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Monday, February 26th, 2018
Music Reviews

Nina Simone's Early Years, Florida Metal and More... The Pauseandplay.com Record Roundup

Musicians/Labels/Promoters: Send your CDs, vinyl and/or cassettes to Beachcomber, P.O. Box 5707, Destin, FL 32540-5707. Email MP3s and streaming links to chris@beachcomberdestin.com.


Aphant

Stars in the Sand

Independent

Tallahassee’s Aphant is about beauty through contrast. Pulling from nature sounds, instruments and electronic samples, Aphant crafts some grade-A, sonically pleasing “chill out” electronic tracks. The dreamlike “Moon Lagoon” is a standout, a cinematic journey that evokes sensory reactions. (Translation—it was easy to relax to and led to a movie of random images playing in my head while listening.)

- Nikki Hedrick


Druid Lord

Grotesque Offerings

Doomentia Productions

Metal is alive and kicking in Florida. Orlando’s Druid Lord mostly draws from old school death metal and doom metal influences. That means everything here is low and somewhat slow, crafting a crushing funeral march full of references to horror movies and the occult. It’s another fine feather in Druid Lord’s cap. Or ceremonial black robe.

- Nikki Hedrick


Julian Lage

Modern Lore

Mack Avenue

As a kid, guitarist Julian Lage spent his time listening to (and admiring) two guys (bassist Scott Colley and drummer Kenny Wollesen) that he later enlisted to be on this album, so life must be sweet for the California prodigy. Modern Lore offers 11 tracks of guitar bliss. It’s amazing to hear how strong a rhythmic instrument a guitar can become—Lage’s forceful sound pulls everyone and every other instrument along with him. There’s jazz, blues, country (think Jazz Johnny Cash), rock, and something I can only describe as guitar aria—at times, the strings just take off and sing.

- Bruce Collier


Herve Salamone Nonet

Suite

LabelADME

French trumpeter-composer-arranger Herve Salamone has won honors for both classical and jazz trumpet, and has sat in with the likes of Quincy Jones, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Enrico Rava and Nikki Yanofsky. The Nonet is the second ensemble he’s led. Suite offers an interesting overlay of brass on a soft, string-heavy base (anchored by piano and drums). Salamone is perfectly at ease hitting it hard and then drifting into lyrical, song-like passages. He’s generous about yielding time to his talented colleagues too. I thought of Bernstein, Ellington, Marsalis, even Woody Shaw and Freddie Hubbard— there’s a real New York ensemble vibe.

- Bruce Collier


Nina Simone

Mood Indigo – The Complete Bethlehem Singles

Bethlehem

This recently released album contains remasters of some of the earliest recordings Nina Simone ever made. Simone was 25 when she recorded these 14 songs, which Bethlehem serially released as 45-rpm singles. Simone reportedly sang to make money to finance her education as a classical pianist—she plays piano here as well. Unfortunately, she made little if anything off these recordings. That said, it takes no imagination to recognize the awakening of her mature vocal style—clear, idiosyncratic, sometimes harsh, but always dramatic and fiercely self-aware. Highlights include “Little Girl Blue,” “Good Bait,” and “Don’t Smoke in Bed.”

- Bruce Collier


White_Walls_

A Stroll Through the Dark

Independent

Pensacola-based collaborative project focused on blending dark wave with indie rock while raising money for a nonprofit that donates instruments to families for music therapy is always worth a spin or two. Or 20. With brushstrokes in ambient tones, highlighted by soft, nearly cherubic melodies, White_Walls_ is full of vibrant colors. The bow on top is the crisp production quality that lets every aspect of these songs stand tall.

- Nikki Hedrick


Pauseandplay.com – Since 1997, P&P has been the definitive place for music fans to find out when a new album is coming out. Also stay up on the latest reissues and music-related DVD/Blu-rays and books. Elton John says he uses Pauseandplay.com to keep track of new music, and Entertainment Weekly has included it on its list of “The 100 Greatest Web Sites,” one of only 17 music sites to be selected.