Linda Eder – Greatest Hits

Linda Eder – Greatest Hits / 2008 Rhino / 15 Tracks / http://www.lindaeder.com / http://www.rhino.com /

Linda Eder is only 47, and at this point in eir career, has 11 different albums of material. Sure, there are Christmas albums and the Greatest Hits album in the mix, but one has to marvel at the sheer amount of music that Eder has created over the years. However, I know I was not familiar with Eder when I received this CD. Individuals in my same boat, as it were, should know that Eder performs concert and Broadway-specific types of vocals, appearing at such venues as the Carnegie Hall, the JFK Center for the Performing Arts, and the Palace Theatre in Chicago. Continue reading “Linda Eder – Greatest Hits”

Al Jarreau – Love Songs

Al Jarreau – Love Songs / 2008 Rhino / 14 Tracks / http://www.aljarreau.com / http://www.rhino.com /

Al Jarreau has been around for a long period of time. While individuals that are in to contemporary music may remember eir duet with Paris Bennett during the 5th season of American Idol, Jarreau made a name for eirself through eir 1981 hit “We’re in this Love Together” as well as being a major player in the vocals laid down for “We Are The World”. From eir 1965 debut (“1965”) to 2006’s “Givin’ It Up” (which featured George Benson), Jarreau has been a major player on the R&B and jazz charts. It has been about 15 years since Jarreau has cut a traditional single (eir last was 1992’s “It’s Not Hard To Love You”, which made it up to #36 on the R&B charts), but “Love Songs” is something that shows off both single and album-oriented sides of Jarreau. Continue reading “Al Jarreau – Love Songs”

William Hart Strecker – Smoke and Clouds

William Hart Strecker – Smoke and Clouds / 2008 WHS / 13 Tracks / http://www.williamhartstrecker.com /

Strecker’s “Smoke and Clouds” is the third foray into Americana music by this individual, who was previously known for touring with individuals as diverse as Dizzy Gillespie, George Duke, and Mariah Carey. If eir contributions to the works and live shows of those individuals has not rang a bell, Strecker is also well known for running Fluid, a jingle firm that crafts a number of distinct sounds for advertisers throughout the world. “Round and Round” is the first track on “Smoke and Clouds”, and it showcases the maturity of Strecker’s overall sound. Continue reading “William Hart Strecker – Smoke and Clouds”

Demeanor – Shoulders Full of Nazis

Demeanor – Shoulders Full of Nazis / 2008 Mayday Mayday Records / 5 Tracks / http://www.myspace.com/demeanorgrind

Franklin Kentucky’s Demeanor brings a lot to the table. The two piece toured the country for nearly a year under the moniker Meandmyfriendcoty before changing their name to Demeanor and releasing “Shoulders Full of Nazis” on Mayday Mayday Records. My only complaint with “Shoulders full of Nazis” is that there isn’t more for me to listen to. Other than that it is brilliant; an absolute slap in the face of main stream music. From “Thrown Tusks” doom laden guitar intro to the unrelenting sonic assault that the other four songs on the record deliver “Shoulders Full of Nazis” is a solid first release. The record is loud, angry, it doesn’t sound like everyone else, and most importantly it’s passionate. Look for Demeanor to be a volatile force to be reckoned with in the Grindcore/Power Violence community in the near future.

Favorite Track: Blister Dick
Rating: 9/10

[John]

Chili Jackson – S/T

Chili Jackson – S/T / 2007 Conscious / 3 Tracks / http://www.consciousrecordsmusic.com /

The soulful, slow style of rock that Chili Jackson plays does not have an easy set of influences to decipher. The style of music that Jackson opens up this self-titled disc, during “Why”, is something that individuals have heard before but cannot pin down. The track is catchy and even sounds a little on the happy side until one listens to what is exactly being sang about. The strong instrumental arrangement that is present during this track further solidifies Jackson’s status as one of the most impressive rockers of the last few years. The trippy guitar solo that breaks the two parts of the track up provides another source of momentum, and leads in nicely to the combination of the two voices. Continue reading “Chili Jackson – S/T”

Steve Lieberman – Shake The Missile Base

Steve Lieberman – Shake The Missile Base / 2007 Self / 22 Tracks / http://www.gangstarabbi.com /

