Shepherd Express - Album Reviews http://shepherdexpress.com/articles.sec-365-1-album-reviews.html Thu, 30 Mar 17 00:00:00 -0500 en hourly 1 Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble: Find Me Finding You (Drag City) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29477-laetitia-sadier-source-ensemble-find-me-finding-you-%2528drag-city%2529.html   ]]> Rocket Paloma: Rocket Paloma http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29439-rocket-paloma-rocket-paloma.html   ]]> Chris Head & The Honchos: Chicken Wire http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29440-chris-head-the-honchos-chicken-wire.html   ]]> Red Baraat: Bhangra Pirates (Rhyme & Reason Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29441-red-baraat-bhangra-pirates-%2528rhyme-reason-records%2529.html As the album title suggests, Bhangra Pirates is a wild take on contemporary Indian street music whose horns and booty-shaking marching beats will remind some listene]]> Kyle Feerick: Heart http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29403-kyle-feerick-heart.html   ]]> Ken Schaphorst Big Band: How To Say Goodbye (JCA Recordings) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29407-ken-schaphorst-big-band-how-to-say-goodbye-%2528jca-recordings%2529.html   ]]> Modus Factor: The Picasso Zone (Browntasaurus Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29409-modus-factor-the-picasso-zone-%2528browntasaurus-records%2529.html   ]]> Chicago: Chicago II: Steven Wilson Remix (Rhino) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29368-chicago-chicago-ii-steven-wilson-remix-%2528rhino%2529.html   ]]> Zucchero: Black Cat (Wrasse Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29370-zucchero-black-cat-%2528wrasse-records%2529.html   ]]> Amelia Romano: New Perspectives http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29371-amelia-romano-new-perspectives.html   ]]> NE-HI: Offers (Grand Jury) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29325-ne-hi-offers-%2528grand-jury%2529.html   ]]> Harriet Tubman: Araminta (Sunnyside) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29286-harriet-tubman-araminta-%2528sunnyside%2529.html   ]]> R. Mutt: The Dash http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29285-r-mutt-the-dash.html   ]]> Alsarah & The Nubatones: Manara (Wonderwheel Recordings) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29287-alsarah-the-nubatones-manara-%2528wonderwheel-recordings%2529.html   ]]> Keith Oxman: East of the Village (Capri Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29227-keith-oxman-east-of-the-village-%2528capri-records%2529.html ]]> Synthesize the Soul: Astro-Atlantic Hypnotica from the Cape Verde Islands 1973-1988 (Ostinato Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29228-synthesize-the-soul-astro-atlantic-hypnotica-from-the-cape-verde-islands-1973-1988-%2528ostinato-records%2529.html ]]> Andrew Downing: Otterville http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29231-andrew-downing-otterville.html ]]> Jihye Lee Orchestra: April http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29185-jihye-lee-orchestra-april.html   ]]> Brian Dickinson Quintet: The Rhythm Method (Addo Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29186-brian-dickinson-quintet-the-rhythm-method-%2528addo-records%2529.html   ]]> Amira Medunjanin: Damar http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29187-amira-medunjanin-damar.html   ]]> The Grateful Dead: 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (Rhino) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29136-the-grateful-dead-50th-anniversary-deluxe-edition-%2528rhino%2529.html ]]> Edenbridge: The Great Momentum (Steamhammer/SPV) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29138-edenbridge-the-great-momentum-%2528steamhammer_spv%2529.html ]]> The Zach Pietrini Band: Holding Onto Ghosts http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29097-the-zach-pietrini-band-holding-onto-ghosts.html   ]]> Magnum: The Valley of Tears: The Ballads (Steamhammer/SPV) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29098-magnum-the-valley-of-tears-the-ballads-%2528steamhammer_spv%2529.html   ]]> Tyne Darling: These Ghosts http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29072-tyne-darling-these-ghosts.html   ]]> Ghost Iris: Blind World (Long Branch Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29073-ghost-iris-blind-world-%2528long-branch-records%2529.html   ]]> Wingfield Reuter Stavi Sirkis: The Stone House (MoonJune Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29074-wingfield-reuter-stavi-sirkis-the-stone-house-%2528moonjune-records%2529.html   ]]> Sonata Arctica: The Ninth Hour (Nuclear Blast) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29015-sonata-arctica-the-ninth-hour-%2528nuclear-blast%2529.html   ]]> Eight O’Five Jive: Swing Set http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29016-eight-o%25E2%2580%2599five-jive-swing-set.html   ]]> The Doors: London Fog 1966 (Rhino) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28997-the-doors-london-fog-1966-%2528rhino%2529.html ]]> Leon Redbone: Long Way From Home: Early Recordings (Third Man Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29000-leon-redbone-long-way-from-home-early-recordings-%2528third-man-records%2529.html Leon Redbone was half a decade shy of fame when a Buffalo, N.Y, college radio station recorded a batch of his songs. It was 1972 and Redbone, wearing an old suit and a thrift store hat, was part of an]]> Snowapple: Tracks (Zip Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29002-snowapple-tracks-%2528zip-records%2529.html ]]> Jethro Tull: Stand Up: The Elevated Edition (Chrysalis) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28957-jethro-tull-stand-up-the-elevated-edition-%2528chrysalis%2529.html ]]> Club d'Elf: Live at Club Helsinki (Face Pelt Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28958-club-delf-live-at-club-helsinki-%2528face-pelt-records%2529.html ]]> David Bowie: Legacy http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28892-david-bowie-legacy.html
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Riverside: Eye of the Soundscape http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28893-riverside-eye-of-the-soundscape.html
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Çiğdem Aslan: A Thousand Cranes http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28894-%25C3%2587i%25C4%259Fdem-aslan-a-thousand-cranes.html
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More Retrospective Releases by Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Bette Midler - Album Sets as Holiday Gifts for Music Lovers http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28884-more-retrospective-releases-by-bob-dylan-miles-davis-john-coltrane-and-bette-midler-album-sets-as-holiday-gifts-for-music-lovers.html   ]]> Mercy Isle: Undying Fire http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28857-mercy-isle-undying-fire.html   ]]> Roy Orbison: The Ultimate Collection (Legacy/Roy’s Boys) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28858-roy-orbison-the-ultimate-collection-%2528legacy_roy%25E2%2580%2599s-boys%2529.html   ]]> Nineteen Thirteen: The Dream http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28846-nineteen-thirteen-the-dream.html   ]]> Jonny T-Bird & The MPs: True Story http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28823-jonny-t-bird-the-mps-true-story.html   ]]> Pink Floyd: The Early Years 1967-1972 Cre/ation (Pink Floyd Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28824-pink-floyd-the-early-years-1967-1972-cre_ation-%2528pink-floyd-records%2529.html   ]]> Nu Haven Kapelye: What’s Nu? http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28825-nu-haven-kapelye-what%25E2%2580%2599s-nu.html   ]]> J. Ryan Trio: Under Cover http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28801-j-ryan-trio-under-cover.html   ]]> Van der Graaf Generator: Do Not Disturb (Esoteric Antenna) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28802-van-der-graaf-generator-do-not-disturb-%2528esoteric-antenna%2529.html   ]]> Thoughtstorm: Tales from the Electric Ocean http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28803-thoughtstorm-tales-from-the-electric-ocean.html   ]]> Otis Redding: Complete & Unbelievable: The Otis Redding Dictionary of Soul (Rhino) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28740-otis-redding-complete-unbelievable-the-otis-redding-dictionary-of-soul-%2528rhino%2529.html   ]]> Marcel Khalifé: Andalusia of Love (Nagam Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28741-marcel-khalife-andalusia-of-love-%2528nagam-records%2529.html   ]]> Lauren Bush: All My Treasures http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28742-lauren-bush-all-my-treasures.html   ]]> Fred “Sonic” Smith: Sonic’s Rendezvous (Orchide) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28722-fred-%25E2%2580%259Csonic%25E2%2580%259D-smith-sonic%25E2%2580%2599s-rendezvous-%2528orchide%2529.html   ]]> Erroll Garner: Ready Take One (Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28723-erroll-garner-ready-take-one-%2528legacy%2529.html   ]]> Sever Ensemble: Rescued Treasure—Live at Gorki Berlin (Piranha Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28665-sever-ensemble-rescued-treasure%25E2%2580%2594live-at-gorki-berlin-%2528piranha-records%2529.html   ]]> Gary Nesta Pine: Revelations http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28666-gary-nesta-pine-revelations.html   ]]> Matt Butler: Reckless Son http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28667-matt-butler-reckless-son.html   ]]> I Have A Tribe Beneath a Yellow Moon (Grönland) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28636-i-have-a-tribe-beneath-a-yellow-moon-%2528gr%25C3%25B6nland%2529.html   ]]> Jimi Hendrix: Machine Gun: The Fillmore East First Show 12/31/69 (Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28610-jimi-hendrix-machine-gun-the-fillmore-east-first-show-12_31_69-%2528legacy%2529.html   ]]> Stick Men: Prog Noir (MoonJune) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28611-stick-men-prog-noir-%2528moonjune%2529.html   ]]> Aditya Prakash Ensemble: MARA http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28613-aditya-prakash-ensemble-mara.html   ]]> Karmakanic: DOT (InsideOut Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28565-karmakanic-dot-%2528insideout-music%2529.html   ]]> Parallel: Between The Lines http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28566-parallel-between-the-lines.html   ]]> Simrit: Songs of Resilience http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28567-simrit-songs-of-resilience.html   ]]> Jupiter In Velvet: The ONE In The Many (Free 2B Free) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28526-jupiter-in-velvet-the-one-in-the-many-%2528free-2b-free%2529.html   ]]> Kal Bergendahl Project: Parallels Chapter 1 http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28527-kal-bergendahl-project-parallels-chapter-1.html   ]]> Daniela Schächter: Vanheusenism: A Tribute To Jimmy Van Heusen http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28528-daniela-sch%25C3%25A4chter-vanheusenism-a-tribute-to-jimmy-van-heusen.html   ]]> The Parrots Los Niños Sin Miedo (PIAS America) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28485-the-parrots-los-ninos-sin-miedo-%2528pias-america%2529.html   ]]> Led Zeppelin: The Complete BBC Sessions (Atlantic/Swan Song/Warner) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28480-led-zeppelin-the-complete-bbc-sessions-%2528atlantic_swan-song_warner%2529.html   ]]> Nora Collins: Nora Collins (MV2 Entertainment) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28457-nora-collins-nora-collins-%2528mv2-entertainment%2529.html   ]]> Lee “Scratch” Perry: Must Be Free (Megawave) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28458-lee-%25E2%2580%259Cscratch%25E2%2580%259D-perry-must-be-free-%2528megawave%2529.html   ]]> Shirantha Beddage: Momentum http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28459-shirantha-beddage-momentum.html   ]]> Debo Band: Ere Gobez (FPE Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28411-debo-band-ere-gobez-%2528fpe-records%2529.html
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Lil’ Rev: Claw and Hammer (Fountain of Uke) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28417-lil%25E2%2580%2599-rev-claw-and-hammer-%2528fountain-of-uke%2529.html   ]]> Elvis Presley: Way Down in the Jungle Room (RCA Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28418-elvis-presley-way-down-in-the-jungle-room-%2528rca-legacy%2529.html   ]]> The Rolling Stones: The Rolling Stones in Mono (Abkco) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28368-the-rolling-stones-the-rolling-stones-in-mono-%2528abkco%2529.html   ]]> Delain: Moonbathers (Napalm Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28380-delain-moonbathers-%2528napalm-records%2529.html   ]]> Mn’JAM experiment: Live with a Boom http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28381-mn%25E2%2580%2599jam-experiment-live-with-a-boom.html   ]]> Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble: Sing Me Home (Masterworks) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28382-yo-yo-ma-and-the-silk-road-ensemble-sing-me-home-%2528masterworks%2529.html   ]]> The Scientists: A Place Called Bad (Numero Group) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28349-the-scientists-a-place-called-bad-%2528numero-group%2529.html   ]]> Ian and the Dream: New Dreams http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28350-ian-and-the-dream-new-dreams.html   ]]> Al Basile: Mid-Century Modern (Sweetspot Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28351-al-basile-mid-century-modern-%2528sweetspot-records%2529.html
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Album Review: Sandaraa 'Sandaraa' http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28327-album-review-sandaraa-sandaraa.html   ]]> Album Review: Sandaraa 'Sandaraa' http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28328-album-review-sandaraa-sandaraa.html Album Reviews: Kris Kristofferson The Complete Monument & Columbia Albums Collection (Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28316-album-reviews-kris-kristofferson-the-complete-monument-columbia-albums-collection-%2528legacy%2529.html    ]]> Roddie Romero and the Hub City All-Stars http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28317-roddie-romero-and-the-hub-city-all-stars.html ]]> Owen: The King of Whys (Polyvinyl) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28270-owen-the-king-of-whys-%2528polyvinyl%2529.html   ]]> Allen Keller and Mike Benign: Happiless http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28247-allen-keller-and-mike-benign-happiless.html   ]]> Lefteris Kordis: Mediterrana (Goddess of Light) (Inner Circle Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28248-lefteris-kordis-mediterrana-%2528goddess-of-light%2529-%2528inner-circle-music%2529.html   ]]> Money Chicha: Echo en Mexico (Vampisoul) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28249-money-chicha-echo-en-mexico-%2528vampisoul%2529.html   ]]> Album Reviews 8.4 - Eric Clapton, The Incorruptibles, Dan Reed Network http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28204-album-reviews-84-eric-clapton-the-incorruptibles-dan-reed-network.html Tweed Funk: Come Together http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28164-tweed-funk-come-together.html   ]]> The Striped Frogs: Dissected http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28165-the-striped-frogs-dissected.html   ]]> Casual Vocals: You Are I Am We Are http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28145-casual-vocals-you-are-i-am-we-are.html   ]]> Zhongyu: “Zhongyu” Is Chinese for “Finally” (MoonJune Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28146-zhongyu-%25E2%2580%259Czhongyu%25E2%2580%259D-is-chinese-for-%25E2%2580%259Cfinally%25E2%2580%259D-%2528moonjune-records%2529.html   ]]> Larry Young In Paris: The ORTF Recordings (Resonance) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28147-larry-young-in-paris-the-ortf-recordings-%2528resonance%2529.html   ]]> Appliances-SFB Them/Green Door http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28090-appliances-sfb-them_green-door.html    ]]> The Jelly Jam: Profit http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28091-the-jelly-jam-profit.html     ]]> The Pukes: “Murder” and “Execution” (Tire Fire) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28053-the-pukes-%25E2%2580%259Cmurder%25E2%2580%259D-and-%25E2%2580%259Cexecution%25E2%2580%259D-%2528tire-fire%2529.html   ]]> Mike Jones Trio: Roaring (Capri) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28054-mike-jones-trio-roaring-%2528capri%2529.html   ]]> The Breath: Carry Your Kin (Real World) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28055-the-breath-carry-your-kin-%2528real-world%2529.html   ]]> The Kinks: Everybody’s in Show-Biz Legacy Edition (RCA/Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28034-the-kinks-everybody%25E2%2580%2599s-in-show-biz-legacy-edition-%2528rca_legacy%2529.html   ]]> Tinsley Ellis: Red Clay Soul (Heartfixer Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28035-tinsley-ellis-red-clay-soul-%2528heartfixer-music%2529.html   ]]> The Sheep: War Babies (Stoned Circle) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27984-the-sheep-war-babies-%2528stoned-circle%2529.html   ]]> Zmei3: Rough Romanian Soul (Six Degrees Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27985-zmei3-rough-romanian-soul-%2528six-degrees-records%2529.html   ]]> Marquis Hill: The Way We Play (Concord Jazz) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27951-marquis-hill-the-way-we-play-%2528concord-jazz%2529.html   ]]> Fare Forward Voyagers: Time and Space http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27919-fare-forward-voyagers-time-and-space.html   ]]> Carla Bley, Andy Sheppard, Steve Swallow: Andando el Tiempo (ECM) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27920-carla-bley-andy-sheppard-steve-swallow-andando-el-tiempo-%2528ecm%2529.html    ]]> Andrew McAnsh: Illustrations http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27921-andrew-mcansh-illustrations.html   ]]> Bob Dylan: Fallen Angels http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27880-bob-dylan-fallen-angels.html    ]]> Album Reviews: 6.2 http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27900-album-reviews-62.html Akae Beka & I Grade Portals (I Grade)  Jamaica is still the first Caribbean island nation coming to mind when it comes to reggae. Since around the turn of the century, however, St. C]]> Outer Spaces: A Shedding Snake (Don Giovanni Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27866-outer-spaces-a-shedding-snake-%2528don-giovanni-records%2529.html   ]]> Fun w/ Atoms: Main Street: 30th Anniversary Remastered Edition (Tempers Flare) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27805-fun-w_-atoms-main-street-30th-anniversary-remastered-edition-%2528tempers-flare%2529.html   ]]> Naftule’s: Dream Blood http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27806-naftule%25E2%2580%2599s-dream-blood.html   ]]> Alex Goodman: Border Crossing (OA2 Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27807-alex-goodman-border-crossing-%2528oa2-records%2529.html   ]]> Myrath 'Legacy' (Nightmare Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27772-myrath-legacy-%2528nightmare-records%2529.html   ]]> Circus Maximus: Havoc (Frontiers Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27773-circus-maximus-havoc-%2528frontiers-records%2529.html   ]]> Eliades Ochoa & Alma Latina: Guajira Mas Guajira (Tumi Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27774-eliades-ochoa-alma-latina-guajira-mas-guajira-%2528tumi-music%2529.html   ]]> Steve Grimm Bad Boys, Bad Girls (Legend Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27759-steve-grimm-bad-boys-bad-girls-%2528legend-records%2529.html   ]]> The Weary World: So Shines http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27760-the-weary-world-so-shines.html   ]]> Al Jarreau: Live at Montreux 1993 (Eagle Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27761-al-jarreau-live-at-montreux-1993-%2528eagle-records%2529.html   ]]> Matthew and The Atlas: Temple (Communion) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27700-matthew-and-the-atlas-temple-%2528communion%2529.html   ]]> Mavis Staples: Livin’ On A High Note (Anti-/Epitaph) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27656-mavis-staples-livin%25E2%2580%2599-on-a-high-note-%2528anti-_epitaph%2529.html   ]]> Ehud Asherie: Shuffle Along (Blue Heron Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27657-ehud-asherie-shuffle-along-%2528blue-heron-records%2529.html   ]]> Gabriela Martina: No White Shoes http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27658-gabriela-martina-no-white-shoes.html   ]]> John Doe: The Westerner (Cool Rock Records/Thirty Tigers) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27621-john-doe-the-westerner-%2528cool-rock-records_thirty-tigers%2529.html   ]]> Rhythm Future Quartet: Travels (Magic Fiddle Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27622-rhythm-future-quartet-travels-%2528magic-fiddle-music%2529.html   ]]> Fanfare Ciocarlia: Onward to Mars! (Asphalt Tango) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27623-fanfare-ciocarlia-onward-to-mars_-%2528asphalt-tango%2529.html   ]]> The Cars: The Elektra Years 1978-1987 http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27611-the-cars-the-elektra-years-1978-1987.html    ]]> Headspace: All That You Fear Is Gone (InsideOut Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27587-headspace-all-that-you-fear-is-gone-%2528insideout-music%2529.html   ]]> The Essential Stephen Sondheim (Masterworks Broadway) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27588-the-essential-stephen-sondheim-%2528masterworks-broadway%2529.html  ]]> Natty Nation: Divine Spark (iNatty Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27589-natty-nation-divine-spark-%2528inatty-records%2529.html   ]]> Haroula Rose: Here the Blue River (Thirty Tigers) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27550-haroula-rose-here-the-blue-river-%2528thirty-tigers%2529.html   ]]> Kirk McFarlin: Kirk McFarlin http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27504-kirk-mcfarlin-kirk-mcfarlin.html   ]]> Vasil Hadzimanov Band: Alive (MoonJune) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27505-vasil-hadzimanov-band-alive-%2528moonjune%2529.html   ]]> Album Review: Doghouse Flowers 'Cold Comfort' http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27421-album-review-doghouse-flowers-cold-comfort.html   ]]> Album Review: David Broza & The Andalusian Orchestra Ashkelon 'Andalusian Love Song' (Eighth Note/Magenta) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27422-album-review-david-broza-the-andalusian-orchestra-ashkelon-andalusian-love-song-%2528eighth-note_magenta%2529.html   ]]> Album Review: Cocofunka 'Chúcaro' http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27423-album-review-cocofunka-chucaro.html   ]]> Johnny Cash: Koncert v Praze (In Prague-Live) (Columbia/Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27366-johnny-cash-koncert-v-praze-%2528in-prague-live%2529-%2528columbia_legacy%2529.html   ]]> Dean Richard: Driving Through the Storm (T&R Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27367-dean-richard-driving-through-the-storm-%2528tr-records%2529.html   ]]> Arsen Petrosyan: Charentsavan: Music for Armenian Duduk (Pomegranate Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27368-arsen-petrosyan-charentsavan-music-for-armenian-duduk-%2528pomegranate-music%2529.html   ]]> Album Review: Seth Bogart (Burger Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27327-album-review-seth-bogart-%2528burger-records%2529.html    ]]> Joe Cocker: The Life of a Man http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27324-joe-cocker-the-life-of-a-man.html    ]]> The Complete Them 1964-1967 http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27323-the-complete-them-1964-1967.html Them was the band that introduced Van Morrison to the world beyond Belfast. A three-CD set, The Complete Them includes their two albums plus previously unissued demos, alternate versions and live tr]]> Ches Smith: The Bell http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27304-ches-smith-the-bell.html   ]]> Aruán Ortiz Trio: Hidden Voices (Intakt Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27306-aruan-ortiz-trio-hidden-voices-%2528intakt-records%2529.html   ]]> Michael Spiro, Wayne Wallace and La Orquesta Sinfonietta: Canto América (Patois Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27308-michael-spiro-wayne-wallace-and-la-orquesta-sinfonietta-canto-america-%2528patois-records%2529.html   ]]> XIXA: Shift and Shadow (Barbès Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27309-xixa-shift-and-shadow-%2528barb%25C3%25A8s-records%2529.html   ]]> Album Review: Ork Records: New York, New York (Numero Group) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27275-album-review-ork-records-new-york-new-york-%2528numero-group%2529.html    ]]> Black Sabbath: Paranoid/Master of Reality http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27246-black-sabbath-paranoid_master-of-reality.html    ]]> A Chorus Line: 40th Anniversary Celebration http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27244-a-chorus-line-40th-anniversary-celebration.html    ]]> Zusha: Kavana http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27245-zusha-kavana.html ]]> Album Review: F/i: Venusian Holiday http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27240-album-review-f_i-venusian-holiday.html Cian Nugent: Night Fiction http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27201-cian-nugent-night-fiction.html    ]]> Vivo: This is the Time http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27152-vivo-this-is-the-time.html    ]]> Peter D’Amore: The Line http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27153-peter-d%25E2%2580%2599amore-the-line.html   ]]> Girls on Grass: Girls on Grass http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27154-girls-on-grass-girls-on-grass.html     ]]> Laraaji: Ambient 3: Day of Radiance (Glitter Beat) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27101-laraaji-ambient-3-day-of-radiance-%2528glitter-beat%2529.html     ]]> The Young Revelators: All I See http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27100-the-young-revelators-all-i-see.html    ]]> David Bowie: Blackstar http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27096-david-bowie-blackstar.html Two days after the release of his most extraordinary album in decades, David Bowie succumbed to cancer. Black Star’s lyrics mused about aging—waiting for the X-ray results, forgetfulness—while]]> Circle II Circle: Reign of Darkness (earMusic) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27069-circle-ii-circle-reign-of-darkness-%2528earmusic%2529.html When vocalist Zak Stevens left Savatage (from which Trans-Siberian Orchestra descended), he formed Circle II Circle and carried on the sound he forged with Savatage on such epic mid-’90s progressive-metal albums as Edge of Thorns and The ]]> Youssou N’Dour et le Super Etoile de Dakar: Fatteliku (Live) (Real World) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27070-youssou-n%25E2%2580%2599dour-et-le-super-etoile-de-dakar-fatteliku-%2528live%2529-%2528real-world%2529.html In the ’80s, Youssou N’Dour was still more popular in Africa than elsewhere. But he had a prominent fan, Peter Gabriel, who took him on the road as his opening act. This 1987 concert in Athens documents one night of that tour. N’Dour’s relentlessly ]]> Julia Vorontsova: Over (Privet Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27071-julia-vorontsova-over-%2528privet-records%2529.html On her first album in several years, Russian expatriate Julia Vorontsova draws on her country’s bardic tradition of folk music with poetic lyrics that allude to contemporary life. Sung in Russian but recorded in Los Angeles with a small ensemble of ]]> Astropol: The Spin We’re In (Ingrid) - Album Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27043-astropol-the-spin-we%25E2%2580%2599re-in-%2528ingrid%2529-album-review.html The vastness of Swedish melancholy, like the coldness of Swedish winters and the frequency of Swedish suicides, has probably been overstated in the popular imagination. Still, the power of The Spin We’re In, the first Astropol album]]> Roy Orbison: Only the Lonely Ones http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27040-roy-orbison-only-the-lonely-ones.html    ]]> Kurt Elling: Passion World (Concord Jazz) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27011-kurt-elling-passion-world-%2528concord-jazz%2529.html Among the world’s most ambitious and gifted singers, Kurt Elling pursues what philosophers call the life examined, evidence of his training as a seminarian. Here, his deft, pliant baritone addresses the concepts of passion and romance, and how their complexity and ]]> Sam Butler: Raise Your Hands! (Severn Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27012-sam-butler-raise-your-hands_-%2528severn-records%2529.html Just as his former gospel group, the Blind Boys of Alabama, performed with artists as diverse as Peter Gabriel and Kanye West, vocalist/guitarist Sam Butler uses his first solo album to put his own bluesy spin on spiritual-leaning songs by secular artists like Bruce ]]> Carly Simon: Songs from the Trees: A Musical Memoir Collection (Rhino/Elektra) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27013-carly-simon-songs-from-the-trees-a-musical-memoir-collection-%2528rhino_elektra%2529.html Carly Simon’s career-spanning best-of album has an unusual twist. The two-CD set includes a booklet that references each track to a passage in her recently published memoir. It’s cross-marketing and a way of shedding light on the inception of her lyrics. Songs from the ]]> Lee Hawkins: Songs About The Birth Of Jesus http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27007-lee-hawkins-songs-about-the-birth-of-jesus.html
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Album Review: Fleetwood Mac's Tusk Deluxe Edition http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27005-album-review-fleetwood-macs-tusk-deluxe-edition.html    ]]> Charlie Musselwhite: I Ain’t Lyin’ (Henrietta Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26974-charlie-musselwhite-i-ain%25E2%2580%2599t-lyin%25E2%2580%2599-%2528henrietta-records%2529.html Over the course of a 50-year career, veteran harmonica player Charlie Musselwhite has played with some of the most legendary names in blues, and along the way released an extensive catalogue of recordings. I Ain’t Lyin’ is the most recent ]]> Ventanas: Arrelumbre http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26975-ventanas-arrelumbre.html The most obvious influences on Ventanas’ second album, Arrelumbre, are the wailing vocals and foot-stomping rhythms of flamenco. But Ventanas digresses without missing a beat into the more melancholy sounds of flamenco’s neighbor in ]]> Bob Druker: Life Size Dollar http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26976-bob-druker-life-size-dollar.html When Milwaukee folk singer Bob Druker goes for tickling funny bones and making puns on his debut, Life Size Dollar, he uses his amiably creaky tenor to humorous effect, envisioning a well-heeled rival for one’s romantic affections as a walking]]> Frank Sinatra: A Voice on Air, 1935-1955 (Columbia/Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26939-frank-sinatra-a-voice-on-air-1935-1955-%2528columbia_legacy%2529.html Frank Sinatra recorded around 1,200 songs from the 1930s to the ’90s. Though he’s been gone for 17 ]]> MonkeyJunk: Moon Turn Red (Stony Plain Recording) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26940-monkeyjunk-moon-turn-red-%2528stony-plain-recording%2529.html Borrowing its name from a Son House quote, MonkeyJunk is a Canadian swamp-blues roots-rock trio that doesn’t take itself too seriously but still pushes genre boundaries. Melodic sparks, thick grooves and playful riffs dominate ]]> The Faces: Stay With Me: The Faces Anthology (Warner Bros./Rhino) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26941-the-faces-stay-with-me-the-faces-anthology-%2528warner-bros_rhino%2529.html For anyone who wants a well-curated collection by this quintessential ’70s British band, but doesn’t want to pop for the recently released box set with every album track plus rarities, this two-CD collection will do nicely. The ]]> The Clitboys: We Don’t Play The Game (Beer City) - Album Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26901-the-clitboys-we-don%25E2%2580%2599t-play-the-game-%2528beer-city%2529-album-review.html Otis Redding: Soul Manifesto 1964-1970 (Rhino) - Album Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26902-otis-redding-soul-manifesto-1964-1970-%2528rhino%2529-album-review.html Otis Redding is the one male soul singer of the ’60s that every music fan needs to know about. And for the fan that wants it all, the box-set Soul Manifesto is the ideal holiday gift. Containing a dozen albums in shrunken versions of the original LP]]> Blackmore’s Night: All Our Yesterdays (Frontiers Records) - Album Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26903-blackmore%25E2%2580%2599s-night-all-our-yesterdays-%2528frontiers-records%2529-album-review.html The latest album from Ritchie Blackmore’s renaissance act Blackmore’s Night was released amid reports that the guitarist—who (in)famously shunned his rock ’n’ roll past with Deep Purple and Rainbow for two decades—will return in 2016, albeit]]> Van Morrison - Essential Van Morrison (Legacy), Astral Weeks (Warner Brothers/Rhino), His Band and the Street Choir (Warner Brothers/Rhino) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26864-van-morrison-essential-van-morrison-%2528legacy%2529-astral-weeks-%2528warner-brothers_rhino%2529-his-band-and-the-street-choir-%2528warner-brothers_rhino%2529.html Van Morrison began his recording career half a century ago as a teenager with Them. A couple of that band’s biggest hits open the two-disc Essential. “Gloria” remains remarkable for its brazen simplicity, hungrily reinventing blues as powerful ]]> Eric Clapton at 70 - Slowland at 70: Live at Royal Albert Hall http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26841-eric-clapton-at-70-slowland-at-70-live-at-royal-albert-hall.html    ]]> The Most Serene Republic: Mediac (MapleMusic) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26809-the-most-serene-republic-mediac-%2528maplemusic%2529.html First kiss, first love, first grasp of the power of rock ’n’ roll: None of these crucial moments in life can ever happen again, but rock ’n’ roll offers the most opportunities to discover another moment so close to the first that a micrometer for the]]> David Bromberg: Only Slightly Mad http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26800-david-bromberg-only-slightly-mad.html    ]]> The Velvet Underground: Loaded: Re-Loaded 45th Anniversary Edition http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26792-the-velvet-underground-loaded-re-loaded-45th-anniversary-edition.html    ]]> The Dolomites: The Japan Years, Volumes I-III http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26725-the-dolomites-the-japan-years-volumes-i-iii.html The Dolomites are a band whose existence would have been unlikely until recently. Its members are scattered across the globe but maintain the band via the Net. As his name suggests, bandleader Stevhen Koji Baianu has family ties that span ]]> Daniel Fortin: Brinks (Fresh Sound New Talent) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26726-daniel-fortin-brinks-%2528fresh-sound-new-talent%2529.html The bass is upfront in the mix on Brinks, the debut by Daniel Fortin, and little wonder. He’s considered one of Canada’s best bassists for his side work in pop as well as jazz. For Brinks he focuses on jazz, with studiously developed melodies riding an ]]> Slivovitz: All You Can Eat (MoonJune Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26727-slivovitz-all-you-can-eat-%2528moonjune-records%2529.html Django Reinhardt and the Hot Club of France defined Gypsy jazz ages ago, but now an Italian group rises to claim the mantle. The Naples septet operates on the progressive end of jazz-rock with a steady tempo as the platform for ]]> Bucky Halker: Anywhere but Utah: The Songs of Joe Hill (Revolting Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26728-bucky-halker-anywhere-but-utah-the-songs-of-joe-hill-%2528revolting-records%2529.html Labor songwriter Joe Hill composed songs to amuse, to organize, to “fan the flames of discontent.” And 100 years ago this fall, the state of Utah executed him, as much for his radical politics as for evidence of any crime. Wisconsin native and ]]> Seinabo Sey: Pretend (Virgin) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26684-seinabo-sey-pretend-%2528virgin%2529.html If Seinabo Sey could present her debut full-length as a CV, a pair of bullet points would make her look bankable: one, she’s prodding the limits of popular R&B while many other artistes, from Janelle Monáe to Kendrick Lamar, are ]]> Dick Eliot and Friends: I’ll Remember April http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26638-dick-eliot-and-friends-i%25E2%2580%2599ll-remember-april.html As one of Milwaukee’s under-sung treasures, guitarist Dick Eliot has mastered the emotional artistry of his music as well as the craft of playing it well. I’ll Remember April, a new album of standards, showcases his mastery of intimate small-combo ]]> Karavan Sarai: Woven Landscapes http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26639-karavan-sarai-woven-landscapes.html Silk Road music has become synonymous with pastel-colored ethnic muzak, a flavorless purée of influences marketed under the dubious heading of “world music.” Karavan Sarai occupies an entirely different plane. Not unlike Milwaukee’s ]]> John Domanski and the Daydreamers: Ignite http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26640-john-domanski-and-the-daydreamers-ignite.html Muskego’s John Domanski and the Daydreamers reside in an almost deceptively airy space on their debut EP, Ignite. Consciously looking to the ’90s for inspiration, their sound approaches a masculine complement to the folk emphasis of ]]> Tony Bennett & Bill Charlap: The Silver Lining: The Songs of Jerome Kern (Columbia/APM Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26597-tony-bennett-bill-charlap-the-silver-lining-the-songs-of-jerome-kern-%2528columbia_apm-records%2529.html Tony Bennett will soon turn 90 and—no surprise—his voice no longer glides as smoothly across the notes as in his youth or middle years. Bennett, however, is still exemplary, an influence on younger generations of performers and a vocalist who muses empathetically ]]> Guapo: Obscure Knowledge (Cuneiform Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26598-guapo-obscure-knowledge-%2528cuneiform-records%2529.html Obscure Knowledge is a near-perfect album for the discerning progressive rock fan. Not only do the four members of Guapo worship at the altars of King Crimson, Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Univers Zero, but Obscure Knowledge also consists of only one track that runs ]]> David Bowie: Five Years 1969-1973 http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26589-david-bowie-five-years-1969-1973.html David Bowie summed it best on one of his well-known songs, “Changes.” Unlike most recording artists who came of age in the 1970s, Bowie was seldom content to repeat himself; he was restless, im]]> Kingcrow: Eidos (Sensory Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26556-kingcrow-eidos-%2528sensory-records%2529.html The press materials for the sixth album from Italian metal band Kingcrow call Eidos “valiant”—an incredibly apt descriptor. There is something bold and even heroic about this powerful record that mixes atmospheric rock, progressive and world]]> Francesca and the 440 Hum: Forever http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26557-francesca-and-the-440-hum-forever.html The third album by Milwaukee folkie Francesca rings with a generally more positive, even slyer, frame of mind than her previous Lucky One. Conversely, her prior album was more boisterous with electrified rock band instrumentation, whereas ]]> Rotem Sivan Trio: A New Dance (Fresh Sound New Talent) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26558-rotem-sivan-trio-a-new-dance-%2528fresh-sound-new-talent%2529.html For anyone who suspects that contemporary jazz has descended into tiresome virtuosity, the Rotem Sivan Trio offers proof that the old formats can still come alive. Sivan is a guitarist with remarkable imagination, improvising around chords and ]]> TriBeCaStan: Goddess Polka Dottess (Evergreene) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26512-tribecastan-goddess-polka-dottess-%2528evergreene%2529.html Native New Yorker and onetime Milwaukeean John Kruth serves another sonic smorgasbord with his band, TriBeCaStan. Goddess Polka Dottess opens with “Repo Rodeo,” a lively country number enclosed within the quotation marks of good]]> Santana & McLaughlin: Invitation to Illumination: Live at Montreux 2011 (Universal/Eagle Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26513-santana-mclaughlin-invitation-to-illumination-live-at-montreux-2011-%2528universal_eagle-records%2529.html The Montreux Jazz Festival has been the stage for Carlos Santana and John McLaughlin several times, but the sometimes partners played together at the annual event for the first time in 2011. The guitarists chose to perform most of the music ]]> Richard Nelson & Aardvark Jazz Orchestra: Deep River (Heliotrope Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26514-richard-nelson-aardvark-jazz-orchestra-deep-river-%2528heliotrope-records%2529.html From Gil Scott-Heron and Gunther Schuller, not to mention Duke Ellington and George Gershwin, orchestral composition for jazz has been a stream flowing somewhere at the borders of popular music. In Deep River, guitarist-composer Richard]]> Big Galut(e): Big Galut(e) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26515-big-galut%2528e%2529-big-galut%2528e%2529.html Klezmer, Baroque and tango are all at home on the debut by Big Galut(e). Classically trained musicians intensely absorbed in the Jewish tradition, Big Galut(e) play wild Eastern European dance numbers with great precision before shifting into...]]> The Faces: You Can Make Me Dance, Sing or Anything - Reissues of albums from the quintessential '70s British band http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26501-the-faces-you-can-make-me-dance-sing-or-anything-reissues-of-albums-from-the-quintessential-70s-british-band.html The Faces were the quintessential ‘70s British band. Elegantly louche, often heavy but never metal, they were rooted in the blues without being blues-rock. Their recordings are collected in a box]]> Wand: 1000 Days (Drag City) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26467-wand-1000-days-%2528drag-city%2529.html If quality and quantity were mutually exclusive in pop(-rock) art, the first four albums from Elvis Costello (released from 1977 to 1980), the Ramones (1976 to 1978) and the Beatles (1963 to 1964) wouldn’t be such historic streaks. If Wand’s ]]> The Doors: Other Voices/Full Circle http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26462-the-doors-other-voices_full-circle.html Most Doors fans have no memory of the two albums the band released after Jim Morrison’s death, and despite impressive looking sales figures for the first one, few fans heard those recordings at t]]> Patty Stevenson and Craig Siemsen: Paint Me a Picture (Larrea Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26429-patty-stevenson-and-craig-siemsen-paint-me-a-picture-%2528larrea-music%2529.html The second album by Milwaukee folkies Patty Stevenson and Craig Siemsen brings together two singular but complementary musical personalities. Stevenson’s songs tend toward personal vignettes from which she draws more ]]> Nora Collins: My Radio http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26430-nora-collins-my-radio.html My Radio is Brookfield country singer Nora Collins’ most commercial release yet. Its radio readiness comes from recording in Nashville with the same sorts of studio gloss, heavy guitar tones and rhythmic inflections derived from hip-hop as have...]]> Gilad Atzmon & The Orient House Ensemble: The Whistle Blower (Fanfare Jazz) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26431-gilad-atzmon-the-orient-house-ensemble-the-whistle-blower-%2528fanfare-jazz%2529.html Israeli-born, British-based Gilad Atzmon has enjoyed a varied career as saxophonist for everyone from Pink Floyd to Ian Dury, Robert Wyatt to Paul McCartney. His main love is jazz. On the eighth album with his band, The Orient House, he ]]> Led Zeppelin: Presence, In Through the Out Door, Coda (Atlantic/Swan Song) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26388-led-zeppelin-presence-in-through-the-out-door-coda-%2528atlantic_swan-song%2529.html The final batch of Led Zeppelin CD reissues brings the band through its last chapter. Presence (1976) went platinum but was easily their most dispirited album, sludgy as if recorded under the influence of the bad drugs alluded to on the best]]> Spanglish Fly: New York Boogaloo http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26389-spanglish-fly-new-york-boogaloo.html Boogaloo is a half-forgotten ’60s pop genre, a generational bridge between mambo and salsa for New York City Puerto Ricans. The orchestra-sized Spanglish Fly recreates the spirit and sometimes the letter of the old music. Riding on a chorus ]]> Alice Cooper The Studio Albums 1969-1983 (Rhino/Warner Brothers) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26384-alice-cooper-the-studio-albums-1969-1983-%2528rhino_warner-brothers%2529.html The most interesting Alice Cooper recordings are the ones few people ever heard. The first two albums included in this 15-CD box set, Pretties for You (1969) and Easy Action (1970), sold poorly an]]> Mike Fredrickson: After It’s Over http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26354-mike-fredrickson-after-it%25E2%2580%2599s-over.html It seems like we already take Mike Fredrickson for granted. Every year or two he releases an album of catchy gems: another collection of seemingly throwaway songs that grasp the listener with hooks gathered from ’60s pop to roots rock and ]]> Opus: Definition (Blu Jazz) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26355-opus-definition-%2528blu-jazz%2529.html Milwaukee’s Opus is more than 40 years old yet this music sounds like the first breeze of spring. Definition redefines jazz-fusion as grownup music. There’s plenty of youthful élan but it tastes like a vintage chardonnay. Hell, in good jazz you can ]]> Richard Wiegel: Wiegel Room http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26315-richard-wiegel-wiegel-room.html For this CD, the leader of the popular Madison area roots-rock band The Midwesterners left “Wiegel Room” for his lonely guitar and just a bit extra. The less-is-more strategy plays like a royal flush and one tune, “Richard’s Rondo,” just won the ]]> Various Artists: Guitar for Life: Projects http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26316-various-artists-guitar-for-life-projects.html 0 0 1 26 151 Shepherd Express 1 1 176 14.0

Guitar for Life, a Waukesha music studio, branches out from lessons into recording with a CD representing the talents of instructors and students: Guitar for Life: Projects.

