Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

Album of the Day 9/8/11

Virtually every day, our 1000 best albums of all time countdown continues all the way to #1. Thursday’s album is #509:

The Knitters – Poor Little Critter on the Road

This is basically the X record between More Fun in the New World (#936 on this list’s “such an obvious choice that we didn’t bother to explain” page) and Ain’t Love Grand. From 1985, it’s not the first alt-country album, but it is one of the best. Foreshadowing the popular Pete’s Candy Store sound that came out of in Brooklyn in the late 90s/early zeros, it’s a bunch of punk rockers playing old country and folk music, with both passion and chops. Before country was cool, Exene and John Doe really understood the kinship between hillbilly music and punk, exemplified by the blithely grisly title track, sad songs like Silver Wings and Poor Old Heartsick Me, the defiant Baby Out of Jail and rattling versions of Rock Island Line and Walkin’ Cane. There are also mellower yet still edgy versions of a few X tunes including The New World and The Call of the Wreckin’ Ball, which the band has amusingly updated over the years. X has done a couple of tours as the Knitters in recent years: if you get the chance to see them, don’t pass it up. Here’s a random torrent.

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September 7, 2011 Posted by | country music, lists, Music, music, concert, rock music | Leave a comment

The Rudie Crew’s New Album Rocks

The Rudie Crew are best known as a great live band. Their latest album This Is Skragga – streaming in its entirety at bandcamp – proves they can capture the crazy enegy of their live shows in the studio. If this is actually a live recording, except without the crowd noise, that wouldn’t be a surprise. With guitars, keys, horns and what seems like an endless supply of toasters on the mic, they blend a 60s and 70s roots groove with a 90s dancehall vocal style. Imagine Super Cat backed by Toots’ band, and you get an idea of what all this sounds like.

The opening track, Propaganda benefits from fat, oldschool production, with boomy bass, spicy horns, a guitar solo that starts out hilarious and goes creepy quickly, followed by a smoky off-kilter sax solo. In matter-of-fact Jamaican patwa, the singer warns of the nefarious misdees of the CIA and the FBI in the service of corporate interests, something that ought to be getting everybody’s attention: “Come off your myspace and facebook and ask why!”

The second track, Dem Neva Know is a straight-up, vintage roots reggae sufferah’s anthem, like something off Black Uhuru’s first album but more raw. They follow that with the title track, a punchy ska shuffle with blippy bassline, slinky organ and the horns kicking up a mess when they need to. After what sounds like a succession of vocal cameos, they hit a wicked downward hook that just won’t stop. The last song is Party Girl – she’s she’s impossible to catch up with, and too rich for your blood. The band eventually works its way into a murky boudoir scene done dancehall style. The whole thing is streaming at bandcamp – enjoy.

September 7, 2011 Posted by | Music, music, concert, reggae music, review, Reviews, ska music | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Album of the Day 9/7/11

Every day, pretty much that is, our 1000 best albums of all time countdown continues all the way to #1. Wednesday’s album is #510:

Esma Redzepova – Queen of the Gypsies

This 2007 album from the legendary Macedonian chanteuse includes both a disc of songs from her native land as well as the Roma songs she was brought up on, which earned her fame throughout Europe. The Macedonian stuff here tends to be more plaintive, Zosto Si Me Majko (Oh Mother Why Was I Born) being a prime example. Backed by a rustic, often haunting acoustic band, Rezdepova makes her way through anthems like Zapej Makedonijo (Macedonia Sings), Svadba Makedonska (Macedonian Wedding) and the wistful Grade Moj (My Town). The gypsy material is a lot more upbeat, often absolutely exhilarating,  a showcase for both her wild vocal ornamentation and also her minutely honed nuance, especially on dance numbers like Esma Cocek and Romano Horo, and the towering, dramatic Hajri Ma Te Dike. Pretty much everything she’s recorded is worth hearing; these 24 tracks are a good overview of her career. Here’s a random torrent. Redzepova makes a rare New York appearance at Drom on 9/24 at 8 PM with her band.

September 7, 2011 Posted by | lists, Music, music, concert, world music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment