenty is as diverse as the landscape it travels.  From the old-timey, honky-tonk waltz, “No Drinkin’ Alone” to the Sanskrit-infused “Making, Making, Someday Made”, the album includes hints of George Jones, Norah Jones, and Alison Krauss, with a splash of George Harrison measured into the vibe.

mp3 320 kbps | 93 MB | DF | TB

Bristol songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Nick Talbot’s fourth album for Warp is a gorgeously hallucinatory affair, marking a slight shift towards late-80s/early-90s psychedelia. The Ghost … occasionally conjures up the Stone Roses’s gentler moments, the hymnal sections of Spacemen 3′s Playing With Fire and the Church’s hazy masterpiece, Priest = Aura. And yet, for all the melancholy beauty, there’s an atmosphere of quiet disturbance which makes it chime eerily with our times. The sense of creeping unease is typified by The Foundry, which begins with a plangent electronic intro like something off the Eno-led Roxy Music debut, but veers into an essay on the everyday origins of evil, crystallized in the malevolent main character. These are terrific, understated songs with a church-like serenity, but hooks that reel you in, too: the endlessly repeated guitar motif on Circadian; the way the sublime The Prize gathers momentum towards a frazzled climax. It adds up to a beautifully haunting set, and the sense that Talbot is surely among music’s best-kept secrets.

mp3 320 kbps | 122 MB | DF | TB

Few female R&B stars enjoyed the kind of consistent acclaim Etta James received throughout a career that spanned six decades; the celebrated producer Jerry Wexler once called her “the greatest of all modern blues singers,” and she recorded a number of enduring hits, including “At Last,” “Tell Mama,” “I’d Rather Go Blind,” and “All I Could Do Was Cry.” At the same time, despite possessing one of the most powerful voices in music, James only belatedly gained the attention of the mainstream audience, appearing rarely on the pop charts despite scoring 30 R&B hits, and she lived a rough-and-tumble life that could have inspired a dozen soap operas, battling drug addiction and bad relationships while outrunning a variety of health and legal problems.

mp3 VBR~234 kbps | 554 MB | DF

Tony Banks / Composer

Charlie Siem / Violin *Blade
Martin Robertson / Alto Saxophone *Siren
The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and Lucie Svehlova / Orchestra and Concert-master
Paul Englishby / Orchestrator


mp3 320 kbps | 117 MB | DF

True is the first Willie Wisely Trio album after an 18 year hiatus.  True merges pop-rock sounds with an eclectic mix of Dixieland Jazz, waltzes, and blues.  Likewise, the lyrics range from light subjects to more sentimental, as in the album’s title song, “True.”

mp3 160 kbps | 82 MB | DF | TB

This astounding collection of 13 original demo recordings by Carole King featuring many of her most famous songs is being released for the very first time! This collection traces King’s journey from her days as an Aldon Music staff song writer in the 60s crafting hits for other artists, to the dawn of her own triumphant solo career in the 1970s and her legendary Tapestry album release. The Legendary Demos proves once and for all precisely why she is the most successful and revered female singer/songwriter in music history.

mp3 320 kbps | 99 MB | DF | TB

Two CD live release from this side project led by Asia members John Wetton and Geoff Downes.The concerts included four gigs in Japan, which took place in Fukuoka (February 7), Osaka (February 9), concluding with two performances in Tokyo, on February 11 and 12.Happy to return to Japan after their successful sold out 2007/08 tours of the country with the reunion of the four original members of Asia and their sold out tours with the Wetton/Downes’ Icon project in prior years, Wetton and Downes decided to record the performances for subsequent release of an ‘Icon’ double disc live collection.

mp3 320 kbps | 284 MB | DF

Looking back on the career of guitarist and composer Wayne Krantz, the unmistakable trend of “reinvention” is impossible to miss. From his early work with artists such as Randy Brecker, Leni Stern and Steely Dan, among others, through a succession of highly lauded solo recordings, Krantz has continuously evolved and pushed himself into new directions. Revered for years for his forward-thinking approach to improvisation (brilliantly documented in his 2004 book An Improviser’s OS), Krantz has fearlessly branched into new areas, while consistently skirting the edges of jazz, rock and fusion.With Howie 61, Krantz demonstrates once again that he is more than just a guitar player, more than just an improviser; he is, in fact, a genre-defying visionary whose musicality is expressible in a myriad of ways. By combining that vision with an all-star cast and a stunning collection of engrossing, smart compositions, Howie 61 may be the most significant album of Krantz’s career.

mp3 320 kbps | 91 MB | DF | TB

Blues Funeral finds Mark Lanegan drawing inspiration from the past six years, which saw the former Screaming Trees front man collaborating with Belle and Sebastian’s Isobel Campbell, Queens of the Stone Age and the Twilight Singers, and forming the Gutter Twins with Greg Dulli. Blues Funeral, Lanegan’s seventh solo album and second under the attention-diverting Mark Lanegan Band moniker, rings like the death knell for the singer’s early acoustic-based work, with returning producer/musician Alain Johannes (Eleven, Queens of the Stone Age) and legendary drummer Jack Irons helping Lanegan to further flesh out his favored brand of dead-slow rock.

Flac + Covers | 449 MB | DF

Pokey LaFarge weaves 12 timeless originals into the fabric of Americana. Calling upon the soul of Ray Charles just as much as the imagery of Townes van Zandt, “Beat, Move, and Shake” creates a delightful blend of quirky pop and delta-meets-appalachia country blues. Backed by an unfaltering bet on an upright bass, Pokey picks at his guitar and lets his voice float freely in an album whose title will prove to be it’s best description.

mp3 320 kbps | 98 MB | DF | TB

Marty Stuart returns with this marvelous, if frustratingly brief, 30 minute album of traditional styled county originals. His appropriately named Fabulous Superlatives touring band is joined by a few guests, but this batch of wonderful songs that wrap themselves around oft-recorded C&W topics of truck driving, heartaches and lots of loneliness captures a rootsy groove that’ll make you forget all of Nashville’s slick qualities and love country and western all over again. In that sense it’s a continuation of Stuart’s career. The singer is in fine voice and seems inspired by this outlaw move to revive the time-honored music he loved when he first hit Nashville as an impressionistic kid in 1972.

mp3 192 kbps | 45 MB | DF

Released shortly after the unexpected comeback success of 2007′s Dirt Farmer, Levon Helm And The RCO All-Stars / American Son is a two-albums-on-one-CD set that reissues Levon Helm’s first two solo records. Released in 1977, Levon Helm And The RCO All-Stars maintains the loose, rangy feel of the Band’s The Last Waltz sets, featuring a number of vintage old R&B and early rock-and-roll songs. American Son (1980), Helm’s best known solo record, is a country-tinged collection of soulful rockers recorded in Nashville as the drummer and actor was filming a major part in the film Coal Miner’s Daughter. The All-Stars were a dream aggregation of of Levon Helm’s favourite musicians, including names like Mac Rebennack (aka Dr. John), Paul Butterfield, Booker T. Jones, Donald “Duck” Dunn, Steve Cropper, Tom Malone, Alan Rubin and the two old-timers Henry Glover and Fred Carter from the Hawks-period. Only one track, “Blues So Bad”, was written by Levon himself. The songs, recorded partly at Shangri-La and partly at Levon’s own RCO studio in Woodstock, were mostly good-time, bar-band rhythm and blues, disappointing Band fans that still were hoping for material more like the early Band albums. Levon Helm and the RCO All Stars stopped at #142 on the album chart, despite several innovative attempts to promote the album, including a mega release party and some very memorable live dates with the All-Stars.

mp3 320 kbps | 190 MB | DF | TB

The songwriting/performing quartet of Brian Hunt, Brian Krumm, Brian Leach, and Christian Moder plays deliberate blues-rock, the tempos usually slow, in guitar/keyboards/bass/drums arrangements to support gravel-filled baritone vocals full of references to barrooms, drinking, and romantic troubles. “Porch Song” has some of the boogie feel of ZZ Top, while “Heathers Will Haunt You” recalls ZZ Top’s big influence John Lee Hooker. “November” brings in a slightly Western flavor. But for the most part, the music plods along as the singer throatily complains in lyrics that have a conversational tone and sometimes don’t quite fit the music underlying them. By the end, in the acoustic ballad “The First Spilled Drink of the Evening,” the singer is sitting alone at the bar musing about a missing loved one who may or may not have absconded to England, provoking a lengthy speculation about what tourist sites she may be seeing there if she did. If she returns, the singer promises, he’ll order them doubles. It sounds as if he himself has already had a few.

mp3 160 kbps | 60 MB | DF | TB

Formed eight years ago by drummer Jeff Ballard with fellow Brad Mehldau partner Larry Grenadier on bass and saxophonist Mark Turner(one of the most resourceful and independent sax newcomers of the last decade), the New York trio Fly is an exchange between equals, not a sax-led charge over a rhythm section. Though it falls into the territory sometimes dubbed “chamber-jazz”, Year of the Snake is up there with Fly’s best work, with its rustling fast grooves and languid horn lines, and pieces that open on almost impossibly pure high-register long tones. The swaying Salt and Pepper is as coolly jazzy a piece as any diehard could wish for, and a glide over fizzy drumming on the title track turns into a patiently spun improvisation. Grenadier’s lovely tone and Ballard’s blend of subtle textural playing and whiplash power complete one of the great contemporary jazz small groups.

mp3 VBR~237 kbps | 112 MB | DF | TB

  Bob Wayne undoubtedly has a great Country voice and has developed an Outlaw look and stance that could frighten a Hell’s Angel, and boy can he write a Country tune but that’s where the good stuff ends. Not every song on TILL THE WHEELS FALL OFF is littered with gratuitous bad language or a very casual approach to drug taking but too many are and they are what he appears to want to be known for.

mp3 192 kbps | 69 MB | DF

Greg Laswell just announced that he will release his new album Landline,on Vanguard Records. This album features 11 songs and even includes a collaboration with Sara Bareilles on the song Come Back Down.The album was recorded in a church-turned-house owned by his wife’s parents in Maine, where cell-phone reception was unavailable, forcing Laswell to use landlines for all of his calls, thus the inspiration for the title of the album.

mp3 320 kbps | 98 MB | DF