Monday, June 30, 2014

add 1062 franchutelandia 2


add 1061 franchutelandia 1

American émigré turned Parisian expat Brisa Roche has assimilated a good deal of her adopted country's musical tradition. THE CHASE, Roche's full-length debut, is redolent with the sounds of French chanson, giving an overt nod to the arch cabaret-influenced styles of Serge Gainsbourg and Francoise Hardy. Yet Roche is equally steeped in rock, jazz, and the postmodern pop experiments of artists like Bjork (another notable influence); the album alternately swings, lulls, seduces, and packs a punch. Also impressive is Roche's songwriting, which dazzles with its variety and melodic invention--so much so that the 17 tracks on THE CHASE end up creating a multi-textured pastiche of 20th- and 21st-century music.


Sunday, June 29, 2014

add 1060 De Castillos al mundo

released 23 January 2014 

Todas las canciones compuestas y escritas por “Molina” excepto “Landing Park” por Gus Seyffert. 

Producido por Molina y Los Cósmicos excepto “Gallos de Kentucky” coproducida con Pájaro 

Artwork: Emmanuel Lafont. 
Fotos: Edgargo Kevorkian. 

Grabado en “Santas Palmeras” y “Usina de Cultura” (Castillos) 
Mezcla y Mastering en Sondor (Montevideo) por Gustavo De León & Molina. 

Grabaron en este disco: 

Martín Méndez: Guitarra Eléctrica & Banjo. 
Sebastián Arruti: Bajo. 
Emma Ralph: Voz y Teclado. 
Schubert Rodríguez: Acordeón, Piano y Teclados. 
Amalie Vilslev & Olivia Døgg Fríðfinsdóttir: Voces en #1 
Andrés Herrera "Pájaro": Guitarras en #1 (Happy Place, Sevilla) 
Hugo Delías: Trompeta en #1 
Federico Pioli: Batería en #1 & #2 
Raúl Araujo: Coros en #2 & #5 
Andrés Mastrangelo: Loops en #3 
Natalia Dintrans: Didgeridoo en #3 (Capta, Santiago) 
Luis Jorge Martínez: Batería en #4 y #6 
Lu López: Voz en #4 
Fer Garaza: Coros en #4 
Tribu Yahua: Canticos Yahua´s en #5 (Selva del Amazonas) 
Seba Magallanes: Eléctrica en #5 
Martín Tavella: Bajo en #6 (Cuarto Tavella, Montevideo) 
Molina: Voz, Acústicas, Loops en #3 y Eléctrica en #3 & #6 

Los adorables niños que cantaron en #3 fueron dirigidos por Rita Maquiera, asisten actualmente a clase en la Escuela Publica nº 5 de Castillos y sus nombres son: Silvina, Josefina, Romina, Antonella, Erika, Delfina, Nazareno, Facundo, Gastón y Alex. 

Gracias a todos los que hicieron posible este disco. 


add 1059 Mary Gauthier

Produced by ex-Lucinda Williams collaborator Gurf MorlixMary Gauthier's (pronounced "go-shay") third effort, Filth & Fire, is a startlingly honest collection of sketches drawn from the downtrodden lives of marginal Southern characters. The minimal guitar playing found on Gauthier's last albums is here replaced by the beautifully wrought guitar fills that characterized Lucinda's earlier efforts. Gurf's obvious presence, however, isn't the only reason that comparisons toWilliams are being made: Gauthier possesses the unflinching insight and deft songwriting skills missing from the work of so many contemporaries of the Steve Earle/Lucinda singer/songwriter tradition. "Camelot Motel," for example, the album's centerpiece, creates a mosaic of dismal snapshots taken through tightly drawn drapes into the smoke-filled rooms of a dingy motel. "Sugar Cane" is a dark autobiographical account of a child's life in Thibodaux, LA, during the sugar cane burning -- "Dirty air, dirty laundry, dirty money, dirty rain/A dirty dark-eyed daybreak, burnin' the sugar cane" -- delivered in her thick Bayou drawl. The album-closing "The Sun Fades the Color of Everything" is an achingly beautiful love song about two Dylanesque wanderers. Hailed as "the best singer/songwriter album" of 2002 byGeoffrey Himes (No Depression), Filth & Fire is a must-hear for fans of "country noir."