 

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Forty Martyrs: Armenian Chants from Aleppo http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26312-forty-martyrs-armenian-chants-from-aleppo.html On one of their early albums, System of a Down included a hidden bonus track, “Der Voghormya,” mistakenly identified by Entertainment Weekly as “Vietnamese folk music.” Actually, it was a]]> Mother Falcon: Good Luck Have Fun (BitCandy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26281-mother-falcon-good-luck-have-fun-%2528bitcandy%2529.html Mother Falcon began while its members, including founder Nick Gregg, were in high school. A sense of undertaking a nerdy, adventurous lark was inherent, because the players were initially just experimenting with original material on ]]> Juli Wood Quartet: Synkka Metsa (Dark Forest) (OA2 Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26282-juli-wood-quartet-synkka-metsa-%2528dark-forest%2529-%2528oa2-records%2529.html Even the most unexpected material can be transformed into jazz. Take the new CD by Milwaukee expatriate Juli Wood. On Dark Forest, the tenor saxophonist molds and shapes traditional Finnish folk songs into music reminiscent of a 1950s cool]]> Box of Shamans: Belief and Illusion (10T Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26243-box-of-shamans-belief-and-illusion-%252810t-records%2529.html What happens when musicians from multiple progressive-rock bands with cult followings form their own group? Box of Shamans answers that question with a loose concept album about delusions, Belief and Illusion. Featuring past and present members of such bands ]]> Jupiter in Velvet: The World Didn’t Start With U (Free 2B Free Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26244-jupiter-in-velvet-the-world-didn%25E2%2580%2599t-start-with-u-%2528free-2b-free-records%2529.html The third album by southeastern Wisconsin native Jupiter in Velvet is still rooted in the artsier, heavier and more futuristically flamboyant side of ’70s U.K. glam rock, but The World Didn’t Start With U reveals growth toward a more danceable aesthetic. True to ]]> Miles Davis: At Newport 1955-1975: The Bootleg Series Vol. 4 (Sony Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26245-miles-davis-at-newport-1955-1975-the-bootleg-series-vol-4-%2528sony-legacy%2529.html noaccordion: Mentals http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26206-noaccordion-mentals.html In 1974, Japanese electronic musician Isao Tomita released the album Snowflakes Are Dancing, which featured reworked interpretations (some quite radical) of the music of French Impressionist composer Claude Debussy. The album became a worldwide hit, and has since ]]> noaccordion: Wake Up http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26207-noaccordion-wake-up.html Ola Fresca: Elixir (Pipiki Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26208-ola-fresca-elixir-%2528pipiki-records%2529.html As soon as the first song on Elixir comes on the urge to dance is irresistible. The newest effort by Ola Fresca, a Latin music band heavily inspired by Cuban music, was funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign. Jose Conde, a native of south Florida, fronts Ola Fresca, ]]> Christian Collin: Spirit of the Blues (C-Train Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26169-christian-collin-spirit-of-the-blues-%2528c-train-records%2529.html Bret Higgins: Atlas Revolt (Tzadik Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26170-bret-higgins-atlas-revolt-%2528tzadik-records%2529.html Toronto bassist Bret Higgins leads a band that brings new hope to jazz fusion—except that their range is too wide to be entirely contained within that genre. Entirely instrumental, Atlas Revolt is often built around a steady rhythmic pulse and rock riffs. Guitarist ]]> Christopher Paul Stelling: Labor Against Waste (Anti-) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26171-christopher-paul-stelling-labor-against-waste-%2528anti-%2529.html At first glance, Christopher Paul Stelling could seem like a typical country/folk singer-songwriter: soft acoustic guitar with quick lyrics. But upon a deeper look, Stelling is, well, stellar. His fingerpicking guitar style is reminiscent of some of the great country/folk ]]> WiFEE and the HUZz BAND: Songs of Eternal Love and Immediate Satisfaction http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26132-wifee-and-the-huzz-band-songs-of-eternal-love-and-immediate-satisfaction.html WiFEE and the HUZz BAND’s Ruby James and Stephen Cooper have endured longer in their musically forged matrimony than Sonny and Cher or The Captain and Tennille. The Door County couple maintains a consistent aesthetic. Connecting ]]> John Kruth: The Drunken Wind of Life (Smiling Fez Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26133-john-kruth-the-drunken-wind-of-life-%2528smiling-fez-records%2529.html Native New Yorker and onetime Milwaukeean John Kruth has always had wide ears and an omnivore’s taste. For his latest album, the multi-instrumentalist and vocalist sets the words of Croatian poet Tin Ujević to music with the help of a onetime ]]> Robin Gibb: Saved by the Bell: The Collected Works of Robin Gibb (1968-1970) (Rhino/Reprise) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26134-robin-gibb-saved-by-the-bell-the-collected-works-of-robin-gibb-%25281968-1970%2529-%2528rhino_reprise%2529.html Nowadays the Bee Gees seem like an acquired taste, but in the ’60s and ’70s millions of fans around the world acquired it. One of the trio’s distinctive voices, Robin Gibb, enjoyed a brief solo career, much of it collected and issued for the first time]]> Phil Lee: Some Gotta Lose (Palookaville) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26094-phil-lee-some-gotta-lose-%2528palookaville%2529.html Phil Lee’s five-plus decades of playing music began with him sitting behind the drum kit. Upon that foundation, he builds songs that are rich in self-deprecating detail that range from charged roots rockers to filigreed country R&B. Recorded ]]> Peru Boom!: Bass, Bleeps & Bumps From Peru’s Electronic Underground (Tiger’s Milk Records/Strut Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26095-peru-boom_-bass-bleeps-bumps-from-peru%25E2%2580%2599s-electronic-underground-%2528tiger%25E2%2580%2599s-milk-records_strut-records%2529.html The third edition in a series, Peru Boom! gives a nice sample to what Peruvian club music sounds like. Combining traditional club music with Peru’s national music style, Cumbia, this album showcases the best and brightest artists in the Peruvian ]]> Rio Turbo: Rio Turbo (Gloss Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26060-rio-turbo-rio-turbo-%2528gloss-records%2529.html Rio Turbo knows hedonism and cheese can make for an irresistible intoxicant. The Milwaukee singer-rapper is on his third round of aural intoxicants, but many of his usually too-brief songs on this eponymous release speak to the effects of illicit pharmaceuticals in]]> Various Artists: Muddy Waters 100 (Raisin’ Music Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26061-various-artists-muddy-waters-100-%2528raisin%25E2%2580%2599-music-records%2529.html Muddy Waters brought Mississippi Delta blues to Chicago’s South Side in the 1940s, and if he wasn’t the only bluesman to ride the train to the Windy City, he made a greater impression than most. Marking the probable centennial of his birth, Muddy Waters 100 brings]]> Chico Trujillo: Reina de Todas las Fiestas (Barbes Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26062-chico-trujillo-reina-de-todas-las-fiestas-%2528barbes-records%2529.html The members of Chico Trujillo started by playing punk and ska, but like some of their brethren in the U.S. who fooled around with polka for kicks, they turned to the old music of their region as a fun marker of local identity. Eventually they got good at playing cumbia]]> SOAK: Before We Forgot How to Dream (Rough Trade) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26025-soak-before-we-forgot-how-to-dream-%2528rough-trade%2529.html Bridie Monds-Watson—the Irish woman who manifests her singer-songwriter facets as SOAK—can sound younger and older than her 18 years, revealing a convincing weariness in a deep lyric and then revealing adolescent inexperience with]]> Jeri-Mae G. Astolfi: Wisconsin Soundscapes (Ravello Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25988-jeri-mae-g-astolfi-wisconsin-soundscapes-%2528ravello-records%2529.html The Wisconsin Arts Board recently commissioned six Badger State composers to write short pieces inspired by the state’s land and the people who live here. The resulting Wisconsin Soundscapes is a CD featuring more than a dozen of those ]]> Various Artists: Balkan Clarinet Summit (Piranha Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25989-various-artists-balkan-clarinet-summit-%2528piranha-records%2529.html The artists participating in Balkan Clarinet Summit are doing for the interrelated traditional music of their historically intermeshed homelands as Astor Piazzolla did for tango or—in the U.S.—Guy Klucevsek for polka. They are using ]]> Ludovico Einaudi: Taranta Project (Ponderosa Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25954-ludovico-einaudi-taranta-project-%2528ponderosa-music%2529.html As tensions rise in Italy because of massive migration from across the Mediterranean, composer Ludovico Einaudi’s music is a reminder that the cultures along Mare Nostrum have been linked for many millennia. Einaudi builds from the trance-and]]> Devin Gray: RelativE ResonancE (Skirl Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25955-devin-gray-relative-resonance-%2528skirl-records%2529.html Drummer-composer is still an unusual hyphenation, but Devin Gray proves the combination can be done well. Working with a trio of top young New York jazz musicians—saxophonist-clarinetist Chris Speed, pianist Kris Davis and bassist Chris ]]> Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet: Intercambio (Patois Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25956-wayne-wallace-latin-jazz-quintet-intercambio-%2528patois-records%2529.html Formed in the San Francisco Bay area, the Grammy-nominated Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet maintains tempi solid enough to fill dance floors at salsa clubs but sufficiently fluid in changes to please jazz fans. With guest musicians adding ]]> Johnny Cee: Shine http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25913-johnny-cee-shine.html Milwaukee drummer Johnny Calarco has long proven himself a versatile asset to the city’s music community. Playing with a gamut of acts running from ’90s funkateers Big Bang Theory to current pop-country road warriors Chasin’ Mason and giving lessons to other ]]> Axel Krygier: Hombre de Piedra (Crammed Discs) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25914-axel-krygier-hombre-de-piedra-%2528crammed-discs%2529.html Inspired by the French prehistoric documentary Lascaux: Le Ciel des Premiers HommesArgentine maverick composer/musician Krygier’s fifth album is his first concept work. He uses a dizzying array of musical genres to tell his tale of Big Foot’s journey from the ]]> Adham Shaikh: Basswalla (Black Swan) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25915-adham-shaikh-basswalla-%2528black-swan%2529.html Canada’s Adham Shaikh grew up with electronica but was also drawn to the music of his Kashmiri-Indian heritage. Unlike many ethnic-fusion albums released under the marketing moniker of world music, Shaikh delivers a powerful convergence of influences. His dance ]]> Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys: Voyageurs http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25844-steve-riley-and-the-mamou-playboys-voyageurs.html Voyageurs, the newest effort by Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, brings some Cajun spice into listeners’ lives. With songs that cross multiple genres—rock, the blues, country—there is bound to be a song that appeals to everyone. The songs are sung in a mix of ]]> The Revomatics: We Come in Peace http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25845-the-revomatics-we-come-in-peace.html We Come in Peace affirmatively answers the question of whether guys looking more like rockabilly, grunge and blues cats can advance instrumental surf music into fresh frontiers. Flamenco and mariachi accents weren’t unheard of in their genre’s heyday more than 50 ]]> Hardcore Crayons: Zozzled (Double+Good) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25846-hardcore-crayons-zozzled-%2528double%252Bgood%2529.html Fans of King Crimson circa the Starless and Bible Black and Larks’ Tongues in Aspic era might want to seek out this third release from the Minneapolis trio Hardcore Crayons. The main difference between this album and the aforementioned Crimson classics is that ]]> Socalled: Peoplewatching (Dare to Care Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25847-socalled-peoplewatching-%2528dare-to-care-records%2529.html Socalled is a singer-songwriter who refuses to recognize the boundary between pop and hip-hop. He moves between old school and new with ease, and sometimes irony. The Montreal musician assembled some notable guest stars for Peoplewatching, including Funkadelic]]> James McMurtry: Complicated Game (Complicated Game) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25797-james-mcmurtry-complicated-game-%2528complicated-game%2529.html James McMurtry’s grainy voice adorns perfectly his vivid, powerful American writing, like a shabby jacket, collar turned up against the wind]]> Leonard Cohen: Can’t Forget: A Souvenir of the Grand Tour (Columbia/Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25798-leonard-cohen-can%25E2%2580%2599t-forget-a-souvenir-of-the-grand-tour-%2528columbia_legacy%2529.html Leonard Cohen avoided the easy path of putting his best-remembered songs on his latest live album. Can’t Forget is not a greatest-hits package performed before audiences but a well-curated sequence of material culled from recent tours. The ]]> Honeybird: Out Comes Woman (Duckhead Green Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25799-honeybird-out-comes-woman-%2528duckhead-green-music%2529.html Honeybird (aka Monique Mizrahi) is nothing if not multi-sided. “You put the B in LGBT,” she sings on the opening number of her new album, Out Comes Woman. Bi-sexual and polymorphously musical, Honeybird rolls between rock and jazz]]> Calexico: Edge of the Sun (Anti-/Epitaph) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25755-calexico-edge-of-the-sun-%2528anti-_epitaph%2529.html Calexico’s vision of Americana has always been more Romantic, more encompassing, and altogether more florid than that of most of its peers. And it isn’t just the influence of the Cinerama terrain around the band’s native Tucson, Ariz.]]> Bernard Allison Group: In the Mix (Jazzhaus Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25708-bernard-allison-group-in-the-mix-%2528jazzhaus-records%2529.html On the first half of Bernard Allison’s first album in six years, the singer and guitarist proves he’s evolved well beyond bluesman status. With plenty of nods to soul, rock and R&B, Luther’s 49-year-old son updates Colin James’ ’80s hit “Five Long Years” and his daddy’s]]> The Staple Singers: Freedom Highway Complete (Epic/Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25709-the-staple-singers-freedom-highway-complete-%2528epic_legacy%2529.html The original release of The Staple Singers’ Freedom Highway (1965) exposed contemporary gospel music to new audiences and was considered a cultural milestone during the civil rights movement. Recorded live in a Chicago church, the concert served as a rally for]]> Ligro: Dictionary 3 (MoonJune Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25710-ligro-dictionary-3-%2528moonjune-records%2529.html Jazz is the international language spoken on the latest album by Indonesian guitarist Agam Hamzah and his trio, Ligro. Enriched by guest appearances by the alternately dreamy, bluesy, edgy pianist Ade Irawan, the music is highly proficient fusion with knotty melodies ]]> 36 Crazyfists: Time and Trauma (Spinefarm Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25646-36-crazyfists-time-and-trauma-%2528spinefarm-records%2529.html Two decades ago, 36 Crazyfists came punching out of Anchorage, Ala., with a frozen ferocity that combined metalcore and nu metal with bottom-heavy grooves. That sound eventually morphed into the raw convergence of gruff singing and death-metal shouts the band ]]> John Coltrane Quintet featuring Eric Dolphy: So Many Things: The European Tour 1961 (Acrobat Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25647-john-coltrane-quintet-featuring-eric-dolphy-so-many-things-the-european-tour-1961-%2528acrobat-music%2529.html From the mouth of a less soulful musician, John Coltrane’s marathon races on tenor saxophone might have been mere feats of athletic endurance and dexterity. With Coltrane, they pierced the veil of ecstasy. This four-CD set collects recordings from eight concerts in ]]> The Ides of March: Last Band Standing: The Definitive 50-Year Anniversary Collection (Ides of March Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25599-the-ides-of-march-last-band-standing-the-definitive-50-year-anniversary-collection-%2528ides-of-march-records%2529.html The song hit the imagination in strange ways: Anyone listening to AM radio in 1970 was surely struck by “Vehicle,” a relentlessly funky yet darkly enigmatic number by an unknown act, The Ides o]]> Scott Finch and Blackwolf with Derrick “Greyhound” McDowell: I Hate Love http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25601-scott-finch-and-blackwolf-with-derrick-%25E2%2580%259Cgreyhound%25E2%2580%259D-mcdowell-i-hate-love.html Kings Go Forth vocalist Blackwolf and veteran multi-instrumentalist Scott Finch join forces with drummer Derrick “Greyhound” McDowell. The trio takes a left turn from the Kings’ Daptone retro sounds to a heavier sound of rock that recalls Funkadelic]]> Lonely Robot: Please Come Home (InsideOut Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25602-lonely-robot-please-come-home-%2528insideout-music%2529.html Known for his work in the U.K. bands It Bites and Arena, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist John Mitchell breaks away from group constraints with his new atmospheric prog project, Lonely Robot. Please Come Home opens with “Airlock,” a celestial]]> Billie Holiday: The Centennial Collection (Columbia/Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25603-billie-holiday-the-centennial-collection-%2528columbia_legacy%2529.html The catalog of her recordings is vast. Issued for the hundredth anniversary of Billie Holiday’s birth, The Centennial Collection is a good survey of her 1935-45 years, considered her prime time by most critics. She was often an apt ]]> adoptahighway: A Fault (Wednesday Sound) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25568-adoptahighway-a-fault-%2528wednesday-sound%2529.html Seeing Milwaukee’s Barry Paul Clark performing his classically informed electronic music under his adoptahighway alias can be nigh harrowing: Aural sheets of skeletal melodies, atmosphere, harmonies and rhythms rarely danceable in the club-gong sense often mingle over drones. Clark ]]> Stas Venglevski: Today & Yesterday http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25569-stas-venglevski-today-yesterday.html Accordions make sweet sounds for romance, harness erotic desire for the tango and pump up the beat for polka. Milwaukee bayan accordionist Stas Venglevski can play in all those keys, but also has other ambitions. On his latest CD, the Russian-born musician stretches his digits around a ]]> The Grateful Dead: The Best of the Grateful Dead (Rhino) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25570-the-grateful-dead-the-best-of-the-grateful-dead-%2528rhino%2529.html Curated for the 50th anniversary of The Grateful Dead, the Best-of offers no newly discovered tracks, alternate takes or concert recordings, but surveys their album catalog from start through finish. Listening to the collection supports the view that regardless of their live jams, the Dead’s studio ]]> The Cribs: For All My Sisters (Arts & Crafts) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25496-the-cribs-for-all-my-sisters-%2528arts-crafts%2529.html The debate about the vitality and relevance of rock ’n’ roll has ended or at least stalled, leaving behind suppositions that the genre itself is now a hipster taste the way jazz was in the 1950s, and that younger rock ]]> Curtis Knight & The Squires: You Can’t Use My Name: The RSVP/PPX Sessions (Experience Hendrix/Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25469-curtis-knight-the-squires-you-can%25E2%2580%2599t-use-my-name-the-rsvp_ppx-sessions-%2528experience-hendrix_legacy%2529.html The recordings Jimi Hendrix made in the U.S. before moving to Swinging London and joining the pantheon of ’60s guitar gods have been subject to litigation, bad remixes and shoddy releases. With You Can’t Use My Name, Hendrix’s 1965-’66 sessions with R&B singer Curtis Knight finally receive]]> Alyssia Dominguez: The Reason http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25470-alyssia-dominguez-the-reason.html With female and Hispanic singers both rarities in commercial radio country nowadays, Milwaukee’s Alyssia Dominguez offers double the diversity on her four-song debut, The Reason. But there’s no need for affirmative action with music this appealing. Dominguez’s vocal warmth; lyrics by local ]]> Vic Pitts & The Cheaters: The Lost Tapes (Secret Stash) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25471-vic-pitts-the-cheaters-the-lost-tapes-%2528secret-stash%2529.html Would ’60s-’70s Milwaukee powerhouse R&B combo Vic Pitts & The Cheaters have hit national pay dirt with their nearly forgotten album that at last sees issue as The Lost Tapes? It’s tempting to think they might. Based on the stylistic breadth displayed here, one can hear a versatile act ]]> Chicago Yestet: Just Say Yes (Tiddlywinks) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25346-chicago-yestet-just-say-yes-%2528tiddlywinks%2529.html This powerhouse 13-piece heartland jazz band shouts and signifies mightily, striving to bridge America’s huge political divide by universalizing the group’s social values. On the CD cover, the Yestet’s name and album title adorn golden meshing gears—the economic promise of an America ]]> Led Zeppelin: Physical Graffiti (Swan Song) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25303-led-zeppelin-physical-graffiti-%2528swan-song%2529.html With Bob Dylan and The Beatles leading the way, the double LP became a prestige item for rock bands by the early ’70s. Some were simply bloated and padded out, but not Physical Graffiti. The new deluxe edition CD reissue is a reminder of Led Zeppelin’s musical range, from raging blues-rock]]> Taraf de Haidouks: Of Lovers, Gamblers and Parachute Skirts (Crammed Discs) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25304-taraf-de-haidouks-of-lovers-gamblers-and-parachute-skirts-%2528crammed-discs%2529.html The Balkan soul music of this Romanian Gypsy ensemble features pointed vocals and wild violins inching toward ecstasy. They are constrained by steady if elastic rhythms, yet even here, the tempo mounts toward turbo-charged. Taraf de Haidouks’ music has obvious affinities with Jewish]]> Ajoyo: Ajoyo (Ropeadope) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25305-ajoyo-ajoyo-%2528ropeadope%2529.html The Paris-based Ajoyo brings together a gaggle of expatriates from North Africa, West Africa and the Middle East under an Afrobeat groove. The polyrhythms sweep along the solos in a structure musically flexible enough for jazz fans but steady enough to fill dance floors. Vocalist Sarah]]> Lead Belly: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection (Smithsonian Folkways) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25247-lead-belly-the-smithsonian-folkways-collection-%2528smithsonian-folkways%2529.html Although he received lots of press after settling in New York, Lead Belly sold few records before his death in 1949 and was unaware of the legacy he would leave behind. Shortly after he died, Pete Seeger and his group, The Weavers, helped launch the folk-blues revival with their cover of Lead]]> Russ Johnson: Still Out to Lunch! (Enja) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25207-russ-johnson-still-out-to-lunch_-%2528enja%2529.html Right from the opening blast of horns and stealthy walking bass, Russ Johnson transports listeners to modern jazz at its peak, Eric Dolphy’s 1964 Out to Lunch. The opening tune, “Hat and Beard,” a musical portrait of Thelonious Monk, stakes common ground in startling interval leaps that wind ]]> Milford Graves & Bill Laswell: Space/Time • Redemption (TUM Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25208-milford-graves-bill-laswell-space_time-%25E2%2580%25A2-redemption-%2528tum-records%2529.html Bassist Bill Laswell was always a traveler between musical worlds. A sideman for Mick Jagger and Herbie Hancock, he also led his own avant-rock band in the ’80s called Material, performed with Moroccan tribal musicians and guested with Laurie Anderson. Drummer Milford Graves has kept to a ]]> Mark Wingfield: Proof of Light (MoonJune Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25209-mark-wingfield-proof-of-light-%2528moonjune-records%2529.html A graduate of the John McLaughlin-Carlos Santana school of electric fusion-jazz guitar, Mark Wingfield is more concerned with sketching emotional pictures than flash, though he’s more than capable of explosive moments, as proven by Proof of Light. Accompanied by an accomplished rhythm ]]> Russ Johnson: Still Out to Lunch! (Enja) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25175-russ-johnson-still-out-to-lunch_-%2528enja%2529.html Right from the opening blast of horns and stealthy walking bass, Russ Johnson transports listeners to modern jazz at its peak, Eric Dolphy’s 1964 Out to Lunch. The opening tune, “Hat and Beard,” a musical portrait of Thelonious Monk, stakes common ground in startling interval leaps that wind ]]> Rudresh Mahanthappa: Bird Calls (ACT Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25139-rudresh-mahanthappa-bird-calls-%2528act-music%2529.html Alto saxophonist Charlie Parker irrevocably recalibrated the modern ear. With stunning technique, fresh harmonic conception and unrelenting melodicism, Bird (as he was and is known to the hip) set the jazz world on its head. He also raised the hackles of many critics and musicians who found “bebop” overly intellectual and ]]> Glenn Wilson: Timely (Cadence Jazz) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25140-glenn-wilson-timely-%2528cadence-jazz%2529.html The relative neglect of the baritone sax can be attributed in part to the horn’s romantic tone in an unsentimental age and its unwieldy unsuitability for playing the double-time passages that became de rigueur for saxophones in post-war jazz.]]> Melissa Miller: Just Push Play http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25141-melissa-miller-just-push-play.html Cedarburg to Nashville is no insignificant trek on one’s way into the music business, but Melissa Miller blazed her own trail by that route. Just Push Play navigates a wide field from power pop to pop country, culminating in an eclectic sort of Americana speaking to the aspirations of thoughtful, good-humored 20-something ]]> Sir Richard Bishop: Tangier Sessions (Drag City) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25092-sir-richard-bishop-tangier-sessions-%2528drag-city%2529.html For artistic creation, geography is not always destiny. Just one dissolute seeker who pursued kicks during late-1940s road trips went on to write On the Road, and Foo Fighters, after visiting musically vibrant cities in search of regional magic, produced nothing better than Sonic Highways]]> Bill Camplin: Understory http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25043-bill-camplin-understory.html ]]> Level 10: Chapter 1 (Frontiers Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25044-level-10-chapter-1-%2528frontiers-records%2529.html ]]> The Soul Stirrers: Joy in My Soul (ABKO) | The Valentinos: Lookin’ for a Love (ABKO) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24996-the-soul-stirrers-joy-in-my-soul-%2528abko%2529-the-valentinos-lookin%25E2%2580%2599-for-a-love-%2528abko%2529.html ]]> Allan Moon: Children of the Call http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24997-allan-moon-children-of-the-call.html ]]> Bob Dylan - Shadows in the Night (Columbia) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24980-bob-dylan-shadows-in-the-night-%2528columbia%2529.html ]]> Extra Crispy Brass Band: Extra Crispy Brass Band http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24906-extra-crispy-brass-band-extra-crispy-brass-band.html ]]> Xposed 4heads: Dumb Music for Smart People (Internal Combustion Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24855-xposed-4heads-dumb-music-for-smart-people-%2528internal-combustion-records%2529.html ]]> Brad Absher & Swamp Royale: Lucky Dog (Montrose Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24854-brad-absher-swamp-royale-lucky-dog-%2528montrose-records%2529.html ]]> The Afrorockerz: The Afrorockerz (Buda Musique) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24856-the-afrorockerz-the-afrorockerz-%2528buda-musique%2529.html ]]> Old American Junk: Good To Be Alive http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24769-old-american-junk-good-to-be-alive.html Good To Be Alive, the Madison-Milwaukee band Old American Junk’s second five-song EP, proffers a chipper take on what might nowadays be described as Americana. But with bouncy melodic hooks that could easily become slowly insinuating earworms, and touches from harmonica and ]]> Gong: I See You (Madfish) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24770-gong-i-see-you-%2528madfish%2529.html After almost a half-century, the multinational band of freaks known as Gong keeps making noise. I See You sounds more cohesive and listenable than it deserves to—especially considering that co-founder, vocalist and chief lyricist Daevid Allen turned 77 years old in January and wrote the]]> Yagull: Kai (MoonJune) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24771-yagull-kai-%2528moonjune%2529.html ]]> Altered Five Blues Band: Cryin’ Mercy (OmniVibe) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24692-altered-five-blues-band-cryin%25E2%2580%2599-mercy-%2528omnivibe%2529.html Guitarist Jeff Schroedl and keyboardist Raymond Tevich provide instrumental prowess for this Milwaukee blues band while vocalist Jeff Taylor’s seething, smoldering baritone is full of Southern soul. The incorporation of vintage Memphis and Muscle Shoals R&B influences—and an explicit melodic reference to one ]]> My Brother The Wind: Once There Was A Time When Time And Space Were One (Free Electric Sound) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24693-my-brother-the-wind-once-there-was-a-time-when-time-and-space-were-one-%2528free-electric-sound%2529.html The nine songs on this third album from Sweden’s improvisational psychedelic rockers My Brother The Wind were recorded live in the studio on analog equipment and with no overdubs—all in one day. In fact, coming up with the album’s mouthful-of-a-title may have taken longer than the music-making process itself. Once ]]> Allegra Levy: Lonely City (SteepleChase Lookout) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24694-allegra-levy-lonely-city-%2528steeplechase-lookout%2529.html Allegra Levy’s Lonely City sounds a lot like one of those great jazz vocal albums from the 1950s—except that Levy wrote all the songs in the ’10s. The New York vocalist sets the emotional tone at cool, even slightly ironic, as she sings cleverly composed lyrics on romance and its discontents. Accompanied by a crack ]]> The Velvet Underground: The Velvet Underground 45th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition (Polydor Universal) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24661-the-velvet-underground-the-velvet-underground-45th-anniversary-super-deluxe-edition-%2528polydor-universal%2529.html By the time the Velvet Underground recorded their eponymous third album, they had evolved from the Andy Warhol curiosity of their debut album to the visceral molten primacy of the follow up White Light/White Heat to record an introspective album that begged for a double take. It was ]]> Various Artists - The Only Folk Collection You’ll Ever Need (Shout Factory) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24639-various-artists-the-only-folk-collection-you%25E2%2580%2599ll-ever-need-%2528shout-factory%2529.html
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Andy Bey: Pages From an Imaginary Life (HighNote) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24632-andy-bey-pages-from-an-imaginary-life-%2528highnote%2529.html Hearing Andy Bey is a bit like stumbling upon a man alone with his heavy heart, or perhaps praying softly. The sense of intimacy—the stark piano and exquisitely naked voice—might feel too close for some, but it’s their loss. The singer follows his Grammy-nominated album The World According ]]> Marvelous Mack: Give You More!! http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24633-marvelous-mack-give-you-more__.html Milwaukee’s Marvelous Mack derives much of his inspiration from points south. That can be as near as his Chicago hometown, from which he cops some electric blues grind. Mack also takes from as far down the globe as Jamaica, as he gusts through bits of reggae patois. Mostly, though, Mack’s]]> Emma Donovan & The PutBacks: Dawn (HopeStreet Recordings) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24634-emma-donovan-the-putbacks-dawn-%2528hopestreet-recordings%2529.html Emma Donovan could pass for a ’60s African American soul singer, but she’s an Australian Aborigine from the 2010s who grew up in a home with a great record collection. Dawn covers ground from soul music’s encounter with heavy psychedelic blues-rock through R&B at the cusp of funk and]]> Super Hi-Fi: Yule Analog, Vol. 1: A Very Dubby Christmas http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24574-super-hi-fi-yule-analog-vol-1-a-very-dubby-christmas.html Jethro Tull: WarChild: The 40th Anniversary Theatre Edition (Parlophone) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24575-jethro-tull-warchild-the-40th-anniversary-theatre-edition-%2528parlophone%2529.html WarChild was Jethro Tull’s last great album, a return to songs after the band’s segue into overblown opuses. The 40th Anniversary Theatre Edition includes stereo mixes of the original LP plus a glut of additional material, including previously unreleased tracks from the 1974 era (some of them]]> Five Plus Six: Such Sweet Thunder (Shade Tree) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24576-five-plus-six-such-sweet-thunder-%2528shade-tree%2529.html Leonard Cohen: Live in Dublin (Sony Music/Columbia) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24535-leonard-cohen-live-in-dublin-%2528sony-music_columbia%2529.html Leonard Cohen turned 80 this fall, and thoughts inevitably turn to the end game: How long will he maintain his stamina on stage? Live in Dublin documents a particular night on his recent world tour, whose Milwaukee leg revealed a performer of dignity, grace and energy. He was likewise in ]]> Daniel Lanois: Flesh and Machine (Anti, Inc./Red Floor Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24536-daniel-lanois-flesh-and-machine-%2528anti-inc_red-floor-records%2529.html Daniel Lanois is an aural painter with the recording studio as his palette and his instruments as brushes. Best known for producing U2, Peter Gabriel and Bob Dylan, and for collaborating with Brian Eno, the Canadian musician-engineer occasionally releases albums under his own name. Flesh and]]> TriBeCaStan: Coal, Again! (Evergreene Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24537-tribecastan-coal-again_-%2528evergreene-music%2529.html It’s easy to hear how much fun TriBeCaStan had recording this collection of holiday tunes. The New York band (featuring onetime Milwaukeean John Kruth) opens Coal, Again! with a hotel-lounge ska rendition of “O Little Town of Bethlehem” before moving on to a “Silver Bells” delivered with ]]> Tom & Barb Webber: Between You and Me (Fair Webber Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24538-tom-barb-webber-between-you-and-me-%2528fair-webber-music%2529.html Between You and Me. Tom’s gruffly friendly tone recalls local legend Larry Penn in resonance; he’s no slouch at the earnestness and reflection requisite for their artistry. Barb’s is an arguably richer]]> Jupiter in Velvet: Glitter On The Sun http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24497-jupiter-in-velvet-glitter-on-the-sun.html Christian Lopez Band: Pilot (Blaster Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24498-christian-lopez-band-pilot-%2528blaster-records%2529.html Pilot—five songs with a little Phillip]]> Captain Beefheart: Sun Zoom Spark: 1970 to 1972 (Rhino) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24464-captain-beefheart-sun-zoom-spark-1970-to-1972-%2528rhino%2529.html Captain Beefheart had complete artistic control over his 1969 album, Trout Mask Replica, which brought rock to an edgy place long before “edgy” became a marketing cliché. The album was met with widespread incomprehension (but avid cult fascination) and reached the outer limits of ]]> Aurelio: Landini (Real World) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24465-aurelio-landini-%2528real-world%2529.html Sam Llanas: The Whole Night Thru (Llanas Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24414-sam-llanas-the-whole-night-thru-%2528llanas-music%2529.html Led Zeppelin: Led Zeppelin IV, Houses of the Holy (Atlantic/Swan Song) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24415-led-zeppelin-led-zeppelin-iv-houses-of-the-holy-%2528atlantic_swan-song%2529.html The Incorruptibles: “White Alligator Shoes”/“Laugh Out Loud” http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24375-the-incorruptibles-%25E2%2580%259Cwhite-alligator-shoes%25E2%2580%259D_%25E2%2580%259Claugh-out-loud%25E2%2580%259D.html Outhead: Send This Sound to the King (Chahatatadra Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24376-outhead-send-this-sound-to-the-king-%2528chahatatadra-music%2529.html On their second album, the bi-coastal quartet Outhead takes the trail opened by the ’60s jazz avant-garde, but with a determination to hit audiences in the gut rather than sail over their heads. Rock elements echoing the sax-driven Morphine can be heard, along with enough melody in their ]]> Abelardo Barroso: Cha Cha Cha (World Circuit) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24377-abelardo-barroso-cha-cha-cha-%2528world-circuit%2529.html Abelardo Barroso’s voice was a sophisticated instrument, powerful yet emotionally subtle, silken as a pop crooner but eager to slip into the soaring Moorish modes endowed to Cuba by Spanish rulers and the slaves they brought from West Africa. The singer made these recordings in the ]]> Marshall Allen presents Sun Ra and His Arkestra: In the Orbit of Ra (Strut Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24293-marshall-allen-presents-sun-ra-and-his-arkestra-in-the-orbit-of-ra-%2528strut-records%2529.html The Specials: The Best of The Specials (Parlophone) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24294-the-specials-the-best-of-the-specials-%2528parlophone%2529.html Ska was a subcultural phenomenon until the “2 Tone” movement swept the U.K. and spilled over into the U.S. by the end of the ’70s. The Specials led the way with bouncing rhythms and a sense of fun through their gangster poses and ’60s spy movie guitars. The Specials played party music capable of assuming urgency on ]]> Alma Afrobeat Ensemble: Life No Get Dublicate (Slow Walk Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24295-alma-afrobeat-ensemble-life-no-get-dublicate-%2528slow-walk-music%2529.html Amongst all the limp pop marketed as “world music,” a gem occasionally shines. Alma Afrobeat Ensemble is the real deal on many levels: The lineup is international, based in Barcelona and playing the propulsive West African music associated with Fela Kuti live and in real time. The energy is palpable on their]]> The Uptown Savages: Rock ’N’ Roll With You (Cuca) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24285-the-uptown-savages-rock-%25E2%2580%2599n%25E2%2580%2599-roll-with-you-%2528cuca%2529.html Piers Faccini & Vincent Segal: Songs of Time Lost (Six Degrees Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24286-piers-faccini-vincent-segal-songs-of-time-lost-%2528six-degrees-records%2529.html Guitarist-singer Piers Faccini and cellist Vincent Segal met in Paris 30 years ago and have finally released their first album. Their elegantly executed ]]> Laetitia Sadier: Something Shines (Drag City) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24233-laetitia-sadier-something-shines-%2528drag-city%2529.html Whether presiding over the politicized lounge of Stereolab or singing on her own, Laetitia Sadier has been tagged as a “chanteuse.” Primarily because she and the word share French heritage. Still, the je ne sais quoi]]> Cocek! Brass Band: Here Comes Shlomo http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24234-cocek_-brass-band-here-comes-shlomo.html The slightly melancholy, often madcap sound of Balkan brass bands has assumed a more international feel along with a global audience. The U.S.-based Cocek! Brass Band might not sound entirely out of place ]]> Harold Stewart: One People (Tate Music Group) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24200-harold-stewart-one-people-%2528tate-music-group%2529.html Paulo Padilha: Na Lojinha de Um Real Eu Me Sinto Milionário (Boranda) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24201-paulo-padilha-na-lojinha-de-um-real-eu-me-sinto-milionario-%2528boranda%2529.html Back in the 1960s, Brazil was home to a musical-cultural movement called Tropicalism, an organic synthesis of local traditions with ideas distilled from Anglo-American rock and the European avant-garde. Paulo Padilha is a contemporary heir to that movement. On his latest album whose title translates as “At the Dollar ]]> Olcay Bayir: Neva/Harmony (Riverboat Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24202-olcay-bayir-neva_harmony-%2528riverboat-records%2529.html Olcay Bayir is a woman whose voice is extraordinary in range and emotional power. She is a Turkish-Kurdish expatriate with roots in Anatolia, a land (in eastern Turkey) that has been home to Greeks, Armenians and Kurds as well as Turks. On Neva/Harmony, Bayir explores the repertoire of Anatolia and finds common ]]> Jimi Hendrix <em>Rainbow Bridge</em> - <em>The Cry of Love</em> (Experience Hendrix/Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24198-jimi-hendrix-rainbow-bridge-the-cry-of-love-%2528experience-hendrix_legacy%2529.html Jimi Hendrix scored his most memorable hits as an African-American expatriate in Swinging London (1966-69). Afterward, he continued playing with different musicians and recording prolifically. Two alb]]> Ian and The Dream: California Cauliflower http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24155-ian-and-the-dream-california-cauliflower.html

