June 15, 2016

Soundproof listening booth at a London music store 1955

What We’re Listening To (or “What’s Still On My iPod”)…………….

School of Seven Bells: “SVIIB”. The band’s swansong is a sad affair, but also full of wonderful melodies. Still one of the year’s best.

Field Music: “Commontime”. The comparisons to Steely Dan’s “Aja” are well-deserved. “Unusual song structures and unconventional instrumentation”.

The I Don’t Cares: “Wild Stab”. Juliana Hatfield and Paul Westerberg provide the almost perfect rock & roll collaboration.

Sturgill Simpson: “A Sailor’s Guide To Earth”. THE “American Music” album of the year: rock, blues, soul, gospel, folk AND country.

Esperanza Spalding: “Emily’s D+Evolution”. One reviewer called it a “Joni Mitchell and Charles Mingus collaboration”. Produced by Tony Visconti (David Bowie, T.Rex).

Shearwater: “Jet Plane and Oxbow”. As one reviewer (me) put it, “you’d think after 8 albums that everyone would be a Shearwater fan”.

Ray LaMontagne: “Ourboros”. If this had come out in the early 70s it would have been one of the biggest albums of the year. It isn’t too bad in 2016 either.


the best of their recent releases:

Mary Chapin Carpenter: “The Things That We Are Made Of” sampler. click here.

John Prine: “Live in Ashville ’86”. 24 songs from an American classic. click here.

Forecastle Festival: “2016 Artist Mixtape”. Featuring Brandi Carlile, Gary Clark Jr., Dr. Dog and 17 others. click here.

Bonnaroo: “Bonnaroo Mixtape 2016”. Features 43 artists. click here.

Gabe Dixon: “Turns To Gold-Solo Acoustic”. Better than the studio album. click here.

Cowboy Junkies: “Live At The Belly Up”. Recorded in 2014 and features “Sweet Jane”, “Misguided Angel” and a stellar version of “3rd Crusade” plus 9 others. click here.


 Listen To This (new stuff)………….

Radiohead: “A Moon Shaped Pool”. The reviews have been exceptional and I would agree wholeheartedly. Their best album since “KId A”.   

Japancakes: “Japancakes”. Their 8th album, their first since 2007 and now with vocals. Sounds like Kate Bush fronting Depeche Mode at times. Here’s a link to a free download at Soundcloud. click here.

Ryley Walker: “THe Halfwit In Me”. One of our favorite artists. This is from “Golden Sings That Have Been Sung”, his third album due in August. The free download is courtesy of Aquarium Drunkard. click here. 

Los Colognes: “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”. Yes that “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”. The band is from Nashville and reminds me at times of Dire Straits with echoes of The Allman Brothers. Here is the video. click here. 

Bill Charlap: “Notes From New York”. I am a huge fan of piano jazz. Charlap, the Grammy award winner has a new album with his trio and it’s stellar; as the great Johnny Mandel so aptly put it, “it don’t get no better than that”. Here is a link to a YouTube streaming video. click here.

Wendy Waldman: “How Do I”. About the only thing I have in common with Bob Lefsetz (musically speaking) is our enduring appreciation for Wendy Waldman. One of my biggest disappointments was not seeing her “break through” during my years at WEA. She is a major talent. Here is something new and a YouTube video. click here.


And finally……some classical:

Les Violons Du Roy/ Mathieu Lussier: “Vivaldi Concertos. I must admit that I like just about every Vivaldi recording I have ever heard, but this has become one of my favorites. I am not sure how you pick from the 500 or so concertos he wrote, but kudos to the people who chose these. Here is a sample from a YouTube video. click here.

Cor Madrigal/Barcelona Symphony Orchestra/Pablo Gonzalez: “Enrique Granados: Orchestral Works, Vol.1″. I have to confess to knowing absolutely nothing about the Spanish composer and I don’t remember ever hearing any of his music.That’s a shame because Granados is a truly gifted composer and an exceptional pianist (or so I’ve read). The music is in the romantic style and is supposed to be representative of “musical nationalism”….and people wonder why I listen to the music AND then read the liner notes. Whatever the case I will be finding more of Granados’ music. I couldn’t find anything from the album on YouTube, so here is something from his “Suite Elisenda”. click here.