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The Pauseandplay.com Record Roundup

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Cyrille Aimeé

Live

Mack Avenue

French-born singer Aimeé is the child of French and Dominican parents. Her crisp, energetic vocal style is firmly rooted in American and European jazz and cabaret. Live was recorded in New York, a last hurrah performance with her longtime band before they go their separate ways. Aimeé charms the audience into spontaneous cheers with her effortless back-and-forth between English and French, keeping the pace lively and festive between numbers. The playlist offers pop, American Songbook, blues, jazz, and vocalese. She might remind you of a cheerful Eartha Kitt. Aimeé is a true entertainer, in the best sense of the word.

– Bruce Collier

David Bowie

Welcome to the Blackout (Live London ’78)

Parlophone

If you missed this limited vinyl release on Record Store Day, it has now (thankfully) hit streaming services and CDs. Although there has been an onslaught of posthumous releases, rereleases and reissues this year, nothing beats the energy of a well-executed live album. I won’t wax poetic about Bowie’s influence and originality, but if you aren’t familiar with his far-reaching catalog this is a great place to start.

– Nikki Hedrick

Thomas Dunford

Bach

Alpha

“Rock Star of the Lute” Dunford is doing his best to share the much-beloved instrument for popular music of yore with modern audiences. Bach teams Dunford with that most serious of serious composers. The album’s 13 tracks feature Johann Sebastian’s Suite for Cello in G Major, the Suite in G Minor, and the Violin Partita No. 2. The G Minor was written for both cello and lute—apparently, Bach had a soft spot for the instrument. Bach wrote uncompromisingly difficult pieces, and the lute takes skill. Melancholy, romantic, virtuoso stuff.

– Bruce Collier

Erroll Garner

Nightconcert

Octave/Mack Avenue

Jazz pianist Garner and his trio (Eddie Calhoun on bass, Kelly Martin on drums) taped Nightconcert live at a midnight performance at Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw in 1964. This previously unreleased recording comes from original three-track analog tapes “found” in Garner’s archives. The 16 tracks feature familiar American Songbook, cinema and jazz classics—“Where or When,” “Laura,” “On Green Dolphin Street” (apparently mandatory for all jazz instrumentalists), “Night and Day,” and others. Curiously, Garner’s most famous composition, “Misty,” is missing. What’s not missing is Garner’s signature keyboard work, every song fully controlled and joyfully interpreted. Worth staying up for.

– Bruce Collier

Lucifer

Lucifer II

Century Media Records

Dressed up in ‘70s mysticism, led by Johanna Sadonis’ hauntingly elegant voice, and backed by posh heavy grooves…somehow Lucifer keeps getting lumped into the doom metal genre. Don’t let those labels keep you away from this album. Fans of Stevie Nicks, prog rock pioneers like Rush, and blues-rock hybrids will likely feel a kinship within these enchanting tracks.

Nikki Hedrick

Nine Inch Nails

Bad Witch

The Null Corporation

It’s not easy managing expectations in a band. The artist wants a creative outlet while the public wants more of what made them a fan in the first place. But then you have a band like Nine Inch Nails who never fully tread the same place twice. Bad Witch leans on some EDM/House elements and stretched out vocals that have Reznor sounding Bowie-esque. The themes of anger, disenfranchisement and identity are ever present, but more importantly, the emotional wallop we’ve come to appreciate from NIN is alive and well.

– Nikki Hedrick

Parquet Courts

Wide Awaaaaake!

Rough Trade Records

All 38 minutes and 13 tracks of the Texas rockers’ sixth full-length album are dripping with raw attitude, humanity and authenticity. Andrew Savage’s words are thought provoking and poetic, and his vocal delivery is punk as hell. The bass riffs on this album are golden, especially on tracks like “Total Football.” The groovy punk vibe sounds like a mix of The Clash, The B-52’s, and maybe even Mungo Jerry. Wide Awaaaaake! could be the most important album of the year, and should be recognized immediately as an indie-punk staple. This is an unapologetic response to the emerging culture of celebrated ignorance and consumption. If it pisses you off, the album will remind you you’re not alone. And if you’re a fan of raw human expression with a punch, Wide Awaaaaake! cannot be missed.

– Chris Leavenworth

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