add 1058 Mary Gauthier

Since her second offering, the self-issued Drag Queens in Limousines in 1999, and continuing through the stellar Filth & Fire in 2002, Texas singer/songwriter Mary Gauthier has quietly and consistently raised the aesthetic bar for herself. She has been favorably (and accurately) compared to Townes Van Zandt for her literate American gothic songs about wasted lives, desolate characters who roam the highways like ghosts, shattered dreams, and frustrated expectations. But Gauthier never exploits her characters; she views them with a piercing tenderness and empathy, painting them with dignity and humanity. On Mercy NowGauthier digs a little deeper; she comes down on the side of the song itself. The protagonists whose tales she relates are given rich musical voices, adding depth, dimension, and flesh and blood as related by her keen-eyed observations, unflinching poetic language, and willingness to be subtle and not intrude. Her razor-wire, weatherbeaten, loving kindness digs deep as it pleads for release on "Falling Out of Love," which opens the record. With her acoustic guitar in minor mode, a deep, lonesome harmonica, hollow, sparse percussion, and producer Gurf Morlix's trademark slow-wrangle slide, she sings and even becomes the voice of the broken-hearted blues. There is no sentimentality in her view, just the taut edginess that is so wearying and anxious about trying to get past the addiction to a memory seared with every breath. On the title track, Gauthier's guitar and voice offer a gritty, moving meditation on compassion, invoking mercy for all those who suffer, from family to church and country to those who are nameless and faceless. There is nothing facile in Gauthier's words, nothing remotely trite or ordinary about the weariness in the grain of her voice, as Brian Standefer's cello and Morlix's lap steel fill the center and carry the message to the heavens humbly, slowly, purposefully. "Wheel Inside the Wheel," written for the late Dave Carter, is a spooky rolling and choogling banjo/guitar extravaganza. It features characters from Gauthier's New Orleans Mardis Gras: Louis Armstrong, Marie Laveau, the Krewes, etc. -- all of them metaphors for the transmigration of souls. Her cover of Harlan Howard's "Just Say She's a Rhymer" is as back porch as it gets, dressed in fiddle, steel, strummed six-strings, and plodding bass. Her delivery comes out of time and space and rests fully in this moment.Gauthier inhabits the song as if it were her own. The set closes with the punchy, electric "It Ain't the Wind, It's the Rain." A Hammond B-3 carries the tune from underneath as stinging guitars, throbbing basslines, and Gauthier's clear, prophetic voice rings over it all. What a finish; what a record. Mercy Now cuts deep into the heart -- it showcases not only Gauthier's prowess with the poetry and craft of song, but her humility and wisdom as she digs further into its chamber of secrets.


