Avi Avital and Omer Avital
Avital Meets Avital
When Avi met Omer—here’s what happened. Avi plays classical mandolin, and Omer plays jazz bass and oud. Some of the best, most exciting and intellectually stimulating jazz coming out these days is from the Middle East and North Africa. If you’re not listening to it yet, this would be a great introduction. Along with the two leaders, there’s Yonathan Avishai (piano) and Itamar Doari (percussion). The nine tracks start off with the soaring, dramatic “Zamzama,” then dip down deep into romance with “Lonely Girl.” And so it goes. Want swagger, atmosphere and melancholy? Glad these two guys met.
– Bruce Collier
Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie
Lindsey Buckingham / Christine McVie
Despite being well into their 60s, these Fleetwood Mac alum prove they’ve still got it. Though it’s a far cry from the impassioned near-growl heard in “The Chain” on Rumours, Buckingham’s voice still compels with its raw, emotion-inspiring edge in “Love is Here to Stay.” Likewise, “Game of Pretend” is highlighted by McVie’s still-clear, amplified voice oozing with hushed emotion just as it did in “Songbird” all those years ago. While the album is mostly comprised of lively tracks that lean more towards adult contemporary than rock, there’s a reborn familiarity to it that offers way more than just nostalgic whimsy.
– Joni Williams
Pensacola-based Big Lo continues his unique approach to hip-hop music. Each release is an indictment of the corners of pop culture, holding a mirror up to ourselves and reflecting on society as a whole. There is nothing inherently wrong about party music in any genre, but Big Lo helps light the way to intellectual and enjoyable hip-hop that paints a story of our modern times. He uses the phrase “calculated chaos” in one of his tracks, and that’s the most appropriate phrase to describe Wunderland Apokalypse—each listener will walk away with a different take on this multidimensional album.
– Nikki Hedrick
Crack-Up, the third album from the folk band Fleet Foxes, is their first release in six years, following their highly acclaimed Helplessness Blues in 2011, a hiatus, and frontman Robin Pecknold’s decision to pursue his BA at Columbia University. They have undergone changes and felt pressures both personal and of the world at large, and as a result, have created an album of immense depth, interiority and beauty. Their work is as stunning and affecting as ever, with a newfound level of experimentation to match Pecknold’s songwriting about his earnest search for a sense of place in a tumultuous world.
– Jane Morgan
Pianist Ahmad Jamal celebrates his 87th birthday July 2. He has more than just longevity to toast. His latest album, Marseille, was recorded near Paris, and features eight tracks, with piano, double bass, drums and percussion. The title song itself receives three distinct interpretations, one instrumental, vocals—plus French rap? This jazz legend worked with a heady list of legends himself, and he pays homage to several (Lee Morgan, Miles Davis) throughout the album. Even when he’s being elusive, his technique is just plain amazing—disciplined, playful and not out to impress anybody. Which is exactly what it does.
– Bruce Collier
Melodrama, the sophomore album from 20-year-old pop singer Lorde, is the most electrifying and emotional release of the year. Through soaring, infectious pop, vulnerable ballads, and the occasional menacing beat, Lorde finds joy and power in her confrontation of heartbreak and consideration of vulnerability. She embraces the messiness and largeness of the feelings that inevitably come with your first life-altering heartache, from self-doubt and loneliness to anger and nostalgia, and, finally, to unleashed independence. These are songs for every stage of sadness and self-renewal, and they further reward and captivate the listener with an ecstatic tenderness with every listen.
– Jane Morgan
It’s All Grey
This Panama City-based hardcore band has plenty of energy to spare. In true hardcore fashion, you’ll blast through their five-song EP in under 7 minutes. With themes ranging from modern identity to social media driving conformity, Pure Intent harks back to when punk music was an unfiltered voice of youth and those who felt like outsiders to society. Moreover, the music is ablaze with passion and vitriol.
– Nikki Hedrick
HIX V 1979
Partially based in Panama City, Supermoon1999 lies in that cozy space between lo-fi pop and ethereal indie music. Although the instruments have a fairly upbeat tone, something remains in the reverb vocals and soft mixes that is mournful and full of intrigue. Fans of experimental genres like chamber folk will feel right at home listening to the EP.
– Nikki Hedrick
EDITOR’S PICKS – REISSUES
The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. With Giles (son of George) Martin’s proper stereo mix, I finally understand how people must have felt when they heard the Beatles’ so-called masterpiece 50 years ago. Plus a second disc of outtakes that you’ll only listen to once.
Prince, Purple Rain (Deluxe Edition). Three-plus hours of the seminal album of my misspent youth? I made the time, and so should you. “Another Lonely Christmas”—one of many bonus tracks included here—may be the best thing the man ever did.
– Chris Manson
- Gulfarium Unveils New Dune Walk
- News from the Gumbo World – Throwdowns and Fresh Starts
- NWF State College Techies Honored
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