Tag: Consumer Guide

  • Devils We Know

    Pick Hits Todd Snider The Devil You Know New Door In 2004—18 years after he started playing his songs in bars for a living, 10 years after he signed with Jimmy Buffett, a year after he nailed a live best-of for John Prine, and a few months after he went to jail and then the […]

  • History Lessons

    Pick Hits The Klezmatics Wonder Wheel: Lyrics by Woody Guthrie JMG What a treat to have Lorin Sklamberg singing in English, with the gentleness and precision non–Yiddish speakers sense in him elaborated and specified by the dozen Guthrie lyrics Sklamberg and his cohort turn into music. He’s cheery for the neighborhood pep rally, transported for […]

  • All in the Family

    Pick Hits The Rough Guide to Planet Rock World Music Network Fearing Sepultura, Junoon, and Gaia knows what other arena-rock gooney birds, I got something more ethnic instead—16 pieces of folk rock, let’s call it, from 15 different nations, with who else but the U.S. of A. hogging two tracks (two and a half, actually). […]

  • Radicals of the Moment

    Pick Hits The Streets The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living Vice/Atlantic The real reason it’s OK for Mike Skinner to rap about celebrity instead of blokedom is that his skills have leapt a quantum. His comic timing and mixture of slangs—not to mention his musical conception (chorus-sung choruses, a great way for a […]

  • Dear Mr. President

    PICK HITS GHOSTFACE KILLAH Fishscale (Def Jam) With the crack trade making its hip-hop comeback, Ghost fashions a trend record that ranks with any Biggie or Wu CD. Morally, it’s a retrospective—there’s no attempt to convince us that he’s still in the game or wants to return. But neither will he countenance doubt that he […]

  • Radical Comfort

    Pick Hits THE DAVID S. WARE QUARTETS Live in the World (Thirsty Ear) It’s a fine cosmic joke, the way radical sounds turn comforting as they grow old. I’ve played these three CDs for atmosphere during a Vermont retreat, for solace after a disturbing afternoon with my demented 90-year-old dad—for the organic integrity of live […]

  • Old-Fashioned Amenities

    Pick Hits BELL ORCHESTRE Recording a Tape the Colour of the Light (Rough Trade) More Sufjan Stevens or Bang on a Can than Tortoise or Juan McLean, this chamber-pop quintet with Arcade Fire connections varies its cunningly sequenced, gratifyingly brief instrumental tracks with such old-fashioned amenities as textured melodies, pleasing dynamic shifts, and passages that, […]

  • Forever Young

    GOLDEN AFRIQUE VOL. 1 (Network) N’Dour-Keita-Baobab warhorses are few on a Deutschmark-pegged double that homes in on late-’70s Senegal and environs. Where The Music in My Head explodes with independence, this comp honors capitalist-socialist hopes. Tribal identities melt and meld in cities where immigrants are hungry for more than drums drums drums. Beyond mbalax and […]

  • Extraordinary Machines

    PICK HITS THELONIOUS MONK QUARTET Thelonious Monk Quartet With John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall (Blue Note) Funny ha ha and funny peculiar, Monk’s startling block chords, disdain for the romantic arpeggio, and flat-out genius have long rendered him rock’s favorite jazz pianist, and the spiritual ambition of Coltrane’s endless sheets of sound left a deeper […]

  • Who Needs Boxes 2005

    THE SOUND OF THE CITY: NEW ORLEANS (EMI) Surely some exploiter will step forward, or wouldn’t it be nice if the Smithsonian strong-armed licensors into sluicing royalties right to the Ninth Ward? But with Rhino’s three-LP canon long ago put under and Shout! Factory’s four-CD Doctors, Professors, Kings & Queens tourist-board hype, this Charlie Gillett […]

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