Macswain

Friday, April 21, 2006

Good Tunes Friday

Here are some great new discs you should check out:

Ben Harper - Both Sides of the Gun (Disc One): this is the mellow disc from Ben's new two disc set. Most of Harper's past outings (with the exception of the classic Fight for Your Mind) have been inconsistent - mixing 4 or 5 great tunes with a number of throwaways. This disc is strong throughout. Set your player to repeat and press play. The tunes feature lush string arrangements and, as always, great guitar work. But it's Harper's vocals that carry the day. The dude is as passionate about his music as Marvin Gaye or the seventies era Stevie Wonder. And if you want a religious experience better than church, go see Ben Harper live. He offers incredible musicianship (he's got a great band) and tunes that immediately take a hold of you.

Neko Case - Fox Confessor Brings The Flood: One of my ATF female vocalists. I own everyone of her solo outings and - though very different - this one rivals Furnace Rooom Lullabies as Case's best. This one's a lot less alt-country and is really genre-less. The album is a bit odd in that many of the songs lack a chorus but, thankfully, not Neko's great melodies. Like Harper's set, the vocals rule, followed closely by the lyrics. Neko's got some stories to tell.

Ghostface Killah - Fishscale: Urban radio - at least where I live - sucks right now. They play the same ten songs over and over to the point it sounds like one never-ending bore-a-rama. It's a shame because there is some truly great hip hop being made. Last year, we got the DangerDoom album. This year, an early entrant for album of the year, regardless of genre, is the new Ghostface Killah onslaught. Instead of trying to sound like the Neptunes (like virtually everybody else), Ghostface relies heavily on vocal samples which by themseelves might sound weird but come across spectacularly when coupled with deft beats. Killah's forte is storytelling - but he's telling different stories than Neko.

Mylo - Destroy Rock & Roll: Electronic melodies with only the rare spoken vocal. Great for background music but also offering amazing subtlety for those who give it a closer listen.

4 Comments:

  • where can i find some samples of ben harper's stuff on the internet?

    By Anonymous musci man, at 5:27 PM  

  • I'm not aware of any site that proivides samples for which you do not have to register.

    Since I have an iPod, I use iTunes ... you get 30 second samples of virtually everything. You do have to download the iTunes software, however.

    Another great music site I visit regularly is allmusic.com. Over the years, I've found their reviews to generally be credible. It also provides samples ... but you have to register to access them.

    Finally, another great site for music reviews (though it does NOT provide samples) is the Metacritic. It collects and connects to reviews from numerous sources and provides a rough scoring system by which you can determine how albums are being widely received.

    By Blogger Macswain, at 9:45 AM  

  • How could you leave off the latest Train CD?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:31 PM  

  • yo mac, stick to your political commentary and leave the music reviews to those in the know.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:33 PM  

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