 

Though he claims Brian Wilson and Paul McCartney as inspirations, Waukesha native Ian Ash doesn’t quite as much encompass the simultaneous universality and specificity of The Beatles and The Beach Boys at their best (the latter band’s “Vegetables” inspired the album title). Instead, he]]>
Pharaoh’s Daughter: Dumiyah (Magenta) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24156-pharaoh%25E2%2580%2599s-daughter-dumiyah-%2528magenta%2529.html

 

Basya Schechter’s Hasidic upbringing in Brooklyn laid the foundation for her music, but she continues to reach higher, adding new stories to her groundwork. On the fifth album by her band Pharaoh’s Daughter, Schechter explores the many cross currents that connect Eastern European Jewish]]>
Mark Elf: Returns 2014 (Jen Bay Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24157-mark-elf-returns-2014-%2528jen-bay-records%2529.html Returns 2014. The album title refers to the long absence from the recording studio of the session’s leader, guitarist Mark Elf. Elf and Hazeltine swim in the cool tide that flowed out of bebop]]> Various Artists: Look Again to the Wind: Johnny Cash’s Bitter Tears Revisited (Sony Music Masterworks) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24100-various-artists-look-again-to-the-wind-johnny-cash%25E2%2580%2599s-bitter-tears-revisited-%2528sony-music-masterworks%2529.html The face of Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian, Johnny Cash’s 1964 concept album, is lined with the stylistic wrinkles of its time, including Cinemascope production and unnecessary sentimental touches like the military-music stylings bookending “The Ballad of Ira Hayes]]> Brian Wurch Band: Say Yes (Sybil Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24053-brian-wurch-band-say-yes-%2528sybil-records%2529.html Say Yes is a 16-song collection from Milwaukee’s Brian Wurch that draws from the timeless version of rock ’n’ roll that emerged from the doo-wop streets of Dion and the Belmonts and moved to the scrapple of the New York Dolls, ending up at the swagger of Mink DeVille and boogaloo of Mott ]]> Lillian Axe: One Night in the Temple (CME Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24054-lillian-axe-one-night-in-the-temple-%2528cme-records%2529.html Moraine: Groundswell (MoonJune) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24055-moraine-groundswell-%2528moonjune%2529.html Groundswell is tough yet supple, the improvisations are fluid yet often deliver the crunch and shove of metallic rock. The]]> Leonard Cohen - <i>Popular Problems</i> (Columbia) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24039-leonard-cohen-popular-problems-%2528columbia%2529.html ]]> D’Pop!: D’Pop! (Straight To The Point Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24024-d%25E2%2580%2599pop_-d%25E2%2580%2599pop_-%2528straight-to-the-point-records%2529.html In the early ’80s a Milwaukee band with a humble-brag of a name, The Pop, issued a lone single with a heavy debt to Merseybeat-era Beatles, and then...nothing, until now. Partially composed of members of that long-ago band, D’Pop compiled both sides of that collectible 45 onto an album of otherwise new material]]> Tour de Force: Battle Cry / Battle Cry Remixed (Dub-Stuy Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24025-tour-de-force-battle-cry-battle-cry-remixed-%2528dub-stuy-records%2529.html Brooklyn duo Tour de Force recorded Battle Cry, an album of powerful deep-groove reggae in several styles, and handed it off to a worldwide network of DJ remix artists. The ambitious result is housed in this two-CD set. Disc one is Tour de Force’s authoritative handling of reverb-laden dub and tongue-twisting toasts; disc]]> Simo Lagnawi: The Gnawa Berber (Riverboat Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24026-simo-lagnawi-the-gnawa-berber-%2528riverboat-records%2529.html Simo Lagnawi came to attention busking on London streets. Even in that polyglot capital he must have stood out for his colorful tribal garb and music. The Moroccan Berber expatriate maintains a thrumming, hypnotic groove throughout his latest album, whether accompanied by a chorus of polyrhythmic percussion or ]]> The Bad Things: After the Inferno (Silent City Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23944-the-bad-things-after-the-inferno-%2528silent-city-records%2529.html Various Artists: Salsa de la Bahia Vol. 2: Hoy Y Ayer (Patois Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23945-various-artists-salsa-de-la-bahia-vol-2-hoy-y-ayer-%2528patois-records%2529.html Salsa de la Bahia collects 15 Bay area bands on two discs. The pervasive salsa grooves provide the backdrop for a dance]]> Grand Fatilla: Global Shuffle (Grand Fatilla Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23946-grand-fatilla-global-shuffle-%2528grand-fatilla-records%2529.html Global Shuffle, the band moves convincingly]]> Davina and the Vagabonds: Sunshine (Roustabout Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23916-davina-and-the-vagabonds-sunshine-%2528roustabout-records%2529.html Moira Smiley & VOCO: Laughter Out of Tears (Whim Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23917-moira-smiley-voco-laughter-out-of-tears-%2528whim-records%2529.html A feast of beautiful women’s voices is served in the latest release by Moira Smiley & VOCO. With the inspiration of polyphonic chorales such as the Bulgarian Women’s Choir, Smiley began as a Balkan song collector and has only widened her grasp. On Laughter Out of Tears, Smiley and company bring virtuosic vocals to]]> Iced Earth: Plagues of Babylon (Century Media Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23918-iced-earth-plagues-of-babylon-%2528century-media-records%2529.html Iced Earth, the Florida-based band approaching its 30-year anniversary, makes brutal metal for the masses. OK, “for the masses” might be overstating it: The bloody cover of ]]> Black Wings: Everything Comes to an End http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23889-black-wings-everything-comes-to-an-end.html Everything Comes to an End bristles with gothic metal. Not quite. The band cribs from the spartan arrangements of The Cure’s early albums and offsets the gothiness with the kind of bucolic]]> Tom Chang: Tongue & Groove (Raw Toast Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23890-tom-chang-tongue-groove-%2528raw-toast-records%2529.html Tongue & Groove loud with the appropriately named “Spinal Tap/Goes to 11,” whose whirling jazz is amped up by electric guitar and a heavy touch on the drum sticks while fierce soloing is heard in the sax section. But much of the latest album from the New]]> Quraishi: Mountain Melodies (Evergreen Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23891-quraishi-mountain-melodies-%2528evergreen-music%2529.html Magic Sam: Live at the Avant Garde, June 22, 1968 (Delmark) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23824-magic-sam-live-at-the-avant-garde-june-22-1968-%2528delmark%2529.html No Chicago blues star burned brighter or flamed out faster than Magic Sam Maghett, “The King of West Side Blues.” In 1968, he electrified Milwaukee’s East Side Avant ]]> The Gun Club: Fire of Love (Superior Viaduct) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23825-the-gun-club-fire-of-love-%2528superior-viaduct%2529.html Shaking the late Jeffrey Lee Pierce’s hand was like holding a cold fish, which was 180 degrees from the intensity of his music. Over a generous handful of albums, Pierce’s]]> Various Artists: Wired for Sound—Mozambique (Freeground Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23789-various-artists-wired-for-sound%25E2%2580%2594mozambique-%2528freeground-records%2529.html  This new compilation bears some similarities to Paul Simon’s landmark album Graceland, where sessions began on location in South Africa with local musicians and then those tapes were brought back to New York for polishing by studio pros. This time, producer Simon Attwell brought his

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Zebrina: Hamidbar Medaber (Tzadik) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23790-zebrina-hamidbar-medaber-%2528tzadik%2529.html  If Miles Davis had been Jewish, his breakthrough fusion albums recorded as the ’60s tumbled into the ’70s might have sounded like Zebrina. On Hamidbar Medaber, released on John Zorn’s Tzadik label, Zebrina fuses propulsive rhythms, improvisation, knockout electric guitars and klezmer

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Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young: CSNY 1974 (Rhino Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23791-crosby-stills-nash-young-csny-1974-%2528rhino-records%2529.html  From The Eagles to The Fleet Foxes, the harmonies of CSNY served as a template. What the band later called their Doom Tour of 1974 is documented here on three CDs and one DVD, thanks to the painstaking archival efforts of Graham Nash. The long acoustic set is the highlight

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Chlopcy Kontra Basia: Oj Tak! (Riverboat Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23792-chlopcy-kontra-basia-oj-tak_-%2528riverboat-records%2529.html  Basia Derlak is an outstanding vocalist for emotional range. Sassy, insistent, reflective and breathless, she fronts a Polish trio whose percussive funky jazz is rooted in folk-based melodies and embraces Eastern klezmer modes.

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Vardan Ovsepian: Lighthouse http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23794-vardan-ovsepian-lighthouse.html  Lovely but never insipid, pianist Vardan Ovsepian and multi-lingual (and sometimes purely sonic) vocalist Tatiana Parra make music that slips between categories. The echo of Brazilian melody doesn’t make Lighthouse a samba recording, and if Ovsepian’s

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Keith Jarrett/Charlie Haden: Last Dance (ECM) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23750-keith-jarrett_charlie-haden-last-dance-%2528ecm%2529.html Ernest Ranglin & Avila: Bless Up (Avila Street Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23751-ernest-ranglin-avila-bless-up-%2528avila-street-records%2529.html  Ernest Ranglin can claim to be one of the fathers of Jamaican music. As a guitarist in the late 1950s at Kingston’s Studio One, Ranglin is credited with

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Greetings From The Imposter: Impressive Debut Release http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23708-greetings-from-the-imposter-impressive-debut-release.html  Dance music styles come and go and come around again by way of their recycling into a seemingly ever-flowing stream of new sub-genres. The dance-oriented rock of the ’80s seems to have been bypassed in that process of reconsideration, however. Remedying that dismissal is Saintpaul Brellis whose ’90s band

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Fred Hersch Trio: Floating (Palmetto) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23709-fred-hersch-trio-floating-%2528palmetto%2529.html  The award-winning pianist Fred Hersch returns with a new album of jazz a la Dave Brubeck. Intricately knotted melodies, angled sideways to the rhythms, are delivered with cool panache throughout Floating. Hersch focuses on his own compositions but includes a pair of standards and concludes the disc with Thelonious

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ZZ Top: The Very Baddest of ZZ Top (Warner Brothers) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23710-zz-top-the-very-baddest-of-zz-top-%2528warner-brothers%2529.html  Anyone looking for a ZZ Top CD culled from four decades of the trio’s career need look no farther than the two-disc Very Baddest. Early album tracks share space with hits from the “Sharp Dressed Man” and “Cheap Sunglasses” era as well as less-heard numbers from the 21st century. The Texans seldom strayed for long from

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Jethro Tull: A Passion Play: An Extended Performance (Chrysalis) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23704-jethro-tull-a-passion-play-an-extended-performance-%2528chrysalis%2529.html

 Among the score or more of wildly creative rock bands to emerge from Britain in the late ‘60s, Jethro Tull was among the most diverse in direction. Early albums included blues and proto-heavy metal, jazz, British folk and the brain-searing distortions of psychedelia. And then, in the early ‘70s, Tull

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Henry Butler & Steven Bernstein: Viper’s Drag (Impulse) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23671-henry-butler-steven-bernstein-viper%25E2%2580%2599s-drag-%2528impulse%2529.html  What’s old is new again, againespecially in Brooklyn. Amidst the borough’s prohibition-era cocktails, faux speakeasies and timeless sea of ’20s-ish clever caps and facial hair, lies Katrina refugee and New Orleans piano traditionalist Henry Butler. His latest effort finds him alongside New York

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9Bach: Tincian (Real World Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23672-9bach-tincian-%2528real-world-records%2529.html  Something magic clings to the gossamer notes heard on Tincian. 9Bach is all about its homeland. The lyrics are in Welsh and the album cover proudly proclaims: “Made in Wales.” And yet, Tincian is not another album of folk music or an ill-considered update of tradition, but a contemporary

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The Shoe: I’m Okay (Community Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23654-the-shoe-i%25E2%2580%2599m-okay-%2528community-records%2529.html  Among actorly forays into music, The Shoe is closer in spirit to She & Him than to Dogstar, and not just because Jena Malone is much less famous than Keanu Reeves

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Bryan Cherry: Black Holes http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23655-bryan-cherry-black-holes.html  Although Bryan Cherry shifted his billing from bandleader to soloist, his way of overlaying genres atop each other hasn’t changed a bit. The Milwaukee singer/guitarist

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Led Zeppelin: Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II, Led Zeppelin III (Atlantic/Swan Song) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23630-led-zeppelin-led-zeppelin-led-zeppelin-ii-led-zeppelin-iii-%2528atlantic_swan-song%2529.html

 Rock was already getting heavier before Led Zeppelin emerged at the end of the ’60s, but their first LP, with the exploding Hindenburg cover, set the pace for the direction of

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Bucky Halker & Andy Dee: The Ghost of Woody Guthrie (Revolting Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23631-bucky-halker-andy-dee-the-ghost-of-woody-guthrie-%2528revolting-records%2529.html  Political activist, musician and music scholar Bucky Halker is a Wisconsin native back now in Racine. Working with another Badger musician, Andy Dee (formerly of the

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House Of Spirits: “Holding On/Keep Holding On” (Beats In Space Records 12-inch and digital single) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23632-house-of-spirits-%25E2%2580%259Cholding-on_keep-holding-on%25E2%2580%259D-%2528beats-in-space-records-12-inch-and-digital-single%2529.html If Milwaukee has produced any examples of soul-gospel-club music, it’s been a while. The city’s latest (or first?) comes courtesy of Tom Noble’s House of Spirits project

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Hank Williams: The Garden Spot Programs, 1950 (Omnivore Recordings) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23589-hank-williams-the-garden-spot-programs-1950-%2528omnivore-recordings%2529.html  Hank Williams was a country music star but he was also a comet, streaking across the horizon of American popular culture in the early 1950s. He recorded

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Ama-Dots: Ama-Dots (Rerun) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23590-ama-dots-ama-dots-%2528rerun%2529.html  Ama-Dots were a mainstay of the early 1980s Milwaukee alternative music scene, and are most often given the overly broad label “post-punk.” Perhaps that’s fitting, because post-punk was a term coined by a music press for bands that weren’t easily categorized and Ama-Dots’ strikingly

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Cascada de Flores: Radio Flor (Ita Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23591-cascada-de-flores-radio-flor-%2528ita-music%2529.html  The booming, cross-continental signals of the old Mexican radio stations have been celebrated by ZZ Top and Wall of Voodoo, but never with the loving nostalgia of California’s Cascada de Flores. On Radio Flor, this versatile ensemble evokes the Mexican radio shows from the 1930s and ’40s

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Modern Mod: Tunnels (Crasseaux Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23561-modern-mod-tunnels-%2528crasseaux-records%2529.html  Funny how the good intentions behind putting together different parts can create something wholly different than expected. The Madison high schoolers of Modern Mod claim as influences the sort of garage rock favored by Little Steven Van Zandt on “Underground Garage” and surf music

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Zvuloon Dub System: Anbessa Dub http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23562-zvuloon-dub-system-anbessa-dub.html An Ethiopian-Jewish reggae band based in Tel Aviv? Yes, it makes perfect sense if you understand the genesis of Rastafarianism. Zvuloon Dub System started as a roots-reggae band but began incorporating influences from the superb pop music of Ethiopia from the ’60s and ’70s before the

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NAWA: Ancient Sufi Invocations & Forgotten Songs from Aleppo (Lost Origins/Electric Cowbell) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23563-nawa-ancient-sufi-invocations-forgotten-songs-from-aleppo-%2528lost-origins_electric-cowbell%2529.html  Aleppo had always been Syria’s cultural center, a place where minority groups usually coexisted. The country’s civil war changed that, especially the depredations of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, a jihadist group seeking to destroy anything out of sync with their own militant brand of Islam

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The Iguanas: Juarez (Piety Street) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23515-the-iguanas-juarez-%2528piety-street%2529.html  In the heartbreaking 2013 documentary Narco Cultura, Juarez, the Mexican border city, is painted in strokes just this side of hell, and spoken of in terms of “end of

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Volga: Kumushki Pjut (Asphalt Tango) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23516-volga-kumushki-pjut-%2528asphalt-tango%2529.html  It’s not just hyperbole: If Igor Stravinsky was young and alive today he might lead a band similar to Volga. Some of the savage Slavic polyrhythms actually conjure the spirit of The Rite of Spring in a setting of serrated

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I’m Not The Beatles: The John & Yoko Interviews with Howard Smith 1969-72 (MVD Entertainment) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23420-i%25E2%2580%2599m-not-the-beatles-the-john-yoko-interviews-with-howard-smith-1969-72-%2528mvd-entertainment%2529.html Cancerous Growth: Cancer Causing Agents: A Cancerous Growth Discography (Beer City) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23421-cancerous-growth-cancer-causing-agents-a-cancerous-growth-discography-%2528beer-city%2529.html   Bands more famous and musically distinct than Cancerous Growth emerged from Boston’s 1980s hardcore scene. The booklet essay accompanying Cancer Causing Agents makes that case. But a sense of feisty fun and intermittent willingness to experiment with studio technology inhabits the set’s

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The Doors: Weird Scenes Inside the Gold Mine (Rhino Elektra) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23422-the-doors-weird-scenes-inside-the-gold-mine-%2528rhino-elektra%2529.html   Originally released in 1972 in the aftermath of Jim Morrison’s death, Weird Scenes Inside the Gold Mine is a best-of plus a pair of B-sides. Reissued on CD, it remains a good survey of a band that packed a lot of music into a few short years. Weird Scenes includes some but not all peak moments

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Split Single: Fragmented World (Inside Outside Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23411-split-single-fragmented-world-%2528inside-outside-records%2529.html  Although Fragmented World is just over half an hour long, Split Single bandleader Jason Narducy enriches it with two kinds of experience: the kind he’s picked up working for Bob Mould, Robert Pollard and Superchunk, and the kind he’s picked up living

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The Sours: The Sours (ZoZe Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23412-the-sours-the-sours-%2528zoze-music%2529.html  New York’s The Sours is a two-acoustic-guitar duo fronted by singer Sarah Schrift, and accompanied by a pianist on a few numbers. The mood on most tracks is 3 a.m. melancholy with vocals just past the edge of resignation. Nick Drake looms as an inspiration, though occasionally the sky

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Sonar: Static Motion (Cuneiform Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23370-sonar-static-motion-%2528cuneiform-records%2529.html  The multinational instrumental quartet Sonar includes a mathematics professor, a software developer and a multimedia artist. In other words, not only can these guys play; they also have brains. On their second album, Static Motion, they rely on symmetry, aesthetics and precision to create as much

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The New Mastersounds: Therapy (Dumaine Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23371-the-new-mastersounds-therapy-%2528dumaine-records%2529.html  The name of Britain’s New Mastersounds is deceiving; they’re now in the 15th year of their career. For the past decade the quartet has performed regularly in the U.S. and this new release was recorded in Denver. Fans of Medeski, Martin and Wood, George Benson, Average White Band and

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The Lubricants: “Activated Energy”/“Transformation Vacation” (Rerun Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23372-the-lubricants-%25E2%2580%259Cactivated-energy%25E2%2580%259D_%25E2%2580%259Ctransformation-vacation%25E2%2580%259D-%2528rerun-records%2529.html  The Lubricants were the first Milwaukee band to self-consciously embrace “punk rock” as defined by the snotty, three-chord, leather-jacketed scenes emerging from NYC and London circa 1976. They were also among the best. The Lubricants’ sole release, a 1980 single, has been reissued on vinyl

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Cyndi Lauper: She’s So Unusual: A 30th Anniversary Celebration (Epic Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23373-cyndi-lauper-she%25E2%2580%2599s-so-unusual-a-30th-anniversary-celebration-%2528epic-legacy%2529.html   What’s surprising about She’s So Unusual is how enjoyable it remains. One of the biggest hits of 1984 endures not for its state-of-the-era production and tinny synthesizers, but on the strength of good songs delivered convincingly. “Money Changes Everything” is classic, hook-laden pop rock; “Girls

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The Bad Plus: The Rite of Spring (Masterworks) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23334-the-bad-plus-the-rite-of-spring-%2528masterworks%2529.html  Minneapolis’ muscular alt-jazz trio bravely delves into Igor Stravinsky’s transformative epic, yes, boiling it down; yet Ethan Iverson brilliantly funnels Stravinsky’s glittering, dissonant orchestration through his keyboard. Bass and drums stoke the suspense and ecstasy, the thunderous drama, the

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Various Artists: Radio Ready: Wisconsin—Lost Power Pop Hits 1979-1982 (Cheap Reward Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23335-various-artists-radio-ready-wisconsin%25E2%2580%2594lost-power-pop-hits-1979-1982-%2528cheap-reward-records%2529.html  In the late ’70s, power pop was the accessible face of new wave music. With roots in the British Invasion and influenced by bands such as Badfinger and Big Star, power pop’s bright melodies and more polished musicianship appealed, in part, to listeners sometimes put off by its less polite cousin

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The Ones: The Ones (Rerun) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23336-the-ones-the-ones-%2528rerun%2529.html  The four-piece began as a ’70s high school band called Ozone and evolved into The Ones as they moved toward punk by decade’s end. The CD includes the best moments culled from live and rehearsal tapes. Best of all are both sides of the lone single they recorded in 1980, the prize for

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Ingrid Lucia: Living the Life (CD Baby) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23288-ingrid-lucia-living-the-life-%2528cd-baby%2529.html Felipe Salles: Ugandan Suite (Tapestry Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23289-felipe-salles-ugandan-suite-%2528tapestry-records%2529.html  Jazz musicians have connected with the music’s African roots since the days of Duke Ellington. On Ugandan Suite, Brazilian saxophonist Felipe Salles makes the journey with

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Keith Pulvermacher: Midwestern http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23264-keith-pulvermacher-midwestern.html  Butler native Keith Pulvermacher sings pop-structured, radio-catchy songs with the stark accompaniment and wistful sentimentality of folk. If one counts his vocal resemblance to current country radio hit-maker Lee Brice, Pulvermacher could count as a triple-genre hybrid. It doesn’t take a very

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Various Artists: Looking Into You: A Tribute to Jackson Browne (Music Road Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23265-various-artists-looking-into-you-a-tribute-to-jackson-browne-%2528music-road-records%2529.html  Jackson Browne was a professional songwriter long before becoming a recording artist. He was part of the late-’60s New York scene (Nico recorded his songs) but became identified with the mellow California of the ’70s. Everything Browne stood for seemed unfashionable in the ’80s, yet his songs

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Golem: Tanz (Corasón Digital) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23266-golem-tanz-%2528corason-digital%2529.html  On their fourth album, New York’s Golem plays up the Yiddishkeit in a set of original songs echoing that wild klezmer spirit in hard-driving, contemporary formats. Lyrics are often a humorous (occasionally darkly so) take on the Jewish experience, even if the beat is closer to rock than any

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Album Review: Space Raft - "Space Raft" - (Dusty Medical Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23235-album-review-space-raft-space-raft-%2528dusty-medical-records%2529.html It's really rather impressive how swiftly Milwaukee act Space Raft has taken off, going from playing their first gigs around town to being easily one of the city’s most talked about bands in the spa]]> Miles Davis: Miles at the Fillmore—Miles Davis 1970: The Bootleg Series Vol. 3 (Columbia Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23204-miles-davis-miles-at-the-fillmore%25E2%2580%2594miles-davis-1970-the-bootleg-series-vol-3-%2528columbia-legacy%2529.html  Miles Davis was at one of his several career peaks in 1970 when he played at the Fillmore East, the New York theater whose eclectic concert bills played to a rock audience. With the release of his groundbreaking album Bitches Brew, Davis had “crossed over” from jazz to rock, straddling both

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Sade: The Essential Sade (Epic) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23205-sade-the-essential-sade-%2528epic%2529.html  Sade was the silken sound of R&B in the ’80s, smooth enough to fit all manner of nascent “adult contemporary” formats, yet her sensuous sophistication helped her transcend radio marketing categories. The British singer’s lustrous singles are collected on this two-disc set, with pride of

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Hannah Gill: Hannah Gill (Greene Street Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23206-hannah-gill-hannah-gill-%2528greene-street-music%2529.html  Fans of The Cranberries might want to check out the debut EP from this Maryland native, who sounds like a young Delores O’Riordan. I say young because Gill is only 16, but with a voice and delivery that’s mature well beyond her years. The six songs include four originals from producer Brad

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Danny Rivera and Nelson González: Obsesión (Marmara House Projects) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23207-danny-rivera-and-nelson-gonzalez-obsesion-%2528marmara-house-projects%2529.html  Danny Rivera, dubbed the “National Voice of Puerto Rico,” teams up with his long-time collaborator, virtuosic tresero Nelson Gonzalez, for this collection of classic boleros—Latin ballads comprised of catchy melodies and heartfelt lyrics. The duo is joined by a number of Latino music

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Matt Schofield: Far As I Can See (Provogue Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23154-matt-schofield-far-as-i-can-see-%2528provogue-records%2529.html Xavia Reija: Resolution (MoonJune Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23155-xavia-reija-resolution-%2528moonjune-records%2529.html  Barcelona drummer Xavia Reija heads a trio on Resolution that moves easily across the musical spectrum. Some tracks fall dangerously to fusion (but with more sonic edge than most); others thrum with the rhythmic resolve of rock but with the fluidity of jazz; other segments launch into spacy excursions of electrical

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Eric Carmen: The Essential Eric Carmen (Arista/Legacy Recordings) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23156-eric-carmen-the-essential-eric-carmen-%2528arista_legacy-recordings%2529.html  Despite this 45-year-spanning two-disc set, what’s most essential in Eric Carmen’s career occurred before the breakup of his group, The Raspberries, in 1974. Posthumous adulation for Big Star aside, The Raspberries defined

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Max and the Invaders: Runnin’ on Fumes (MaxTone Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23146-max-and-the-invaders-runnin%25E2%2580%2599-on-fumes-%2528maxtone-records%2529.html  Long-lived Milwaukee ska proponents The Invaders have lengthened their name to allay confusion with a similarly monikered Wisconsin British Invasion cover band. But the addendum to their handle gives occasion for Max and the Invaders to expand aesthetic horizons with appropriations

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Johnny Cash: Out Among the Stars (Columbia/Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23147-johnny-cash-out-among-the-stars-%2528columbia_legacy%2529.html Neither the great lost treasure nor the dreck some critics have described, Out Among the Stars is a good example of what Johnny Cash was up to in the decade before Rick Rubin distilled the best of the Man in Black into the Dark Prince of Outlaw Cool. This previously unreleased 1981 session 

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Imarhan Timbuktu: Akal Warled (Clermont Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23148-imarhan-timbuktu-akal-warled-%2528clermont-music%2529.html   The Tuareg are a traditionally nomadic people roaming the southern Sahara. Life had been rough for them in recent years with the Libyan civil war and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism forcing many into refugee camps. One bright note has been the emergence of a distinctive Tuareg

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Dean Wareham: Dean Wareham (Double Feature) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23080-dean-wareham-dean-wareham-%2528double-feature%2529.html  Because his voice weds the sweet side of Lou Reed’s mumble to the melodic side of Tom Verlaine’s whimper, Dean Wareham might have gotten a head start among influential indie- and underground-rock figures

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Ahmed Nasheed: Dhaalu Raa (Asasi Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23081-ahmed-nasheed-dhaalu-raa-%2528asasi-records%2529.html  Remote in geography and from the concerns of the outside world, the Maldives is an Islamic republic spread out over 200 islands in the Indian Ocean. The inhabitants developed their own rhythms and poetry over the centuries, yet Western rock found its way to the insular nation in the ’60s

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Well Informed Citizens: Swindlers and Thieves (Citizen Recordings) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23061-well-informed-citizens-swindlers-and-thieves-%2528citizen-recordings%2529.html Ani Cordero: Recordar http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23062-ani-cordero-recordar.html  Like many Puerto Ricans, Ani Cordero shuttled between the mainland U.S. and the Caribbean while growing up. On the prolific singer-instrumentalist’s latest project, Cordero curates a collection of socially conscious songs from 20th-century Latin America. Many writers and nations

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Machine Mass: Inti (MoonJune Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23063-machine-mass-inti-%2528moonjune-records%2529.html   Machine Mass covers a lot of ground within the context of what’s still often called, for lack of a more familiar term, “avant-garde jazz.” Some tracks sparkle with East Indian influences, others wax funky or deliver an almost rock band drive. The trio features Dave Liebman (saxophone), Tony Bianco

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Suburban Mutilation: The Opera Ain’t Over Til the Fat Lady Sings (Beer City) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22953-suburban-mutilation-the-opera-ain%25E2%2580%2599t-over-til-the-fat-lady-sings-%2528beer-city%2529.html  By the time Green Bay’s Suburban Mutilation released their only album in 1984, their most notorious member, Norb Rozek (Rev. Norb), had already become an international hardcore punk celebrity. His often hilarious, always eye-catching fanzine, Sick Teen, was a precedent to The Opera Ain’t

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Silent Force: Rising From Ashes (AFM Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22954-silent-force-rising-from-ashes-%2528afm-records%2529.html  Some bands enjoy a certain amount of success and then just disappear. That’s what happened with Silent Force, a metal outfit led by German guitarist Alex Beyrodt (who went on to success in Primal Fear, Sinner and Voodoo Circle) and released four acclaimed albums between 2000 and

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Aztec Camera: High Land, Hard Rain (Domino) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22851-aztec-camera-high-land-hard-rain-%2528domino%2529.html Aztec Camera was a fresh alternative to most everything when their debut album was released in 1983. In an era of hardcore punk fundamentalism and icy techno-pop, the Scottish band wedded acoustic textures to lively rhythms and irresistible pop hooks with echoes of Spain and India. Arriving just a tad late, the 30th 

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Yonat: Daybreak http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22852-yonat-daybreak.html  Now living in the San Francisco area, onetime Milwaukeean Yonat Mayer offers sparkling, sometimes danceable folk/R&B hybrid sound. Though Yonat numbers Sheryl Crow and Lauryn Hill among her formative influences, it takes no great stretch of imagination to envision her sharing an imaginary Lilith Fair bill

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Michael Bloomfield: From his Head to his Heart to his Hands: An Audio/Visual Scrapbook (Columbia Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22834-michael-bloomfield-from-his-head-to-his-heart-to-his-hands-an-audio_visual-scrapbook-%2528columbia-legacy%2529.html  This extraordinary guitar hero and innovator’s legacy is finally addressed with a reissue package including three CDs and a new DVD film: Sweet Blues: A Film about Michael Bloomfield by Bob Sarles

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Juhani Aaltonen: To Future Memories (TUM) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22835-juhani-aaltonen-to-future-memories-%2528tum%2529.html  Finland seldom races to mind as a center for avant-garde jazz, yet the nation on Europe’s northeast corner has been home to a thriving scene. Prominent among Finnish improvisers is saxophonist-flutist Juhani Aaltonen, 78 years old but undimmed and leading a young ensemble in edgy

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Sunblind Lion: The Sanatorium (Homegrown Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22755-sunblind-lion-the-sanatorium-%2528homegrown-records%2529.html  If your band is going to be gone for a third of a century, why not return with a grandiose conceptual bang? Sheboygan’s Sunblind Lion know from grandiosity, being arguably the Badger State’s most renowned progressive rock proponents in their heyday. For their comeback, they’ve opted for

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Tina Turner: Love Songs (Parlophone) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22756-tina-turner-love-songs-%2528parlophone%2529.html Buttressed with stories of her abusive marriage to mentor-musical partner Ike Turner, Tina entered the ’80s as a woman whose pop music declarations on love and desire carried unusual weight. Love Songs collects her love-oriented hits from the ’80s and ’90s, plus one ’60s collaboration

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Mehmet Ali Sanlikol: whatsnext? (DÜNYA) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22757-mehmet-ali-sanlikol-whatsnext-%2528d%25C3%259Cnya%2529.html Duke Ellington might have liked whatsnext?; Gil Evans and Lalo Schifrin might also have endorsed this recreation of orchestral jazz with a decided bent toward the jazz-influenced TV and movie scores of the ’60s and ’70s. Turkish born, Boston-based composer Mehmet Ali Sanlikol wields a big

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Cibo Matto: Hotel Valentine (Chimera Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22717-cibo-matto-hotel-valentine-%2528chimera-music%2529.html 1,000 Umbrellas: re:thingk (Mental Health Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22718-1000-umbrellas-rethingk-%2528mental-health-records%2529.html 1,000 Umbrellas is an accomplished Milwaukee duo whose members played together in the ’90s band Tolstoi’s Tricycle. Regrouping for a long-in-the-making debut album, vocalist-guitarist Allan Williams and percussionist Brian Wendtlandt weave textured acoustic rock around heartfelt lyrics and

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Aretha Franklin: The Queen of Soul (Rhino) | Otis Redding: The King of Soul (Rhino) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22699-aretha-franklin-the-queen-of-soul-%2528rhino%2529-otis-redding-the-king-of-soul-%2528rhino%2529.html  If Aretha Franklin was the Queen and Otis Redding the King of 1960s soul music, their union was consummated in the song they shared but whose meaning they disputed. Redding’s “Respect” was a forceful entreaty from a man to his woman. Franklin turned the song on its head, transforming it

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Jasper Rude: Let Me In http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22700-jasper-rude-let-me-in.html  For un-ironic, classic-styled hard rock, with no winks or nods to more modern sounds, not even the metal that would spring forth from it, turn to Milwaukee’s Jasper Rude, who conjure the specters of Mountain, Grand Funk Railroad, et al. Throughout the 12 tracks on their latest offering, they

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One Horse Towne: One Horse Towne http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22671-one-horse-towne-one-horse-towne.html Brian Lynch: Unsung Heroes: A Tribute to Some Underappreciated Trumpet Masters, Vols. 1 and 2 (Hollistic MusicWorks) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22646-brian-lynch-unsung-heroes-a-tribute-to-some-underappreciated-trumpet-masters-vols-1-and-2-%2528hollistic-musicworks%2529.html  Recent jazz rarely swings or sings with the fire and verve of these straight-ahead sessions. Grammy-winner Brian Lynch, Milwaukee’s greatest baby-boomer gift to jazz

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Alejandro Almenares: Casa De Trova Cuba 50’s (Tumi Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22647-alejandro-almenares-casa-de-trova-cuba-50%25E2%2580%2599s-%2528tumi-records%2529.html  Alejandro Almenares rides a comfortable, lilting Cuban groove throughout Casa De Trova

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Various Artists: From Another World: A Tribute to Bob Dylan (Buda Musique) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22592-various-artists-from-another-world-a-tribute-to-bob-dylan-%2528buda-musique%2529.html  Bob Dylan has been an inspiration to musicians all around the world and on From Another World some of them give tribute by performing his songs. None of the tracks can be called a cover in the strict sense and most are virtually unrecognizable for reasons that have nothing to do with language

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Jeremy Spencer: Bend in the Road (Propelz) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22593-jeremy-spencer-bend-in-the-road-%2528propelz%2529.html  Along with fellow guitarist Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer was the creative mind behind Fleetwood Mac’s early incarnation as one of Britain’s best late-’60s blues-rock bands. After their third studio album, Spencer left to join a Christian commune in the U.S. Some of those spiritual echoes can be

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Gary Numan: Splinter: Songs From a Broken Mind (Machine Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22594-gary-numan-splinter-songs-from-a-broken-mind-%2528machine-music%2529.html  Having recently collaborated with Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor, Gary Numan gives his latest album an industrial sound à la NIN, but it doesn’t smother the essence of who he is, like on 2011’s disappointing Dead Son Rising. Numan replaces Reznor’s combat boots with soaring synthesizers

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Shawn Holt and The Teardrops: Daddy Told Me (Blind Pig) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22556-shawn-holt-and-the-teardrops-daddy-told-me-%2528blind-pig%2529.html  The blues scene lost the frontman from a superb contemporary blues band when Morris Holt, better known as Magic Slim, died in February 2013. Magic Slim and his band, The Teardrops, were nominated by The

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Ahmad Jamal: Saturday Morning (JazzVillage) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22512-ahmad-jamal-saturday-morning-%2528jazzvillage%2529.html Rafi eL: Ay De Mi (Dutty Artz) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22513-rafi-el-ay-de-mi-%2528dutty-artz%2529.html  Blending old with new, electronic beats with acoustic instruments, has become the cookbook for many world music acts. Rafi eL claims to come by his particular recipe through nature as well as nurture. Born in Israel and raised in Los Angeles by Argentine-Jewish parents, Rafi eL straddles

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Thought Chamber: Psykerion (InsideOut Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22475-thought-chamber-psykerion-%2528insideout-music%2529.html Ghost Train Orchestra: Book of Rhapsodies (Accurate) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22476-ghost-train-orchestra-book-of-rhapsodies-%2528accurate%2529.html  Fusion wasn’t invented in the 1970s. In the late ’30s, an earlier generation of jazz musicians reached across the borders of their music—this time to the classical tradition. On Book of Rhapsodies, The Ghost Train Orchestra rediscovers and rearranges compositions by four jazz combo leaders of

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Shirish Korde & Deepti Navaratna: KA (Svarasa Records) - Sheela Bringi: Incantations (White Swan) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22477-shirish-korde-deepti-navaratna-ka-%2528svarasa-records%2529-sheela-bringi-incantations-%2528white-swan%2529.html Flying Colors: Live In Europe (Music Theories Recordings) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22434-flying-colors-live-in-europe-%2528music-theories-recordings%2529.html  When your band records a live album after previously releasing only one studio record, you usually fill your set with cover tunes. But if you’re progressive-rock supergroup Flying Colors, whose lineup includes ultra-talented current and former members of Dream Theater, Deep Purple and

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Adrian Raso and Fanfare Ciocărlia: Devil’s Tale (Asphalt Tango) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22435-adrian-raso-and-fanfare-cioc%25C4%2583rlia-devil%25E2%2580%2599s-tale-%2528asphalt-tango%2529.html  If Django Reinhardt had made his way to the Balkans and formed the Hot Club of Bucharest, the resulting music might have sounded a little like Devil’s Tale. Canadian Adrian Raso plays in Reinhardt’s Gypsy-jazz guitar vein, while Romania’s Fanfare Ciocărlia carry on the region’s madcap

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The Velvet Underground: White Light/White Heat (45th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition) (Polydor) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22409-the-velvet-underground-white-light_white-heat-%252845th-anniversary-super-deluxe-edition%2529-%2528polydor%2529.html  Few bands make a career-defining record the second time at bat. Then again, the Velvet Underground was no ordinary band. By the time they recorded White Light/White Heat (in two days, no less) it was clear this was not the Summer of Love. Here was a band that could make you move and make you think. But in

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Lightnin Malcolm: Rough Out There (ShakeDown Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22375-lightnin-malcolm-rough-out-there-%2528shakedown-records%2529.html Tomasz Stanko New York Quartet: Wislawa (ECM) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22376-tomasz-stanko-new-york-quartet-wislawa-%2528ecm%2529.html Tomasz Stanko is probably our greatest living lyrical jazz trumpeter, his style inspired by Miles Davis. Yet the Polish master speaks in his own almost uncannily disarming language. His sensibility—beautifully brooding, sly, witty—emits notes like snaking smoke. As they unfurl and ooze, the articulated effect is

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Tyler Traband: Love Songs Hate Songs http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22377-tyler-traband-love-songs-hate-songs.html  Oh, forget the temptation to compare every piano-playing singer-songwriter with Bruce Hornsby. Milwaukee’s Tyler Traband is his own man with a melody or a lyric. And when the band kicks in on Love Songs Hate Songs, Traband’s voice waxes powerful and he sounds like someone who could have dominated album rock

