Albeniz, Piano Music Vol. 9
The bad news is this is Baselga’s final album of Isaac Albeniz’s piano works. The good news is that the first eight are already out, so you can have an instant set. Albeniz was a Spanish composer who lived from 1860 to 1909, an exciting, active period in art history. He wrote so much that a lot of his stuff has been lost. Baselga deserves credit for doing his part to keep this music alive. The 18 tracks on this album are a truly mixed program—classified as dreams, minuets, “travel reminiscences,” etc. It’s romantic, it’s modern.
‑ Bruce Collier
Dark Star Coven
Destroyers of False Hope
Every genre is dissected, divided and labeled into sometimes occasionally complicated subgenres, but metal seems to suffer from that mentality more than most. Then there are bands like Pensacola’s Dark Star Coven that don’t fit neatly into any box. They’re gritty and authentic, and unhinge the framework of creating metal music by a safe set of rules. This is metal from the underground—unpredictable and damned good.
‑ Nikki Hedrick
One More Light
If you’re looking for Linkin Park’s signature scream rock, you won’t find it here. But you will hear plenty of dark, sometimes desperate lyrics mixed with upbeat, poppy music with titles like “Nobody Can Save Me.” Very telling, at least in hindsight. Chester Bennington channels the Justins—Bieber and Timberlake—complete with a ritual boy band hat in at least one new video, with his voice taking on a newfound control and higher pitch. The hip‑hop infusions of Pusha T and Stormzy on “Good Good Bye” and Kiiera’s poptart style on “Heavy” somehow work, too. Bennington’s suicide last month has sadly silenced him forever, and for some of us, that’s reason enough to give his last album a listen with open ears. And open minds.
‑ Joni Williams
Finnish composer and multi‑saxman Lyytinen likes to mix it up, having played in the past with an assortment of side‑people and combos. On I (despite its title, not a solo album), he’s with the Magnetia Orkesteri. He takes his time dealing himself in, letting his mates lay the groundwork. The music starts out deliberate, unhurried, and takes advantage of silences along musical passages. On subsequent tracks (“Ljubljana” for example), he does some good‑humored folk music riffing. The ensemble hangs together tightly, even when sounding like a drunk marching band (“Village Fool”). Everybody gets a chance to solo.
‑ Bruce Collier
Newman brings hilarity and heart (in that order) on this exquisitely arranged collection of nine songs. Characters include JFK, RFK, Sonny Boy Williamson, Putin, others that are dying or lost, and their loved ones. The action commences with an eight‑minute piece of musical theater depicting an arena‑set smackdown between religion and science. (Spoiler alert: religion wins because Gospel Music.) Perhaps the most hilarious track is “Putin,” an interesting choice given the absence of Trump on this record—it’s like Newman didn’t want to give him the ink. Poignant ballads “She Chose Me,” “Lost Without You” and “Wandering Boy” give the LP a nice balance. A masterpiece by a master.
‑ Dawn Oberg
Sinatra & Jobim @ 50
As a footnote, this album is a half‑century tribute to a 1967 collaboration album made by Frank Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim. Guitarist‑vocalist Pizzarelli cites both as major influences. The brew here is enriched by the presence of Jobim’s grandson Daniel, who sits in on piano and vocals. The 11 tracks include Brazilian and bossa nova selections, plus some new songs. The seductive, day‑at‑the‑beach beat and sidling, effortlessly laid‑back vocals of Pizzarelli and Daniel take hold of you immediately. This music is the perfect antidote to modern life. Switch off the devices, make a caipirinha and float away to Bahia.
‑ Bruce Collier
Mississippi‑based, but no strangers to this area, Wild Fire drop their long‑awaited full‑length debut. With high‑energy hard rock songs and catchy mid‑tempos like “Everybody Knows” ripe for radio play, Wild Fire aims to pull in sweeping elements of modern rock with a signature crunch. Revolt marks the progress of the band, offering much for longtime and new fans alike.
‑ Nikki Hedrick
Yeah, Probably’s debut EP is full of funky harmonies and soul that you can feel down to your toes. Masterfully blending old school cool and modern sensibilities, this young band from Mobile makes a mighty fine splash and lasting impression. Standouts include “Wasted Time,” a terrific call to arms to go after your dreams and nurture your ambition.
‑ Nikki Hedrick
True Romance (Soundtrack)
Real Gone Music
This limited edition vinyl reissue is, as the late, great Glen Campbell used to sing, a record collector’s dream. A gorgeous package, with new art and a blood‑splattered platter that offers choice cuts by Soundgarden, Shelby Lynne, John Waite and others. Since Quentin Tarantino (who wrote but didn’t direct the seminal ‘90s flick) didn’t supervise the soundtrack, there are no dialogue excerpts (“So you’re Sicilian…?,” any of Brad Pitt’s lines). That’s a shame, but there’s much to love here.
‑ Chris Manson
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