Music Review

Video of the Week: Preston Lovinggood - "Overactor"

Most lyric videos don't attempt much artistry. They're merely a simple and cheap way to share a new song by an artist before the "official" video gets released. Alabama-based singer/songwriter Preston Lovinggood has raised the bar with his haunting lyric video for "Overactor" off of his album Shadow Songs and really need not worry about releasing another video to replace it. Catch him on select dates with The Faint next month, too.

Easter Season Music, Part II: Beyond Bach

Earlier this week, I looked at recent releases of Easter-season choral works by J.S. Bach and one of his sons. Today I cover a bit more historical range in terms of composers and eras, again sticking to recent releases.

Maria Venuti, Keith Lewis, Michel Brodard/Gächingen Chorale of Stuttgart/Bach Collegium of Stuttgart/Helmuth Rilling
Christus am Ölberge, Op. 85
(Hänssler Classic)

Written in 1802 in just 14 days (but not published for a decade, hence the high opus number), Christus am Ölberge (Christ on the Mount of Olives) is a dramatic oratorio depicting Christ's emotional acceptance of his fate during His conversation with an angel in the garden of Gethsemene, followed by His arrest and Peter's protest.  Read more »

Song of the Week: "Like Rats" - Godflesh

The reunion of the most original metal band of the '90s -- Godflesh -- finally reached our shores last week. Here's the opening song of their NYC show at Irving Plaza.

Music for Easter Season, Part 1: Bachs

Even in my youth, when Christmas came packaged with the anticipation of new toys, I preferred the Easter season. Why? Because I sang in a church choir, and the music of the Easter season is far, far greater. The gamut of emotions traversed along Holy Week alone offers so much grist for musical expressiveness: Palm Sunday (triumph, but tinged with foreshadowing), Maundy Thursday (dark lamentations), Good Friday (agony), and Easter (the ultimate triumph). And though the great masterpieces, Johann Sebastian Bach's two mighty Passion settings, were beyond the capacities of a simple church choir, I reveled in playing my vinyl versions over and over again. (Neither would be fashionable nowadays; the St. Matthew a Nonesuch recording led by Hans Swarowsky featuring the Vienna Boys Choir, though with an excellent set of soloists starring Heather Harper, and the St. John led by none other than Eugene Ormandy at the head of his Philadelphia Orchestra, with Maureen Forrester the star soloist (Columbia)). Here are some recent recordings of relevance; later this week I'll cover some non-Bach recordings. Read more »

Song of the Week: Anna Rose - "Los Angeles"

Our favorite NYC-based blues rocker babe is at it again! Anna Rose's slap-to-the-face ode to L.A -- simply titled "Los Angeles" -- has just been released as a video produced and directed by Miss Jennifer Tzar. Check her out for tour dates, swag, and more at AnnaRoseMusic.com, too.

Video of the Week: QOTSA - "Smooth Sailing"

Josh Homme and his QOTSA posse get some freak on in this cool ass video for "Smooth Sailing" directed by Hiro Murai (Childish Gambino, St. Vincent). Lots of drunken shenanigans with plenty of GoPro and POV camera angles and a relentless rock groove make this one crazy, Tarantino-like cinematic music experience.

Music to Thaw the Deep Freeze of 2014

It was a brutal Winter (of our discontent), but it's finally Spring and there's plenty of new music to thaw even the most solid block of plowed snow. Here are ten of my favorite new rock/pop/dance/funk/folk tunes. Let us begin with this tremendous track (and album) from one of my favorite folk-rock singer/songwriters, the former New Yorker and now L.A.-based David Poe. Here he shares his muse on his debut single "When I Fly" from his soon-to-be-released long player When I Fly. Check him out on tour, too. Read more »

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear

SWR Vocal Ensemble of Stuttgart/Marcus Creed: 

America 
(Hänssler Classics)

Perhaps it takes foreigners to put together a program of Aaron Copland's Four Motets, Steve Reich's Proverb, John Cage's "Five," Morton Feldman's The Rothko Chapel, Leonard Bernstein's Missa Brevis, and Samuel Barber's "A Stopwatch and an Ordnance Map." Whatever this 77-minute disc lacks in stylistic coherence, though, it makes up for as a cross-section of 20th century American choral music. 

The a cappella Copland pieces date from his study in Paris with Nadia Boulanger, before he'd created his trademark style; their lush harmonies are surprising from him, but quite beautiful and oddly anticipatory of recent choral trends (think Eric Whitacre, Morten Lauridsen). The Reich, however, is prototypically Reichian in its gently propulsive Minimalism (influenced by Medieval organum), complete with accompaniment on vibraphones and synthesizers. Read more »

Song of the Day - Chrissie Hynde - Dark Glasses

Fellow Akronite Chrissie Hynde steps out from her fellow Pretenders on her brand new single from her forthcoming album, Stockholm (Caroline) due on June 9th. Grab it today!

Song of the Week: The War on Drugs - "Red Eye"

From this Philly-based quartet's third long player, Lost in the Dream (Secretly Canadian), their best, and despite a rather pedestrian video, "Red Eyes" is one fine indie rock tune. The galloping guitar break is just sublime. Get it today!

Weather This Storm - Dusty Wright

Song of the Week: Judith Owen - "I've Never Been To Texas"

Singer/songwriter/pianist Judith Owen proudly wears her troubadour influences -- Carole King, Laura Nyro, Joni -- on her sleeve. Hey, being informed by such grand company only works when you can deliver. And deliver she does on her latest solo effort Ebb & Flow. She even enlisted one of the best LA backing bands ever -- bassist Leland Sklar, drummer Russ Kunkel, and guitarist Waddy Wachtel. "I've Never Been To Texas" is one of my favorite songs from her soon-to-be-released, delightful soft rock album. She's currently on tour with Mr. Sklar. Don't miss her!

Song of the Week: I Am Snow Angel - "Great White December"

Yes, more snow is expected these next few month, but this percolating, hypnotic synth-pop tune (think New Order) from I Am Snow Angel (producer, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Julie Kathryn) should keep most cold-weather bound folks de-iced.

Video of the Week: Morrissey - "We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful"

Hard to believe that Morrissey seminal third solo album, Your Arsenal, was released in 1992. Produced by Bowies's Spider from Mars guitarist and arranger Mick Ronson, it was a massive success in the US. The "definitive master" of that album is released today by Rhino Entertainment on premium vinyl, CD, and digital download. The CD includes a previously unreleased live DVD concert from October 31st, 1991 from the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, CA.

Song of the Week: Walter Martin - "Sing To Me"

Walter Martin has been woodshedding as the multi-instrumentalist in The Walkmen, but has finally decided to step out solo. One can't help but catch the Nancy (Sinatra) & Lee (Hazlewood) vibe, especially since Karen O. (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) lends her sweet, sweet yodels. My favorite song of this new year, so far. We're All Young Together CD drops on May 13th.

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