Pietra Montecorvino/The Sway Machinery
Drinking Deep From the Maghreb
Pietra Montecorvino: Napoli Mediterranea (Taranta Power/Rai Trade)
A featured artist in the John Turturro documentary Passione!, Montecorvino is a Neapolitan actress born in 1962 whose recording career began at 30. This album, dated 2003 on my copy, has seen at least four releases since then, and as music solely, with no lyrical clues beyond titles with "luna" and "mare" in them, its understatement is riveting. What Montecorvino wants the world to hear is the beatwise romantic grit of the Maghreb, where so many of her home port's most recent immigrants began their hard lives, reinvigorating the sweet romantic melody Napoli's emigrants sentimentalize. Though usually the percussion and guitar sound Euro-American, at times you can hear ouds and darbukas in there, and Elvis fans need to know what she makes of "O sole mio." A MINUS
The Sway Machinery: The House of Friendly Ghosts, Vol. 1: Featuring Khaira Arby (JDub)
This strange record would mean less without the bound booklet written by guitarist-vocalist, cantor's grandson, and transcultural seeker Jeremiah Lockwood. And it would mean rather less than that without the three songs by Saharan diva Khaira Arby, whose own Timbuktu Tarab is more consistent but less gripping. The band comprises Lockwood, a drummer, and three horn players who add major oomph to Arby's stately, impassioned showcases. Camels grunt, children trill, women chant. And then there's Lockwood, a deeply pretentious guy who sometimes puts his transculturalism over, but don't count on it. Thank Allah that Arby contributes some backup vocals as well. Thank Jahweh too, I suppose. B PLUS
And Wussy is gonna be at a place with the word "CAKE" in the name? You just KNOW I'm gonna be there - BLUHBLUHBLUHBLUHBLUHBLUH!!!!!
Double Nickels On the Dime: The Truck Stop Version Hoboken Saturday Night (and Party Every Day) Call Me (If You Didn't Lose that Number, Ricky)Hilarious! Tell me this little parlor game isn't more fun than another poll!
And following up the Eno follow-ups, I didn't want us to forget Talking Heads niche versions of More Songs About Buildings and Food -
More Songs About Quonset Huts and Potatoes
More Songs About Hunting Cabins and Venison
More Songs About Bungalows and Canapes
More Songs About Assisted Living and SoftServe Yogurt
More Songs About Dormitories and Pizza (unless Beer counts as food, then substitute accordingly)
More Songs About Day Care Centers and Lunchables
More Songs About Opera Houses and Vegemite Sandwiches (oooh, gonna be in trouble for that one)
More Songs About Stadiums and Hot Dogs
More Songs About Taverns and Pretzels
More Songs About Hospitals and Jello
Any of you West Coasters planning on seeing the Klezmatics this December. They're hitting every major town this month, Should be a good show. I'm going on the 22nd.
20th- Portland- Greg?
21st- Olympia- Allen?
Raul: Very cool link. The mashup editor (Marc Johnce) has an interesting site with many similar productions. I also like his disclaimer:
All mixes linked to on this site are created for entertainment, and as demonstration of mixing and production techniques only. The copyright for the individual tracks used remains with the artist. If you like the mixes I have created, please buy the original songs and support the artists. If you are a representative of either the artist or the publishing company and would like the tracks removed, please contact me directly.
EDIT: Aha...Hilary's Kinetic. Lemme see if I can find it online...
Will any of these albums be reviewed: Take Care by Drake, My Life II by Mary J Blige, or What Were You Hoping For by Van Hunt?
about the blogger
Starting in 1967, Robert Christgau has covered popular music for The Village Voice, Esquire, Blender, Playboy, Rolling Stone, and many other publications. He teaches in New York University's Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music, maintains a comprehensive website at robertchristgau.com, and has published five books based on his journalism. He has written for MSN Music since 2006.
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