Category Archives: Music Reviews

Tori Amos’ New Album: Night of Hunters

published at eburban

Tori Amos, with a fabulously extensive history of making music that pushes the envelope, has managed to produce her most cohesive, compelling album in recent times, Night of Hunters.

Although Amos has been known on past records to allow classical themes and patterns to surface through otherwise playful arrangements, this particular project is unique. She has taken inspiration from well-known classical pieces, both contemporary and historical, and has taken them in a new direction, intensely and effectively telling the story of a woman on a journey of self-discovery.

Read more here.

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New Album Review: How to Dress Well – Just Once EP

published at mvremix.com

Just Once is an EP recently released by How to Dress Well, the stage name of Brooklyn R&B/lo-fi artist Tom Krell. His sophomore effort, Just Once leaves much to be desired with respect to musical capability. Krell’s initial work, prior to his debut album Love Remains, was lo-fi, reminiscent of 80′s and 90′s R&B. In his latest release, Krell brings the R&B sound to a new realm, combining ethereal ambient orchestral arrangements with his usual style. The resulting soundscapes are stunning and creative – until the vocals are added in.

Read more here!

 

New Music Review! Lisa Jaeggi – Epic Epic

published at eburban.com

“Epic Epic, Lisa Jaeggi’s sophomore effort, is indeed epic. The Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter, describes her style as “skateboard acoustic soul”, which is probably the most accurate description. Her style has also been described as anti-folk, although her incredible story-telling abilities display how well she has captured the essence of folk – observing and responding to her environment, commenting on life as she sees it.”

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Music Review: Philip Gibbs – The Petroleum Age

published at muzikreviews.com

The Petroleum Age
is a pleasantly simple, down to earth album, great for background summer evening listening. A past-meets-future venture blending sounds of Americana with rockabilly, Philip Gibbs’ fourth studio release will reach particularly close to the hearts of Texan listeners. Gibbs fondly recounts the stories of the fights put up by Sam Houston (“Sam Houston’s Blues”) and Stephen F. Austin (“Stephen F. Austin’s Blues”) against General Santa Anna in Texas’s fight for freedom….Although the first few tracks remain enticing and impactful, towards the middle of the album the quality begins to decline. “To Block You From My Eyes” is painful to listen to and Gibbs would do well not to model any further tracks on this one. Although the guitar work is pleasant and enjoyable, blunt and heavy vocals detract too much from it to allow for success. Around the sixth track, “In the Middle of the Evening”, the balance between a “down-home” natural style and an under produced lack of musicianship is lost, making the remainder of the album a chore to get through.

Music Review! : Brown Recluse – Evening Tapestry

published at mvremix.com

Sunshiny and warm at first listen, Brown Recluse (named after a poisonous spider for some unfathomable reason) is good at what it does – faithfully reproducing the sounds of indie pop giants like Belle and Sebastian and Of Montreal, even Neutral Milk Hotel at several turns. Well-harmonized, upbeat and catchy, Evening Tapestry succeeds at being a fun background album – a good choice for driving or an afternoon workout. What it does not even begin to do is anything new.


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New Music Review! MonkeyJunk – To Behold

published at http://www.eburban.com

Upon being asked about his passion for his music, delta blues legend Son House said “I’m talkin’ ‘bout the blues, I ain’t talkin’ ‘bout monkey junk”. And thus was born the quirky name of the equally quirky contemporary blues band MonkeyJunk. Blending delta blues, soul boogie, and country with modern presentation, MonkeyJunk boasts an innovative and creative approach to the blues on To Behold. Steve Marriner, Tony D, and Matt Sobb, play well off of each other, seamlessly creating an upbeat, catchy sound that has really started to be noticed on the blues scene in Europe and the States.

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New Music Review! White Hills – H-p1

published at mvremix.com

The latest from psychedelic/space-rock sensations White Hills is a real journey that listener and artist take together, sometimes easy and enjoyable, but largely an uphill struggle with debatable promise of a reward at the end. Self-described as a political statement against a government “co-opted and controlled by corporations,” H-p1 is exuberant, alive, and natural. In its loyalty to a “natural” sound, however, the band sacrifices the importance it places on well-polished presentation. Angsty, cacophonic and exhilarating in its chaotic message, H-p1 is very clearly a personal offering, composed more for emotion than for musical coherence.

Read more here.

New music review! Eli Cook – Ace, Jack and King

published at muzikreviews.com

Blues lovers, get ready to have your socks knocked off. Blues rock guitarist Eli Cook has surpassed even the highest expectations on his latest album Ace, Jack and King. With all the cards on the table, Cook takes on acoustic bits, blues rock, and everything in between. The album is evenly split between originals and covers, indistinguishable to listeners who are not familiar with blues greats Skip James, Charles Brown and Rev. Gary Davis.

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New Music Review! Paul Simon – Still Crazy After All These Years

Paul Simon, half of the dynamic duo Simon and Garfunkel, has been iconic in the musical environment since the 70’s, when his solo career took off. His third solo album, Still Crazy After All These Years, just re-mastered and re-released by Sony Legacy – complete with bonus tracks – is a representative sampler of how Simon’s style began to evolve.

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Summer listening, anyone? #10 in the top ten summer songs!

I think I might be able to say with some conviction that warm weather has finally started here in wintry Chi-town. It’s been cold even while it’s masqueraded as summer for a while now, and I for one will be thrilled when it actually IS summer.

But in preparation – and wishful thinking – I found myself thinking about what it is that’s so different about summer music. There are some all time favorites. And there are some that are just my own associations, for known or unknown reasons.

I hope you enjoy what I’ve come up with!

#10 – My Girl by the Temptations

There’s probably not a single person who hasn’t heard this song and swayed, snapped fingers or bobbed a head to the catchy beat. The melody starts off and kind of creeps under your skin, making it nigh impossible to stay still while you listen to David Ruffin’s rich, round voice.

The key change around minute 2 makes the whole song swell up around you, wishing you had a girl (or guy, I suppose) that makes you feel like you have “sunshine on a cloudy day” or “when it’s cold outside, … the month of May”.

My big association with this song was when I was in high school. I played for the high school orchestra, and we had a crazy director, a young black man named Mr. Planks. We had a concert for Black History Month during which we first played an arrangement of “My Girl”, and then we played it again for our Pops concert in May.

But it wasn’t the song that truly made those times memorable. It was that poor Mr. Planks could not direct this song with any degree of decorum. He would dance, snap, and shake it. That man could shake it like no other. And the audience enjoyed our song that much more for it.

 

Stay tuned for #9!