Despite the fact that I already know most of the ongs that Lieberman puts on eir “cover” albums, I rather prefer the albums that have a large amount of unique material on them. This gives me more of a sense of what Lieberman wants to do with music, rather than having eir constrained by the framework of a song influential to eir. The 22 tracks on this disc seem to have a more political edge to them, whether it be “Love@Defcon 5”, “Gimme Desert Fever”, “Commando Commando”, or “ld50/Private Suicide”. Continue reading “Steve Lieberman – Shake The Missile Base”

Steve Lieberman – Last of the Jewish Pirates

Steve Lieberman – Last of the Jewish Pirates / 2007 Self / 24 Tracks / http://www.gangstarabbi.com /

Steve Lieberman has been cutting albums, one per year or more, for quite a while now. “Last of the Jewish Pirates” is the one of the latest albums from Lieberman, and ey places eir own spin on the tracks that have been the most influential in the creation of Lieberman’s own sound. This means that there are tracks going back all the way to Johnny Cash’s “I Walk The Line”, moving through the Grateful Dead’s “Sugar Magnolia”, continuing through “Radio Free Europe” by R.E.M. and going as current as The Cure’s 1992 classic, “Friday I’m In Love”. Continue reading “Steve Lieberman – Last of the Jewish Pirates”

Teedo – You Are My Girl

Teedo – You Are My Girl / 2007 ICBM / 4 Tracks / http://www.teedomusic.com /

“You Are My Girl” is an EP that sets the stage for the band’s upcoming full length, which should be out before the end of 2008. The title track blends together a very “China Girl”-era Bowie with a set of instruments that call together a rich array of influences. These influences include early nineties alternative rock, eighties “new wave” bands, and even a little bit of the instrumental side of the aforementioned Bowie. “You Are My Girl” has flashes of brilliance, but it still seems as if the band could reach another plateau. Perhaps the band’s second track on “You Are My Girl”, “Shut The Door On The World” will be what brings them up further. Continue reading “Teedo – You Are My Girl”

Lil Devious – You Control Me

Lil Devious – You Control Me / 2007 Gung Ho / 5 Tracks / http://www.lildevious.com / http://www.gung-horecordings.com /

This is the latest single from Lil’ Devious, Mark Baker and Gary Little, called “You Control Me”. “You Control Me” starts with little more than a back and forth drum beat, taking a good half minute before adding a little bit of atmospheric elements to the mix. The inclusion of synthesizer lines into the mix gives a hint of late nineties electronic music, with tinges of both The Crystal Method and The Chemical Brothers. The vocals throw the track in an entirely different direction, giving the track a cold, gothic sound to perfectly counterpoint the hopeful sound of the track. This single includes a few different mixes beyond the original track: an instrumental, Greg Churchill’s remix, a Groove Invaderz remix, and a radio edit of the track. The slower burn of Greg Churchill’s remix provides the stronger of the two remixes on the disc. For individuals that just want to get to the meat of the track, the radio edit is essential. This is due to the fact that around four minutes of the track are lopped off to make it radio-worthy. Still, an interesting song, even if it is not going to immediately rocket up the charts.

Top Track: You Control Me (Radio Edit)

Rating: 5.5/10

Diane Schuur – Some Other Time

Diane Schuur – Some Other Time / 2008 Concord / 13 Tracks / http://www.dianeschuur.com / http://www.concordmusicgroup.com /

Diane Schuur hit it big when Stan Getz had eir sing “Amazing Grace” at the 1979 version of the Monterey Jazz Festival. Schuuz was invited back in 1988 and 1991, but  by that time, eir career had started to take off. To say that Schuur has a voluminous discography would be an understatement; it seems that every 18 or 24 months, there is a new Schuur disc on the market. This is not a case of an individual putting forth drek just to stay in the public eye, either; Schuur was nominated for five different Grammies (1986, 1987, 1989, 1991, and 1993) and won two of those. The first track on the album is a classic in the musical realm – “Nice Work If You Can Get It” – a track that goes back over seventy years to 1937’s “A Damsel in Distress”. Continue reading “Diane Schuur – Some Other Time”