Tag: Dengue Fever

The Music Year That Was: The Best Albums of 2011

The Music Year That Was: The Best Albums of 2011

Music
The usual disclaimers about my year-end music lists still apply. I'm only one man and only have so much time to listen to new albums. So even if I hear an album and it's really good, if nothing about it grabs me right away I may end up forgetting it. Also, naturally I'm going to gravitate toward music either from acts I already know and like or that's recommended by friends and writers/critics I respect. These, then, are the ten albums that I have returned to more than any other in 2011 and probably will in 2012. Because at the end of the day, isn't that the only mark of a good record? #1. Mastodon, The Hunter As much as I was disappointed with Crack the Skye, I absolutely love The Hunter. I've read a lot of comparisons between it and Metallica's "Black Album," and I can see why. It's...
Sunday Jazz: Mulatu Astatke, “Yegelle Tezela”

Sunday Jazz: Mulatu Astatke, “Yegelle Tezela”

Music, Sunday Jazz
I recently finished listening to the upcoming studio release from Dengue Fever, Cannibal Courtship. As I was writing my review for Popdose, one of the things I mentioned as an ingredient to their unique sound was Ethiopian jazz (or Ethio-jazz). But it occurred to me that I had never actually heard Ethiopian jazz, so I did a little digging. Wow, good stuff! Sadly, this clever and fun hybrid of jazz and traditional Ethiopian music (which utilizes the pentatonic scale, hence its exotic sound) was largely silenced following that country's Derg junta of 1974. Since the 1990s, however, people outside Ethiopia have had the chance to hear those excellent, grooving sounds largely courtesy of the sprawling, comprehensive Éthiopiques CD series. Here's one of the first tracks I stumbled upon, fr
Listening booth — Dengue Fever, “Cement Slippers”

Listening booth — Dengue Fever, “Cement Slippers”

Listening Booth, Music
It's been entirely too long since Dengue Fever released their last studio album, 2008's excellent Venus on Earth. That album, if you remember, earned a coveted slot on my year-end Best Of list for '08. But the wait will be over on April 19, when the group is slated to release Cannibal Courtship via Fantasy Records/Concord Music Group. Of course you can pre-order the album on Amazon, but I've got an .mp3 of the first single for your listening pleasure. It's the second track, "Cement Shoes," and it's a burner. The group's signature style -- vintage 1960s Cambodian rock mingled with surf music and a bit of lounge thrown in for good measure -- is here, but sounds beefier than before. The dual vocals of guitarist Zac Holtzman and Cambodian chanteuse Chhom Nimol also work for me in a big w...
2008 – The Year in Recorded Musical Performances

2008 – The Year in Recorded Musical Performances

Music
A few months into this year I couldn't shake the feeling that 2008 just wasn't going to be the great year for new music that 2007 was.  And so here I am, about a week away from 2009, and I still feel the same way.  It wasn't a total wash mind you, as there was definitely some quality to be enjoyed.  So here's my take on the 2008 music year - good, bad, and ugly. The Best of the Best (Albums) Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes (Sub Pop) Yeah, this seems like an obvious choice, but it's also a damn good one.  I'm always up for listening to good vocal harmonies, and this band has them in spades.  The music is gorgeous to boot, and is a highly engaging blend of folk titans like CSNY, America, and early '70s Fleetwood Mac.  The vocal round of "White Winter Hymnal" is worth the price of admission
Album review mega-roundup: R.E.M., Black Mountain, Joe Jackson, and more…

Album review mega-roundup: R.E.M., Black Mountain, Joe Jackson, and more…

Music
There's no two ways about it: 2008 has been a bit of a letdown as far as new music goes, at least compared to last year. There have been some excellent releases to be certain (School of Language, Goldfrapp, and the Raconteurs among them), just not a lot that have hit the heights of '07. I'm going to play a little catchup with my reviews here, so let's dig in... R.E.M. - Accelerate (Warner Bros.) I've managed to be exposed to R.E.M.'s music for many years and yet never became a fan. In fact I couldn't name five of their songs if I tried. But I heard a lot of positive buzz around Accelerate so I thought I'd take a shot. I'm glad I did, as it's quickly become one of my favorite albums of 2008. The production is meaty, the melodies are catchy, and the album just plain rocks out. ...