Saturday, June 28, 2014

add 1057 Lucinda Williams


add 1066 Lucinda Williams

While many considered Car Wheels on a Gravel Road and Essence as definitive statements of arrival for Lucinda Williams as a pop star, she "arrived" creatively with her self-titled album in 1988 and opened up a further world of possibilities with Sweet Old World. The latter two records merely cemented a reputation that was well-deserved from the outset, though they admittedly confused some of her earliest fans. World Without Tears is the most immediate, unpolished album she's done since Sweet Old World. In addition, it is simply the bravest, most emotionally wrenching record she's ever issued. It offers unflinching honesty regarding the paradoxes inherent in love as both a necessary force for fulfillment and a destructive one when embraced unconsciously. Fans of her more polished, emotionally yearning material may have a hard time here because there isn't one track -- of 13 -- that isn't right from the gut, ripped open, bleeding, and stripped of metaphors and literary allusions; they're all cut with the fineness of a stiletto slicing through white bone into the heart's blood. World Without Tears is, among other things, predominantly about co-dependent, screwed-up love. It's about relationships that begin seemingly innocently and well-intentioned and become overwhelmingly powerful emotionally and transcendent sexually, until the moment where a fissure happens, baggage gets dumped in the space between lovers, and they turn in on themselves, becoming twisted and destructive -- where souls get scorched and bodies feel the addictive, obsessive need to be touched by a now absent other. The whole experience burns to ashes; it becomes a series of tattoos disguised as scars. The experience is lived through with shattering pain and bewilderment until wrinkled wisdom emerges on the other side. Most of Williams' albums have one song that deals with this theme, but with the exception of a couple of songs, here they all do.
Musically, this is the hardest-rocking record she's ever released, though almost half the songs are ballads. Her road band -- on record with her for the first time -- cut this one live from the studio floor adding keyboards and assorted sonic textures later. The energy here just crackles. Sure, there's gorgeous country and folk music here. "Ventura," with its lilting verse and lap steel whining in the background, is a paean to be swallowed up in the ocean of love's embrace. In fact, it's downright prosaic until she gets to the last verse: "Stand in the shower to clean this dirty mess/Give me back my power and drown this unholiness/Lean over the toilet bowl and throw up my confession/Cleanse my soul of this hidden obsession." The melodic frame is still moving, but the tune reverses itself: It's no longer a broken-hearted ballad, but a statement of purpose and survival. "Fruits of My Labor" is a straight-ahead country song. Williamsshimmers with her lyric, her want pouring from her mouth like raw dripping honey. Her words are a poetry of want: "I traced your scent through the gloom/Till I found these purple flowers/I was spent, I was soon smelling you for hours...I've been trying to enjoy all the fruits of my labor/I've been cryin' for you boy, but truth is my savior." One can hear the grain of Loretta Lynn's voice, with an intent so pure and unadorned. But the muck and mire of "Righteously," with its open six-string squall, is pure rock. It's an exhortation to a lover that he need not prove his manhood by being aloof, but to "be the man you ought to tenderly/Stand up for me." Doug Pettibone's overdriven, crunching guitar solo quotes both Duane Allman and Jimi Hendrix near the end of the tune. "Real Live Bleeding Fingers and Broken Guitar Strings" is a Rolling Stones-style country-rocker with a lyric so poignant it need not be quoted here. "Over Time," a tome about getting through the heartbreak of a ruined relationship, could have been produced by Daniel Lanois with its warm guitar tremolo and sweet, pure, haunting vocal in front of the mix.
"Those Three Days" may be the most devastating song on the record, with its whimpering lap steel and Williams' half-spoken vocal that questions whether a torrid three-day affair was a lie, a symbolic sacrifice, or the real thing. The protagonist's vulnerability is radical; she feels used, abused -- "Did you only want me for those three days/Did you only need me for those three days/Did you love me forever just for those three days." Yet she holds out hope that there is some other explanation as the questions begin to ask themselves from the depth of a scorched heart and a body touched by something so powerful it feels as if it no longer owns itself. Pettibone's solo screams and rings in the bridge to underline every syllable and emotion. "Atonement" is something else altogether; it's a punkish kind of blues. If the White Stripes jammed with 20 Miles in a big studio it might sound like this, with Williams singing from the depths of a tunnel for a supreme megaphone effect. She growls and shouts and spits her lyrics from the center of the mix. And Taras Prodaniuk's fuzzed-out basement-level gutter bass is the dirtiest, raunchiest thing on record since early Black Sabbath. "Sweet Side" is almost a poem in song, attempts to inspire someone who's been broken by life to accept his goodness. It is not a rap song despite what's been written about it so far. It's more in the tradition of Bob Dylan's early talking blues, but with a modern organic rhythm played by Jim Christie instead of drum loops. In addition, there is the gorgeously tough "People Talking," the most straight-ahead country song Williams has written since "Still I Long for Your Kiss" (from the Horse Whisperer soundtrack, not the version that appears on Car Wheels, which is dull and lifeless by comparison). Here again, Pettibone's guitar and the slippery, skittering shuffle of Christie's drumming carry Williams' voice to a place where she can sing her protagonist's personal, soul-searing truth without restraint.
World Without Tears is a work of art in the Henry James sense; it is "that which can never be repeated." It is as fine an album as she could make at this point in her life -- which is saying plenty. While she has never strayed from her own vision and has made few compromises, this album risks everything she's built up to now. The audience she's won over time -- especially with her last two records -- may find it over the top, which would be too damn bad; it'd be their loss. Hopefully, history will prove that World Without Tears sets a new watermark for Williams, and is an album so thoroughly ahead of its time in the way it embraces, and even flaunts, love's contradictions and paradoxes -- the same way the human heart does.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