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Jerry Grillo and Joe Kral: Music Box http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22343-jerry-grillo-and-joe-kral-music-box.html  Vocalist Jerry Grillo and pianist Joe Kral’s Music Box is a four-song collection of ballads that have entered the jazz repertoire or—in the case of Grillo’s “Lonely”—should have become standards. The duo wanders through reminiscence and ruefulness. Grillo even invests Willie Nelson’s

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Juaneco y su Combo: The Birth of Jungle Cumbia (Vital Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22344-juaneco-y-su-combo-the-birth-of-jungle-cumbia-%2528vital-records%2529.html  Peru’s Juaneco y su Combo began by playing rumbas and polkas to oil workers in the Amazon jungle, but by the late ’60s new influences changed their direction. Dressed up in the feathers and robes of the local Indian tribes, the Combo replaced the accordion with a Farfisa organ and added

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MWE: Second Wind http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22345-mwe-second-wind.html  San Francisco’s MWE explores the music of the Near East in tight, virtuosic ensemble playing. The band is fronted by alto saxophone, clarinet and zurna, a raucous-sounding double-reed traditionally used to call a community to gather. The tone is uncompromising—no sugar coating, electronic

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Animal Magnets: Step on Your Neck (Easter Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22292-animal-magnets-step-on-your-neck-%2528easter-records%2529.html  Play it loud is a rock cliché but beware of setting the volume too high on Step on Your Neck. The roar might tear off your head. Step on Your Neck, by Milwaukee’s Animal Magnets, is likely one of the most powerful rock ’n’ roll records out this year—here in town

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Paula Santoro: Mar do Meu Mundo (Borandá) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22293-paula-santoro-mar-do-meu-mundo-%2528boranda%2529.html  Cool on the surface but with an undercurrent of melancholy, Paula Santoro reaches the heart of Brazilian music—at least the genres that reached the world stage in the 1960s through artists as varied as Stan Getz and Sergio Mendes. Calming yet never drowsy rhythms flow through Mar do Meu

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Gary Tanin: Otto & The Elevators (Vera Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22254-gary-tanin-otto-the-elevators-%2528vera-records%2529.html  Otto & The Elevators is the great, lost Milwaukee album from the ’70s. On this 40th anniversary reissue of the vinyl LP (with a CD tucked into a plastic sleeve), the most remarkable thing—aside from the A-plus songwriting—is the timelessness. Gary Tanin’s writing and production synthesized

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Micah: Highs, Lows, Peaks, Valleys, Rivers http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22255-micah-highs-lows-peaks-valleys-rivers.html  Is Micah a guitarist with the last name of Olsan or is it the name of his band? Both, it appears. Three young men appear on the back of the jewel case for Highs, Lows, Peaks, Valleys, Rivers, but “their” website focuses on the threesome’s mono-monikered guitarist—a hometown Milwaukee

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Mr. Ho’s Orchestrotica Quartet: Where Here Meets There http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22215-mr-ho%25E2%2580%2599s-orchestrotica-quartet-where-here-meets-there.html Boz Scaggs: The Essential Boz Scaggs (Columbia/Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22216-boz-scaggs-the-essential-boz-scaggs-%2528columbia_legacy%2529.html  In reputation, Boz Scaggs’ career trajectory seems an odd evolution from gritty bluesman to urbane R&B performer. But hearing the early tracks on Scaggs’ two-disc career overview proves that it all makes sense. Scaggs’ 1969 debut album for Columbia was a soul review setup, with intimations

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Dusan Jevtovic: Am I Walking Wrong? (MoonJune Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22217-dusan-jevtovic-am-i-walking-wrong-%2528moonjune-records%2529.html  With a sense for building dynamics, of rising from quiet to raising the roof, guitarist Dusan Jevtovic leads a trio around the paths blazed by Robert Fripp. On Am I Walking Wrong? Jevtovic twists jagged melodies around steady yet supple rhythms. The sonic paths lead into the zone where dark

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Lang Lang, Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker: Prokofiev 3 Bartók 2 (Sony Classical) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22172-lang-lang-simon-rattle-and-the-berliner-philharmoniker-prokofiev-3-bartok-2-%2528sony-classical%2529.html  The recorded work of the great classical composers has been issued in such profusion that the market became depressed. One way the labels address that challenge is to bring big names together on recording sessions. Such was the strategy of this studio album. Pianist Lang Lang takes the spotlight as conductor Simon Rattle

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Paula Cabot and Mrs. Fun: Make Mine a Manhattan (Funtime Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22173-paula-cabot-and-mrs-fun-make-mine-a-manhattan-%2528funtime-records%2529.html  Longtime fans of Milwaukee’s Mrs. Fun have often wondered how two women could generate so much music from a slender rack of keyboards and a drum set. On their collaboration with Skylight Opera Theatre star Paula

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Tev Stevig: Jeni Jol http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22174-tev-stevig-jeni-jol.html  While studying jazz at Berklee, Tev Stevig fell in love with the music of the Eastern Mediterranean and became determined to fuse Balkan rhythms with jazz improvisation. He took up the fretless guitar, playing in the heavily down-stroked “claw hammer” style associated with old time American folk

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Trombone Shorty | Say That To Say This (Verve) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22135-trombone-shorty-say-that-to-say-this-%2528verve%2529.html  Can’t blame a guy for trying—for wanting to branch out. The very history of New Orleans jazz is a motive, one of a music traveling up the river, of Louis Armstrong reinventing himself in Chicago and New York

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Dick Eliot: Catch the Wave http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22136-dick-eliot-catch-the-wave.html  Dick Eliot began playing in the Milwaukee area during the 1950s, when jazz still overlapped with pop to a much greater extent than today, and jazz clubs proliferated. His solo guitar album, Catch the Wave, echoes

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Patty Larkin | Still Green (Road Narrows Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22075-patty-larkin-still-green-%2528road-narrows-records%2529.html Michael Lee Firkins | Yep (Magnatude Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22076-michael-lee-firkins-yep-%2528magnatude-records%2529.html  Back in the ’90s, hotshot guitarist Michael Lee Firkins drew comparisons to Jeff Beck. While the next-big-thing predictions never became reality, Firkins is still at it, and his first album in five years, Yep, features a trio of musicians from bigger bands: Gov’t Mule, Black Crowes and the Allman Brothers Band. A rootsy, bluesy

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Salaam | The Train to Basra and Other Stories http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22077-salaam-the-train-to-basra-and-other-stories.html  Grounded in the Middle East but finding meaningful connections with music from many other places, the American group Salaam explores chordal connections with mariachi, minor-key electronica and jazz on Train to Basra. “Blue notes” often provide the common ground—in a shared musical language drawn from the

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Van Morrison | Moondance Deluxe Edition (Warner Brothers) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22042-van-morrison-moondance-deluxe-edition-%2528warner-brothers%2529.html  Soulful and thoughtful, Van Morrison had a gift for words and memorable songs. His fans argue over which album is greatest from his flourishing years, 1968-1974. A case could be made for Moondance (1970), an exceptional song collection whose sum is nearly as memorable as its parts

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Fats Kaplin | The Fatman Cometh & World of Wonder (Pulp Country) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22043-fats-kaplin-the-fatman-cometh-world-of-wonder-%2528pulp-country%2529.html  Multi-instrumentalist Fats Kaplin has played behind everyone from Jack White to the Judds; now this name on the credit line steps out on a double CD of his own songs (plus some arrangements of traditional numbers). Americana is the broad label and within that, Kaplin displays great range

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Mario Adnet | Um Olhar Sobre Villa-Lobos (Boranda Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22000-mario-adnet-um-olhar-sobre-villa-lobos-%2528boranda-music%2529.html  Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959) was Brazil’s chief contributor to the classical music canon. For shorthand, think of him as that country’s Aaron Copland, a modernist

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Enrico Granafei | Alone (and) Together (Consolidated Artists Productions) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22001-enrico-granafei-alone-%2528and%2529-together-%2528consolidated-artists-productions%2529.html  Although harmonica has been a pillar of blues and folk music, it never found great favor in jazz. Enrico Granafei, a protégé of pioneering harmonicat Toots Thielemans, hopes to raise the humble instrument’s stature among jazz lovers. The Italian-born U.S. resident blows sweet and romantic, and raises the tempo if

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Pierre de Gaillande | Bad Reputation 2 (Barbes Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22002-pierre-de-gaillande-bad-reputation-2-%2528barbes-records%2529.html  Whether or not Georges Brassens hung out with Serge Gainsbourg, he was of similar era and ilk—a ’60s French songwriter with a witty, eclectic sensibility. One time punk rocker Pierre de Gaillande recorded this ambitious tribute to Brassens, translating his lyrics into poetic English and performing them in a klezmer

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Hot 8 Brass Band | Tombstone (Tru Thoughts) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21955-hot-8-brass-band-tombstone-%2528tru-thoughts%2529.html Tal National | Kaani (Fatcat) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21956-tal-national-kaani-%2528fatcat%2529.html  American audiences have been introduced to African pop music thanks to Talking Heads, Paul Simon’s landmark Graceland album and the hit Broadway musical Fela! With the first U.S. release from Nigeria’s Tal National, fans can now hear homegrown, high-energy dance music from

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The Blind Boys of Alabama | I’ll Find a Way (Sony Masterworks) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21937-the-blind-boys-of-alabama-i%25E2%2580%2599ll-find-a-way-%2528sony-masterworks%2529.html  For a golden age soul gospel vocal group whose career spans multiple generations, The Blind Boys of Alabama have benefited from some unusual benefactors over the past couple decades, including Peter Gabriel and his WOMAD organization and neo-hippie Ben Harper. Now, Justin Vernon has

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Various Artists | Women of Brazil (Putumayo) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21938-various-artists-women-of-brazil-%2528putumayo%2529.html  Since artists like Antonio Carlos Jobim and songs like “The Girl From Ipanema” took the world by storm in the early ’60s, the Brazilian music known as bossa nova has firmly entrenched itself in the world’s musical consciousness. Putumayo, a label that excels in world music samplers, follows up

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Çiğdem Aslan | Mortissá (Asphalt Tango) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21939-%25C3%2587i%25C4%259Fdem-aslan-mortissa-%2528asphalt-tango%2529.html  The music called rebetiko is the Greek blues, born in the same era as the great Mississippi players and arising from similarly impoverished, underclass environs. Çiğdem Aslan breathes new life into the old songs with her young, London-based band. A Turkish Kurd who grew up in Greek

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The Revolutionary Army of the Infant Jesus | After The End (Infrastition) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21884-the-revolutionary-army-of-the-infant-jesus-after-the-end-%2528infrastition%2529.html  When The Revolutionary Army of the Infant Jesus turned up in the late-’80s Liverpool underground with The Gift of Tears, the critical lexicon to describe their sound didn’t quite exist. European folk influences are infused by Eastern Orthodox spirituality, industrial cacophony, disco beats

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Mamadou Kelly | Adibar (Clermont Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21885-mamadou-kelly-adibar-%2528clermont-music%2529.html  Malian singer-guitarist Mamadou Kelly was chased out of his hometown in 2012 by Islamic fundamentalists who hate music—not just Kelly’s but all music. As the militants burned instruments and chopped off hands, Kelly and his band regrouped to await a precarious victory by French troops

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TriBeCaStan | New Songs from the Old Country (Evergreene Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21836-tribecastan-new-songs-from-the-old-country-%2528evergreene-music%2529.html  It takes an orchestra to constitute the musical republic called TriBeCaStan, but the New York group has two multi-instrumental anchors—Jeff Greene and onetime Milwaukeean John Kruth. On their fourth album, TriBeCaStan weave together an organic fusion of elements, a convincing tapestry of

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The Clash | The Clash—Hits Back (Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21837-the-clash-the-clash%25E2%2580%2594hits-back-%2528legacy%2529.html  With the advent of the mix tape, everyone became her own music programmer, and yet there can still be something insightful in enjoying someone else’s selection. Hits Back boasts an advantage over most other best-of collections: Its running order follows the band’s own—The Clash’s set lists

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I Know You Well Miss Clara | Chapter One (MoonJune Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21838-i-know-you-well-miss-clara-chapter-one-%2528moonjune-records%2529.html  Indonesia was probably at the edge of the map for many of jazz-rock’s ’60s pioneers, but the influence of bands such as Soft Machine and Mahavishnu Orchestra eventually found its way to a young band from the island nation, I Know You Well Miss Clara. On Chapter One, the tinkling

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Jupiter in Velvet | Shut Off Your Mind (Free 2B Free Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21810-jupiter-in-velvet-shut-off-your-mind-%2528free-2b-free-records%2529.html Fleetwood Mac | Then Play On (Reprise) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21811-fleetwood-mac-then-play-on-%2528reprise%2529.html  The platinum-selling Fleetwood Mac of the late ’70s had no relation to the ’60s band of the same name beyond the namesake rhythm section—drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie. The CD reissue (with bonus tracks) of Fleetwood Mac’s 1969 album represents the band

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Bill Withers | The Essential Bill Withers (Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21812-bill-withers-the-essential-bill-withers-%2528legacy%2529.html Disc two of this career compilation shows that around 1975, Bill Withers, one of the most talented voices in ’70s soul, declined. Not that he literally lost his voice—the man could still sing—but the songs he wrote after the mid-’70s were often formulaic. “Quiet storm” ballads alternated with OK

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Bob Dylan | Another Self Portrait - The Bootleg Series Vol. 10 (1969-1971) | Expanded, Deluxe Limited Edition http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21786-bob-dylan-another-self-portrait-the-bootleg-series-vol-10-%25281969-1971%2529-expanded-deluxe-limited-edition.html  Released in three versions, Another Self Portrait is available on vinyl; a two CD edition of just the unreleased demos; and, replete with two hardcover books and two extra discs, the Limited Edition

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Elvis Presley - Elvis at Stax: Deluxe Edition Box (RCA/Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21754-elvis-presley-elvis-at-stax-deluxe-edition-box-%2528rca_legacy%2529.html The Imperial - Low Country Lies http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21755-the-imperial-low-country-lies.html  Bluesy rock of the type The Black Crowes fashioned by following The Allman Brothers’ footsteps could easily be cliché by now. Then there are bands such as Milwaukee’s The Imperial to counter that notion. The linchpin to selling their classic approach may be Andy Kobelinski’s vocals, reminiscent

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Nashaz - Nashaz http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21718-nashaz-nashaz.html Salsa de la Bahia Vol. 1 (Patois Records) - Various Artists http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21719-salsa-de-la-bahia-vol-1-%2528patois-records%2529-various-artists.html  Wild flights of melodic imagination, held steady by irrepressible grooves—these are among the characteristics of salsa, the hot that has filled dance floors for decades. Salsa de la Bahia is a compilation of recordings by San Francisco bands, most of them recent and originally released on indie labels and little heard outside

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Newpoli - Tempo Antico http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21720-newpoli-tempo-antico.html  Folk music revivals can occur in any nation with musical traditions. In a land as old as Italy, the distinction between folk and early music can be moot. Newpoli, founded by homesick Italian students at the Berklee College of Music, explores the passionate vocals, hypnotic rhythms and medieval cadences of Southern Italy

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Andy Kaufman - Andy Kaufman and His Grandmother (Drag City) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21675-andy-kaufman-andy-kaufman-and-his-grandmother-%2528drag-city%2529.html Mostly Other People Do the Killing - Red Hot (Hot Cup) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21676-mostly-other-people-do-the-killing-red-hot-%2528hot-cup%2529.html  Louis Armstrong sitting in with the Art Ensemble of Chicago? Buddy Bolden jamming with McCoy Tyner, with Fletcher Henderson dropping by for a few bars? That’s roughly the idea behind the latest recording by the prolific New York jazz orchestra Mostly Other People Do the Killing. Postmodern juxtaposition runs

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Mike Mangione & The Union - Red-Winged Blackbird Man (Rodzinka Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21652-mike-mangione-the-union-red-winged-blackbird-man-%2528rodzinka-records%2529.html  Mike Mangione & The Union’s Red-Winged Blackbird Man couldn’t come at a much more fortuitous time for the Milwaukee folk rock sextet. The middle ground they find between aggro and mellow tendencies on their fourth album comes in the wake of the pop radio triumphs of acoustically

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Mary Gauthier - Live at Blue Rock (In the Black) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21653-mary-gauthier-live-at-blue-rock-%2528in-the-black%2529.html  The Austin concert setting intensifies musical storyteller Mary Gauthier’s fine-grained witnessing and unaffected recitative. She finds equipoise between tough clarity and generous compassion: “Everybody says you look real good / Ah think you look stoned / Your sister cried / all the way

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Afrobeat Airwaves 2: Return Flight to Ghana 1974-1983 (Analog Africa) - Various Artists http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21654-afrobeat-airwaves-2-return-flight-to-ghana-1974-1983-%2528analog-africa%2529-various-artists.html  African pop music was raw and vibrant long before “Afrobeat” and “world music” became carefully tailored marketing categories. Produced to sell to local and expatriate audiences, the recordings collected here from the continent’s “Islamic funk belt” explode in a convergence of age-old

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Delbert McClinton & Glen Clark - Blind, Crippled and Crazy (New West) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21608-delbert-mcclinton-glen-clark-blind-crippled-and-crazy-%2528new-west%2529.html  At this point the Social Security-collecting sect of top-shelf Americana musicians can largely be broken into two camps: there’s that of John Hiatt, rife with perspective, wisdom and acerbic self-effacement resulting from an obviously long and humbling road. And then there’s Eric Clapton. With a

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Sam Llanas - Four/Five Live-Volume 1 http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21609-sam-llanas-four_five-live-volume-1.html The live solo album by Sam Llanas, front man for The BoDeans, is about as low key an affair as can be. From almost distractingly plain packaging to the lack of mention of the venues where the album was recorded, it’s as if Llanas doesn’t want to draw undue attention. With the possible exception 

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The Cash Box Kings - Black Toppin’ (Blind Pig Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21573-the-cash-box-kings-black-toppin%25E2%2580%2599-%2528blind-pig-records%2529.html  Following up on their critically acclaimed, Holler and Stomp, which was nominated for several Blues Music Awards, The Cash Box Kings recently released Black Toppin’, another album that captures a classic yet contemporary blues

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Sleestak - Book Of Hours http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21574-sleestak-book-of-hours.html  The fifth album in three years by Milwaukee’s self-proclaimed psychedelic doom metal trio, Sleestak, is fairly low key, but not without its share of hellacious audacity. Singing—and yes, it’s singing, not Cookie Monster barking—guitarist

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Big Star - Nothing Can Hurt Me (Omnivore Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21567-big-star-nothing-can-hurt-me-%2528omnivore-records%2529.html  Time was you could buy still-sealed Big Star albums in used record shops in Appleton or resale bookstores in

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Opus Jazz Band - Timeless! http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21539-opus-jazz-band-timeless_.html  Milwaukee’s Opus Jazz Band blessedly belies the notion that “fusion” need be a synonym for “smooth.” The half-dozen tracks on Timeless! may hit the ear in an easy manner, but they’re not to be confused with the aural

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Banda Magda - Amour, t’es là? http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21540-banda-magda-amour-t%25E2%2580%2599es-l%25C3%25A0.html It’s easy to suppose Banda Magda is French and probably from one of Paris’ tonier arrondissements. After all, the vocals by sweet-voiced Magda Giannikou are in French and the lilting music is pleasant mojito composed with a dash

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Various Artists - Classic Banjo (Smithsonian Folkways) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21541-various-artists-classic-banjo-%2528smithsonian-folkways%2529.html  In a sign of how music can cross social divides, the banjo, an instrument of African origin, became integral to the folk music of Southern whites. Classic Banjo collects tracks from the Folkways label by black and white musicians

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Into Arcadia - Escaper http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21497-into-arcadia-escaper.html  On the new CD by Milwaukee’s Into Arcadia, subdued grooves—that nevertheless veer toward the martial—mesh with chordal gauze and sheen as singer-guitarist Otto Ohlsson soul baringly wails in existential despair. They may

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Jake Paul Band - The Providence EP (An@moly Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21498-jake-paul-band-the-providence-ep-%2528anamoly-records%2529.html  How much do you want to bet from the red, yellow and green motif emblazoning the front of The Providence EP’s cover that Milwaukee’s Jake Paul Band have some kind of reggae fixation going on? Consider yourself a winner if

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Bennett & Brubeck - The White House Sessions, Live 1962 (RPM, Columbia, Legacy Recordings) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21499-bennett-brubeck-the-white-house-sessions-live-1962-%2528rpm-columbia-legacy-recordings%2529.html  Jazz concerts on the White House lawn were not considered usual events—at least not until John F. Kennedy lived in the president’s house. One of the great White House concerts of that era was a performance by the Dave Brubeck

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Yeti Rain - Stars Fall Darkly http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21455-yeti-rain-stars-fall-darkly.html  The market for instrumental music—particularly sinister, demented instrumental music—remains narrow. But adventurous listeners

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The Revomatics - Rev It Up! http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21456-the-revomatics-rev-it-up_.html  The Revomatics have mastered the tonalities and rhythms of the late-’50s/early-’60s surf/spy/hot rod instrumental

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Dialeto - The Last Tribe (MoonJune Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21457-dialeto-the-last-tribe-%2528moonjune-records%2529.html  Although the great surf instrumentals of the ’60s were probably not on the minds of Dialeto when they recorded The Last Tribe, there are moments when the beautiful yet stark guitar-powered melodies conjure up those oceanic

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Rectifier - Bourbon & Flowers http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21445-rectifier-bourbon-flowers.html Sometimes a record’s title tells you almost everything you need to know. Bourbon & Flowers, the new EP from Milwaukee’s Rectifier, mixes boozy

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Jason Seed Stringtet - In the Gallery http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21446-jason-seed-stringtet-in-the-gallery.html

Sometime Milwaukee guitarist-composer Jason Seed is at home in many branches of music, including jazz, rock and classical.

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Dano & Sons - Sun Studio Vol. 2: Jails & Graveyards (SlipShod Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21447-dano-sons-sun-studio-vol-2-jails-graveyards-%2528slipshod-records%2529.html  Jails & Graveyards is the second album of original songs recorded by Waukesha’s Dano Peterson and sons Jeff Carlson and Shayne Peterson in a one-night flurry at Memphis’ famed Sun Studio. A few numbers catch the memory

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ZZ Top - The Complete Studio Albums (1970-1990) (Warner Bros.) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21413-zz-top-the-complete-studio-albums-%25281970-1990%2529-%2528warner-bros%2529.html Number 9 Hard - Party Crew (S.B.S.) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21387-number-9-hard-party-crew-%2528sbs%2529.html In the Silence - A Fair Dream Gone Mad (Sensory Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21388-in-the-silence-a-fair-dream-gone-mad-%2528sensory-records%2529.html  Some progressive-metal bands tend to emphasize either the “progressive” or the “metal.” But California’s In the Silence—a quartet that self-released A Fair Dream Gone Mad before leading prog-metal label Sensory Records recently picked it up—delivers both in equal doses. Beautiful, moody melodies swirl around dark sonic

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Anton Batagov and Yungchen Lhamo - Tayatha (Canteloupe Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21389-anton-batagov-and-yungchen-lhamo-tayatha-%2528canteloupe-music%2529.html  Those desiring meditative, reflective music to accompany moments of solitude should seek out this album. Russian pianist/composer Bagatov and Tibetan vocalist Lhamo, both based in New York, were brought together by famed

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Jameela - Soul Medication (CD Baby) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21343-jameela-soul-medication-%2528cd-baby%2529.html  On the best of her Soul Medication debut, Milwaukee diva Jameela weds her warm, emotionally resonant alto to a technologically updated re-imagining of early-’80s R&B. English acts of that era with significant United States black radio crossover, such as Junior Giscombe and Loose

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Michael Treni Big Band - Pop-Culture Blues (Bell Production Company) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21344-michael-treni-big-band-pop-culture-blues-%2528bell-production-company%2529.html  Jazz might have been born without the blues, but it would have grown up differently. Trombonist Michael Treni, considered among the leading composers in contemporary jazz, explores the blues dimension in jazz on his new album. Leading an 18-piece orchestra, Treni’s “One for Duke”

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Femi Kuti - No Place for My Dream (Knitting Factory) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21345-femi-kuti-no-place-for-my-dream-%2528knitting-factory%2529.html  Nigeria’s Fela Kuti became Afrobeat’s controversial star in the ’70s and he willed his legacy to his son. Femi Kuti is determined to make his own way and succeeds in some measure on No Place for My Dream, a tuneful, polyrhythmic

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Skillet - Rise (Atlantic) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21339-skillet-rise-%2528atlantic%2529.html Lord Mouse and the Kalypso Katz - Go Calypsonian! (Piranha) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21340-lord-mouse-and-the-kalypso-katz-go-calypsonian_-%2528piranha%2529.html  The 17-piece Berlin-based band specializes in calypso, yet none of its members are from the Caribbean (a topic addressed on "White Boy

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Buffalo Gospel - We Can Be Horses http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21341-buffalo-gospel-we-can-be-horses.html  Americana is all the rage, but seldom sounds as good as on We Can Be Horses. Milwaukee’s Buffalo Gospel rises above the mandolin-strumming chorus through superb songwriting and the fetching, living room harmonies of Ryan

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Joshua Redman - Walking Shadows (Nonesuch) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21255-joshua-redman-walking-shadows-%2528nonesuch%2529.html Frank Almond - A Violin’s Life (Avie) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21256-frank-almond-a-violin%25E2%2580%2599s-life-%2528avie%2529.html  Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Frank Almond’s new CD, recorded with pianist William Wolfram, is a fascinating collection of music associated with the 1715 “Lipinski” Stradivari he plays. The CD features Almond

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Vintage France (Putayamo World Music) - Various Artists http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21257-vintage-france-%2528putayamo-world-music%2529-various-artists.html  The Putayamo label has earned a reputation as the classy curator of music from elsewhere. Vintage France is a CD for a Bastille Day spent with good wine and friends—a compilation of contemporary and veteran French singers and musicians rendering sterling interpretations of lilting

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Beatallica - Abbey Load (Oglio Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21231-beatallica-abbey-load-%2528oglio-records%2529.html  By now you’d think the novelty of Beatallica—a band that blurs The Beatles’ power pop with Metallica’s grizzled metal—would have worn off. But three albums in, the Milwaukee-rooted group has made its darkest and most

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Mike Fredrickson - MF Shuffle http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21232-mike-fredrickson-mf-shuffle.html  Not many Milwaukee performers have self-released enough great songs over the decades to warrant their own best-of compilation. With so many gems to his credit, Mike Fredrickson has no trouble filling his retrospective CD with 24 tracks. They range from good to superb, and he even omits

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CircleSwitch - Ritual (Buckingham Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21233-circleswitch-ritual-%2528buckingham-records%2529.html  With a smooth, even-handed vocal delivery, Milwaukee’s CircleSwitch offers angst, antipathy, misogyny and misanthropy in a post-grunge, post-thrash, post-glam hard rock setting. Given the right kind of break, Ritual could

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Classic Harmonica Blues (Smithsonian Folkways) - Various Artists http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21234-classic-harmonica-blues-%2528smithsonian-folkways%2529-various-artists.html  The harmonica is the ultimate populist instrument, small enough to fit into a shirt pocket and expressive enough to beat the band. The harmonica became so central to the blues that picking a sampler album is an unenviable task

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Stand Up, People: Gypsy Pop Songs from Tito's Yugoslavia 1964-1980 (Vlax Records) - Various Artists http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21159-stand-up-people-gypsy-pop-songs-from-titos-yugoslavia-1964-1980-%2528vlax-records%2529-various-artists.html  The Yugoslavian Communist regime of Marshal Tito can be faulted for many things, but according to the jacket notes of Stand Up, People, Tito deserves credit for tolerance and support for his country's much-persecuted Gypsies

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Oana Cătălina Chiţu - Divine: Romanian songs from the repertoire of Maria Tănase (1913-1963) (Asphalt Tango) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21160-oana-c%25C4%2583t%25C4%2583lina-chi%25C5%25A3u-divine-romanian-songs-from-the-repertoire-of-maria-t%25C4%2583nase-%25281913-1963%2529-%2528asphalt-tango%2529.html  The Romanian regime of Nicolae Ceausescu had its own ideas about music and apparently didn't care for the passionate Eastern (Gypsy?) sounds of torch singer Maria Tănase, a star before the Communist takeover

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The Flaming Lips - The Terror (Warner Brothers) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21161-the-flaming-lips-the-terror-%2528warner-brothers%2529.html  Past Flaming Lips' releases hinted at a darker, more experimental side to the band, but The Terror takes it to a new level as a soundtrack to a paranoid nightmare in compositions that are long, bleak and depressing. The inspiration

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Shuggie Otis - Inspiration Information/Wings of Love (Epic Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21118-shuggie-otis-inspiration-information_wings-of-love-%2528epic-legacy%2529.html Big Leaf Linden - Like Home (Stolen Gold) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21101-big-leaf-linden-like-home-%2528stolen-gold%2529.html  Big Leaf Linden distinguishes itself on this album with an amalgam of hard, country and folk rock appealing to the retro-minded jam band followers and fans of the current bucolic indie vogue. It's all delivered with guitars traversing the breadth from The James Gang to My Morning Jacket and

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Lest We Forget: Our Night to Remember - Various Artists http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21102-lest-we-forget-our-night-to-remember-various-artists.html  One remarkable thing about last May’s “Lest We Forget” concert at Turner Hall was the breadth of talent assembled under the banner of reuniting Milwaukee’s early-’80s new music scene. The memorial CD from that night opens

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Midnight Oil - Essential Oils (Columbia Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21103-midnight-oil-essential-oils-%2528columbia-legacy%2529.html  Several years before "Beds are Burning," before anyone heard of them outside their Australian homeland, Midnight Oil were releasing smart, sleek punk rock. Some of those early recordings are included in Essential Oils, a two-CD

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The Saltshakers - Change The Channel (Unreal Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21079-the-saltshakers-change-the-channel-%2528unreal-records%2529.html On the Milwaukee power pop band’s second in a series of three-track CD singles, they find engaging ways to kvetch about lack of romance with the objects of their affections. The title tune takes to task a paramour partial to ridiculous

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Maria Schneider & Dawn Upshaw - Winter Morning Walks (ArtistShare) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21080-maria-schneider-dawn-upshaw-winter-morning-walks-%2528artistshare%2529.html  The most beautiful sound in all the world…Maria's. So Leonard Bernstein might've commented on how our finest jazz orchestra composer attains comparable artistry with chamber orchestra. Setting two groups of poems, Schneider

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Khat Thaleth (Stronghold Sound) - Various Artists http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21081-khat-thaleth-%2528stronghold-sound%2529-various-artists.html  Rap has long gone international, and the idea of using the shuffling beats and staccato cadences to communicate political ideas and frustrations took hold in the Middle East. Arab-language rap was a factor in the Arab Spring, and

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Melissa Czarnik - Non Merci (Hyperdrive Motivator Productions) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21042-melissa-czarnik-non-merci-%2528hyperdrive-motivator-productions%2529.html  A Milwaukeean's residency in France is bound to have an effect on that artist's work. So it is with Melissa Czarnik, the rapper who now calls Brooklyn home. Her third album bears the imprint of time abroad between leaving

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Samuel Blaser Quartet - As the Sea (hatOLOGY) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21043-samuel-blaser-quartet-as-the-sea-%2528hatology%2529.html  “Who knows but that, on the lower frequencies, I speak for you?” So ends Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man. Trombonist Samuel Blaser is no longer the invisible man of jazz. This Swiss bandleader is among various low brass players

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Zedashe - Intangible Pearls (Multiflora/Electric Cowbell) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21044-zedashe-intangible-pearls-%2528multiflora_electric-cowbell%2529.html  The Republic of Georgia, tucked into the Caucasus Mountains along the Black Sea, is an ancient land whose musical heritage receded under Soviet rule and is threatened by the global culture of now. Formed after the USSR’s collapse

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Keaton Henson - Birthdays (Anti/Epitaph) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20977-keaton-henson-birthdays-%2528anti_epitaph%2529.html Pensive, warbly, damaged—it’s hard to tell whether sad sack Keaton Henson’s voice is a heartfelt affectation or if he’s simply been listening to too much Jeff Buckley. Minimal electric guitar plucks and a haunted resonating

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CSC Funk Band - Funkincense (Electric Cowbell) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20978-csc-funk-band-funkincense-%2528electric-cowbell%2529.html  This is the second full album from the Brooklyn-based retro jazz-rock act. Aside from the prelude of sound bites discussing Barack Obama's pot-smoking habits preceding "Choom Gang," it's an all-instrumental affair

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Victor DeLorenzo, Lorenzo Menzerschmidt - Victor DeLorenzo, Lorenzo Menzerschmidt http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20967-victor-delorenzo-lorenzo-menzerschmidt-victor-delorenzo-lorenzo-menzerschmidt.html  Given Victor DeLorenzo's busy schedule, little wonder it took nine years to complete his latest solo album. According to him, his eponymous album was originally intended as a percussion extravaganza, and evidence of

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Cream City Gypsys - "and the sun is the moon" http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20968-cream-city-gypsys-and-the-sun-is-the-moon.html  From their snappy look and Romany-inspired name, one might assume Cream City Gypsys to be Milwaukee's latest exponents of the jazz genre Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli popularized so many decades ago. That's not

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José James - No Beginning No End (Blue Note) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20932-jose-james-no-beginning-no-end-%2528blue-note%2529.html  A hand adjustment on a drum kit, a suggestive slow bass-snare groove, a rubbery bottom-strings jive and then the voice—all late-night, hushed and come here, girl—before the sinewy trumpet lines lock it in. So begins the drawers

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McCrary Sisters - All the Way (McCrary Sister Production) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20933-mccrary-sisters-all-the-way-%2528mccrary-sister-production%2529.html  The McCrary Sisters come to gospel music through heredity as well as conviction. As daughters of a founding member of the seminal Fairfield Four, the quartet were reared in the ecstatic singing of the African-American church

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Grace Kelly - Live at Scullers (Pazz Productions) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20934-grace-kelly-live-at-scullers-%2528pazz-productions%2529.html  This album is a great reminder of why I still go to concerts. I recently enjoyed a performance by alto saxophonist Grace Kelly, whose hard bop jazz sensibilities showed impressive maturity. Kelly’s new concert release in no way

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Stephen Stills - Carry On (Rhino) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20892-stephen-stills-carry-on-%2528rhino%2529.html

 Although Stephen Stills sometimes seems overshadowed by his frequent collaborator, Neil Young, the new four-disc career retrospective offers ample reminders that Stills, a gifted and often imaginative songwriter, was integral

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Live from Festival au Desert (Clermont Music) - Various Artists http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20893-live-from-festival-au-desert-%2528clermont-music%2529-various-artists.html  Timbuktu was long a symbol of all things distant and exotic; in recent years the ancient city was the site for an annual international musical event, the Festival in the Desert, and the focal point for an indigenous genre that

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Mop Mop - Isle of Magic (Agogo Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20849-mop-mop-isle-of-magic-%2528agogo-records%2529.html  Congas, shakers, marimbas, udu drums, something called a karkabou, something else called a bendir—all populate the world music, Afrobeat and spacey postmodern grooves of Mop Mop. But any disc that even moderately features

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Karl Paloucek - K. (Trait Media Works) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20850-karl-paloucek-k-%2528trait-media-works%2529.html Joe 2.0 - Better Living through Strings (Darth Kreisler) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20851-joe-20-better-living-through-strings-%2528darth-kreisler%2529.html   The idea of chamber rock began in the 1960s with The Beatles leading the way. Seldom has the concept been realized as well in recent years as on Joe 2.0’s CD. The Milwaukee sextet, led by violinist Joe Ketchum and fronted

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Kiwi - On the Move (Self Release) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20852-kiwi-on-the-move-%2528self-release%2529.html This is the second full-length CD by the eight-piece Jersey-based roots reggae band. The title is a bit misleading; high-energy music it is not. A funky rhythm section, punctuated by B3 organ fills and a three-piece horn section

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Blue Sky Hour - On the Coast of Lake Michigan http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20812-blue-sky-hour-on-the-coast-of-lake-michigan.html

 The packaging of the sophomore release by Milwaukee acoustic rock trio Blue Sky Hour infers purposeful fun with maps of Wisconsin on the sleeve and lyrics in a miniature newspaper format. JoAnn Riedl (also from The Barrettes)

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Soft Machine Legacy - Burden of Proof (MoonJune Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20813-soft-machine-legacy-burden-of-proof-%2528moonjune-records%2529.html

 Soft Machine Legacy reads like a dubious proposition: a band with neither original members nor anyone from even the second or third lineups. But they sound great on Burden on Proof, carrying on the trajectory of the psychedelic

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Mahala Rai Banda - Balkan Reggae (Asphalt Tango) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20814-mahala-rai-banda-balkan-reggae-%2528asphalt-tango%2529.html

 Eastern Europe meets Jamaica in this surprisingly credible collaboration between the Romanian Gypsies of Mahala Rai Banda and such reggae remix producers as Mad Professor and Jstar. The convergence sounds more organic

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The Dominoes - The Dominoes (Splunge Communications) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20779-the-dominoes-the-dominoes-%2528splunge-communications%2529.html

 While he may not go out of his way to make the claim, Clancy Carroll has been a key player in the local alternative scene since its beginnings. In a sense, this CD documents Carroll’s personal history. Guitarists Carroll and Gerard

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3onfire - Neo-Smorgasbord (Splunge Communications) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20780-3onfire-neo-smorgasbord-%2528splunge-communications%2529.html

 In hindsight the musical landscape of the late ’80s offered a landfill of new music. Radio, television, magazines and movies smelled money. But with some digging you can always find gems. Witness 3onfire, formed in 1987 by Clancy

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Harold - For the Love of a Woman (CD Baby) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20733-harold-for-the-love-of-a-woman-%2528cd-baby%2529.html  With a single released 30 years ago, Harold became one of the few Milwaukee acts to crack Billboard’s R&B chart. For the Love of a Woman finds him in good form all these years later. His tenor recalls Al Jarreau, singing

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Como Mamas - Get An Understanding (Daptone) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20734-como-mamas-get-an-understanding-%2528daptone%2529.html  Contemporary gospel music is often nothing more than bad pop—or at best mediocre R&B—with lyrics about Jesus. By contrast, the Como Mamas are the real deal, three Mississippi women raising the rafters in songs that expose

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Mark Lansing - Solstice (RockIt Records & Recording) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20735-mark-lansing-solstice-%2528rockit-records-recording%2529.html  Mark Lansing’s Hendrix-style guitar pyrotechnics took him from Milwaukee to session work in California, although he maintains a consistent presence on the Wisconsin circuit. Solstice heralds his solo debut. And it's solo all the

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Jimi Hendrix - People, Hell and Angels (Experience Hendrix/Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20702-jimi-hendrix-people-hell-and-angels-%2528experience-hendrix_legacy%2529.html

 Intended as an authorized companion piece to 2010’s Valleys of Neptune, which unearthed the final studio recordings of the original Jimi Hendrix Experience, People, Hell and Angels explores previously unreleased and often

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Classic Celtic Music (Smithsonian Folkways) - Various Artists http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20703-classic-celtic-music-%2528smithsonian-folkways%2529-various-artists.html

 In time for St. Patrick's Day comes this well chosen compilation, culled from the rich mine of Irish music staked out over the decades by the Folkways label. Most of the recordings were made in the 1950s and '60s (with a few of more

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Black Motor - Rubidium (TUM Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20704-black-motor-rubidium-%2528tum-records%2529.html

 Finland is home to a flourishing circle of improv jazz musicians. The latest CD from that floating cadre opens in fractured waltz time; one could imagine a couple, weary from sleeplessness and liqueur, dancing clumsily around the tiny floor of a broken-down café. Likewise, the smudges of

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Fela Kuti - The Best of the Black President 2 (Knitting Factory Works) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20662-fela-kuti-the-best-of-the-black-president-2-%2528knitting-factory-works%2529.html

 Bandleader Fela Kuti was a political activist in Nigeria, and his views were popular throughout Africa, but he would have found few hearers without his music. The two-disc Black President collection culls from some of his best

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All Good Things - Robotik Folk http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20663-all-good-things-robotik-folk.html

 Electronic manipulation of acoustic folk music isn't entirely new, considering Death in June's apocalyptic controversies and Beth Orton's trip-hop fusions. Milwaukee/Madison’s John Petty distinguishes his one-man band

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Phil Lee - The Fall and Further Decline of the Mighty King of Love (Palookaville Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20664-phil-lee-the-fall-and-further-decline-of-the-mighty-king-of-love-%2528palookaville-records%2529.html

 Whether or not the legends surrounding Phil Lee as a Cain-raising outlaw are true, his songwriting is infused with genuine grit and he sings his compositions with authenticity. His thoughts on broken love and living out of a suitcase

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Plena Libre - Corazon (Gn Musica) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20665-plena-libre-corazon-%2528gn-musica%2529.html

 As prominent ambassadors of Puerto Rican culture, the band Plena Libre has played everywhere from the Lincoln Center to Morocco. Corazon continues along their familiar groove with music generically categorized as salsa but

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Gary Tanin - Love Changes (Daystorm) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20634-gary-tanin-love-changes-%2528daystorm%2529.html

 Love Changes was 40 years in the making, in a manner of speaking. In 1972 Gary Tanin, a young Milwaukee songwriter, released an LP of hopeful melancholy called Love Changes All. It was naked, just voice and piano, but

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Bongos Ikwue and Double X - Wulu Wulu (Bik Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20635-bongos-ikwue-and-double-x-wulu-wulu-%2528bik-records%2529.html

 With nearly all the news filtering out of North Africa these days concerned with the anti-groove, zero-fun Islamic extremists holding Mali’s rich tradition hostage, a new release of sunny Afrobeat and the very first outside-of-Nigeria

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Rage Against the Machine - XX: 20th Anniversary Deluxe Box Set (Epic/Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20579-rage-against-the-machine-xx-20th-anniversary-deluxe-box-set-%2528epic_legacy%2529.html

 Rage Against the Machine, in a defiant move that lived up to its awesome name, released its brain-rattling, politically charged eponymous debut in 1992—not long after Nirvana draped American rock in flannel and left the idea of a socially conscious punk-rock/heavy-metal/hip-hop hybrid

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Lula Lounge: Essential Tracks (Lula Lounge Records) - Various Artists http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20580-lula-lounge-essential-tracks-%2528lula-lounge-records%2529-various-artists.html

 Multiculturalism thrives in Canada, especially in its biggest city, Toronto. Witness Lula Lounge, probably the hottest Cuban club outside Havana, New York or Miami, located in a historically Portuguese district of Toronto. Essential Tracks collects music from 14 bands that have called the club home

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The Prosecutors - The Prosecutors (Splunge Communications) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20549-the-prosecutors-the-prosecutors-%2528splunge-communications%2529.html

 Before moving to Atlanta, Kevn Kinney fronted the Prosecutors with bassist Doug Lavalliere and the help of various drummers, including local legend James “Tess” Tessier. This CD collects the band’s lone three-song 45, a demo and a loose, after-hours take on “Are You Lonesome Tonight.” The real crackerjack

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Lil’ Rev - Fountain of Uke: 10th Anniversary Edition (Fountain of Uke Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20550-lil%25E2%2580%2599-rev-fountain-of-uke-10th-anniversary-edition-%2528fountain-of-uke-records%2529.html

 Since the 1990s Lil’ Rev has been a mainstay of Milwaukee’s folkie Americana scene and in the ’00s, he became a leading figure in the nationwide ukulele subculture. 10th Anniversary collects tracks from a pair of old albums, Uke Town and The Fountain of Uke, and adds nine newly recorded

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Boy Blue - Words On Trial http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20551-boy-blue-words-on-trial.html

 The second non-remix EP by Milwaukee's Boy Blue continues in the ’80s-inspired, post-punk, dance-oriented rocking of the band’s first album. It's as if late Joy Division/early New Order rebooted with a jolt of happiness. Retro? Very. The EP also has an air of accomplishment, h

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Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale - Buddy and Jim (New West Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20546-buddy-miller-and-jim-lauderdale-buddy-and-jim-%2528new-west-records%2529.html

 In the crowded, mystical jungle of Nashville studio musicians, Buddy Miller may currently have rightful claim to the title of king. His guitar and various string work, production expertise and writing have all featured prominently in the work of Robert Plant, Levon Helm, Willie Nelson and Elvis Costello.

