Thursday, October 5, 2006
RAUL MALO | You’re Only Lonely | Sanctuary
As the front man and songwriter of the country group The Mavericks, Raul Malo enjoyed commercial success with albums like O What a Thrill and the platinum-selling What a Crying Shame. Throughout the ‘90s, The Mavericks evolved from their country beginnings into the Latin-inspired rockabilly sounds of their later albums, releasing their final disc in 2001. Later that year, Malo made his solo debut with Today, which featured an eclectic mix of country, Latin and Jazz.
Produced by the famed Peter Asher (James Taylor, J.D. Souther, Bonnie Raitt), this album is another jewel in Malo’s crown. You can’t help but feel swept away as you hear his rendition of Etta James’ “At Last” or “Feels Like Home”, a duet with Martina McBride. His smooth, immaculate voice lends itself perfectly to other gems like “Games That Lovers Play” and the Bee Gees’ “Secret Heart”. Jazzier songs like “For You” show just a little of Malo’s musical diversity, while the title track holds the kind of pure vocal charm made famous by such greats as Patsy Cline and Roy Orbison.
MusicMatch lists this album as “unclassifiable,” yet somehow Malo manages to weave all the beauty of classic country and the sultry vocals of jazz into one sexy CD that can be classified as nothing less than inspiring. —Linda Maceira
SPARKLEHORSE | Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain | Astralwerks
Considering how deep Mark Linkous sank into depression and drug addiction after releasing It’s a Wonderful Life in 2001, it’s practically a miracle we have another Sparklehorse record at all—let alone one this beautiful. But after giving up on his music career for three years, Linkous re-emerged with laptop wizard Danger Mouse in tow.
The latter coated some of Dreamt...’s wistful melodies—constructed from vintage pump organs, optigans, vibraphones, strings, Wurlitzers, lap steels and guitars—in simpatico computer swirls, radio static and rhythmic hiccups. The songs are forged in the crucible between sadness and wonder, destruction and renewal, the old and the new. The contrasts come to life in fantastical minor-key pop tableaus where the spirits of dead horses roam, crows have “old souls,” fireflies are “dying stars” and we are all “born to return back to clay.” —John Schacht
BAD BRAINS | Live at CBGB 1982 | MVD
One of the great byproducts of “art as freedom” is that unlikely genres spawn true oddities and stars. This DC gone to NYC quartet began their musical life as a jazz-fusion group, saw the Dickies and Ramones and remade themselves into one of the premier punk hardcore acts of all time.
At their peak, they were beyond remarkable and this is their apogee. Unlike the chopping thrashers that they played with, these gents could and did stop on a dime, employ dynamics unheard of in such music and slide effortlessly into a lulling reggae groove out of the most ferocious assaults. This collection may not be sonically impeccable but it will have to do for now, as numerous stabs at reunions have been scuttled by bad blood, acrimony and the unpredictable antics of their front man, HR. As is, drums and bass are indeed a little muddy and Dr. Know’s volleys uneven, but this is history.
All of their better known tracks are here, sans “Sailin’ On” and this show did come before they sunk into a near Living Colour-like slick hard rock presentation. This is a healthy, driving, insane set from the absolute masters, and it brings it all back with a vengeance. —Johnny Angel