add 1065 A Hawk and a Hacksaw

A Hawk and a Hacksaw and the Hun Hangár Ensemble is the album on which Jeremy Barnes finally and emphatically distances himself from the remnants of the Elephant 6 scene he had been part of as drummer forNeutral Milk Hotel: this brief, entirely instrumental album has nothing to do with indie rock in any way, shape, or form.Barnes and his fellow multi-instrumentalist Heather Trost moved to Budapest, Hungary, in 2006 to more fully immerse themselves in their beloved Eastern European folk music; recorded in Hungary with local musicians the Hun Hangár Ensemble (reedman Béla Ágoston, bassist and accordionist Zsolt Kürtosi, trumpeter and violinist Ferenc Kovács, and cimbalom player Baláza Unger), this eight-track album combines traditional Balkan tunes (given generic descriptive titles like "Serbian Cocek," "Romanian Hora and Bulgar," and "Oriental Hora") with a handful ofBarnes/Trost originals like the sweeping, majestic "Zozobra." Unlike Beirut's Gulag Orkestar (to which Barnes andTrost contributed enormously), this is not indie pop music taking the trappings of Eastern European folk music, but the thing itself, presented in a fashion that makes it potentially accessible to an audience that might otherwise not find room in its listening day for a track like "Vajdaszentivány," a dazzling medley of Hungarian folk tunes played on the hammered dulcimer-like cimbalom. Those expecting the training wheels that Gulag Orkestar (or even A Hawk and a Hacksaw's three earlier, somewhat more pop-oriented, albums) provided may find A Hawk and a Hacksaw and the Hun Hangár Ensemble a challenging listen at first, but the sheer joy of these performances should make them accessible to all but the most musically isolationist and/or accordion-phobic.


add 1064 Drive by Truckers

Drive-By Truckers leader Patterson Hood wrote in a post on the band's website that 2007 "was supposed to be our year of taking it easy," but it doesn't seem to have worked out that way, and that's a good thing for everyone concerned. The songwriting bug seems to have bit the Drive-By Truckers sometime after the release of 2006's A Blessing and a Curse, and while that album was a bit short on top-shelf material (at least compared to the band's work sinceSouthern Rock Opera), Brighter Than Creation's Dark is a dazzling return to form, delivering some of their finest, most eclectic, and most mature music to date. The album's strength is a pleasant surprise given the departure of guitarist and tunesmith Jason Isbell, who had become one of the group's most interesting writers, but founding members Hood and Mike Cooley have risen to the occasion with some excellent new songs, and bassist Shonna Tucker (who's also Isbell's ex-wife) steps forward as a composer and lead vocalist on this set with three great songs about broken hearts and the stuff that follows in their wake. Opening with "Two Daughters and a Beautiful Wife," a song by Hood sung from the perspective of a man who has just died and wonders what will become of his family, Brighter Than Creation's Dark presents 19 portraits of folks struggling to make sense of an increasingly chaotic world, ranging from an alcoholic father ("Daddy Needs a Drink") and a family man struggling to hold onto a little piece of the American dream ("The Righteous Path") to a middle-aged guy whose gotten a little too used to being lonely ("Bob") and an illegal gun dealer running short on options ("Checkout Time in Vegas"). While the Truckers are still a great full-tilt hard rock band, Brighter Than Creation's Dark finds them slowing down and turning down a bit more than usual, and in this case it works well for them -- the homey twang of "Lisa's Birthday" and "I'm Sorry Huston" gives new guitarist and pedal steel player John Neff a chance to shine, and the light acoustic arrangement of "Perfect Timing" fits the lyrical portrait of a cheerfully flawed man just fine. And "That Man I Shot" is a blazing, troubling masterpiece in which a soldier home from Iraq can't tear away the memory of a man he killed in combat ("That man I shot, I didn't know him/I was just doing my job, maybe so was he"). It's a tale of the most human consequences of war that's built from equal portions of anger, confusion, and compassion, and it's hard to imagine any other band pulling off its fusion of Southern-fried street smarts and guitar-fueled thunder. It's one of several brilliant moments on Brighter Than Creation's Dark, and less than three weeks into 2008 it's hard not to escape the feeling that with this disc we may already have the best album of the year.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