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LovaNova - Cabinova http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20547-lovanova-cabinova.html

 Retreating to the forests of northern Wisconsin to record an album doesn't necessarily make for an exercise in sorrowful Bon Iver folkiness. So prove Milwaukee's organ-heavy musical cross-genre pollinators LovaNova. The move to a woodsier environment to track Cabinova results in a heavier

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Angel d’Cuba - Heritage http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20548-angel-d%25E2%2580%2599cuba-heritage.html

 Vocalist-percussionist Angel d’Cuba is, as his name suggests, a native Cuban. But even before defecting to the U.S. and settling in Chicago, he began absorbing myriad influences from beyond his island home. On Heritage, his confident handling of salsa shows d’Cuba’s command of that

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K.C. Williams - The Best of KC Williams (KEW Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20499-kc-williams-the-best-of-kc-williams-%2528kew-records%2529.html

If Milwaukee country singer K.C. Williams didn't make issues of his ethnicity and geography, it's doubtful many other people would, either. But after several years and a few albums, this African-American chose to include songs 

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Taj Mahal - The Complete Columbia Albums Collection (Columbia Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20500-taj-mahal-the-complete-columbia-albums-collection-%2528columbia-legacy%2529.html

 Taj Mahal’s self-titled debut solo album (1967) was a rough-sawn blues-rock affair. Afterward, he moved back in time for Delta blues and antique folk songs, sideways into calypso and reggae and forward toward easy-going soul and

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Ken Hatfield Sextet - For Langston http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20501-ken-hatfield-sextet-for-langston.html

 Considered the poet laureate of the Harlem Renaissance, Langston Hughes drew on jazz and blues for rhyme, rhythm and words. His poetry is easily adapted for music and jazz guitarist Ken Hatfield heard the grooves

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douBt - Mercy, Pity, Peace & Love (MoonJune Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20463-doubt-mercy-pity-peace-love-%2528moonjune-records%2529.html  The second album from the progressive rock and jazz group douBt begins with “There Is A War Going On,” a spoken-word rant against the infamous One Percent. It’s a startlingly political—and distinctly American—opening

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The Plainsmen - Genevieve http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20464-the-plainsmen-genevieve.html  If The Plainsmen have the kind of name you'd expect to hear announced on “Simply Folk,” it's not the only place the Milwaukee septet ought to have a presence. Theirs is the kind of acoustic/electric Americana rock amalgam that

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The Pogues - The Very Best of The Pogues (Shout! Factory) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20465-the-pogues-the-very-best-of-the-pogues-%2528shout_-factory%2529.html

 Coupling the rough-hewn spirit of an Irish session with the rough and tumble energy of punk rock seems almost obvious now. When The Pogues first tried it in the early ’80s, it was a revelation. The Irish-British band’s signature

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Motorhead - The World is Ours Vol. 2: Anyplace Crazy as Anywhere Else (EMI) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20427-motorhead-the-world-is-ours-vol-2-anyplace-crazy-as-anywhere-else-%2528emi%2529.html

 Nobody rocks like Motorhead and many have tried. On the DVD/Blu-ray half of this four-disc concert album, Herr Motorhead, a.k.a. Lemmy, is still lean, all in black and a man not to be trifled with. Encompassing recent tunes along with old favorites such as “Overkill” and “Ace of Spades,” the

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Embedded Reporter - Local News from Around the Globe http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20428-embedded-reporter-local-news-from-around-the-globe.html

 Milwaukee folkie Howard Lewis, aka Embedded Reporter, was probably inspired by Phil Ochs (but with a subtler touch), as well as musical funnyman Stan Freberg. Local News has many charms, among them a vocal tone

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The Saltshakers - Halley (Unreal Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20372-the-saltshakers-halley-%2528unreal-records%2529.html

 Milwaukee’s Saltshakers celebrate their tenth anniversary in ’90s retro-style with a three-track CD EP. The band has compared itself to Oasis, but may remind listeners of The Undertones, the under-appreciated Irish punks diverse

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Ghetto Brothers - Power Fuerza (Truth & Soul Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20373-ghetto-brothers-power-fuerza-%2528truth-soul-records%2529.html

 Although the Ghetto Brothers released only one LP before vanishing, they left at least a small legacy. Power Fuerza (1971) became a rarity prized by collectors. The Brothers’ back story as a Puerto Rican gang that brokered a truce

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JuJu - In Trance (Real World) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20374-juju-in-trance-%2528real-world%2529.html

 In Trance opens with “Nightwalk,” a roof-shaking roar of heavy blues-rock with Whirling Dervish fiddle, kind of like Cream on tour in Africa, jamming with the locals. JuJu is a superb confluence of British alt rockers and

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Stuffy Shmitt - Industrial Love (Realistic Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20375-stuffy-shmitt-industrial-love-%2528realistic-records%2529.html

 Stuffy Shmitt emerged from Milwaukee in the 1970s before moving to New York. His latest CD is a collection of brilliant, lyrical songs reminiscent, at times, of early Bruce Springsteen, Elliot Murphy and Willy DeVille.

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Bessie Smith - The Complete Columbia Recordings http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20358-bessie-smith-the-complete-columbia-recordings.html

 Bessie Smith didn’t make the first blues recordings, but she may have been the first authentic blues singer to record. The Complete Columbia Recordings, a 10-CD set, is the definitive documentary of the artist who awakened the

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Louis Armstrong - The Complete OKeh Columbia & RCA Victor Recordings 1925-1933 http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20359-louis-armstrong-the-complete-okeh-columbia-rca-victor-recordings-1925-1933.html

Louis Armstrong was a prominent figure in American culture through his death in 1971, but many have argued that he was never as sharp as on the recordings he made in the late 1920s with the Hot Five and the Hot Seven

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Charlie Christian - The Genius of the Electric Guitar (Columbia/Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20360-charlie-christian-the-genius-of-the-electric-guitar-%2528columbia_legacy%2529.html

 Before electrical amplification, the guitar was easily drowned out in orchestras or noisy nightclubs. Once players were able to plug in, guitars overtook pianos and saxophones as the lead instrument in popular music. Charlie

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Haiku Funeral - Nightmare Painting (Aesthetic Death) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20361-haiku-funeral-nightmare-painting-%2528aesthetic-death%2529.html

 If the world is going to end on Dec. 21, Nightmare Painting—the third full-length album from former Racine bassist William Kopecky and Bulgarian dark master Dimitar Dimitrov—would be the perfect soundtrack. Dwelling in the deep

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The .357 String Band - Fire & Hail http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20319-the-357-string-band-fire-hail.html

 The term "punk bluegrass," coined for the Bad Livers and The Meat Purveyors, applies to Milwaukee's now-defunct .357 String Band. Their ferocious recasting of bluegrass lives not only in banjoist/singer Joe Huber's current

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Terry Murphy - Taverns N' Taps http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20320-terry-murphy-taverns-n-taps.html

 If no one else has attempted what folkie Terry Murphy does on his third album, it's a wonder that the idea wasn't on anybody else's mind: a song cycle about Wisconsin watering holes. Murphy's dozen tunes about goings-on

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Japonize Elephants - Melodie Fantastique http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20321-japonize-elephants-melodie-fantastique.html

 The proudly eclectic Japonize Elephants mix and match bluegrass and klezmer, the Balkans and Appalachia. Then they move on to explore the space where Gypsy and Arab melodies converge within the context of an eccentric

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Everyday Kings - Better Than Genuine (Cainable) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20274-everyday-kings-better-than-genuine-%2528cainable%2529.html Though Milwaukee's Everyday Kings start their second album, Better Than Genuine, with a bit of Red Hot Chili Peppers-styled metallic punk funk, it takes manifold directions by the time its concluding tenth song comes to an end. Some Kings of Leon's...]]> Various Artists - Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965-1968 (Rhino) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20275-various-artists-nuggets-original-artyfacts-from-the-first-psychedelic-era-1965-1968-%2528rhino%2529.html Nuggets scarcely sold any copies upon release in 1972, but within a few years, the LP became a touchstone for punk rock bands in search of roots and also inspired similarly formatted reissues of obscure rock tracks. Critic and future Patti Smith guitarist, Lenny...]]> Various Artists - We Walk the Line: A Celebration of the Music of Johnny Cash (Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20276-various-artists-we-walk-the-line-a-celebration-of-the-music-of-johnny-cash-%2528legacy%2529.html

This CD/DVD set and Blu-ray disc live concert is a moving testament to the great American life of Johnny Cash. Cash embodied integrity, suffering, perseverance, redemption, hard-won truth and generosity of spirit, especially for the downtrodden... 

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Dave Fields - Detonation (Fields of Roses Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20254-dave-fields-detonation-%2528fields-of-roses-records%2529.html

 Dave Fields’ bluesy guitar channels Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jeff Beck and Jimi Hendrix. But when he opens his mouth to sing in a clear, youthful voice, the internationally acclaimed New Yorker sounds like pure rock ’n’ roll

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Jupiter in Velvet - Screaming the Love behind the Scars http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20255-jupiter-in-velvet-screaming-the-love-behind-the-scars.html

 2morrow Ever After were among the best self-promoters on Milwaukee's rock scene a couple years ago. They're gone, but rising like a glammed-out phoenix from their glittery dust, lead man Stacy Maloney has emerged as

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Egyptian Project - Ya Amar (Six Degrees) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20256-egyptian-project-ya-amar-%2528six-degrees%2529.html

 The Project part of the name refers to French producer Jerome Ettinger, playing Svengali with seasoned Egyptian musicians who have enjoyed little exposure outside their homeland. Ettinger’s musical contribution is to provide the sort of deep base electronic

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Gov’t Mule - The Georgia Bootleg Box (Evil Teen Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20223-gov%25E2%2580%2599t-mule-the-georgia-bootleg-box-%2528evil-teen-records%2529.html

 Hulking, aggressive, overlong and practically dripping with sun-baked, redneck testosterone, this six-disc, seven-hour package acts as an apt metaphor for the band itself. And what with this Allman Brothers-spinoff

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Bomba Estereo - Elegancia Tropical (Polen Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20224-bomba-estereo-elegancia-tropical-%2528polen-records%2529.html

 Echoes of old Colombian rhythms can be heard within Bomba Estereo’s glow-stick electronica and synthetic beats. Elegancia’s tempos run from cool to fiery in colorfully textured dance club mixes. The Bogota-based group has

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Revolush - Stagefright http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20151-revolush-stagefright.html Fourth time's a charm for Milwaukee's Revolush. Stagefright mines the rarefied terrain where classic rock meets power pop without sounding overly concerned about paying homage to The Beatles. The group sounds closer]]> Scott Wooldridge - "Hard to Go Quietly" http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20152-scott-wooldridge-hard-to-go-quietly.html

 Minnesota-based Milwaukee expatriate Scott Wooldridge prepares for a solo album with this single, a peaceable piece of folk rock protest against fractious political invective. Facebook discussion threads and partisan divides inform

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Kristjan Jarvi - Carmina Burana (Sony Classical) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20153-kristjan-jarvi-carmina-burana-%2528sony-classical%2529.html

 Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana (1937) has become one of the most familiar classical compositions from the modern era. The workout it provides for choral groups may be one reason for its popularity on concert stages, but another

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Neil Young and Crazy Horse - Psychedelic Pill (Reprise) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20140-neil-young-and-crazy-horse-psychedelic-pill-%2528reprise%2529.html

 There is pensive wandering into the past on this massive collection of songs, moving smoothly through two discs in the CD version. Neil Young’s artistry is at its height. “Twisted Road” contains revelatory lines that capture

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Kathy Mattea - Calling Me Home (Sugar Hill) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20141-kathy-mattea-calling-me-home-%2528sugar-hill%2529.html

 “Coal kills.” Or can it be “clean”? On Calling Me Home, Kathy Mattea, daughter of a miner family, sifts through the black stuff’s tragic human and environmental remains with more symbol-laden artistry than on her brilliant but

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Brad Mehldau Trio - Brad Mehldau Trio http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20104-brad-mehldau-trio-brad-mehldau-trio.html

 Continuing the trend of high-minded jazzers toying with pop cover tunes (see The Bad Plus and Soulive), Brad Mehldau goes the way of Sufjan Stevens, Elvis Costello, Nick Drake and even Jimi Hendrix for his latest batch

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Mali Blues - Mali Blues http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20105-mali-blues-mali-blues.html

 The far reaches of the Sahara have nurtured some fantastic music in recent years. Often suggesting a convergence of John Lee Hooker and West Africa, those sounds have been lovingly transplanted to Wisconsin by the Madison...

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Isra-Alien - Somewhere is Here! http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20106-isra-alien-somewhere-is-here_.html

 Israel has been a destination for Jews from many lands and the nation’s multiculturalism is explored by the acoustic guitar duo Isra-Alien. Oren Neiman’s roots are in jazz and Gilad Ben Zvi are in rock, but their music, while echoing

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Magic Slim & The Teardrops - Bad Boy (Blind Pig) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20041-magic-slim-the-teardrops-bad-boy-%2528blind-pig%2529.html Only a small number of blues musicians are still alive among those who were raised in Mississippi and moved to Chicago in the 1950s to contribute to the modern, electric blues sound and influence other forms of American ...]]> Jim Hoehn - Silhouette of a Fool http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20042-jim-hoehn-silhouette-of-a-fool.html

  Jim Hoehn is Milwaukee's prime purveyor of trop rock, the Caribbean-inflected sound that originated in Jimmy Buffett's breezily wry worldview and continues to hold intermittent influence on commercial country radio...

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Chazz Dixon - Emotional Therapy (Time Boy Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19996-chazz-dixon-emotional-therapy-%2528time-boy-music%2529.html The latest album by Milwaukee R&B man Chazz Dixon is both generous and frustrating. Production by DJ Payday takes the synthetic minimalism of today's urban pop to almost skeletal extremes; the difficulty comes in...]]> The Midwestern Charm - The Midwestern Charm http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19997-the-midwestern-charm-the-midwestern-charm.html

  If many of Wisconsin's alt country/Americana practitioners skew toward honky-tonk good times and general hilarity, Green Bay's Midwestern Charm brings grim equilibrium on the band’s self-titled debut. Loneliness, regret, angs...

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Robert Soko - BalkanBeats Soundlab (Piranha) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19998-robert-soko-balkanbeats-soundlab-%2528piranha%2529.html

 Bosnia was long a collision point of cultures, and Berlin is a continental crossroads. Bosnian mix-master Robert Soko lives in the German capital, where he fills the clubs with a wonderful montage of pan-European dance music...

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Old Crow Medicine Show - Carry Me Back (ATO/MapleMusic Recordings) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19969-old-crow-medicine-show-carry-me-back-%2528ato_maplemusic-recordings%2529.html Other than the archaic notions of paying for music or actually listening to full albums, today's music-digging vanguard is obsessive about all things old. Whether it's the retro soul of Sharon Jones, the vintage grease...]]> Mahogany Frog - Senna (MoonJune Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19970-mahogany-frog-senna-%2528moonjune-records%2529.html

 When a band calls itself Mahogany Frog, you expect an element of eclectic playfulness to its music. And these Canadians deliver, with a challenging yet fun genre-bending instrumental tour de force. Drawing inspiration...

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The BigWheel Band - American Made http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19946-the-bigwheel-band-american-made.html At moments, the debut by Milwaukee’s The BigWheel Band superficially evokes such terrors as Blue Cheer, Primus and Cream. And if they filter their influences through the lesser, post-grunge lens of Pop Evil or Creed...]]> Easy Star All-Stars http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19947-easy-star-all-stars.html

 Originally formed as a backing band for the Easy Star label's reggae artists, the All-Stars are best known for Dub Side of the Moon, a reggae version of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, which has been on the reggae...

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Manual Controller http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19948-manual-controller.html

 On the debut of Milwaukeean Paul Schwarzkopf's one-man band, Manual Controller, vintage electronic instruments fashion a retro-futuristic sound. Within Schwarzkopf’s peppy dystopia, he conjures a keyboard-driven...

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Taj Mahal - The Hidden Treasures of Taj Mahal 1969-1973 (Columbia/Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19890-taj-mahal-the-hidden-treasures-of-taj-mahal-1969-1973-%2528columbia_legacy%2529.html

 Harlem-folkie-wonder-cum-Chicago-blues-badass Taj Mahal gets the legend treatment as Columbia honors the singer/songwriter/storyteller’s back pages with a hidden treasures/stuff-we-haven’t-made-money...

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Wahid - Road Poem http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19891-wahid-road-poem.html

 Wahid is a pair of in-demand Los Angeles musicians who have worked with everyone from Ludacris to Leonard Cohen. On Road Poem, they explore the quiet back roads of the Near East in original compositions that pull...

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Leif Ove Andsnes - The Beethoven Journey (Sony Classical) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19876-leif-ove-andsnes-the-beethoven-journey-%2528sony-classical%2529.html

 Cynics will ask why the world needs another recording of Beethoven’s Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 3, and there is no better answer than this: they continue to provide a platform for great performances of music that should...

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Bob Dylan - Tempest (Columbia) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19853-bob-dylan-tempest-%2528columbia%2529.html

 The title track of Bob Dylan’s remarkable, 35th studio album delves into the sinking of the Titanic with the innovatively poetic songwriting style developed by Dylan in the ’60s and brought into the 21st...

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Shemekia Copeland - 33 1/3 (Telarc) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19854-shemekia-copeland-33-1_3-%2528telarc%2529.html

 A significant changing of the guard occurred at last year’s Chicago Blues Festival when Koko Taylor’s daughter, Cookie, crowned Shemekia Copeland the new “Queen of the Blues.” It’s an honor richly deserved, as Copeland...

