High Violet, the new full-length record by the National, is a nervy, melodic, explosive and beautiful set of songs that find the band at the height of their collaborative powers. The music is wide-ranging in its moods, by turns intimate and rough, expansive and spare, full of stark angles and atmosphere. Berninger's singing wild, half-broken, sly evokes a feeling of being haunted, by love, by paranoia, by something just out of reach. High Violet may be The National's most thematically twisted record to date but it somehow also manages to be their most infectious and immediate.
Long before No Doubt brought back ska and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy resurrected swing, Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry were making music that recalled an earlier time. How early? Try the Renaissance. Everything old–really old–is new again on Aion, the band's fifth and arguably finest album.
James Taylor had scored eight Top 40 hits by the fall of 1976 when Warner Brothers marked the end of his contract with this compilation. One of those hits, the Top Ten gold single “Mockingbird,” a duet with his wife Carly Simon, was on Elektra Records, part of the Warner family of labels and presumably available, but it was left off.
Launched ten years ago by the saxo player Pierre Bertrand and the trumpeteer Nicolas Folmer, the Paris Jazz Big Band is extremely famous on the French Jazz scene with many awards like the Victoires du Jazz and Django d’Or. It has been mostly recognized for its creative repertoire and the orchestra has performed with prestigious singers like Diana Krall; Johnny Griffin, Richard Galliano or Michel Legrand. The aim of this new repertoire « Source(s) » was to follow the tracks of culture an d music from Africa, South Mediterranea and Latin America.
Covering 50 Cent, Cat Stevens, Faith Evans, and more on steelpan drums should not sound this gimmick-less. It helps that the Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band is, first and foremost, a strong funk ensemble. The Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band is a pet project of the German instrumental group the Mighty Mocambos, a practiced collective that makes versatile deep funk. Bacao is a vehicle for bandleader and guitarist Björn Wagner's dedicated enchantment with the steelpan drum, which he and three other band members play on a new debut full-length called 55.
Originally released in 1988, this album marked one of the truly successful world fusion creations, which Rhythm Magazine said symbolizes "the birth of a new era in music". It's a direct, transcendent exchange between six acclaimed musicians from diverse cultures, including L. Shankar, Zakir Hussain, Nicky Skopelitis, Daniel Ponce, Aiyb Dieng and producer/bassist Bill Laswell. This CD is a true American melting pot of deeply tangled roots, merging East and West to create a new music soundscape. At it's core, there's Indian music, and somewhere underneath lies flashes of the slow rustic lope of American country music.
Two classic Hooker LPs, all digitally re-mastered, 22 solid slabs of dark, leathery, brooding nostalgia. This is the electric blues at its very roots. If there’s still anyone out there reading this magazine who hasn’t at least one Hooker album in their collection, then you’re still a long way from qualifying as a blues aficionado. So this is a good place to start. This stripped-bare, one man and a growling electric guitar (on most tracks) music is the stuff those guys who fled the south for the auto production lines in the north used to listen to.
My Chemical Romance have announced The Black Parade/Living With Ghosts, a reissue of their 2006 album The Black Parade to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its release. The band excited fans around the world earlier this month with the prospect of a potential reunion, but later confirmed that the only thing in the works was the anniversary re-release. The Black Parade/Living With Ghosts is out September 23 via Reprise in a 2xCD package 3xLP vinyl set. Living With Ghosts features unreleased demos and rare mixes from the Black Parade sessions. It also features “The Five of Us Are Dying (rough mix),” an “early version” of the song that would eventually become “Welcome to the Black Parade.”
Bad times can make for good art, and the revolutionary feel of the early 2010s – the Occupy movement, and especially the Arab Spring – are at the heart of Firewater's International Orange! Firewater frontman Tod A. recorded this album in Istanbul and Tel Aviv during the 2011 riots, and there's a vital energy in these songs that is almost palpable. Even better, the sense of humor that was downplayed on the band's previous few albums is back in full force, giving the album's first half a bright, buoyant theatricality suggesting that International Orange! could be a musical about those tumultuous times.