add 1063 John Mayall

Though almost always well-intentioned, events like this usually don't pan out on record, let alone on DVD. Thankfully, this is not one of those occasions. John Mayall in his 70th Birthday Concert is as spry, ferocious, and on top of his game as ever. There is nothing tired about the presentation or the performances. Mayall's own umpteenth version of the Bluesbreakers is yet another example of his uncanny ability to pick the right cats for the job. They play with plenty of fire, brilliant musicianship, and taste. There are two discs in this package encompassing 19 cuts. The show broke down as follows: the bland play two burning tracks on their own -- "Grits Ain't Groceries" and "Jacksboro Highway," -- before Mayall joins them for three, including a stunning rendition of "Dirty Water." Mayall then invites Mick Taylor to the stage for no less than four cuts -- two of which are "Blues for the Lost Days," and "Oh Pretty Woman." But it gets better.Eric Clapton and Chris Barber join the Bluesbreakers for seven cuts -- "Hideaway" (what else?), and a beautiful duet performance of "No Big Hurry" between Eric and John. Both Clapton and Taylor are in hungry, fine form, and hold nothing back. The last finale features Taylor and Clapton, and is a guitar orgy, as one would expect. What it all adds up to, however, is a stinging, overdriven performance of modern electric blues by a master bandleader who shows no signs of slowing down physically, and most importantly, creatively. Highly recommended.


add 1062 Jimmy Smith

Designed to appeal to hip-hop and acid jazz fans, not jazz purists, Talkin' Verve: Roots of Acid Jazz collects 14 tracksJimmy Smith cut for Verve during the late '60s. Comprised of pop covers and funky workouts, the music is "jazzy," not jazz -- there's little improvisation on the record, but there is a lot of hot vamping, with Smith creating dense, funky chord clusters and bluesy leads. It's music that is devoted to the groove, and while a few of these cuts fall flat -- "Ode to Billie Joe" has no funk in it, no matter how hard you try -- but for the most part Talkin' Verve is soulful fun. Not much of this sounds like acid jazz, especially since the rhythms are a little stiff, but it's enjoyable lite funk, and it's more palatable in the compilation than it is on their original albums.


Monday, June 23, 2014

add 1059 Cardiacs 1


add 1061 Betty Davis

Betty Davis' second full-length featured a similar set of songs as her debut, though with Davis herself in the production chair and a radically different lineup. The openers, "Shoo-B-Doop and Cop Him" and "He Was a Big Freak," are big, blowsy tunes with stop-start funk rhythms and Davis in her usual persona as the aggressive sexual predator. On the title track, she reminisces about her childhood and compares herself to kindred spirits of the past, a succession of blues legends she holds fond -- including special time for Bessie SmithChuck Berry, and Robert Johnson. A pair of unknowns, guitarist Cordell Dudley and bassist Larry Johnson, do a fair job of replacing the stars from her first record. As a result, They Say I'm Different is more keyboard-dominated than her debut, with prominent electric piano, clavinet, and organ from Merl SaundersHershall Kennedy, and Tony Vaughn. The material was even more extreme than on her debut; "He Was a Big Freak" featured a prominent bondage theme, while "Your Mama Wants Ya Back" and "Don't Call Her No Tramp" dealt with prostitution, or at least inferred it. With the exception of the two openers, though, They Say I'm Different lacked the excellent songs and strong playing of her debut; an explosive and outré record, but more a variation on the same theme she'd explored before.