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Mike Fredrickson - Make It Stop http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19811-mike-fredrickson-make-it-stop.html No one does lovelorn like Mike Fredrickson. And if the Milwaukee songwriter, guitarist and singer hasn’t just lost his girlfriend on Make It Stop, he’s surveying the impossibility of finding true love...]]> Meklit & Quinn - Meklit & Quinn (Porto Franco Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19812-meklit-quinn-meklit-quinn-%2528porto-franco-records%2529.html On their self-titled debut album, singer-songwriter Meklit Hadero and vocalist-instrumentalist Quinn DeVeaux partner on an accomplished collection of originals and covers. The music melts through genre boundaries...]]> Various Artists - Orient Noir (Piranha) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19813-various-artists-orient-noir-%2528piranha%2529.html Heard on Orient Noir are cultural currents that have spilled over the boundaries of language and the artificial borders of nations in the Near East. A compilation of tracks from Marseille’s Arab diaspora and Serbia, from the...]]> Art Garfunkel - The Singer (Columbia Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19788-art-garfunkel-the-singer-%2528columbia-legacy%2529.html Simon & Garfunkel sang some of the '60s most beautiful songs and when they split, many assumed that Art Garfunkel, if only because of his nascent acting career, would go farthest. It didn't play out that way, but if Garfunkel never entirely...]]> Giant Giant Sand - Tucson (Fire Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19756-giant-giant-sand-tucson-%2528fire-records%2529.html Anyone who has even casually followed Giant Sand leader Howe Gelb's career has been rewarded handsomely. Orbiting around the foundation of desert-rock have been projects veering from collaborations with a gospel group in Canada and a flamenco...]]> Old American Junk - Home http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19757-old-american-junk-home.html Madison's Old American Junk creates folksy Americana/alt country with melodic hooks and introspective lyrical depth. Vocalist Shane Hardwicke sounds like a lost Midwest cousin of Feargal Sharkey from the superlative '70s Irish pop punk band...]]> Ben Folds Five - The Sound of the Life of the Mind http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19762-ben-folds-five-the-sound-of-the-life-of-the-mind.html Though it marks a homecoming of sorts, Ben Folds' reunion with his Ben Folds Five is hardly a course reversal. In the 13 years since the trio disbanded shortly after 1999's The Unauthorized Biography ]]> Ryan Truesdell /Gil Evans Centennial Project - Centennial: Newly Discovered Works of Gil Evans (ArtistShare) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19691-ryan-truesdell-_gil-evans-centennial-project-centennial-newly-discovered-works-of-gil-evans-%2528artistshare%2529.html The late Gil Evans was the godfather of modern jazz arrangements, the bridge from Debussy and Ellington to Maria Schneider and Darcy James Argue. His brooding tapestries engulfed the...]]> Certain Stars - The Great Destroyer (Cuba Libre) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19692-certain-stars-the-great-destroyer-%2528cuba-libre%2529.html With the group's third CD, Certain Stars begs the question: Just what is "indie" rock? The Milwaukee/Chicago quartet (which takes its name from a Superchunk song) offers a profusion of...]]> Exit Project - LiveSplashes http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19693-exit-project-livesplashes.html The music on LiveSplashes begins with the mysterious tinkle of a vibraphone and dives into liquid grooves composed from Third World and jazz influences. The members of Moscow's Exit...]]> Something to Do - Music for Fine Dining http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19615-something-to-do-music-for-fine-dining.html Milwaukee ska daddies Something to Do continue to make the music they love long after the '90s mania for the genre has subsided. Perhaps irony and the act of getting over romantic messes work to keep things fresh for them...]]> Charles Mingus - The Complete Columbia & RCA Albums Collection (Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19616-charles-mingus-the-complete-columbia-rca-albums-collection-%2528legacy%2529.html Charles Mingus was one of Duke Ellington's greatest heirs in exploring the symphonic potential of jazz without losing touch with its funky roots. This newly issued 10-CD set is comprised of...]]> Ocie Jackson - My Heart, My Song (Behind the Cross Music Group) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19617-ocie-jackson-my-heart-my-song-%2528behind-the-cross-music-group%2529.html Milwaukee singer Ocie Jackson's first release caters to soul-gospel sensibilities. Jackson adds her sweet, emotionally effusive soprano to songs of praise and testimony, most of which would sound as at home in smooth jazz and adult R&B contexts...]]> Steve Einerson - Arrival (Cellar Live) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19564-steve-einerson-arrival-%2528cellar-live%2529.html This New York-based Milwaukee native has deeply investigated Miles Davis' incendiary Live at the Plugged Nickel. The pianist's music isn't that daring or abstract, but his solos surge to an outer edge while retaining an innate sense of theme and melody...]]> Elikeh - Between 2 Worlds (Azalea City Recordings) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19565-elikeh-between-2-worlds-%2528azalea-city-recordings%2529.html Washington, D.C., has long had a funky live music scene, and Afropop has its place in the mix. Togolese expatriate Massama Dogo leads D.C.'s Elikeh with help from Malian guitarist Vieux Farka Toure and Dark Star Orchestra guitarist John Kadlecik...]]> Etta James - Live at Montreux 1975-1993 (Eagle Rock) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19566-etta-james-live-at-montreux-1975-1993-%2528eagle-rock%2529.html Her blistering voice was in good form for her performances at the annual Montreux Jazz Festival, sampled on a newly released live album. By the '70s, blues great Etta James was fronting a blues-rock band with a touch of soul organ and brass...]]> Bob Parduhn - Sunshine Blues http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19495-bob-parduhn-sunshine-blues.html On Sunshine Blues, multi-instrumentalist and Wisconsin native Bob Parduhn explores various genres, including swing jazz (“Tailspin”), classic reggae (“Babylon Falling”) and R&B (“Chase Away the Blues”). This is Parduhn's fifth solo album...]]> Outliers - Neon Leon http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19496-outliers-neon-leon.html There's a point where rock subgenres such as indie, garage and punk coalesce into something musicians can call their own. New Berlin quartet Outliers takes from all of the above on the band's second album, Neon Leon, and delivers music...]]> Los Texmaniacs - Texas Towns & Tex-Mex Sounds (Smithsonian Folkways) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19497-los-texmaniacs-texas-towns-tex-mex-sounds-%2528smithsonian-folkways%2529.html An enduring cross-cultural exchange occurred in 19th-century Texas when Mexicans heard the accordion-powered polka of Central European immigrants and made the music their own. On their latest CD, the Grammy-winning Tex-Mex...]]> The Flower Kings - Banks of Eden (Inside Out Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19431-the-flower-kings-banks-of-eden-%2528inside-out-music%2529.html After a five-year hiatus during which members of The Flower Kings pursued outside projects, the Swedish proggers return with the long-awaited Banks of Eden. A beautiful-sounding album with all of the band's signatures—symphonic flourishes, a dash of...]]> Sam Kulik - Escape from Society (Hot Cup Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19432-sam-kulik-escape-from-society-%2528hot-cup-records%2529.html Escape from Society is a fascinating rock album from a most unusual source—craigslist. Singer and multi-instrumentalist Sam Kulik placed ads around the country seeking lyrics or poems he could set to music and record. The resulting album puts forth...]]> Andra Kouyate & Seke Chi - Saro (Studio Mali) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19433-andra-kouyate-seke-chi-saro-%2528studio-mali%2529.html The bluesy syncopations of West Africa meet the Arabesque melodic twists of North Africa on Saro, an album by Mali's Andra Kouyate and friends. Aside from the traditions of their crossroads land, one hears a hint of rock chord changes and maybe...]]> Todd Richards - Clouds in Blue Jeans http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19362-todd-richards-clouds-in-blue-jeans.html Even when he concocts a musical frenzy, Todd Richards usually sounds serene—hushed, almost. The Bay View resident's vocal dynamic plays against an oddball potpourri of musical influences. Synthetic and organic instrumentation complements...]]> The Finn MacCools - Rogue Nation http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19363-the-finn-maccools-rogue-nation.html Celtic rock has usually followed two paths. Bands either infuse the islands' folkloric influence into the expansive art-mindedness of prog (Horslips, Tempest) or use fiddle and bodhran to add righteous ethnic rootsiness to punk (The Pogues, Dropkick Murphys)...]]> Arabic Beat (Putumayo World Music) - Various Artists http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19364-arabic-beat-%2528putumayo-world-music%2529-various-artists.html Putumayo is known as the label with the tastefully chosen compilations of music from particular regions, cultures and genres. They maintain their reputation with Arabic Beat, a lively cross-section of tracks from several Arab nations as well as immigrant...]]> Sonny Landreth - Elemental Journey (Landfall) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19303-sonny-landreth-elemental-journey-%2528landfall%2529.html In what may be best described as progressive swamp blues, Louisiana six-string maestro Sonny Landreth eschews his well-practiced brand of down-home boogie, muscled-up roadhouse rock...]]> Reptile Palace Orchestra - Songs and Dances of Madisonia (Omnium) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19304-reptile-palace-orchestra-songs-and-dances-of-madisonia-%2528omnium%2529.html If Madisonia were a country, it would lie somewhere in the Balkans, maybe east of the Carpathians—judging by Reptile Palace Orchestra's CD. On Songs and Dances, the longtime...]]> Donny Hathaway - Live + In Performance (Shout! Factory) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19305-donny-hathaway-live-%252B-in-performance-%2528shout_-factory%2529.html Donny Hathaway was only 33 when he died in 1979, cutting short a successful career in '70s soul. The singer-keyboardist's pair of live albums, Donny Hathaway Live (1972) and the...]]> Elizabeth Mitchell - Little Seed (Smithsonian Folkways) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19296-elizabeth-mitchell-little-seed-%2528smithsonian-folkways%2529.html Woody Guthrie didn't live in the age of niche marketing and never imagined some of his songs would be packaged as “kids' friendly.” His repertoire was meant to embrace everyone, old as well as young—he wanted to reach people and why not begin...]]> Peter Karp and Sue Foley - Beyond the Crossroads (Blind Pig) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19246-peter-karp-and-sue-foley-beyond-the-crossroads-%2528blind-pig%2529.html Critically acclaimed songwriter Peter Karp and multiple award-winning blues performer Sue Foley's new album is a theme-driven follow-up to their 2010 collaboration He Said She Said. Often alternating vocals, Karp and Foley sing about topics...]]> Burgendy Ties - Autumn Blues http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19247-burgendy-ties-autumn-blues.html As you begin to listen to Burgendy Ties' second release, you could be forgiven for believing them to be among Milwaukee's mellowest pop acts. The spirit of early '70s Laurel Canyon inhabits many tracks. The cheery philosophizing and wistful...]]> Jessica Jones/Mark Taylor Quartet - Live at the Freight (New Artist Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19248-jessica-jones_mark-taylor-quartet-live-at-the-freight-%2528new-artist-records%2529.html Ljuba Davis Ladino Ensemble - East and West http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19171-ljuba-davis-ladino-ensemble-east-and-west.html After the Sephardic Jews were expelled from Spain by the Inquisition, they scattered widely, but especially they made their way toward the Eastern Mediterranean. The rich Sephardic tradition of song, with its many points of contact with the music...]]> Phil Henzig - Rockabilly Music http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19172-phil-henzig-rockabilly-music.html West Allis' Phil Henzig holds an appreciation for the bespectacled rock 'n' roll innovator Buddy Holly and the genre in which Holly was at the cutting edge at the time of his death. While Rockabilly Music pays homage to the past, its most intriguing...]]> Recalcitrant - Borrowed Power http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19173-recalcitrant-borrowed-power.html Do you miss the mellow punk reggae rock of Sublime or The Red Hot Chili Peppers, when "funk metal" was a legitimate descriptor for Flea & Co.? If you would like it with more jamming and from guys with hip-hop roots, Milwaukee's...]]> Nina Ferraro http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19174-nina-ferraro.html A phenomenally talented teenage songwriter and singer from Racine (who recently moved to northern Illinois), Nina Ferraro brings quirky instrumentation together with pop production, setting articulate lyrics to memorable melodies on The Promise...]]> Garbage - Not Your Kind of People (Stunvolume) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19108-garbage-not-your-kind-of-people-%2528stunvolume%2529.html It's been seven years since the quartet featuring Scottish singer Shirley Manson and those three guys from Madison, Wis. (Butch Vig, Duke Erikson, Steve Marker) made new music. But they're back with their fifth and Garbagephiles should...]]> Paul Simon - Graceland: 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19083-paul-simon-graceland-25th-anniversary-deluxe-edition-%2528legacy%2529.html Despite the misnomer—2012 is actually the 26th anniversary of Graceland—this two-CD/two-DVD set places Paul Simon's seventh and finest album in greater context. Inspired by a cassette tape the singer-songwriter received featuring the street music...]]> The Spy From Cairo - Arabadub (Wonderwheel) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19084-the-spy-from-cairo-arabadub-%2528wonderwheel%2529.html World music can sometimes resemble fusion cuisine, becoming a contrived novelty whose appeal is paper-thin. However, disparate ingredients can sometimes produce a pleasing dish. In the case of music, The Spy From Cairo pulls off a coup on its latest CD...]]> Jon Cleary - Occapella (FHQ Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19021-jon-cleary-occapella-%2528fhq-records%2529.html On Occapella, Jon Cleary—blue-eyed, English-born bastion of 'Nawlins-cooked R&B, barroom killer on the piano (and guitar), and one-time collaborator with Bonnie Raitt—applies his own appropriate brand of playing to '50s soul, grimy '70s funk...]]> The Blinding Lights - The Blinding Lights http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19022-the-blinding-lights-the-blinding-lights.html So many previously unfashionable pop genres have come into indie-rock vogue in recent years that it's tough telling who's being ironic. But The Blinding Lights sound sincere in their summoning of mellow, '70s singer-songwriter folk-pop introspection...]]> Nicole Kottke - I'll Meet You There (Red Hall Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19023-nicole-kottke-ill-meet-you-there-%2528red-hall-records%2529.html Oakfield native Nicole Kottke earned her country-music credentials by being raised on a farm, and she has plenty of the exuberance that comes with a happy youth. That combination works to her favor on her debut CD, I'll Meet You There...]]> Patti Smith - Banga (Columbia) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18983-patti-smith-banga-%2528columbia%2529.html Patti Smith's albums, since her extraordinarily ground-breaking Horses and Easter LP's, are essentially about neo-punk tribalism as a way of being; i.e., there is angst and excitement, optimism and ritualistic anger, but little that is new...]]> Gazpacho - London (Kscope) & March of Ghosts (Kscope) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18944-gazpacho-london-%2528kscope%2529-march-of-ghosts-%2528kscope%2529.html Years ago, rock bands released an album a year, sometimes more. In a throwback to another era, Norway's Gazpacho issued three records in 18 months—including the double-disc live set London and the character-driven seventh studio album...]]> Arvo Pärt - Creator Spiritus (Harmonia Mundi) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18945-arvo-p%25C3%25A4rt-creator-spiritus-%2528harmonia-mundi%2529.html Among the most interesting dissident composers of the late Soviet era, Arvo Pärt merged elements of minimalism with the choral traditions of Eastern Orthodoxy. He has attracted interest from the Western avant-garde, as witnessed by the artists...]]> Nickodemus - Moon People (ESL Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18946-nickodemus-moon-people-%2528esl-music%2529.html Dance music, especially in places like New York City, draws from a global ocean of influences to keep the dance floor full. On Moon People, Brooklyn DJ-producer Nickodemus displays his range on tracks that filter echoes of reggae into dreamy...]]> Amina Figarova - Twelve (In + Out) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18929-amina-figarova-twelve-%2528in-%252B-out%2529.html She was born in Azerbaijan but raised in Rotterdam—and that was a lucky thing for jazz musician Amina Figarova. Figarova was fortunate to grow up in a country where jazz is respected as an art form and the scene continues to thrive. Twelve gives no hint...]]> The Revomatics - The Revomatics http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18874-the-revomatics-the-revomatics.html With cover art that alludes to the hot-rodding and slot-car racing that inspired the West Coast instrumental rock 'n' roll of the early '60s, Milwaukee's Revomatics are the real deal. They're not the city's first surf band, by a long stretch, but they've got the...]]> Bounding Main - Kraken Up http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18875-bounding-main-kraken-up.html In the already rarefied world of folk music, not many acts specialize solely in maritime songs with a cappella vocals. Milwaukee's Bounding Main numbers among that select company, and, as the cover and title of their fourth album attest, they have...]]> Kabbalah - Boxes, Bagels & Elephants http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18876-kabbalah-boxes-bagels-elephants.html The port of Marseille has always been a magnet for many nations, and like New York nowadays, it's also become a high-speed cultural blender. The French Mediterranean city is home to Kabbalah, whose new CD often sounds like an Orthodox...]]> The BoDeans - American Made http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18880-the-bodeans-american-made.html The BoDeans got their start as a Waukesha bar band with a slight Americana accent, but in the years since their 1986 debut album, core members Sam Llanas and Kurt Neuman have grown as songwriters and outgrown easy labels...]]> Carole King - The Legendary Demos (Hear Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18846-carole-king-the-legendary-demos-%2528hear-music%2529.html Carole King is one of the few songwriters to make the leap from behind-the-scenes writer to successful recording artist. From the pre-Beatles era, penning hits for Bobby Vee and the Everly Brothers to her summit as a solo artist with the album...]]> mewithoutYou - Ten Stories (Pine Street) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18811-mewithoutyou-ten-stories-%2528pine-street%2529.html In the era of downloads and iPods set on random, it's great to hear that someone still makes concept albums. mewithoutYou uses the titular Ten Stories of its latest CD to narrate a tale of a circus train wreck in 19th-century Montana. While the train...]]> Janis Joplin - The Pearl Sessions (Columbia/Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18812-janis-joplin-the-pearl-sessions-%2528columbia_legacy%2529.html “Get It While You Can,” the closing track on Pearl, proved strangely prophetic. Janis Joplin would die shortly after completing the 1970 session, cutting short her rapid development as an artist. Pearl was her greatest achievement, and the second...]]> Harmonia - Hidden Legacy (Folk Sounds Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18813-harmonia-hidden-legacy-%2528folk-sounds-records%2529.html A touch of Appalachian spring can sometimes be heard amid the Balkan melancholy, wiry rhythms and whirling dance steps of Harmonia. The Cleveland band, founded by third-generation American Walt Mahovlich of Hungarian-Croatian heritage...]]> The Avengers - The Avengers (Water) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18787-the-avengers-the-avengers-%2528water%2529.html Although the Avengers were probably the greatest of the original wave of San Francisco punk rock bands, they never had a proper album release during their time together in the late '70s. Posthumously, an LP dubbed “The Pink Album” was collected from...]]> Lurrie Bell - The Devil Ain't Got No Music (Aria B.G. Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18738-lurrie-bell-the-devil-aint-got-no-music-%2528aria-bg-records%2529.html Some blues musicians learn about music from attending church as children, later bringing gospel into blues music, while others start with blues music and bring that background into their spiritual songs. The older generations of musicians were...]]> Niyaz - Sumud (Six Degrees) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18739-niyaz-sumud-%2528six-degrees%2529.html “World music” is often a catchphrase for exotic mediocrity. Niyaz is among the great exceptions, a trio in cosmopolitan exile, retaining their Iranian roots but seamlessly fusing the quiet ecstasy of age-old melodies and rhythms with contemporary...]]> Jack Grassel & Jill Jensen - Jack and Jill Jazz (Frozen Sky) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18682-jack-grassel-amp-jill-jensen-jack-and-jill-jazz-%2528frozen-sky%2529.html Guitarist Jack Grassel has long been one of Milwaukee's most proficient (and prolific) jazz musicians, and singer Jill Jensen has been his partner in marriage and music since before the present century began. On Jack and Jill Jazz, Grassel's 18th album...]]> Tweed Funk - Love Is http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18616-tweed-funk-love-is.html Among other things, Tweed Funk is about consistency. The Milwaukee band's sophomore album again mixes blues, R&B, salsa and what-the-funk else. Singer Joseph "Smokey" Holman shouts, growls and croons like a soul man with an urge to dance...]]> Dave Fitzpatrick Band - Through the Grey Veil http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18617-dave-fitzpatrick-band-through-the-grey-veil.html If there's a shortage of anything within the musical mainstream nowadays, it's mainstream rock—not alt, indie, metal or anything indebted to folkloric traditions. On Through the Grey Veil, Milwaukee's Dave Fitzpatrick Band keeps its rocking straight...]]> Louis Armstrong - Satchmo at the National Press Club: Red Beans and Rice-ly Yours (Smithsonian Folkways) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18618-louis-armstrong-satchmo-at-the-national-press-club-red-beans-and-rice-ly-yours-%2528smithsonian-folkways%2529.html One of Louis Armstrong's final concerts was recorded in 1971 at Washington, D.C.'s National Press Club and released at the time on a limited-edition LP. The tapes finally made their way to digital. And although the great jazzman would die five months...]]> Choban Elektrik - Choban Elektrik http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18619-choban-elektrik-choban-elektrik.html If Weather Report had blown in from the Eastern bloc, they might have sounded something like Choban Elektrik. On their new CD, the New York band infuses a slippery, shifting fusion sound with distinctly Balkan, east-of-the-Adriatic melodies....]]> Nazarenes - Meditation http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18602-nazarenes-meditation.html The Nazarenes recorded with producer Laurent “Tippy I” Alfred in the U.S. Virgin Islands near the Jamaican birthplace of Rastafarianism, but the brothers were born in Ethiopia and claim their family “worked” for the late emperor, Haile Selassie...]]> Caramelo - Ride http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18582-caramelo-ride.html Sara Erde began by rapping with Neneh Cherry and now pairs her urban contemporary vocals with the Andalusian cry of Alfonso Cid in Caramelo. The NYC group brings a jigger of jazz, a touch of klezmer and a heaping serving of flamenco to hot R&B...]]> Jack White - Blunderbuss (Columbia/Third Man) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18527-jack-white-blunderbuss-%2528columbia_third-man%2529.html Beginning with a penetrating progression that rapidly explodes into choral dexterity and poetic narrative unequalled in rock music today, “Missing Pieces” opens Jack White's first solo album, Blunderbuss. The song is brief. The impact is not...]]> Bonnie Raitt - Slipstream (Redwing Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18531-bonnie-raitt-slipstream-%2528redwing-records%2529.html The two Dylan covers, both from Time Out of Mind, no less, reveal the state of Bonnie Raitt's old heart: full of appreciation, wonder and tough nostalgia for “the rest of us, who used to rule the world.” Sure, the smooth blues...]]> Jazz Punks - Smashups (Foam@TheMouth Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18532-jazz-punks-smashups-%2528foamathemouth-records%2529.html The idea of blending cool jazz with heavy rock, melding “I Can See for Miles” with a touch of Miles Davis, may sound like novelty shtick—and it almost is, except that the Jazz Punks pull it off without a hitch. The proficient Los Angeles band shifts...]]> Ravi Shankar - The Living Room Sessions Part 1 (East Meets West) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18509-ravi-shankar-the-living-room-sessions-part-1-%2528east-meets-west%2529.html Ravi Shankar was 91 when he made these recordings in his California home last fall, and while I don't pretend intimate knowledge of the intricacies of the sitar, to my ears the master hasn't lost his touch. Recorded with tabla player Tanmoy Bose, a longtime...]]> Harvey Taylor - A Story for Scheherazade http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18475-harvey-taylor-a-story-for-scheherazade.html So wildly varied is the recording output of Milwaukee poet, singer, trumpeter and activist Harvey Taylor that one never knows where he will go from one album to the next. Inspired by last year's Middle Eastern uprisings, Taylor and various local...]]> The Habit - Lincoln Has Won (Reel to Reel Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18476-the-habit-lincoln-has-won-%2528reel-to-reel-records%2529.html Few bands claiming the Americana label are as alive in the present as well as the past as The Habit. Lincoln Has Won opens with the rousing “War Is Done,” which reverberates with Dylan's...]]> Chicha Libre - Canibalismo (Barbes/Crammed Discs) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18477-chicha-libre-canibalismo-%2528barbes_crammed-discs%2529.html Although the band is far away in time and place from the origins of the music that inspires them, New York City's Chicha Libre builds from a long-lost Peruvian genre, chichi—the sound of Latin music converging with the Swinging '60s...]]> Blue Oyster Cult - The Essential Blue Oyster Cult (Epic Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18478-blue-oyster-cult-the-essential-blue-oyster-cult-%2528epic-legacy%2529.html The entire Blue Oyster Cult catalog was reissued on CD circa Y2K and since then, the iPod has enabled anyone to amass their own ultimate BOC mixtape. So why an Essential Blue Oyster Cult? There is always the pleasure of letting someone else curate a...]]> Donovan - The Essential Donovan (Epic Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18441-donovan-the-essential-donovan-%2528epic-legacy%2529.html Back in the '00s, Donovan was treated to an elaborate Legacy reissue, a four-disc box set covered in purple velvet. The new two-CD Essential isn't as lavish and while inevitably duplicating tracks, includes several selections previously unreleased...]]> Elin Furubotn - Heilt Nye Vei (Ozella) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18427-elin-furubotn-heilt-nye-vei-%2528ozella%2529.html With her soft-focus voice and a musical accompaniment that blurs the acoustic singer-songwriter style with jazz, Norway's Elin Furubtn skirts the territory occupied most famously by Nora Jones. On a few tracks, the thrum of electric guitar and a grave...]]> Lil' Rev - The Happiest Way to Be Sad http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18402-lil-rev-the-happiest-way-to-be-sad.html On his 13th album, Milwaukee's beloved proponent of old-time Americana, Lil' Rev, places himself on new ground. It's his first collection of all-original songs and the first time he has recorded with a drummer. “I've usually been focused on finding dusty old...]]> New Harmony Indiana - America's Physic http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18403-new-harmony-indiana-americas-physic.html With its recreation of a raucous fundamentalist prayer meeting, “Devil Take the Hindmost” opens America's Physic on a Flannery O'Connor note. What follows can often be categorized as Americana, but not everything by Milwaukee's New Harmony Indiana is...]]> Sarah Aroeste - Gracia (Aroeste Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18335-sarah-aroeste-gracia-%2528aroeste-music%2529.html The Sephardic Jews who were expelled from Spain during the era of the Inquisition brought their distinct culture to Greece, Anatolia and the Eastern Mediterranean. American-born vocalist and songwriter Sarah Aroeste explores her heritage...]]> Pete Seeger - The Complete Bowdoin College Concert 1960 (Smithsonian Folkways) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18323-pete-seeger-the-complete-bowdoin-college-concert-1960-%2528smithsonian-folkways%2529.html Pete Seeger turns 93 in May, but he already seemed like an elder when he played Maine's Bowdoin College in 1960. His earnest and rather studious approach to folklore may seem unfashionable nowadays, yet Seeger was a brave and significant force...]]> Chris Head & the Honchos - Hard Truths http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18324-chris-head-amp-the-honchos-hard-truths.html For Chris Head & the Honchos, a band from Thiensville, Wis., the romantic aspirations of the group's pop-rock complement the bittersweet sentimentality of their rootsy Americana. The name may suggest humor, but the music is much more serious...]]> Congo Sanchez - Vol. 1 (ESL Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18325-congo-sanchez-vol-1-%2528esl-music%2529.html Congo Sanchez has been an active contributor to Funk Ark and other dance bands in Washington, D.C. With Vol. 1, the multi-instrumentalist steps into his own thing: supple grooves rooted in rock and soul (and with more ancient echoes)...]]> Gary Smulyan - Smul's Paradise (Capri Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18198-gary-smulyan-smuls-paradise-%2528capri-records%2529.html From the opening number—the insistent, jumpy, lock-step strut of the Stevie Wonder hit “Sunny”—it's clear that Gary Smulyan's latest quartet offering is far from just another saxophone album. In fact, the baritone master (yep, that's baritone sax...]]> Colin O'Brien - After a Song http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18199-colin-obrien-after-a-song.html Colin O'Brien covers a lot of territory within Americana on his latest CD of mostly original songs. Tunes such as “Mountain Stage” could easily fill any sawdust-covered dance floor, while “New Territory” swings like a country-fried Hot Club number]]> Andy's Automatics - Evergreen Motel http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18200-andys-automatics-evergreen-motel.html The latest album by Oshkosh band Andy's Automatics revels in murder, unrepentant drunkenness, love gone irreparably south and prostitutes, strippers and ex-wives with filthy navels (yes, navels!). Their sound makes the connections from Gram Parsons...]]> The Wiyos - Twist http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18152-the-wiyos-twist.html Bob Dylan handpicked this ragtag posse of vintage acoustic whizzes to open his 2009 tour of minor league baseball stadiums in an exercise in obscurity, eccentricity and, mostly, nostalgia. Named for an Irish street gang out of New York's old Five Points...]]> Justin Scott - As the Crow Flies http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18153-justin-scott-as-the-crow-flies.html Croaking isn't such a bad thing—at least, not in the case of Milwaukee folkie Justin Scott's voice. As the Crow Flies finds him roughly divided between tragedy and triumph, sometimes within the same song. His distinctive vocal instrument sounds...]]> Quetzal - Imaginaries (Smithsonian Folkways) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18154-quetzal-imaginaries-%2528smithsonian-folkways%2529.html East Los Angeles' Quetzal opens its latest album on an almost traditional note with a tuneful nod to Mexico, but the Spanish lyrics about ecological devastation aren't from the usual Norteño songbook. From there, the bilingual band moves confidently...]]> Opera in Your House - Classic CDs from the Met http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18072-opera-in-your-house-classic-cds-from-the-met.html Lance King - A Moment in Chiros (Nightmare Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18077-lance-king-a-moment-in-chiros-%2528nightmare-records%2529.html Metal vocalist Lance King has come a long ways since his days of playing T.A. Vern's in the early '90s with the Minneapolis-based band Gemini. Over 21 years, he has fronted several other bands (most notably, Balance of Power)...]]> Eric Blowtorch - The Promise of Power (Bopaganda) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18078-eric-blowtorch-the-promise-of-power-%2528bopaganda%2529.html Sometimes angry and always stripped back to a shaky voice and a fiery, plucked electric guitar, Eric Blowtorch summons the spirit of one of his heroes, Billy Bragg, on The Promise of Power. Largely recorded in his bedroom with minimal accompaniment...]]> Sagapool - Sagapool http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18079-sagapool-sagapool.html Quebec instrumental band Sagapool would be well off pursuing a career in movie soundtracks. While their clarinet- and accordion-based music has roots in Eastern Europe, the branches form sparse sonic pictures suggesting the wintry landscape of northern lands. The structure of...]]> Willie Nelson - Remember Me, Vol. 1 (R&J) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18046-willie-nelson-remember-me-vol-1-%2528rj%2529.html Releasing a cover tunes album can be a way for a performer to tread water or an opportunity to reflect on the influences that shaped him. Willie Nelson's Remember Me is the later. A collection of familiar country songs from the 1940s through the 1970...]]> The Chieftains - Voice of Ages (Hear Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17998-the-chieftains-voice-of-ages-%2528hear-music%2529.html If the parallels weren't already evident, famed Irish folk band The Chieftains make it perfectly clear on Voice of Ages that Celtic music and U.S. folk, especially in its currently commercially palatable Americana guise, share more than a few chromosomes...]]> Moo - Introversion http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17999-moo-introversion.html I'm not sure why Craig Walkner adopted the Moo moniker for his first ambient solo project, but the title of this album sure makes sense. Introversion's dark electronica, subtle melodies and surrealistic tones suggest complete immersion and self-reflection...]]> Tage Sidibe & Friends - Wassoulou Foli (Kanaba Sound System) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18004-tage-sidibe-amp-friends-wassoulou-foli-%2528kanaba-sound-system%2529.html Heritage Blues Orchestra - And Still I Rise (Raisin' Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17980-heritage-blues-orchestra-and-still-i-rise-%2528raisin-music%2529.html It's rare to find American roots musicians with the depth and scope of Heritage Blues Orchestra. As their name promises, they perform traditional blues with conviction and mastery, infusing Son House with New Orleans brass while lifting the Delta...]]> Yellow Ostrich - Strange Land (Barsuk Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17950-yellow-ostrich-strange-land-%2528barsuk-records%2529.html Yellow Ostrich singer-guitarist Alex Schaaf, who recorded 2011's The Mistress alone in his Appleton bedroom, is the kind of guy who once relied only on his boyish voice and a drum machine to make one EP (Fade Cave) and drew lyrics exclusively...]]> Various Artists http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17951-various-artists.html Kraftwerk's “Pocket Calculator” may have been the unlikeliest influence on early rap, but the Tom Tom Club's “Genius of Love” runs second. The opening cut on this survey of Profile Records, Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde's “Genius Rap,” borrowed...]]> Peter Mulvey - The Good Stuff (Signature Sounds) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17952-peter-mulvey-the-good-stuff-%2528signature-sounds%2529.html Milwaukee expatriate Peter Mulvey, who busked in Boston as he established his career, continues to perform songs by other writers on his nationwide tours. Mulvey devotes his 15th CD to some of his favorites, lending a softly creased and folded...]]> Kayhan Kalhor - I Will Not Stand Alone (World Village) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17903-kayhan-kalhor-i-will-not-stand-alone-%2528world-village%2529.html As a participating musician in Yo Yo Ma's continent-straddling Silk Road Project, Kayhan Kalhor has brought new exposure to the ancient traditions of Persian classical music, especially his instrument, the four-string spike fiddle called the kamancheh...]]> Rick Drumm & Fatty Necroses - Return from the Unknown http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17837-rick-drumm-amp-fatty-necroses-return-from-the-unknown.html The Cash Box Kings - Holler and Stomp (Blind Pig) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17842-the-cash-box-kings-holler-and-stomp-%2528blind-pig%2529.html Although almost all of the blues musicians who recorded on Chess and Sun Records in the 1950s are gone, the classic sounds of the era live on in Chicago's The Cash Box Kings. Holler and Stomp includes original members Joe Nosek, Chris “CB” Boeger...]]> Philip Glass - The Essential Philip Glass (Sony Classical) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17843-philip-glass-the-essential-philip-glass-%2528sony-classical%2529.html Few composers of “contemporary classical music,” much less opera, have found as large and welcome an audience as Philip Glass. The prolific composer and recording artist is honored for his 75th birthday with a triple-CD “best of” collection covering the late...]]> Tom Klein - At the Line http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17844-tom-klein-at-the-line.html Nick Moran Trio - No Time Like Now (Manor Sound) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17814-nick-moran-trio-no-time-like-now-%2528manor-sound%2529.html The Mike Benign Compulsion - Martha http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17764-the-mike-benign-compulsion-martha.html Power-pop is a genre that has seen its better day—and that was sometime in 1972. And yet, on its second CD, The Mike Benign Compulsion delivers a perfectly shaped blast of power-pop with “My Michelle,” a short, pointed, fiercely tuneful song...]]> Mississippi Cactus - The Lost Album http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17765-mississippi-cactus-the-lost-album.html Mississippi Cactus' The Lost Album, recorded several years ago, before singer/guitarist Brian Kasprzak's temporary West Coast relocation, finds the Milwaukee band as musically diverse as their club-packing shows were lengthy—and those could run upward...]]> Henry Cole & The Afrobeat Collective - Roots Before Branches http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17766-henry-cole-amp-the-afrobeat-collective-roots-before-branches.html On Roots Before Branches, Puerto Rican drummer Henry Cole and his talented cohort move easily as an ensemble from one tempo and texture to another. Grammy-winning saxophonist David Sánchez blows tropical jazz over swaying melodies as space rock...]]> Kmang Kmang - Drifting http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17743-kmang-kmang-drifting.html Chicago's Kmang Kmang sometimes sound like the unanticipated convergence of alt rock and ECM jazz—with a world of other influences distilled into the mix. At the group's core is Barmey Ung, a Cambodian American who studied classical...]]> Little Freddie King - Chasing Tha Blues (Burnside) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17693-little-freddie-king-chasing-tha-blues-%2528burnside%2529.html Amid the piquant stew of jazz, funk, soul, zydeco and R&B that is the scorching New Orleans music scene, the blues is largely relegated to the back burner. Surprisingly, there are no blues-only clubs of the likes found in Chicago, New York or Memphis...]]> Copper Box - People Change http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17694-copper-box-people-change.html Milwaukee has intermittently hosted punk polka since the '70s. But for the past decade, it is Oshkosh that has been home to the accordion-based wonderment of Copper Box. Though the squeezebox isn't the sole basis of their globally gallivanting sound...]]> Various Artists - Golden Gate Groove: The Sound of Philadelphia Live in San Francisco 1973 (Legacy/Philadelphia International Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17636-various-artists-golden-gate-groove-the-sound-of-philadelphia-live-in-san-francisco-1973-%2528legacy_philadelphia-international-records%2529.html The great and even ordinary soul singers of the '60s and '70s trained before live audiences—often in church. Ironically, the recordings they were known for were polished to a bright gleam in studio settings, making it hard to top the emotional heft when...]]> Kami Thompson - Love Lies (Warner Music/Naxos) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17626-kami-thompson-love-lies-%2528warner-music_naxos%2529.html Musicians with famous musical parents are usually in for a hard time. Just ask Sean and Julian Lennon, who never emerged from the deep shadows of their father. Kami Thompson, daughter of the estranged king and queen of British folk rock, Richard...]]> Jake Paul Band - The Jailbreak (Anamoly) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17627-jake-paul-band-the-jailbreak-%2528anamoly%2529.html If you have been waiting for a '90s revival, check out Milwaukee's Jake Paul Band. That decade never left their hearts, if The Jailbreak is any indication. The group's trick is that they don't take any one style from that time in wholesale form, but instead...]]> Clazz Ensemble & Frank Carlberg - Federico on Broadway (Red Piano Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17601-clazz-ensemble-amp-frank-carlberg-federico-on-broadway-%2528red-piano-records%2529.html The Netherlands' reputation for supporting a flourishing and venturesome jazz scene is supported by the bracing new album by Amsterdam's Clazz Ensemble of music by Finnish-American pianist-composer Frank Carlberg. Structured improvisation occurs...]]> Launchpad 2011 - Various Artists http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17605-launchpad-2011-various-artists.html Another year brings another Launchpad, Wisconsin's statewide battle-of-the-bands competition for high-school students. When Launchpad is good, it's a thrill to hear fledgling teen combos work out their muses. Last year's finalists come from an...]]> Mud River Lee & The Bluegrass 3 - “You Can't Take a Train” http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17607-mud-river-lee-amp-the-bluegrass-3-ldyou-cant-take-a-trainrd.html Christiane D - Obliquity of the Ecliptic http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17499-christiane-d-obliquity-of-the-ecliptic.html With Obliquity of the Ecliptic, multi-media artist Christiane D pulls together a remarkable musical tour de force, a dark swirl of sound embracing snaky hip-hop rhythms, singing and rapping, deep funk bass lines, almost elegant echoes of gospel and...]]> Joshua Bell & Jeremy Denk - French Impressions (Sony Classical) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17482-joshua-bell-amp-jeremy-denk-french-impressions-%2528sony-classical%2529.html One of Joshua Bell's mentors, his violin instructor at the Indiana University, was once the pupil of the musician for whom French Impressionist composer Cesar Franck wrote his Violin Concerto in A Major (1886). Perhaps the sense of lineage as much as the...]]> Midnite - Kings Bell (I Grade Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17417-midnite-kings-bell-%2528i-grade-records%2529.html Although reggae fanned out from Jamaica decades ago, many performers from elsewhere have remained true to the Rastafarian faith that grounded the music as well as its easy, steady-on rhythm. Case in point: one of the most prolific reggae groups...]]> Fox & Branch - Things are Coming My Way! http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17375-fox-amp-branch-things-are-coming-my-way_.html Entertaining children has long been part of Dave Fox and Will Branch's act. For Things are Coming My Way! the Milwaukee folkies chose the songs from their live sets proven most likely to make kids laugh. Accompanied on their extended romp through...]]> Los Gauchos de Roldan - Button Accordion and Bandoneon Music from Northern Uruguay (Smithsonian Folkways) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17373-los-gauchos-de-roldan-button-accordion-and-bandoneon-music-from-northern-uruguay-%2528smithsonian-folkways%2529.html Uruguay, the small nation wedged between the giants of Brazil and Argentina, was shaped like many places in the New World by an influx of immigration. Los Gauchos de Roldan is determined to preserve the music that filtered into Uruguay's rural...]]> Various Artists - Brazilian Beat (Putumayo World Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17355-various-artists-brazilian-beat-%2528putumayo-world-music%2529.html If the samba and bossa nova are any guide, Brazil is a nation of lulling breezes and gracious cool in the subtropical heat. Brazilian Beat won't disappoint fans of the '60s era sounds that helped define the country's image. The rhythms are lively yet easy...]]> New York Gypsy All Stars - Romantech (Traditional Crossroads) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17319-new-york-gypsy-all-stars-romantech-%2528traditional-crossroads%2529.html At their best moments, the New York Gypsy All Stars bring the past into the present in a dialogue between tradition and change. Band leader Ismail Lumanovski is really a Gypsy (and a Julliard graduate); he joins heart and head in his clarinet playing...]]> Kevn Kinney - A Good Country Mile http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17313-kevn-kinney-a-good-country-mile.html As a teenage novice in Milwaukee, even before he lost the first i in his name, Kevn Kinney already had a gift for fashioning stories to simple but moving rock melodies. After leaving for Atlanta, he absorbed the Southern setting through his skin, moving back in...]]> Tony Jones - Pitch, Rhythm and Consciousness (New Artists Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17262-tony-jones-pitch-rhythm-and-consciousness-%2528new-artists-records%2529.html When the vinyl LP was introduced in the late 1940s and '50s, it wasn't primarily intended as a forum for entertainers but for artists. Jazz musicians saw the advantage of long-playing records and used them to document the advances jazz was making...]]> Llysa Spencer - Red Hen http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17264-llysa-spencer-red-hen.html “I tried to avoid it for a long time,” Llysa Spencer says, “but you can't really help being an artist.” Spencer's second CD might be the result of nature as much as nurture. Her Kentucky ancestors...]]> Club d'Elf - Electric Moroccoland/So Below http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17203-club-delf-electric-moroccoland_so-below.html Producer Mike Rivard is the prime mover behind this expansive double CD and its round robin of players, billed as Club d'Elf. The music reaches the spacier heights of jazz and electronica from a sonic home base in Morocco, a place where the Near East...]]> Rectifier - Something Warm http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17212-rectifier-something-warm.html This much is certain: Katie Mack, the powerhouse vocalist for Milwaukee rockers Rectifier, can (and no doubt will) kick your ass. The first line out of her mouth on Something Warm's opening track “Get What You Get”—“Woke up this morning with...]]> TriBeCaStan - New Deli (EverGreene Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17213-tribecastan-new-deli-%2528evergreene-music%2529.html The boundaries of TriBeCaStan continue to expand. On New Deli, the musical republic's third album, TriBeCaStan unfurls its flag against a lilting Caribbean breeze (“Song for Kroncha”) before sailing onto the stranger seas of free jazz and returning to placid...]]> Emily Hurd - Long Lost Ghosts http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17214-emily-hurd-long-lost-ghosts.html On her eighth album, songwriter and singer Emily Hurd covers the psychological terrain of love—the hope as well as the loss, the exuberance of experience and the melancholy of regret. The striking images of her lyrics, delivered in a voice at once powerful...]]> Elvis Thao & the Creatives - The Water Street Experiment http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17174-elvis-thao-amp-the-creatives-the-water-street-experiment.html Elvis Thao is a socially conscious rocker from Milwaukee with a voice capable of rage and vulnerability, an ear for melody and a gift for the occasionally memorable line of lyric. He's fortunate to keep good company for The Water Street Experiment with...]]> Anubis Gate - Anubis Gate (Nightmare Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17136-anubis-gate-anubis-gate-%2528nightmare-records%2529.html Heavy metal—with its countless sub-genres and broad musical definitions—rarely escapes being maligned in some musical circles. But then along comes a group like Anubis Gate. Although considered a “prog/power-metal” band by its four...]]> The Fatty Acids - Leftover Monsterface (Kribber Krown) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17137-the-fatty-acids-leftover-monsterface-%2528kribber-krown%2529.html The second record from the Milwaukee four-piece The Fatty Acids has the ambitious scope of a concept album, though it could just be an especially inspired stream of consciousness. Somewhere between The Flaming Lips' epic neo-psychedelia...]]> The Heroes Lie - Seven Sins http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17138-the-heroes-lie-seven-sins.html Milwaukee hard rockers The Heroes Lie follow up last year's debut album with six songs on a trajectory toward rock radio's mainstream. Funny as it may be to say about a band that could easily enough play Ozzfest, The Heroes Lie's most endearing...]]> John Prine - The Singing Mailman Delivers (Oh Boy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17049-john-prine-the-singing-mailman-delivers-%2528oh-boy%2529.html In 1970, Chicago letter carrier John Prine, still a year from his classic debut album, recorded his early songs for copyright purposes. The great Studs Terkel, who had just interviewed him on his radio show, allowed Prine to keep the reel-to-reel running...]]> Zdob Si Zdub - Basta Mafia! http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17050-zdob-si-zdub-basta-mafia_.html A madcap spirit dances with Moldova's Zdob Si Zdub, and little wonder: Band members have witnessed so many radical social, political and cultural disruptions since the end of the Cold War that laughter might be the sanest response. The group originated...]]> Danen Kane - Love Is Waiting http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17051-danen-kane-love-is-waiting.html Appleton Christian pop folkie Danen Kane approaches the faith angle broadly enough to make it onto adult contemporary and adult alt playlists. Rich, detailed production and a voice reminiscent of Gavin DeGraw give him mojo beyond the church market...]]> Occidental Gypsy - Over Here http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17040-occidental-gypsy-over-here.html Calling Occidental Gypsy's rendition of “Thriller” revelatory is a bit pretentious, but the acoustic Hot Club arrangement of Michael Jackson is a kick to hear. The originals on Over Here also testify to the enduring fascination with guitarist Django...]]> The Smiths - Complete (Rhino) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17010-the-smiths-complete-%2528rhino%2529.html Some have dismissed the Smiths as merely glum, but that would not do justice to the band's sly irony and ignores the feeble ray of hope that lit most of their songs. It's also a sign that their worst critics weren't really listening. The reissue of all four studio...]]> Jason Loughlin - Peach Crate (Engine Company Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16978-jason-loughlin-peach-crate-%2528engine-company-records%2529.html It's hard to tell whether guitarist Jason Loughlin's Peach Crate could be characterized best as jazzy twang or twangy jazz; either way, the Brooklyn-ite's debut album wondrously fits the space that had been empty since jazz-country genius...]]> Honky Tonkitis - Deep End of the Bottle http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16979-honky-tonkitis-deep-end-of-the-bottle.html The second album by the Milwaukee band Honky Tonkitis continues to mix equal parts snark and twang into something resembling a Bizarro World set at the Grand Ole Opry. Singer John Steffes' twisted sense of humor about matters of inebriation...]]> Wadada Leo Smith's Mbira - Dark Lady of the Sonnets (TUM) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16914-wadada-leo-smiths-mbira-dark-lady-of-the-sonnets-%2528tum%2529.html Wadada Leo Smith came out of Chicago's Association for the Advancement of Creative Music in the 1960s and soon established himself alongside Anthony Braxton and Leroy Jenkins at the forefront of free jazz. Detroit percussionist Pheeroan akLaff has...]]> Kate Bush - 50 Words for Snow (Anti-) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16917-kate-bush-50-words-for-snow-%2528anti-%2529.html Although her videos were popular in the '80s, Kate Bush never grew beyond cult status in the United States. Yet her example inspired the next generation of venturesome women in rock—Tori Amos and Björk are among those who looked to her as a model...]]> Miguel Zenón - Alma Adentro: The Puerto Rican Songbook (Marsalis Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16918-miguel-zenon-alma-adentro-the-puerto-rican-songbook-%2528marsalis-music%2529.html Having skyrocketed in critical consensus as the hottest young alto player in jazz, Miguel Zenón makes his most mature, personal statement to date. He explores 10 deeply modulated and infectious songs from great Puerto Rican songwriters...]]> Bob Burns - Bob Burns (Crustacean) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16919-bob-burns-bob-burns-%2528crustacean%2529.html With his former band, the Breakups, Stevens Point's Bob Burns prolifically created punk rock that landed on multiple international labels and at least one network TV show. His solo debut continues in the hooky, raw mode of the Breakups, but with the...]]> Emerson String Quartet - Mozart Prussian Quartets (Sony Classical) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16907-emerson-string-quartet-mozart-prussian-quartets-%2528sony-classical%2529.html Cellists love Mozart's Prussian Quartets. Commissioned in Berlin by the King of Prussia in 1789-1790, they were written to feature the cello, the instrument played by the monarch. One of America's most prestigious string quartets, the Emerson...]]> Raya Brass Band - Dancing on Roses, Dancing on Cinders http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16883-raya-brass-band-dancing-on-roses-dancing-on-cinders.html Some time in the last half of the 20th century, Yugoslavian brass band musicians found their way to the Crescent City at Mardi Gras. After listening intently to the marching parade bands, they returned home determined to fuse the sound of New Orleans...]]> Phil Spector - Presents the Philles Album Collection (Sony Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16847-phil-spector-presents-the-philles-album-collection-%2528sony-legacy%2529.html Fifty years ago, Phil Spector cemented his reputation as the “Tycoon of Teen” by founding his own label, Philles Records. Philles became the vehicle for Spector's evolving “Wall of Sound...]]> Ray Bonneville - Bad Man's Blood (Red House Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16853-ray-bonneville-bad-mans-blood-%2528red-house-records%2529.html Ray Bonneville has been places. The Canada-born, Austin-based singer-songwriter has laid his hat in Montreal, New Orleans, Boston and Paris, to name a few, and on Bad Man's Blood he wears his nomadic ways like a badge...]]> Repertoire - You Might Not Be Ready But Your Kids Are Going to Love It http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16854-repertoire-you-might-not-be-ready-but-your-kids-are-going-to-love-it.html Milwaukee's Repertoire is an unabashed pop band. In the instance of the group's third and outlandishly titled album, "pop" entails coming on like romantic rock stars in a collision of Matchbox Twenty and OneRepublic, albeit with a penchant...]]> Ravish Momin's Tarana - After the Disquiet EP http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16824-ravish-momins-tarana-after-the-disquiet-ep.html The Indian-born, New York-based percussionist Ravish Momin probably wasn't thinking about the German band Can when he recorded After the Disquiet, but his upfront, drumbeat sound recalls the more adventurous wing of '70s Krautrock...]]> Dustin Lee - This Is How the Story Goes http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16783-dustin-lee-this-is-how-the-story-goes.html Former Milwaukee singer-songwriter Dustin Lee moved to Minneapolis two years ago when his wife accepted a new job, but he still wrote a song about our fair city for his second album, This Is How the Story Goes. “It took your city to believe/ You put...]]> The Danglers - Live at Circle A http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16784-the-danglers-live-at-circle-a.html Riverwest's Circle A has seen enormously talented bands on its tiny stage, but the performances by the Danglers on their live disc, captured on three nights earlier this year, must be among the most combustible. The Milwaukee trio of Dave Gelting...]]> Certain Stars - “The Great Destroyer” b/w “Too Drunk to Dream” (Cuba Libre) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16785-certain-stars-%25E2%2580%259Cthe-great-destroyer%25E2%2580%259D-b_w-%25E2%2580%259Ctoo-drunk-to-dream%25E2%2580%259D-%2528cuba-libre%2529.html After an EP and full-length album, Milwaukee/Chicago power-pop indie rockers Certain Stars issue the blast of a single before getting back to a longer format. "The Great Destroyer" soaks in piss-and-vinegar vengeance as it manages a Big Star referenc...]]> Sanctified Grumblers - No Lie (Bloodshot) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16736-sanctified-grumblers-no-lie-%2528bloodshot%2529.html On a certain magic strip of Royal Street in New Orleans' French Quarter, tourists and locals alike blend into a seamless heap that is but a background setting for the top-shelf herd of street musicians. It's a daily world of rippling washboards, wailing harmonicas...]]> R. Mutt - Leash On Life http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16737-r-mutt-leash-on-life.html Imagine that the Rolling Stones had never graduated to international superstardom, but instead found themselves playing Midwestern bars, and you get a good picture of R. Mutt. The songs on the Milwaukee quartet's latest album speak...]]> Vlada Tomova - Balkan Tales (Kuker Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16738-vlada-tomova-balkan-tales-%2528kuker-music%2529.html The stark, melancholy landscape of Eastern Europe clings to the voice of Vlada Tomova. The Bulgarian-born Brooklyn resident roams a little widely, however, and some of the Gipsy Kings flourishes on Balkan Tales have been heard a bit too...]]> Jethro Tull - Aqualung 40th Anniversary Special Edition (EMI) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16673-jethro-tull-aqualung-40th-anniversary-special-edition-%2528emi%2529.html Aqualung became one of progressive rock's signal albums upon release in 1971, even if Jethro Tull's link with much of what would be called prog was tenuous, even coincidental. On the 40th Anniversary Special Edition, the original album...]]> Voivod - Warriors of Ice (Sonic Unyon Metal) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16586-voivod-warriors-of-ice-%2528sonic-unyon-metal%2529.html Thrashy Canadian headbangers Voivod are enjoying an unexpected career resurgence. In 2009 the band released Infini, an album containing the final music recorded by late guitarist Denis “Piggy” D'Amour, and in 2010 the group was named Metal Band...]]> Johnny Padilla - Bright Morning http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16587-johnny-padilla-bright-morning.html Andrew Cyrille & Haitian Fascination - Route de Freres (TUM Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16588-andrew-cyrille-haitian-fascination-route-de-freres-%2528tum-records%2529.html Andrew Cyrille was born in New York to parents from Haiti, and he has traveled back and forth between those two lands, physically and musically. Route de Freres is something of a sentimental journey for the drummer, who has worked behind...]]> Primus - Green Naugahyde (ATO Records/Prawn Song Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16524-primus-green-naugahyde-%2528ato-records_prawn-song-records%2529.html If you've never really been a fan of the zany, whimsical world of Primus, Green Naugahyde—the band's first studio album in 11 years—probably won't change your mind. Commandeered by bassist/vocalist Les Claypool, Primus circa 2011 consists of...]]> Sibiri Samake: Bamana Hunter Music - Dambe Foli (Kanaga System Krush) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16525-sibiri-samake-bamana-hunter-music-dambe-foli-%2528kanaga-system-krush%2529.html When was the last time the jacket notes for a CD proclaimed of the artist: “His music and presence as a man are not to be taken lightly”? James Brown, maybe? It's one reason to look into Sibiri Samake's music, but once inside the package, the music...]]> Gerome Durham - Blues After Dark http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16526-gerome-durham-blues-after-dark.html Milwaukee bluesman Gerome Durham continues his long-running association with writer/producer/multi-instrumentalist Johnny Rawls, finding room for both grown-up slice-of-life narratives and party-ready, tasty guitar licks. Durham's voice provides...]]> Sam Llanas - 4 A.M. (The Way Home) (Inner Knot Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16459-sam-llanas-4-am-%2528the-way-home%2529-%2528inner-knot-records%2529.html The timing of 50-year-old guitarist/vocalist Sam Llanas' departure from the BoDeans, the band he formed with Kurt Neumann more than 25 years ago in Waukesha, could have been better. After all, the BoDeans were just days removed from releasing...]]> Joe Lovano & Us Five - Bird Songs (Blue Note) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16460-joe-lovano-us-five-bird-songs-%2528blue-note%2529.html Joe Lovano is old enough to have experienced the peak years of jazz as something other than a musical appreciation class. The saxophonist grew up in the 1950s and '60s in a house where Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins and Thelonious Monk held...]]> Various Artists - The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams (Egyptian/CMF/Columbia) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16428-various-artists-the-lost-notebooks-of-hank-williams-%2528egyptian_cmf_columbia%2529.html This is the second recording on Bob Dylan's private label, Egyptian, the first since 1997's The Songs Of Jimmie Rodgers: A Tribute. The Rodgers' CD contained artists paying tribute to him. The Hank Williams, Sr.is quite different in that the...]]> HeadCat - Walk the Walk… Talk the Talk (Niji Entertainment Group) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16390-headcat-walk-the-walk%25E2%2580%25A6-talk-the-talk-%2528niji-entertainment-group%2529.html Hard to believe Walk the Walk… Talk the Talk is the third studio album from the unlikely rockabilly combo of Lemmy Kilmister, Slim Jim Phantom and Danny B. Harvey. Hell, this trio didn't seem destined to last one record, let alone three. But here they...]]> Misovy Byrdsongs - Orinoco (Earsore) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16391-misovy-byrdsongs-orinoco-%2528earsore%2529.html Lang Lang - Liszt: My Piano Hero (Sony Classical) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16392-lang-lang-liszt-my-piano-hero-%2528sony-classical%2529.html Franz Liszt was treated like a 20th-century rock star in his day, the early 19th century. In honor of his 200th birthday, one of the leading classical pianists of our time, Lang Lang, recorded a selection of his music with the Vienna Philharmonic under...]]> Dunya - A Story of the City: Constantinople Istanbul http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16372-dunya-a-story-of-the-city-constantinople-istanbul.html Blue Sky Hour - Hot Sun and Short Shorts http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16307-blue-sky-hour-hot-sun-and-short-shorts.html Vagabond Opera - Sing for Your Lives! http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16308-vagabond-opera-sing-for-your-lives_.html Portland, Ore.'s Vagabond Opera can't be called psychedelic, but the cabaret whimsy of Sing for Your Lives! wouldn't have been out of place on the arcane edges of '60s rock. Vagabond Opera isn't a klezmer band, either, yet the mad rhythms and melancholy...]]> The Portraits - The Portraits 1966-68 (MusicGem) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16309-the-portraits-the-portraits-1966-68-%2528musicgem%2529.html The era of Jersey Boys had barely faded when The Portraits made their debut. The Milwaukee singers and players were steeped in the vocal harmonies of the Four...]]> Elvis Presley - Young Man with the Big Beat (RCA Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16294-elvis-presley-young-man-with-the-big-beat-%2528rca-legacy%2529.html Nineteen fifty-six was the year Elvis Presley rose from promising, regionally popular Southern star in a genre the music press called “rural rhythm” into Elvis, the King of Rock'n'Roll. His ascent resulted in part from the work of his carnie manager...]]> C.J. Chenier - Can't Sit Down (World Village) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16271-cj-chenier-cant-sit-down-%2528world-village%2529.html On his latest CD, the reigning king of zydeco works within the fixed points of his Louisiana musical tradition—the influences of blues, country and R&B, and the occasional French vocal—and rocks up the mix for maximum contemporary party appeal...]]> Keb' Mo' - The Reflection (Yolabelle International) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16238-keb-mo-the-reflection-%2528yolabelle-international%2529.html With each successive album Keb' Mo' has moved further from his province as a Robert Johnson-covering, National steel-guitar-toting, Compton-bred bluesman toward a new home in...]]> Luvahl - Luvahl http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16239-luvahl-luvahl.html On the debut by Milwaukee's Luvahl, the tragic glamour of '70s Bowie converges with sprightly bluegrass and mournful Gypsy folk. They'd be perfectly at home on a bill with Devotchka or...]]> Vitttorio Grigolo - Arrevaderci (Sony Classical) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16149-vitttorio-grigolo-arrevaderci-%2528sony-classical%2529.html Preservation Hall Jazz Band - New Orleans Preservation Vol. 1 (Preservation Hall Recordings) / American Legacies (McCoury Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16153-preservation-hall-jazz-band-new-orleans-preservation-vol-1-%2528preservation-hall-recordings%2529-american-legacies-%2528mccoury-music%2529.html Katrina closed Preservation Hall in 2005, but like the city of New Orleans, this treasured institution couldn't be stopped by the hurricane for long. The popular venue for traditional New Orleans jazz reopened in '06, with its house band back on the...]]> Nat Janoff - Come Together Move Apart http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16083-nat-janoff-come-together-move-apart.html On his latest CD, Come Together Move Apart, Milwaukee jazz guitarist Nat Janoff leads a studio ensemble to breezy yet cerebral effect. Janoff traded his metal/rock background in favor of more opportunities to improvise, and he gets his share...]]> Westchester Jazz Orchestra - Maiden Voyage Suite http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16084-westchester-jazz-orchestra-maiden-voyage-suite.html Herbie Hancock's cinematic music Maiden Voyage was the sound of the human imagination feeling the bite of a briny mist in the face over a vast, watery horizon...]]> Sevara Nazarkhan - Tortadur (Sevaramusic) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16085-sevara-nazarkhan-tortadur-%2528sevaramusic%2529.html Sevara Nazarkhan's voice rises from nocturnal whispers to bold proclamations on Tortadur. A singer from remote Uzbekistan, Nazarkhan crafted a contemporary recording from ancient elements without compromising Silk Road traditions...]]> Geoff Vidal - She Likes That (Arts & Music Factory) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16017-geoff-vidal-she-likes-that-%2528arts-music-factory%2529.html Although She Likes That is his debut recording, Geoff Vidal already sounds like a veteran. The New Orleans-turned-New York saxophonist organized an ensemble of young musicians for the session who balance individual skill with group cohesion...]]> Guarco - Fiebre http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15995-guarco-fiebre.html Born in Uruguay but living in Brooklyn, singer-guitarist-songwriter Guarco makes music that sounds like a walk down a New York street in summertime—or a street in most cosmopolitan places in the 21st century. On Fiebre, Guarco blends music from...]]> The Android Meme - Ordo Ab Chao (Magna Carta Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15999-the-android-meme-ordo-ab-chao-%2528magna-carta-records%2529.html Loaded with songs about secret societies and government experiments, the debut CD from Toronto's The Android Meme also borrows musical references from groups as wide-ranging as Rush and Tears for Fears. If you've read this far, you should know that...]]> Addis Acoustic Project - Tewesta (Remembrance) (World Village) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16000-addis-acoustic-project-tewesta-%2528remembrance%2529-%2528world-village%2529.html Before the Communist takeover in the mid-1970s, Ethiopia had one of the most exciting pop music scenes in Africa. And with the collapse of that hateful regime came many efforts to rebuild the country's culture, including the collecting of old recordings and...]]> Chris Mariani - Chris Mariani http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16001-chris-mariani-chris-mariani.html Elkhorn's Chris Mariani is a formidable conduit for the swinging sounds of Frank, Dean, Tony and the boys. Ranging from the accompaniment of piano and trumpet to full-on big band, he leads with assurance and a lack of irony. It's been 15 years since the...]]> Gösta Berlings Saga - Glue Works (Cuneiform Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15877-g%25C3%25B6sta-berlings-saga-glue-works-%2528cuneiform-records%2529.html As more bands eschew lyrics for increasingly adventurous instrumental albums, Sweden's Gösta Berlings Saga has figured out how to create compelling music without succumbing to unlikable self-indulgence. Glue Works bonds the individual influences of each of this progressive-rock...]]> Dennis Coffey - Dennis Coffey (Strut) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15878-dennis-coffey-dennis-coffey-%2528strut%2529.html As a guitarist, producer and arranger, Dennis Coffey can claim responsibility for a significant chunk of '60s and '70s soul and rock. With his Detroit Guitar Band, the instrumental hits "Scorpio" and "Taurus" made trippy R&B into spooky dance music. His first album in 22 years returns...]]> Patti Smith - Outside Society (Columbia Arista Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15816-patti-smith-outside-society-%2528columbia-arista-legacy%2529.html Patti Smith was a bolt out of left field with her 1975 album Horses. It might be hard 35 years on to understand how deeply that music affected scattered outcasts across America in the moment before the dawn of punk rock. The unsettling fury of her voice, the primal power of her band and her...]]> Tinariwen - Tassili (ANTI-) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15820-tinariwen-tassili-%2528anti-%2529.html With world music bands, the presence of Western guest stars usually bodes ill. All that fine talk of cross-cultural influences is seldom more important than the strategy of cross-marketing. But on Tassili, the presence of Wilco's Nels Cline, various members of TV on the Radio...]]> Los Hermanos Lovo - Soy Salvadoreno! (Smithsonian Folkways) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15801-los-hermanos-lovo-soy-salvadoreno_-%2528smithsonian-folkways%2529.html El Salvador's Los Hermanos Lovo were already veterans of their nation's musical culture before they fled a destructive civil war for the U.S. in the late '80s. On their new album the brothers keep alive a particular rural tradition called chanchona, a lively music powered by a big string bass with...]]> Kenny Wayne Shepherd - How I Go (Roadrunner Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15758-kenny-wayne-shepherd-how-i-go-%2528roadrunner-records%2529.html He may have outgrown the “young blues guitarist” tag, but Kenny Wayne Shepherd remains a vital ax-slinger who bridges the gap between blues and mainstream rock. Now in his mid-30s, Shepherd sounds more comfortable than ever on his sixth studio album, How I Go, an accomplished collection of songs...]]> Cyberchump - Their Moment of Perfect Happiness http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15759-cyberchump-their-moment-of-perfect-happiness.html Milwaukee's Mark G.E. and long-distance collaborator Jim Skeel record together under the name Cyberchump. Playing with electronic textures on their latest CD, the two-disc Their Moment of Perfect Happiness, the prolific duo makes music in which the humanity isn't lost amid the technology...]]> Jose Conde - Jose Conde (PiPiKi Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15746-jose-conde-jose-conde-%2528pipiki-records%2529.html Reared in Miami's Cuban district but now living in Brooklyn, where he's at the beating heart of the Latin music scene, singer and bandleader Jose Conde has played in many styles. He draws from many of them for his self-titled latest CD. There are Cuban rhythms but also an echo of reggae...]]> The Paul Simon Legacy - '70s Albums Reissued http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15725-the-paul-simon-legacy-70s-albums-reissued.html Both the album-collecting counterculture and the singles-devouring pop audience honored Simon & Garfunkel, who found magic for much of their prolific ride on the top of the charts in the late 1960s. Their voices harmonized in a breathtaking choir for two, around which their...]]> The Funk Ark - From the Rooftops http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15681-the-funk-ark-from-the-rooftops.html Picture a warm summer evening in the late '60s when all the cats have come to jam. With the exception of a rap over the easy-going groove on one track, the instrumental From the Rooftops conjures up a time and season—imagine Booker T. & the MGs as the house band, laying down their...]]> John Hiatt - Dirty Jeans and Mudslide Hymns (New West Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15683-john-hiatt-dirty-jeans-and-mudslide-hymns-%2528new-west-records%2529.html It might take until the very last song—a maudlin, pedestrian pass at a 9/11 elegy that only maybe would have held water in the tragedy's immediate aftermath—to see just what's askew with John Hiatt's latest effort. But throughout there are signposts that the singer simply...]]> Various Artists - Johnny Boy Would Love This (Hole in the Rain) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15684-various-artists-johnny-boy-would-love-this-%2528hole-in-the-rain%2529.html The wide scope of John Martyn's music made him hard to market to a rock audience satisfied with easy categories, but the difficulty made him attractive to other musicians. Johnny Boy Would Love This is a two-CD tribute by a vast range of artists, including The Cure's...]]> Neil Young & The International Harvesters - A Treasure: Neil Young Archive Series #9 (Reprise Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15676-neil-young-the-international-harvesters-a-treasure-neil-young-archive-series-9-%2528reprise-records%2529.html It's hard to separate the music from the events surrounding Neil Young's career in the mid-1980s. I mean, how many artists get sued by their own record company for not sounding enough like themselves? Few, but this what Geffen Records did to Neil after he submitted a string of albums which were not in line with label expectations...]]> Sleestak - The Fall of Altrusia http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15634-sleestak-the-fall-of-altrusia.html Billing themselves as “Wisconsin's Doom Disciples,” the four members of Milwaukee's Sleestak—featuring former members of Sixinch, Atomic Number 9 and Planet Delirium—trudge through the sludge on their second album, The Fall of Altrusia. This concept disc, with “chapters” instead of “tracks,” is based...]]> MPS Alumni Gospel Choir - We Are One http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15635-mps-alumni-gospel-choir-we-are-one.html Multicultural, multigenerational and nonsectarian enough to have received an invitation to sing at a United Nations event, Milwaukee Public Schools' Alumni Gospel Choir keeps its approach basic for We Are One...]]> Peter Tosh - Legalize It/Equal Rights-Legacy Editions (Columbia/Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15621-peter-tosh-legalize-it_equal-rights-legacy-editions-%2528columbia_legacy%2529.html With the battle to legalize marijuana still raging, reissues of Peter Tosh's first two solo albums—cornerstones of the roots-rock-reggae movement—serve as a reminder of the former Wailer's pro-pot efforts. After all, the cover of...]]> LovaNova - We're All In It Together (Crustacean) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15557-lovanova-were-all-in-it-together-%2528crustacean%2529.html Anyone desirous of a CD containing a sheet of strategically naked paper dolls of the band members will want the second album by the Milwaukee instrumental quartet Lova Nova. After that novelty wears off, there remain eight jams heavy on tight, fierce interplay between Paul "Evil...]]> Ersatzmusika - Songs Unrecantable (Asphalt Tango) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15558-ersatzmusika-songs-unrecantable-%2528asphalt-tango%2529.html “Eager to outwit history” declares the back cover manifesto of Songs Unrecantable, Ersatzmusika has proclaimed an “old wave” of music from the late Soviet period in the face of “inevitability and progress.” The joke is on the old Marxist-Leninist ideology and the Russian group performs with the resilient...]]> Sorry Bamba - Volume One 1970-1979 (Thrill Jockey) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15546-sorry-bamba-volume-one-1970-1979-%2528thrill-jockey%2529.html The '70s were a peak time for music later categorized under the generic heading of Afrobeat. In reality, many beats were rising from the continent. One important performer of the era, vocalist and band leader Sorry Bamba, came from the West African nation of Mali and came of age with his country's independence. Volume One covers recordings...]]> The Mike Benign Compulsion - “My Michelle” http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15536-the-mike-benign-compulsion-%25E2%2580%259Cmy-michelle%25E2%2580%259D.html After years of silence, songwriter and vocalist Mike Benign is back to making music. A dominant figure in Milwaukee's alt scene in the late '80s and early '90s with bands such as Umbrella Man, Arms & Legs & Feet and Blue in the Face, Benign returned last year with a new group and a CD of new songs...]]> Oana Catalina Chitu / Gabi Lunca - Bucharest Tango (Asphalt Tango) / Sounds from a Bygone Era Vol. 5 (Asphalt Tango) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15490-oana-catalina-chitu-gabi-lunca-bucharest-tango-%2528asphalt-tango%2529-sounds-from-a-bygone-era-vol-5-%2528asphalt-tango%2529.html Tango originated in the low places of Argentina, but during the 1920s and'40s it became the rage around the world in café society—even as far away as Romania. After the rise of the Iron Curtain, Romania's ostensibly puritanical Communist regime banned the tango, yet the music and the dance survived in memory...]]> BoDeans - Indigo Dreams (He & He Records/Oarfin Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15495-bodeans-indigo-dreams-%2528he-he-records_oarfin-records%2529.html The BoDeans, which released its debut album 25 years ago as a four-piece out of Waukesha, is now a duo. Guitarist/vocalist Sam Llanas and multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Kurt Neumann, always the band's heart and soul, co-wrote all 13 songs on Indigo Dreams. Former members and live players Michael Ramos (keyboards), Bukka Allen (accordion)...]]> Repetition Lever - Repetition Lever http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15496-repetition-lever-repetition-lever.html Former Take My Face frontman Dan Type's latest band takes his prog inclinations in divergent directions. Free-floating, electro-acoustic arrangements imbued with reverb and existential anguish connect the dots between Thom Yorke, shoegazer post-punk, the artier end of emo and post-rock. The hooks may often be buried under the sound, but exploration can yield rewards. Americana...]]> Shusmo - Mumtastic http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15437-shusmo-mumtastic.html Cultural life in the Middle East had not been frozen before the dawn of the Arab Spring. For several years, Palestinian-born musician Tareq Abboushi has been stretching the borders with his band Shusmo, often undergirding string and percussion jams and Near Eastern melodies with elastic rock beats and the bite of...]]> Hasse Fröberg & Musical Companion - Future Past (Reingold Records/ProgRock Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15425-hasse-fr%25C3%25B6berg-musical-companion-future-past-%2528reingold-records_progrock-records%2529.html Fans of progressive rock that emphasizes “rock” over “prog” will find plenty to enjoy on Future Past, the debut from Hasse Fröberg & Musical Companion. Fröberg is the guitarist and sometimes-vocalist for the Swedish symphonic prog band The Flower Kings, and the similarities between his new outfit and his main...]]> Brian Hoffer - Into the Boulevard http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15426-brian-hoffer-into-the-boulevard.html Some of Jonathan Richman's heartbreaking naiveté and a pinch of Emo Philips' whimsical spaz are backed by poppy folk and power pop on Milwaukeean Brian Hoffer's impressive debut album. The hummable melodies aptly match lyrics that...]]> Loga Ramin Torkian - Mehraab (Terrestrial Lane/Electrofone) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15427-loga-ramin-torkian-mehraab-%2528terrestrial-lane_electrofone%2529.html With a rolling thunder of percussion and the woody timbre of acoustic instruments emerging from the infinity of electronica, Loga Ramin Torkian bridges the classical Persian tradition of his homeland with the present day in music at once ancient and modern. Born in Iran but based in Montreal, Torkian is the multi...]]> Yeti Rain - III (Crimsonic) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15374-yeti-rain-iii-%2528crimsonic%2529.html Yeti Rain—a dark, ambient collaboration between former Racine resident William Kopecky on bass and Chicago's saxophone/wind synth master Roger Ebner—expands to a trio for the aptly titled III. Craig Walkner, another former Wisconsinite, adds exceptional dimension to Yeti Rain's disturbing wall of sound...]]> Big Leaf Linden - Whiskey Don't Lie (Stolen Gold) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15375-big-leaf-linden-whiskey-dont-lie-%2528stolen-gold%2529.html On Whiskey Don't Lie, Milwaukee's Big Leaf Linden mingles rock, country, folk and bluegrass to fairly original and often haunting effect. Vocalist Kirk Linden continues to sound like a sibling of Tom Petty and Roger McGuinn. Whiskey Don't Lie broadens the band's horizons with the faintest touch of electronics and...]]> Alash - Buura http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15376-alash-buura.html The throat singers and musicians of Alash sometimes call themselves a Milwaukee band, even though they come from Tuva and log thousands of miles a year on the road. Their manager lives in Milwaukee and they spend at least a week each year in the Cream City (and look forward to seeing the Brewers). The global...]]> Terakaft - Aratan n Azawad (World Village) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15350-terakaft-aratan-n-azawad-%2528world-village%2529.html Unlikely as it may seem, the remote desert of Mali and the semi-nomadic Tuareg tribes dwelling there have nurtured some of the most powerful rock music in recent years. The opening track by the latest group to surface from the Sahara, Terakaft, sounds like John Lee Hooker electric guitar boogie, its foot-stomping...]]> Mr. Ho's Orchestrotica - Third River Rangoon (Tiki Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15306-mr-hos-orchestrotica-third-river-rangoon-%2528tiki-records%2529.html Exotica, the 1950s instrumental genre, is largely remembered as kitsch—an image many revivalists have been happy to play with. Mr. Ho's Orchestrotica transcend those roots without abandoning them. Like those marvelously strange Hi-Fi LPs from the '50s, the arrangements for Ho's originals open onto visions...]]> Kate & Anna McGarrigle - Tell My Sister (Nonesuch) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15276-kate-anna-mcgarrigle-tell-my-sister-%2528nonesuch%2529.html Canadian sisters Kate and Anna McGarrigle's 1975 debut album, a wondrous folk-blues-jazz mélange containing soul-etched lyrics, starts the three-CD treasure trove Tell My Sister. Luminous and eccentric vocal harmonies suggest unique yet entwined individuals. Kate, who died of cancer in 2010, radiated warm...]]> Book Club - Fighting, We Were http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15277-book-club-fighting-we-were.html Fox Lake/Waupun band Book Club follows up an EP with the kind of full-length project that should garner plenty of attention outside of Dodge County. Singer/guitarist Sam Sterk follows Billy Corgan's mold, with a hoarse yet tuneful way with the songs. Sterk and his band mates have learned the right lessons...]]> Kate Bush - Director's Cut (Fish People) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15210-kate-bush-directors-cut-%2528fish-people%2529.html It's always been a temptation and/or dilemma for an artist: Should I continue to rework my painting, sculpture or poem until it's perfect? Can perfection ever be reached? And how would we know? With technology making it easy for musicians to reach inside their old work, Kate Bush revisited tracks from...]]> Dano & Sons at Sun Studio - 100 Year Storm (SlipShod Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15211-dano-sons-at-sun-studio-100-year-storm-%2528slipshod-records%2529.html Milwaukee's Dano Peterson and sons Shayne and Jeff traveled to Memphis to record in one of the world's legendary studios. Only the opening track tries to emulate the Sun sound, and rockabilly is not the band's forte. Where the Petersons excel is with idiosyncratic basement rock with urgent riffs and bass lines...]]> Clovis Mann - Metamorphic http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15212-clovis-mann-metamorphic.html Madison band Clovis Mann's third album continues its hybrid style of bluesy, jazzy, sometimes-reggae, jam-band rocking heavy on organ and guitar. They make a rich and varied hippie ruckus for trio with occasional guests, including choral accompaniment on a soul gospel rave-up that sounds...]]> Moby - Destroyed (Mute Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15194-moby-destroyed-%2528mute-records%2529.html Moby's latest CD was conceived on tour in the early hours before sunrise. Destroyed is the sound of near silence, when the city and all its machines yawn and toss in half sleep. Sifting through the roots of his music, Moby has sculpted quiet pieces from the influence of early ambient music by Cluster and Eno; there are also...]]> Vicious World - Plays the Music of Rufus Wainwright (Spinaround Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15170-vicious-world-plays-the-music-of-rufus-wainwright-%2528spinaround-records%2529.html The great songs from the Golden Age of American popular music—the era of Gershwin and Porter—have been sung and done a thousand ways in jazz. The Vicious World septet asks the question: Why not the songs of more contemporary writers? Well, it's been happening for decades already, from jazz renditions of...]]> Les Doigts de l'Homme - 1910 (Alma) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15114-les-doigts-de-lhomme-1910-%2528alma%2529.html The Gypsy swing of Django Reinhardt continues to fascinate musicians the world over 70 years after his death. The French quartet Les Doigts de l'Homme pay tribute with 1910, named for the year of Reinhardt's birth. Their name translates to “The Fingers of Men” and their hands are all over their three guitars and an...]]> North Atlantic Oscillation - Grappling Hooks (Kscope/Snapper Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15115-north-atlantic-oscillation-grappling-hooks-%2528kscope_snapper-music%2529.html At first, you refuse to believe the lush soundscapes created by Scotland's North Atlantic Oscillation are the work of only two musicians. “This sounds more like five or six,” you proclaim incredulously. But the band's U.S. debut, Grappling Hooks—a sonic treat that melds classic rock with digital sequencing and laptop...]]> Brian Carpenter's Ghost Train Orchestra - Hothouse Stomp: The Music of 1920s Chicago and Harlem (Accurate) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15116-brian-carpenters-ghost-train-orchestra-hothouse-stomp-the-music-of-1920s-chicago-and-harlem-%2528accurate%2529.html Brian Carpenter is fascinated with jazz before it began to swing—the early music that made its way up the riverboat lines and the railroads from New Orleans to the big Northern cities of Chicago and New York. Carpenter is an eclectic postmodernist who has recorded elsewhere in alt-country and alt-rock contexts...]]> Paul Revere & the Raiders - The Essential (Columbia Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15077-paul-revere-the-raiders-the-essential-%2528columbia-legacy%2529.html Paul Revere & the Raiders are probably best remembered for their daft fashion sense—those Revolutionary War uniforms that probably signaled a reaction against the British Invasion of the mid-1960s even if the Brits inevitably influenced their music. The new two-disc collection is a reminder of the Raiders' beginnings as a...]]> Genticorum - Nagez Rameurs (Mad River) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15060-genticorum-nagez-rameurs-%2528mad-river%2529.html Some folk music groups try to update their sound with rock rhythms or hip-hop beats while others go for raw-boned period authenticity. Quebec's Genticorum fall into another camp where historical details are polished to a high gloss and the players admit to a certain eclecticism in their influences—including an...]]> Bill Frisell - Sign of Life (Savoy Jazz) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15043-bill-frisell-sign-of-life-%2528savoy-jazz%2529.html At once the most prolific (two albums so far this year!) and the most elusive (what kind of music is this?) among contemporary giants of jazz guitar, Bill Frisell continues his fruitful and enigmatic output with Sign of Life...]]> Michael & The Bystanders - Hanging On http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15044-michael-the-bystanders-hanging-on.html Soft rock rhythms, acoustic guitar textures and ingratiating melodies are the basis for Hanging On. Something of an all-star cast of Milwaukee musicians, the band is led by vocalist-songwriter Michael Henszey, a one-time session musician with Cheap Trick and Jerry Harrison, and the skilled players include...]]> Vieux Farka Toure - The Secret (Six Degrees) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15039-vieux-farka-toure-the-secret-%2528six-degrees%2529.html As the son of world music star Ali Farka Toure, Vieux Farka Toure must feel a certain responsibility to the genre and the place of his country, Mali. Recorded in his homeland and completed in Brooklyn, The Secret includes some licks recorded by his father before his death and is studded with the contributions of famous...]]> Various Artists - Civil War Naval Songs (Smithsonian Folkways) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14998-various-artists-civil-war-naval-songs-%2528smithsonian-folkways%2529.html Civil War buffs will love this collection of period songs from the U.S. and Confederate navies, but their appeal isn't limited to memorabilia collectors and battlefield re-enactors. Anyone interested in American folk music will be fascinated by these tunes. Often archaic in language and cadence and with melodies dating...]]> Tyne Darling - The Secret November http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14997-tyne-darling-the-secret-november.html Milwaukee singer-songwriter Tom Vollman moved to a Manhattan walk-up apartment with a piano as one of its few furnishings. When the weather got miserable, out came these dirge-like songs for his band, Tyne Darling. You won't find a great supply of life's joys here, but with idiosyncratic instrumentation for his brand...]]> Tab Benoit - Medicine (Telarc Blues) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14996-tab-benoit-medicine-%2528telarc-blues%2529.html If your worst hangover had a voice all its own, it might well echo like that of Tab Benoit. Consider the guitarist's wail on the title track as he throatily moans to “bring me my medicine.” Full of pan-fried gristle, boggy humidity and the ulcerous pain of years of too much hot sauce and moonshine, it's as guttural and...]]> Neil Diamond - The Bang Years 1966-1968 (Columbia Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14973-neil-diamond-the-bang-years-1966-1968-%2528columbia-legacy%2529.html Neil Diamond was still an aspiring songwriter from Brooklyn when he fashioned an identity for himself in a wonderful series of on-point singles for a big indie label, Bang Records. In songs like “Solitary Man” and “Girl, You'll be a Woman Soon,” Diamond forged a persona not unlike a character from one of Paul...]]> Eric Andersen - Plane Rides & Ocean Tides http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14922-eric-andersen-plane-rides-ocean-tides.html Many are the reasons an artist desires to be retro. For some, it may be a desire to identify with some hip aspect of a bygone style. For others, it's a sincere desire to stamp a personal interpretation on a style that may have fallen out of favor. Oconomowoc-reared singer-songwriter Eric Andersen falls into the latter...]]> Uncle Mike & His Polka Band - Dance! Pint Size Polkas Volume Two http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14923-uncle-mike-his-polka-band-dance_-pint-size-polkas-volume-two.html Following up his 2008 album of kid-friendly material, Milwaukee accordionist/singer Mike Schneider again brings old-time sounds to the younger set with Pint Size Polkas. The album seeks to bring children to the dance floor—or at least get them moving—with oldies by Frankie Yankovic and others. Elsewhere, Uncle...]]> Dengue Fever - Cannibal Courtship (Fantasy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14924-dengue-fever-cannibal-courtship-%2528fantasy%2529.html Dengue Fever blends elements of Southeast Asia into potentially classic songs drawing on the pop, garage, surf and psychedelic rock of the '60s. Cambodian singer Chhom Nimol's powerful voice rises with the grace of a dolphin from waves of irresistible hooks, memorable melodies and meaningful lyrics...]]> Iggy Pop - Road Kill Rising: The Bootleg Collection 1977-2009 (Shout! Factory) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14906-iggy-pop-road-kill-rising-the-bootleg-collection-1977-2009-%2528shout_-factory%2529.html Iggy Pop was always a confrontational performer, ribald and funny and a little dangerous. Road Kill Rising captures 30 years of Pop concerts, including best remembered songs from the Stooges and his solo albums along with “Louie Louie,” “You Really Got Me” and other seminal rock numbers that pointed him on the...]]> Boban & Marko Markovic Orchestra and Fanfare Ciocarlia - Balkan Brass Battle (Asphalt Tango) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14880-boban-marko-markovic-orchestra-and-fanfare-ciocarlia-balkan-brass-battle-%2528asphalt-tango%2529.html The Balkans have witnessed many wars, few of them ending as happily as the cutting contest on Balkan Brass Battle. Recorded under the shadow of a certain legendary castle in Transylvania, the session pits two of the most potent contemporary bands from Eastern Europe in a chest-thumping contest, Serbia's...]]> Lil' Rev and Larry Penn - Around the Campfire (Cookie Man Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14837-lil-rev-and-larry-penn-around-the-campfire-%2528cookie-man-music%2529.html For Lil' Rev, recording an album with Larry Penn was a wish come true. Rev is one of Milwaukee's younger standard-bearers of American folk music, and Penn has been an embodiment of folk music for longer than Rev has been on this planet. After knowing each other and sharing the stage on occasion...]]> John Martyn - Heaven and Earth (Hole in the Rain Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14823-john-martyn-heaven-and-earth-%2528hole-in-the-rain-music%2529.html Although John Martyn never attracted a wide following for his songs, he caught the ears of many musicians in his native Britain as well as Jamaica. Eric Clapton, David Gilmour and Lee “Scratch” Perry were among his collaborators. Recorded at the time of his death in 2009, Martyn's final sessions were put in order and...]]> Well Informed Citizens - Well Informed Citizens http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14787-well-informed-citizens-well-informed-citizens.html A flute solo over fuzzed-out rhythm guitar on only the second track? Woo hoo! Boogie and blues in the framework of a thudding, pummeling jam orientation define the eight-song debut by Milwaukee's Well Informed Citizens. On their self-titled album, they faithfully tap into the early-'70s energy that rode the cusp...]]> Various Artists - Jazz Roots: The Music of the Americas (Masterworks Jazz) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14788-various-artists-jazz-roots-the-music-of-the-americas-%2528masterworks-jazz%2529.html Jazz is among America's unique contributions to world culture. Its roots are deep in the black experience, but its evolution has taken it to places far removed from its origins. One of the best succinct overviews of the genre's hundred-year history, the two-CD set Jazz Roots opens with African drums and moves steadily...]]> Galactic - The Other Side of Midnight: Live in New Orleans (ANTI-) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14789-galactic-the-other-side-of-midnight-live-in-new-orleans-%2528anti-%2529.html No city in America has a richer funk tradition than New Orleans, and the Crescent City boldly entered the 21st century with Galactic. The band's deep hometown roots are on display all over The Other Side of Midnight, which features Cyril Neville and other local heroes. But even when left entirely to their own...]]> Various Artists - Chicago Blues A Living History: The (R)evolution Continues (Raisin' Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14793-various-artists-chicago-blues-a-living-history-the-%2528r%2529evolution-continues-%2528raisin-music%2529.html If you didn't know better, you'd think many tracks on the two-disc Living History were recorded circa 1955. And that's no small accomplishment nowadays. A collection of classic songs by Muddy Waters, Elmore James and many others from the 1940s through the '90s, the recording features a solid core of...]]> Bob Dylan - In Concert: Brandeis University 1963 (Columbia) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14694-bob-dylan-in-concert-brandeis-university-1963-%2528columbia%2529.html Recorded on May 10, 1963, as part of a college folk festival, Bob Dylan performed what would become his finest recorded version of “Ballad of Hollis Brown.” We hear the passion that comes from merging a mythic story that should be true with a sermon on justice that never comes. There is an unintended...]]> Abnormal Cattle - Figure 1 (Rabbit Fire) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14695-abnormal-cattle-figure-1-%2528rabbit-fire%2529.html Self-loathing, misanthropy, sexual dysfunction, nihilism and the confused sparks of actual caring and fascination with life—Fish Creek, Wis., trio Abnormal Cattle makes it seem as if grunge awoke from its Pacific Northwest burial mound and arose in Door County. All of this is pretty wonderful because the band...]]> Banco de Gaia - Songs from the Silk Road (Disco Gecko) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14633-banco-de-gaia-songs-from-the-silk-road-%2528disco-gecko%2529.html The title says it all: Songs from the Silk Road, essentially a career compilation by British DJ-remixer Banco de Gaia, is a sequential journey from Europe into the heart of Central Asia along ancient trade routes, picking up sounds along the way through the shuffling...]]> Phil Spector's Old Magic - New Reissues from the Tycoon of Teen http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14617-phil-spectors-old-magic-new-reissues-from-the-tycoon-of-teen.html Phil Spector was such a watchword for weirdness even before his murder trial that his negative celebrity already threatened to eclipse his importance as a hitmaking music producer ("the Tycoon of Teen") in the 1960s. Since the early '70s his work has been...]]> Haiku Funeral - If God Is a Drug (Hikikomori Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14624-haiku-funeral-if-god-is-a-drug-%2528hikikomori-records%2529.html Pure evil. There really is no other way to describe the dark, experimental music of Haiku Funeral, a demonic duo featuring former Racine bassist William Kopecky. If God Is a Drug, the second full-length album in Kopecky's alliance with Bulgarian...]]> Sanda - Gypsy in a Tree (Barbes Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14625-sanda-gypsy-in-a-tree-%2528barbes-records%2529.html Romanian-born Sanda Weigl remains true to tradition on Gypsy in a Tree, but in a new context. Related by marriage to Bertolt Brecht and fascinated by the wild East repertoire of the Gypsies, Weigl's deeply felt cabaret style remains intact after moving to New York...]]> Fibonacci Sequence - Numerology (Fibonacci Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14626-fibonacci-sequence-numerology-%2528fibonacci-music%2529.html When it comes to the heavy instrumental progressive rock of Milwaukee's Fibonacci Sequence, listeners can admire the multitudinous changes in time signature, instrumentation and ethnic influences throughout each number. And one can derive at...]]> Ralph Covert & The Bad Examples - Smash Record (Waterdog Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14524-ralph-covert-the-bad-examples-smash-record-%2528waterdog-records%2529.html When Chicago hipster Ralph Covert's family-music project Ralph's World took off (10 albums, Disney deals and a Grammy nomination), his days of recording with his fun power-pop band, The Bad Examples, seemed over...]]> Bill Miller - Chronicles of Hope (Cool Springs) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14525-bill-miller-chronicles-of-hope-%2528cool-springs%2529.html The latest album by Wisconsin native Bill Miller goes a long way toward countering the marginalization of the American-Indian pop/folk music in which he's been esteemed for more than a quarter-century. Chronicles of Hope delivers a loose song cycle based...]]