add 1060 Cardiacs 2


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

add 1058 ben harper

As it's played out on his recordings, the very gift that has been such a boon to Ben Harper has also been his bane: his musical restlessness and the wide range of styles he seems to employ. It's obvious, and has been since his sophomore offering, Fight for Your Mind, that Harper is not only a master guitarist but a fine songwriter and a great showman. He's been under the sway of legends like MarleyHendrixDylanRedding, and to a lesser extent, Havens. On his recordings he's wrapped them all up together continually, creating an identity forged on that diversity. That said, as a result, the albums have often suffered. In a live context that shape-shifting mélange can be -- and more often than not is -- seamless and utterly exciting. In the studio it doesn't gel so easily. His last studio record, Both Sides of the Gun in 2006, attempted a narrower, albeit mellower focus; but he spread it over two discs! The desire to concentrate on a single identity -- as a singer/songwriter -- resulted in a less than optimal, sometimes even boring, result; a single disc would have been more easily swallowed. Perhaps this is why his most satisfying and consistent offering is arguably his collaboration with the Blind Boys of Alabama on There Will Be a Light from 2004 -- until now.
Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals entered Gang Studio in Paris in November of 2006, immediately after finishing a nine-month world tour that ended with eight weeks in Europe. They loaded in their gear, rehearsed, and recorded directly to analog tape -- i.e., without the aid of computers or Pro Tools -- and mixed in seven days. The result is a deeply focused, loose, and laid-back record that is musically compelling and deeply soulful, and contains some ofHarper's finest songs to date. At this time, the Innocent Criminals are drummer Oliver Charles, percussionist Leon MobleyJuan Nelson on bass, guitarist Michael Ward, and Jason Yates plays keyboards, with a pair of backing vocalists, Michelle Haynes and Rovleta Fraser. Clocking in at just over 40 minutes, this is a brief record for Harper, but it serves him well. The music is a seamless meld of soulful folk, gospel, countryish rock, and blues. The operative genre here, however, is the rootsy soul that Harper could always sing, and Ward's fills along with the electric Wurlitzer, acoustic pianos, and Hammond B-3 employed by Yates make it all swing, while the steady yet slippery percussion roots the music deeply in the groove, which is mellow but tough.
The proof begins on "Fight Outta You," the album's opening track. Harper's acoustic plays the first couple of bars before the rest of the band kicks in, establishing a country-soul feel. His lyrics are uplifting, full of determination and hope. This is underscored by the next number, "In the Colors," which bleeds Southern soul and a killer reggae bassline bubbling underneath. The theme of hope is right there, propping the first track by underscoring in poetic terms the true, just, and beautiful. "Fool for a Lonesome Train," a backwoods country-rock tune, is maybe the strongest cut on the set; its high lonesome sound is borne out not just in the grain of Harper's vocal but by the band's unobtrusive yet utterly engaging support. The lyrics are there; they have the wild and restless in them but it takes a group effort to make restraint an art, underscoring the blood and sinew in Harper's words. That's not to say there are no "rockers" on the set. "Needed You Tonight" comes right out of the shouting gospel and electric blues with electric guitars blazing; it alternates its dynamic between that vibe and sweet soul. "Having Wings" is a gorgeous follow-up, with acoustic piano and electric guitars flowing under Harper's voice.
"Say You Will" is a seriously uptempo gospel shouter, but far more carnal. It's an ass-shaker with smoking piano and percussion work and lots of breakbeats tossed in by Charles; that backing chorus takes it out of Sunday morning and places it in the heart of Saturday night. "Put It on Me" is more of a guitar take on the same kind of music. With the chorus and those six-strings all edgy and loose, it's funky, dirty, and gets very close to nasty. "Heart of Matters" gets back to back-porch soul before giving way to a Weissenborn guitar solo on "Paris Sunrise #7," before closing with the lone acoustic guitar and vocal ballad on the title cut. The set could have gone out on one of the more uptempo tunes after the instrumental, but it's a small complaint in this mix. Whether or not you prefer the rowdier version of Harper and his band, it is inarguable that this recording is a concentrated effort coming down on the side of a couple of musical notions that weave together artfully and meaningfully. This is a very informal-sounding record, and one that feels comfortable in showing its unvarnished side, its seams. And given that it was recorded completely in analog, fans would be well advised to pick up vinyl copies as well and compare the two; the prediction is most likely the vinyl sounds fuller and warmer.