> Mike Fredrickson - Souvenirs http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14499-mike-fredrickson-souvenirs.html Like clockwork, Mike Fredrickson releases CDs chock full of catchy songs brimming with hook-laden melodies and pithy lyrics. You get the impression that, to him, writing songs is like breathing. Souvenirs adds another chapter in the discography Fredrickson...]]> Ana Moura - Coliseu (World Village) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14500-ana-moura-coliseu-%2528world-village%2529.html Rooted in Jewish and Moorish traditions, fado is the folk music of Portugal, the blues of that coastal nation. And as shown on the live album Coliseu, fado can be as soulful as Aretha Franklin and caressing as Roberta Flack. Ana Moura's performance on the CD...]]> Paul Simon - So Beautiful or So What (Concord) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14451-paul-simon-so-beautiful-or-so-what-%2528concord%2529.html With its echoes of Africa and gospel, Paul Simon's new CD often rises from familiar ground while sometimes giving way to surprise, as on the vaguely bluesy title track. As a wordsmith, Simon juggles snatches of beautiful lyric poetry with humor and irony...]]> Mogwai - Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will (Sub Pop) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14449-mogwai-hardcore-will-never-die-but-you-will-%2528sub-pop%2529.html Mogwai is post-rock. Mogwai is drone-rock. Mogwai is space-rock. Mogwai is quiet, melodic and beautiful. Mogwai is the loudest thing known to man. On the opening track, "White Noise," Mogwai is reminiscent of King Crimson's...]]> Azam Ali - From Night to the Edge of Day (Six Degrees) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14450-azam-ali-from-night-to-the-edge-of-day-%2528six-degrees%2529.html Rooted in traditions of the Near East while embracing new routes to timeless music, Azam Ali sings with quiet power, remarkable range and emotional depth. On her new CD, she performs lullabies from the region—songs of shadow and light as if sung by mothers...]]> Dub is a Weapon - Vaporized (Harmonized Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14380-dub-is-a-weapon-vaporized-%2528harmonized-records%2529.html Dub originated in the recording studios of Jamaica as trippy reggae musicians experimented with the controls. In the digital age the idea of introducing the sonic dimension of dub to the stage is no longer especially remarkable, but NYC's Dub is...]]> La Cherga - Revolve (Asphalt Tango Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14344-la-cherga-revolve-%2528asphalt-tango-records%2529.html La Cherga are a fine example of the sort of truly world music blending together nowadays on many European street corners—an intersection of local traditions and influences from far away. With members from Bosnia, Macedonia and elsewhere, La Cherga mixes Latin echoes with aggressive rap, Gypsy brass...]]> The Go! Team - Rolling Blackouts (Memphis Industries) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14309-the-go_-team-rolling-blackouts-%2528memphis-industries%2529.html Having a signature sound is a double-edged sword for most acts. On one hand, a unique voice will always stand out against the cookie-cutter rabble. Then again, it can quickly become constrictive. Once the idiosyncrasies of your style become familiar, you walk the tightrope between pushing the boundaries...]]> Redbird - Live at the Café Carpe (Signature Sounds) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14310-redbird-live-at-the-cafe-carpe-%2528signature-sounds%2529.html Redbird is a rare creature: a very part-time "souper" group cooked up on a common tour but gelled as a delicious goulash at Café Carpe, the beloved restaurant-music venue in Fort Atkinson that helped birth the careers of all three of the group's singer-songwriters. Peter Mulvey's voice is like a loofah bar on your neck...]]> Johnny Cash - From Memphis to Hollywood: Bootleg Vol. 2 (Columbia/Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14272-johnny-cash-from-memphis-to-hollywood-bootleg-vol-2-%2528columbia_legacy%2529.html The latest release from the Johnny Cash archive covers roughly the first half of his career, the 1950s and '60s; most of the music has never been or was seldom heard on record. For music historians, disc one will be fascinating for its insights into Cash's earliest recordings. The 1955 live broadcasts from Memphis radio...]]> Something To Do - Souvenir (Trapdoor) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14273-something-to-do-souvenir-%2528trapdoor%2529.html Milwaukee's Something To Do makes catchy, anthemic, horn-driven rock. Though they have released music for nearly a decade now, they still sound like teens—as snotty as they are smart, even as they pound out a stomping, reggae/marching band ode to Red Stripe Beer and remake a Billy Idol oldie whose original...]]> Elvis Presley - Elvis is Back! The Legacy Edition (RCA/Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14170-elvis-presley-elvis-is-back_-the-legacy-edition-%2528rca_legacy%2529.html The artistry of Elvis Presley's career after his return from the army rose and fell with as many fluctuations as the stock market. His worst music was generally produced for the movie soundtracks he came to despise. The best was recorded in sympathetic settings in Memphis or Nashville in the company...]]> Jonny Burke - Distance and Fortune (Dreamcar Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14161-jonny-burke-distance-and-fortune-%2528dreamcar-records%2529.html Looking at the cover of Texas-based singer-songwriter Jonny Burke's debut CD, Distance and Fortune, it's easy to mistake this for a reissue of a long-lost country-rock album from the 1970s. There's a satisfied-looking Burke—gazing off into the distance, wearing bell-bottom jeans and a too-small T-shirt—frozen in a...]]> Heidi Spencer & the Rare Birds - Under Streetlight Glow (Bella Union) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14162-heidi-spencer-the-rare-birds-under-streetlight-glow-%2528bella-union%2529.html No one is likely to call Heidi Spencer a country singer, but on the Milwaukee artist's new album, her voice crackles with a mountain-holler vulnerability learned from Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn. Her idiosyncratic, poetically expressive songwriting is harder to peg, although the spirit of Dylan sometimes hovers in the...]]> Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys - Grand Isle http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14163-steve-riley-the-mamou-playboys-grand-isle.html Steve Riley slips between English and French as easily as his music slips in and out of country, rock and Cajun. With the Mamou Playboys, a swinging band whose beat has been honed at countless dance halls, Riley encompasses the sonic history of Louisiana's bayou country—and then some. Grand Isle includes...]]> Miles Davis - Bitches Brew Live (Columbia Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14107-miles-davis-bitches-brew-live-%2528columbia-legacy%2529.html If Bitches Brew (1969) was a significant turning point in jazz, then half of the material gathered on Bitches Brew Live was the signpost on the way. Six weeks before recording the album that opened the gate to jazz-rock fusion, Miles Davis gave his ideas a run through at the Newport Jazz Festival. Responding to...]]> Phish - Alpine Valley 2010 (JEMP Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14099-phish-alpine-valley-2010-%2528jemp-records%2529.html If you're tired of the cold, this warm and fuzzy two-DVD/two-CD box of Phish captured at Alpine Valley last summer will make you forget about winter. There are few crowd shots—don't look for yourself on camera if you were there—but watching this, it's easy enough to position yourself in the front row...]]> The Mambo Surfers - The PTSD Songbook http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14100-the-mambo-surfers-the-ptsd-songbook.html The Mambo Surfers have about as sunny a name as any Milwaukee band, but their song cycle about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) takes a sharp turn from that fun impression. Recorded live at The Coffee House, The PTSD Songbook telegraphs its somber intentions even before the laser hits the CD...]]> Michel Reis - Point of No Return (Armored Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14101-michel-reis-point-of-no-return-%2528armored-records%2529.html Pianist Michel Reis follows along the crystalline path of Germany's ECM label, 1970s proponents of exquisite acoustic chamber jazz. Like his forebears, Reis' compositions thrum with a cool, focused pulse; the bluesy swing of jazz is instilled with a strong harmonic similarity to Debussy and other 20th-century...]]> Big Head Todd & The Monsters - Big Head Blues Club: 100 Years of Robert Johnson (Ryko) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14069-big-head-todd-the-monsters-big-head-blues-club-100-years-of-robert-johnson-%2528ryko%2529.html The guest artists on this recording include B. B. King, Hubert Sumlin, Charlie Musselwhite, Cedric Burnside, David "Honeyboy" Edwards and Chris Goldsmith. Todd Park Mohr, founder of Big Head Todd and The Monsters, re-names his band Big Head Blues Club and membership includes the...]]> Atlantean Kodex - The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion (Cruz del Sur) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14025-atlantean-kodex-the-golden-bough-a-study-in-magic-and-religion-%2528cruz-del-sur%2529.html Don't call the five members of Germany's oddly named Atlantean Kodex underachievers. The Golden Bough, the band's ambitious debut CD, takes inspiration from the late Scottish anthropologist Sir James George Frazer's scholarly work of the same name, which explored the notion that organized religion...]]> Delfeayo Marsalis - Sweet Thunder (Troubadour Jass Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14026-delfeayo-marsalis-sweet-thunder-%2528troubadour-jass-records%2529.html It's long been taken for granted that leading figures in the classical music world devote much of their effort to conducting or otherwise interpreting the great work of the music's past. Another sign that jazz has reached similar ends is the new CD by trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis. With the aid of crack musicians, including...]]> Geoff Berner - Victory Party (Mint Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14027-geoff-berner-victory-party-%2528mint-records%2529.html Since the revival of klezmer music beginning in the 1970s, some players have tried to fuse the wild East sound with other sorts of music. On the title cut of Victory Party, Geoff Berner achieves a powerful convergence of rock with the long-ago music of Eastern Europeeuro;s Jews. A raging denunciation of war...]]> San Francisco Symphony - Beethoven Symphony No. 5/Piano Concerto No. 4 (SFS Media) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13980-san-francisco-symphony-beethoven-symphony-no-5_piano-concerto-no-4-%2528sfs-media%2529.html Mathew Haeffel - Rhythm Ethics (Genre Good) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13939-mathew-haeffel-rhythm-ethics-%2528genre-good%2529.html Following his 2008 Toaster Fires disc with Rhythm Ethics, Milwaukee's Mathew Haeffel continues in semi-improvisational, groove-intensive folk rock. Seemingly influenced by the catalog of the Dave Matthews Band, Haeffel adapts that stadium-filling act's eccentricities in melody and arrangement for a smaller...]]> Jason Seed Stringtet - The Escapist http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13940-jason-seed-stringtet-the-escapist.html One-time Milwaukee resident Jason Seed has spread his reputation across many genres, playing bracing and non-cliché jazz in small clubs and performing with Present Music. The guitarist explores another facet of his interests with The Escapist. The lone cover song is a clue of its direction: “Strange Meeting...]]> A Hawk and a Hacksaw - Cervantine (L.M. Dupli-cation) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13941-a-hawk-and-a-hacksaw-cervantine-%2528lm-dupli-cation%2529.html In today’s world, New Mexico might be as good a base as any for a band exploring the profound links between the music of Eastern lands from the Balkans through the gates of India. That’s the mission of A Hawk and a Hacksaw, a group traveling the road of sonic authenticity without much reference to ethnic...]]> Sara Banleigh - The Folk EP http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13908-sara-banleigh-the-folk-ep.html Sara Banleigh is a young artist determined to have it her way. For her debut album, she disdained the usual digital DIY in favor of a recording studio with a well-tempered grand piano and a small ensemble of acoustic instrumentalists. Her approach infuses a set of traditional Anglo-Celtic ballads with an integrity that has less...]]> Jason Moon - Trying to Find My Way Home (Full Moon Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13879-jason-moon-trying-to-find-my-way-home-%2528full-moon-music%2529.html When it comes to the effects of war on soldiers, it’s not difficult to find material, musical renditions included. But Milwaukee folkie Jason Moon's third solo album is an especially poignant reflection on the subject because he lived through it. Through 13 tracks, he muses upon everything from the time before his...]]> Kevin Mulvenna - Home Is My Harbor http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13880-kevin-mulvenna-home-is-my-harbor.html Muskego’s Kevin Mulvenna may be a Parrothead, but he's an unusually reflective and tuneful one. As his album's title indicates, he's comfortable—if a tad wistful—in the domesticity that comes with being a husband and father. His country/folk/pop amalgam meshes well with tales of past carousing, current...]]> Carlos “GoGo” Gomez - New Paradigm Global Music (Kidlat Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13881-carlos-ldgogord-gomez-new-paradigm-global-music-%2528kidlat-records%2529.html With a name like Carlos “GoGo” Gomez, you expect salsa or maybe Latin-flavored pop. And while the drummer has played with Tito Puente, his own musical path runs in a different direction on New Paradigm Global Music. Sure, there is a deep Afro-Latin resonance at moments. Mostly, though, the music is a...]]> Seventies Cool - Jazz Reissues from CTI http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13863-seventies-cool-jazz-reissues-from-cti.html In the 1970s CTI was among the biggest labels in jazz, and although it became associated with fusion for the white wine on the rocks crowd, many fine straight-ahead albums were released under its imprint. Some were recently reissued on CD. Among them]]> Kodo - Akatsuki http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13802-kodo-akatsuki.html A flag bearer for traditional Japanese culture, the performing arts group Kodo has toured the world for 30 years with its 900-pound drum and a polished act that suggests an Oriental Riverdance. The DVD in their two-disc set shows performers bearing flags—waving banners actually—as the group’s drum-and-dance...]]> Girls - Broken Dreams Club (Fantasy Trashcan/Turnstile Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13792-girls-broken-dreams-club-%2528fantasy-trashcan_turnstile-records%2529.html Wow! A band with horns. And a steel guitar. And a Mellotron! And plenty of mood. And an ethereal voice appropriately hidden in the mix. And interesting songs. And guitars that sound like they are on loan from Chris Isaak’s Silvertone at their most atmospheric. This all adds up to a distinctive and memorable...]]> Various Artists - Thongs in the Key Of Life, Vol. IV http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13793-various-artists-thongs-in-the-key-of-life-vol-iv.html You've probably heard it, but you may not have known what to call it. Singing Milwaukee journalist Jim Hoehn calls it “trop rock,” as in tropical. Hoehn's enthusiasm has yielded his fourth compilation of bands from across the United States with affinity for steel drums, tequila and sunny climes. Hoehn curates the...]]> The Jayhawks - Hollywood Town Hall (Legacy American) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13724-the-jayhawks-hollywood-town-hall-%2528legacy-american%2529.html The notion of Americana as a distinct musical genre was in its infancy when The Jayhawks emerged from the Twin Cities in the late ’80s, but their old-time, modern-world rock fits the form like a well-toned guy in a pair of faded jeans. Their 1992 major label debut has been reissued along with bonus tracks—and for once...]]> Gang of Four - Content (Yep Roc) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13725-gang-of-four-content-%2528yep-roc%2529.html Music fans can bless and blame Gang of Four for inspiring everything from some of alt rock's most resonant moments to the most unfortunate rap-metal muck. Now is as good a time as any for the genuine article to make a return appearance with their first album of original material in 16 years. The recent wave of...]]> Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet - To Hear from There (Patois) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13643-wayne-wallace-latin-jazz-quintet-to-hear-from-there-%2528patois%2529.html San Francisco’s Wayne Wallace is a multi-talented player in contemporary jazz as trombonist, arranger, bandleader, composer and producer. With To Hear from There, Wallace and his Latin Jazz Quintet proficiently execute a set of mostly originals in an Afro-Cuban mode. Polished to a bright gleam while...]]> Various Artists - Launchpad 2010 http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13657-various-artists-launchpad-2010.html Despite cutbacks in funding on such "luxuries" as school music programs, kids still want to rock—or play any other type of music they like. The Wisconsin School Music Association's Launchpad contest for high-school bands continues to give teens a wider forum in which to be heard...]]> Chopteeth - Chopteeth Live (Grigri Discs) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13658-chopteeth-chopteeth-live-%2528grigri-discs%2529.html West Africa sent great musicians into the world in the 1960s and ’70s, well before the watered-down world music of today. But except for Fela and a few others, most circulated only in Africa and the diaspora and were little heard elsewhere. Washington, D.C.’s Chopteeth is determined to revive this under-recognized...]]> ESG - Dance to the Best of ESG (Fire Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13583-esg-dance-to-the-best-of-esg-%2528fire-records%2529.html Given instruments by their protective mother as an alternative to the crime and drug abuse of South Bronx in the early ’80s, the teenage Scroggins sisters (Renee, Valerie, Marie and Deborah) had limited means and no musical training to speak of. But what their environment lacked in safety and opportunity was offset by an...]]> The Moxie Chicks - Middle Aged Garage Band (Moo-Town) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13584-the-moxie-chicks-middle-aged-garage-band-%2528moo-town%2529.html Abetted by fellow veteran Milwaukee folkie Jym Mooney, among others, acoustic music elder stateswomen The Moxie Chicks have been gigging at feedback-free venues for a few years. Recorded live at The Coffee House, Middle Aged Garage Band finds them mostly remaking old favorites with pleasantly...]]> Natacha Atlas - Mounqaliba: In a State of Reversal (Six Degrees) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13517-natacha-atlas-mounqaliba-in-a-state-of-reversal-%2528six-degrees%2529.html A singer of Near Eastern descent who grew up in Europe, Natacha Atlas became a star of world music for her ambitious cross-referencing of Arabic, techno and hip-hop influences. With Mounqaliba, she continues to apply the caressing moan of her voice to an intriguing fusion of cultures. The hot, dusty sounds of her...]]> Isaac Stern - Keeping the Doors Open (Sony Masterworks) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13472-isaac-stern-keeping-the-doors-open-%2528sony-masterworks%2529.html Isaac Stern was among the most acclaimed classical musicians of the last century. To honor what would have been his 90th birthday, Sony Masterworks culled the archives for rarities previously unheard on CD. The album title refers to the violinist’s prominent role in saving Carnegie Hall from the wrecker’s ball...]]> Various Artists - Voice Over the Bridge (EarthSync) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13473-various-artists-voice-over-the-bridge-%2528earthsync%2529.html Fusions of global pop and local traditions are sounding increasingly threadbare rather than rich with possibility. An exception is the charming, intriguing CD Voice Over the Bridge. Producers Patrick Sebag and Yotam Asam work with singers of traditional music from Burma (or Myanmar as its military rulers...]]> David Minasian - Random Acts of Beauty (ProgRock Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13407-david-minasian-random-acts-of-beauty-%2528progrock-records%2529.html If James Cameron decided to halt work on the Avatar sequel and the 3-D conversion of Titanic to record a progressive-rock album, it would probably sound quite a bit like David Minasian’s lofty, keyboards-rich Random Acts of Beauty. Minasian also is a film director (plus multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and...]]> I'm Not a Pilot http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13408-im-not-a-pilot.html I'm Not a Pilot follows up its 2009 debut EP with the full album Need Money for Rocket Fuel, a showcase for Milwaukee's premier guitar-less rock band. Pianist/singer Mark Glatzel borrows from the less nasal aspects of emo, and occasional choral vocals provide a pleasing background. Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra cellist Peter Thomas adds unforced gravitas to the proceedings. The combination of keyboards]]> Sonia Brex - Naif (Piranha)%u2028 http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13409-sonia-brex-naif-%2528piranha%2529u2028.html A Sicilian expatriate living in Berlin, Sonia Brex sings and writes cosmopolitan pop songs at once contemporary and yet filled with fleeting memories of music past. The melancholy title track is vaguely bossa nova and flows easily into the electronic, robotic rhythms of the Kraftwerk-conjuring “Frhling in Berlin...]]> Anonymous 4 - The Cherry Tree (Harmonia Mundi) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13371-anonymous-4-the-cherry-tree-%2528harmonia-mundi%2529.html With an ear for beauty and an interest in musicology, not to mention a lovely set of voices, Anonymous 4 is one of the most popular exponents of early music—primarily the sound of Western Europe before the Baroque Age. With The Cherry Tree, the New York-based quartet applies those voices to a collection of...]]> Angra - Aqua (SPV/Steamhammer) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13336-angra-aqua-%2528spv_steamhammer%2529.html The South American influences that once colored Angra’s brand of symphonic power metal have grown more subtle over the past two decades, but with Aqua—the band’s first studio album in four years—these Brazilians prove they haven’t run out of ideas. Considering the genre’s limited creativity, which has kept it...]]> Reverend Raven and the Chain Smokin' Altar Boys - Shake Your Boogie (Nevermore) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13337-reverend-raven-and-the-chain-smokin-altar-boys-shake-your-boogie-%2528nevermore%2529.html The blues band with arguably the best name in Milwaukee isn’t out to reinvent or innovate anything on their latest album. That's perfectly fine, however, as Shake Your Boogie accomplishes its goal of bringing the party with hearty soulfulness. Their sound is drawn from their collection of Chess/Checker, Delmark and...]]> Mr. Ho’s Orchestrotica - The Unforgettable Sounds of Esquivel (Tiki) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13338-mr-horss-orchestrotica-the-unforgettable-sounds-of-esquivel-%2528tiki%2529.html During the late 1950s and early ’60s, Juan Garcia Esquivel was the creative mind behind space-age lounge music, a jazz-meets-pop-say-hello-to-Latin sound that balanced eccentric arrangements with hi-fi studio technology. Many of his recordings have been reissued on CD; now, a big band of Boston musicians has...]]> Sharon Van Etten - Epic (Ba Da Bing Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13244-sharon-van-etten-epic-%2528ba-da-bing-records%2529.html Diminutive Sharon Van Etten reaches for a big, expansive voice with Epic. Her sophomore effort comes on like the lilting soundtrack to a breakup phone call: Powerful, almost angrily strummed chords set the stage as full-on country-folk instrumentation hovers mournfully, and there’s more heart-on-sleeve, lonely-girl...]]> Ikarus Down - The EP http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13245-ikarus-down-the-ep.html The sonic adventure of mid-period Radiohead, the heart of Incubus' best and the fancies of pretense that endear fans to 30 Seconds to Mars come together in a highly marketable sound on the Milwaukee group's six-song CD. They mingle compassion and concern for others with ennui and the kind of navel-gazing that...]]> Valery Gergiev & The Mariinsky Orchestra - Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 2 & 11 (Mariinsky)%u2028 http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13246-valery-gergiev-the-mariinsky-orchestra-shostakovich-symphonies-nos-2-11-%2528mariinsky%2529u2028.html Quiet expectancy colors the opening notes on this pair of Shostakovich symphonies. No. 2 was commissioned in 1927 to honor the Bolshevik Revolution’s 10th anniversary, but its modernist evocation of emotional and physical violence put it under a cloud of disapproval by the Soviet state. It was seldom...]]> Dave Brubeck’s Original Classics - More Reissues from the King of Cool http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13216-dave-brubeckrss-original-classics-more-reissues-from-the-king-of-cool.html Even the most casual jazz fan is familiar with Dave Brubeck’s 1959 album Time Out, featuring the classics “Take Five” and “Blue Rondo a la Turk,” but many barely suspect the rich trove of recordings Brubeck made before and after. A pair of CD box sets under the heading of “Original Album Classics” has been...]]> Aeon Zen - The Face of the Unknown (Time Divide Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13161-aeon-zen-the-face-of-the-unknown-%2528time-divide-records%2529.html It’s one thing to be Adam Young, the one-man electronic brainchild behind Owl City, composing Auto-Tuned tracks on a computer in his parents’ basement. It’s quite another to be Rich Hinks, the young U.K.-based multi-instrumentalist who helms the progressive-metal behemoth Aeon Zen...]]> Dave Brubeck - Legacy of a Legend (Columbia/Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13162-dave-brubeck-legacy-of-a-legend-%2528columbia_legacy%2529.html Pianist Dave Brubeck was the dean of the cool school in 1950s jazz. Issued in honor of his 90th birthday, Legacy of a Legend surveys his most important years as a recording artist, 1954 through 1970—a period when Brubeck influenced the shape of jazz, crossed into the pop hit parade and inspired the rhythms of...]]> Mary Ann Miller - Legendary Celtic Harp Music http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13163-mary-ann-miller-legendary-celtic-harp-music.html It's something of a shame that local Celtic harpist Mary Ann Miller didn't make Legendary a DVD as well as a CD. To see her nimble fingers gliding and plucking across the strings could make the 16 tracks presented here even more mesmerizing. Still, her take on these mostly public domain pieces enthralls with...]]> Kermit Ruffins - Happy Talk (Basin Street) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13076-kermit-ruffins-happy-talk-%2528basin-street%2529.html Fresh from introducing his modern-day-Satchmo shtick to the world—or at least the HBO-subscribing world—on the series “Treme,” the ever-smiling, Bud-swigging, pot-smoking barbecue master and trumpet-slinging bandleader that couldn’t give two hoots of his horn as to who Elvis Costello is releases his first...]]> Various Artists - Good God! Born Again Funk (Numero Group) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13077-various-artists-good-god_-born-again-funk-%2528numero-group%2529.html The previous volume in this series of funky soul gospel compilations included Milwaukee's Masonic Wonders among its anthologized acts. The second volume carries a Wisconsin connection as well. Two of Good God! Born Again Funk's more traditional contributors, The Jordan Travelers and The Chicago...]]> pickPocket Ensemble - Memory http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13078-pickpocket-ensemble-memory.html The pickPocket Ensemble sounds like players roving between tables at a restaurant with a wide ethnic menu, or cosmopolitan buskers with instrument cases open on the sidewalks of some big city. The San Francisco band could be termed “world music” for the diversity of their influences, but their all-acoustic...]]> Various Artists - Nagore Sessions (EarthSync) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13067-various-artists-nagore-sessions-%2528earthsync%2529.html The Sufis always took an expansive view of spirituality and human possibility; it’s no surprise finding Sufi singer in collaboration with musicians of other backgrounds on the Nagore Sessions. Named for the site of a Sufi place of pilgrimage on the Bay of Bengal, the sessions involve a trio of Sufi devotional singers...]]> Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s - Buzzard (Mariel Recording) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13016-margot-and-the-nuclear-so-and-sorss-buzzard-%2528mariel-recording%2529.html Supposedly deriving their name from Gwyneth Paltrow’s character as the daughter in The Royal Tenenbaums (actually, “adopted daughter”), Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s deliver a Wes Anderson-appropriate product that is broody, angst-ridden, occasionally dreamy, bittersweet and, of...]]> Whitney Mann - The Way Back Home http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13017-whitney-mann-the-way-back-home.html Madison's Whitney Mann makes her music on the folkier side of country. The sparse production and unremitting melancholy may mark Mann as an alt-country chanteuse, but her interweaving of soft melodic lines reveals influences like Bonnie Raitt and Neil Diamond. The real thrill of this six-song debut, however...]]> King Sunny Adé - Baba Mo Tunde (IndigeDisc) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13018-king-sunny-adeacute-baba-mo-tunde-%2528indigedisc%2529.html King Sunny Adé lays down a series of virtually endless grooves on his first studio album in 10 years, a two-disc set. Back in the ’70s, the Nigerian singer and bandleader helped popularize the gravity-free sound of juju, a genre propelled by elastic polyrhythmic percussion, sprinting electric guitars and quick vocal call...]]> Jon Manasse & Jon Nakamatsu - American Music for Clarinet & Piano (Harmonia Mundi) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12991-jon-manasse-jon-nakamatsu-american-music-for-clarinet-piano-%2528harmonia-mundi%2529.html Hearing the music in this bare format enables us to trace the structure—the sonic bones. Clarinetist Jon Manasse and pianist Jon Nakamatsu perform a variety of compositions from places where early 20th century jazz meets classical music. Some pieces date from that era, including Gershwin’s familiar “I Got...]]> Bruce Springsteen - The Promise (Columbia) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12952-bruce-springsteen-the-promise-%2528columbia%2529.html The pressure was on after Born to Run. Bruce Springsteen was the first rock artist to simultaneously fill the covers of Time and Newsweek, drawing FM airplay and charges of hype from cynics suspicious of his abrupt rise from local hero to national stardom. In the aftermath, Springsteen recorded and recorded...]]> Ben Folds & Nick Hornby - Lonely Avenue (Nonesuch) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12944-ben-folds-nick-hornby-lonely-avenue-%2528nonesuch%2529.html Though he has yet to achieve Rivers Cuomo-level silliness, Ben Folds seems to garner more attention for the peculiarities of his releases than for the music contained therein. Producing William Shatner’s vanity album, covering Dr. Dre or having college a cappella groups record your songs may grab headlines, but...]]> John McLaughlin and The 4th Dimension - To the One (Abstract Logix) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12945-john-mclaughlin-and-the-4th-dimension-to-the-one-%2528abstract-logix%2529.html John McLaughlin’s jazz-fusion has always been measured with the mile markers of his inner journey, and To the One is no different. The new CD, released in April, is reflective of the time in 1964 when the guitarist first heard John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme, the ultimate blend of the influential reedman’s musical and...]]> Arvo Prt - Cantique (Sony Masterworks) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12946-arvo-p%25E4rt-cantique-%2528sony-masterworks%2529.html Estonian composer Arvo Prt and conductor Kristjan Jrvi were both refugees from Soviet cultural oppression. Jrvi’s father was a friend of the composer—when the two men worked together at Estonian Radio-Television in the ’60s—and Jrvi continues the family relationship by conducting a Berlin orchestra...]]> Dave Holland & Pepe Habichuela - Hands (Dare2 Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12863-dave-holland-pepe-habichuela-hands-%2528dare2-records%2529.html During the 1970s, bassist Dave Holland was a mainstay at ECM, the arty record label that established it own genre of tasteful chamber jazz. Recently, Holland joined with Spanish Gypsy guitarist Pepe Habichuela for an album of flamenco duets and ensemble performances. The cool undertow of Holland’s acoustic bass...]]> Bob Dylan - The Witmark Demos: 1962-1964 (Columbia) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12873-bob-dylan-the-witmark-demos-1962-1964-%2528columbia%2529.html The revolution has begun again in earnest. Going back even before the first Dylan album to recordings that are as noticeable for their profound invisibility as The Basement Tapes, we find hidden authenticity that defies all of the easily found “Facebook Music” that has endlessly befriended us because we need...]]> T. Rex - The Slider (Fat Possum) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12874-t-rex-the-slider-%2528fat-possum%2529.html By the time of The Slider’s release in 1972, David Bowie (aka Ziggy Stardust) had absorbed T. Rex’s fey extraterrestrial vibe, and the band’s glam rock main man, Marc Bolan, had already passed his creative peak. But even though The Slider revealed Bolan as a two-trick pony, with “Bang a Gong” boogie on one...]]> Elvis Costello - National Ransom (Hear Music/Concord Music Group) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12830-elvis-costello-national-ransom-%2528hear-music_concord-music-group%2529.html Although Elvis Costello long ago lost his knack for knocking listeners off their feet, his lyrical skill has never diminished and the scope of his stylistic ambition has only grown. Some of the best moments on his new album come courtesy of his instrumentalists, especially Marc Ribot’s scorching guitar solos, and the...]]> In Praise of Procol Harum http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12786-in-praise-of-procol-harum.html Procol Harum should be remembered for more than “A White Shade of Pale.” As evidenced by a new CD reissue series on the Salvo label (with digital versions available from unionsquaremusic.co.uk), they were one of the great British bands to emerge from the late’60s. Dubbed “classical rock” for their...]]> The Bad Plus - Never Stop (E1 Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12789-the-bad-plus-never-stop-%2528e1-music%2529.html Whether it's The Bad Plus’ album's worth of prog rock covers, snark-scented tribute to “Smells Like Teen Spirit” or straight-faced take on ABBA, it’s always been a bit hard to take the trio completely seriously as a jazz group. At least on the group’s latest venture of trancey, dancey post-bop, Never Stop, they lay it...]]> Copal - Into the Shadow Garden http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12790-copal-into-the-shadow-garden.html Much of what’s marketed as “world music” is thin stuff with roots barely an inch deep and often in poor soil. Copal is among the exceptions. On their debut album, the New York group is at once deeply grounded yet universal, electronic and organic, hypnotic and gently ecstatic. Driving Copal’s sound is...]]> Icarus/Drifting - Relentless http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12791-icarus_drifting-relentless.html The many influences of Milwaukee’s Icarus/Drifting mingle in a sound serious enough to be considered prog and loose enough to find favor among some jam band enthusiasts. At times, the group’s expansive mix of violin and rock instrumentation comes on like a folkier iteration of the Moody Blues, with a few more hooks...]]> Peaches Staten - Live at Legends (Swississippi) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12723-peaches-staten-live-at-legends-%2528swississippi%2529.html The best recent news in the blues music world was that a new record label, Swississippi, was established specifically to record blues musicians. The company was founded by Swiss harmonica player and producer Chris Harper, who launched the label with three albums, including one of his own and one by...]]> Two Door Cinema Club - Tourist History (Glassnote) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12724-two-door-cinema-club-tourist-history-%2528glassnote%2529.html Northern Irish teen jangle rockers Two Door Cinema Club want to make you get on the dance floor by reminding you of other bands that already have made you move. Jittery, mellifluous West African guitar lines and polyrhythm appear to have come from Vampire Weekend. Less fidgety dance-punk sensibilities could...]]> John Legend & The Roots - Wake Up! (Columbia) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12678-john-legend-the-roots-wake-up_-%2528columbia%2529.html Zeitgeists are difficult things to catch, so it takes a bit of hubris for John Legend to update a selection of socially conscious, era-defining funk and soul numbers from the ’60s and ’70s with a few MCs and a dose of neo-soul sheen and expect it to, as the liner notes put it, “ignite the passions and the minds of millions.”]]> Raven Soul - 100 Bleeding Hearts (Arctic Music Group) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12679-raven-soul-100-bleeding-hearts-%2528arctic-music-group%2529.html Portugal’s Raven Soul has made a name for itself in Europe with a catchy hybrid of progressive, gothic and stoner metal. Early tracks on the quintet’s U.S. debut—a 35-minute EP called 100 Bleeding Hearts that’s already been available in other parts of the world—recall The Mission, and Márcio “Mac” Caetano can...]]> Before Tomorrow - Before Tomorrow http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12680-before-tomorrow-before-tomorrow.html The Milwaukee alt-rock quintet Before Tomorrow has learned from two musical cousins that are on better speaking terms than some might want to admit: grunge and metal. The group's five-song debut is at its best when the tunes start off softer with a touch of pop before forging into the unrelenting assault that all the...]]> Ken Thomson & Slow/Fast - It Would be Easier If (Intuition) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12540-ken-thomson-slow_fast-it-would-be-easier-if-%2528intuition%2529.html Ken Thomson opens It Would be Easier on an impressionistic note with “Kleine Helmet,” a driftwood melody gently drawn by chamber-like ensemble playing. But the bass clarinetist/alto saxophonist/band leader travels through many moods on the debut disc of his newest band of NYC jazz talents...]]> Mohammed Alidu - Land of Fire http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12529-mohammed-alidu-land-of-fire.html Growing up in Ghana, Mohammed Alidu lived in a world of rhythm centered on the talking drums of the bizungs, the hereditary percussion masters. With Land of Fire, Alidu follows the path of many recent African musicians into Afro-pop, blending the age-old rhythms with Western instruments and contemporary...]]> Blonde Redhead - Penny Sparkle (4AD) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12475-blonde-redhead-penny-sparkle-%25284ad%2529.html The lineup of Blonde Redhead—two Italian brothers, Amedeo and Simone Pace, and one Japanese woman, Kazu Makino—almost makes the band so exotic as to be from another planet. From its 1995 self-titled debut up through 1998’s In An Expression of the Inexpressible, Blonde Redhead could...]]> At Latl - Safe, Sound & Temporary (self-released) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12476-at-latl-safe-sound-temporary-%2528self-released%2529.html Milwaukee’s At Latl consists of Kevin Christensen, Dan Mahony and Kent Watson. The band delivers each song in a delicate balance of addictive originality with no tiresome phrasing. Listeners are brought into every song rather like an overheard experience. Safe, Sound & Temporary is not a brief album, but it goes...]]> Justin Townes Earle - Harlem River Blues (Bloodshot Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12477-justin-townes-earle-harlem-river-blues-%2528bloodshot-records%2529.html Justin Townes Earle’s down-home blend of Americana so perfectly marries that genre’s most crucial aspects—indie singer-songwriter sensibilities, shitkicker stomp, rustic twang, Springsteen-esque blue-collar empathy—that his latest might well be served with a side of apple pie...]]> Rahim AlHaj - Little Earth (UR Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12398-rahim-alhaj-little-earth-%2528ur-music%2529.html Iraqi expatriate oud player Rahim AlHaj wants to bring the world’s music together on Little Earth and the results, like the earth itself, are varied. One of the most beautiful pieces, “Sama’i Baghdad,” is written in traditional Near Eastern style but scored for hand-slapped percussion and a Western string quartet...]]> Iggy Pop & James Williamson - Kill City (Alive/Bomp) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12399-iggy-pop-james-williamson-kill-city-%2528alive_bomp%2529.html Nowadays Iggy Pop is honored as the godfather of punk and a touchstone for metallic rock, but very few people heard his greatest albums at the time of their release. He wasn’t just edgy; he was beyond the edge. The CD remastering of Iggy’s great 1977 album Kill City is a reminder that his classic recordings remain...]]> Various Artists - The Roots of Chicha 2 (Barbs Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12400-various-artists-the-roots-of-chicha-2-%2528barb%25E8s-records%2529.html Psychedelia slipped into the slums of Lima, Peru, by the late ’60s and merged with local roots for a hybrid music called chicha. With The Roots of Chicha 2, American musician Olivier Conan returns to the genre he helped expose to the wider world, compiling a wonderful collection of tracks recorded from 1968-1981...]]> The Heroes Lie - The Heroes Lie (Atomic Arts) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12401-the-heroes-lie-the-heroes-lie-%2528atomic-arts%2529.html Alumni of Milwaukee bands such as String Theory, Silvergun and Marashino come together to create commercially polished hard rock as The Heroes Lie. Minor-key melodies and riffs serve aggressively melancholy, sometimes depressive sentiments. The results play in the psychic space where anthems intersect...]]> The Either/Orchestra - Mood Music for Time Travellers (Accurate) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12389-the-either_orchestra-mood-music-for-time-travellers-%2528accurate%2529.html Deftly composed, with an ear for melody and a love of dance, the archly named Either/Orchestra plays jazz without irony or self-indulgence. On Mood Music for Time Travellers, their first album of new music in five years, the Orchestra explores Latin rhythms, cool jazz arrangements and soulful grooves—all the while...]]> Jon Irabagon - Foxy (Hot Cup Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12377-jon-irabagon-foxy-%2528hot-cup-records%2529.html The deliberately campy cover of Foxy, featuring a buxom, bikini-clad blond holding a long phallic saxophone, is meant to evoke an earlier era of jazz. The music harkens to the ‘60s as well, but in a more serious vein. Saxophonist Jon Irabagon—accompanied by drummer Barry Altschul and bassist Peter...]]> Serj Tankian - Imperfect Harmonies (Reprise) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12319-serj-tankian-imperfect-harmonies-%2528reprise%2529.html Serj Tankian has pulled back from the ambitious but failed orchestral rock of Elect the Dead Symphony, but without returning to the serrated metal of System of a Down. With Imperfect Harmonies, the multi-instrumentalist and singer pushes into new territory on an album of turbo-charged techno music...]]> Votum - Metafiction (Armoury Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12322-votum-metafiction-%2528armoury-records%2529.html A dark new breed of progressive rock has emerged in recent years, marked by doomy atmospherics and strong emotion, and starring such bands as Opeth, Porcupine Tree, Riverside and Anathema. Now add to that growing list Poland’s Votum, whose second album, Metafiction, practically defines the subgenre’s...]]> Jay Flash - Know, Alone http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12323-jay-flash-know-alone.html The jacket notes on Milwaukee avant-folkie Jay Flash’s third album mingle dissatisfaction with glimmers of hope. His lyrics reflect the same. However, Flash may want to keep in mind that, per the examples of Billy Bragg, songs where the political is subsumed into the personal generally have greater staying power than...]]> Colin O’Brien - Inside These Guitars http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12324-colin-orsbrien-inside-these-guitars.html Back in the 1960s, John Fahey and Leo Kottke uncovered a new dimension for guitar with very old roots in the rich soil of American music. Milwaukee guitarist Colin O’Brien has long been immersed in many varieties of old-time music. On Inside These Guitars, he follows the finger-style trail of Fahey and Kottke...]]> Systema Solar - Systema Solar (ONErpm) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12325-systema-solar-systema-solar-%2528onerpm%2529.html Colombia’s Systema Solar is a band and a hip-hop crew, complete with rappers, scratching DJs and an arsenal of samples. Their usual gig involves traveling in a mobile sound system, pounding out the jams. Systema is all over the map on their self-titled CD, with angry rapping, mysterioso sampling and tons of...]]> Walter Trout - Common Ground (Provogue) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12252-walter-trout-common-ground-%2528provogue%2529.html In press materials accompanying his latest album, Common Ground, singer/guitarist Walter Trout claims that “I’ve almost created my own genre.” While a comment like that smacks of narcissism, it’s also tough to argue. Over the course of two decades and 19 albums, the former member of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers...]]> Melissa Czarnik - Raspberry Jesus (Hyperdrive Motivator) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12253-melissa-czarnik-raspberry-jesus-%2528hyperdrive-motivator%2529.html After a WMSE-born EP with The Eric Mire Band last year, Milwaukee rapper Melissa Czarnik properly follows up her 2008 studio debut, Strawberry Cadillac, with an even more assured effort that keeps up the fruit-related titular theme. Mire's production on Raspberry Jesus combines synthetic hip-hop...]]> Howard Wiley & The Angola Project - Twelve Gates to the City http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12254-howard-wiley-the-angola-project-twelve-gates-to-the-city.html The young San Francisco saxophonist Howard Wiley continues to explore the seminal significance of the Angola Prison Farm, the Louisiana prison camp where African Americans such as Leadbelly and other bluesmen and vernacular musicians were imprisoned. Wiley incorporates a long spoken-word passage by...]]> Klezwoods - Oy Yeah! (Accurate) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12221-klezwoods-oy-yeah_-%2528accurate%2529.html Joe Kessler is making a point with his debut album as a bandleader. The Boston fiddler, who has played with everyone from Robert Plant to Morphine, recorded a collection of largely traditional songs with a klezmer flair but a wider perspective. He calls it “music of the Ottoman Empire,” which is one way of...]]> 13th Floor Elevators - 7th Heaven: Music of the Spheres—The Complete Singles Collection (International Artists) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12180-13th-floor-elevators-7th-heaven-music-of-the-spheresmdashthe-complete-singles-collection-%2528international-artists%2529.html The 13th Floor Elevators, one of the earliest and most innovative bands of the psychedelic era, released only three studio albums before dissolving due to drug problems, legal hassles and label mismanagement. But whereas sustained interest has kept those albums available, the singles they spawned (collected here...]]> Peggy James - Joan of Arc http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12181-peggy-james-joan-of-arc.html Playing guitar while singing in a soft, emotionally resonant voice, Milwaukee’s Peggy James adds her own touches to a familiar niche. Her music flits between rockabilly, alt-country, vintage R&B, blues and adult contemporary influences. That diversity could either be James’ strength or weakness, depending on the fate...]]> 2MorroW EvR AfteR - Indivisible (Tea Party) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12182-2morrow-evr-after-indivisible-%2528tea-party%2529.html The rock of Milwaukee group 2MorroW EvR AfteR resides somewhere on the blurry line separating ’70s glam pop and harder, hairier ’80s glam metal, as guitarist Stacy Maloney and his mates straddle the styles of The Sweet and Guns N’ Roses. As ought to be with such a band, their six-song debut EP delivers that...]]> Robert Randolph - We Walk This Road (Warner Bros.) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12117-robert-randolph-we-walk-this-road-%2528warner-bros%2529.html Through three full-length releases Robert Randolph has strived, and mostly succeeded, for a seamless mash-up of gritty jam band funk, soul, blues and his own gospel roots. On We Walk This Road, though, the slide guitar guru wears those stitches on his sleeve. Six half-minute segues of archival footage break up the...]]> Barb & Tom Webber/Fair Webber - Fair Webber By Request http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12118-barb-tom-webber_fair-webber-fair-webber-by-request.html For their fourth CD, folkie Milwaukeeans Barb & Tom Webber and band eschew originals for a concert album of remakes. With numbers from acts like Barenaked Ladies, Buffalo Springfield and Warren Zevon, the effect resembles an hour of adult alternative radio with sparser acoustic arrangements. The contrast...]]> Various Artists - Classic Sounds of New Orleans (Smithsonian Folkways) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12119-various-artists-classic-sounds-of-new-orleans-%2528smithsonian-folkways%2529.html Five years after Katrina, the New Orleans music scene has largely been restored to where it was before the levees broke. The Crescent City’s unique place in American musical culture was documented over the years by the Folkways label. Classic Sounds collects great tracks originally released by Folkways from...]]> Khaira Arby - Timbuktu Tarab (Clermont Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12114-khaira-arby-timbuktu-tarab-%2528clermont-music%2529.html The desert land of Mali and the southern Sahara has nurtured remarkable music in recent years, especially from the band called Tinariwen. In much the same way, Malian singer Khaira Arby combines bluesy electric guitar grooves with the percussive syncopation of the scraper and the calabash along with the call and...]]> Shye Ben-Tzur - Shoshan (EarthSynch) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12091-shye-ben-tzur-shoshan-%2528earthsynch%2529.html Like many people on a journey, Shye Ben-Tzur found connections between what he found and what he thought he left behind. The Israeli rock musician became entranced by Indian music and made for India to learn its intricacies. But once he arrived, he discovered that the mystic chords connected with his own...]]> Crowded House - Intriguer (Fantasy/Concord Music Group) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12014-crowded-house-intriguer-%2528fantasy_concord-music-group%2529.html Crowded House’s second post-reunion album—an elegant, mostly laid-back affair—finds the band continuing to eschew its earlier mainstream appeal and write serious alternative-pop songs for grown-ups...]]> Ian Olvera & The Sleepwalkers - The Reckless Kind http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12015-ian-olvera-the-sleepwalkers-the-reckless-kind.html The band’s name may imply that its members are somnambulists, but Green Bay/Milwaukee/Oshkosh trio Ian Olvera & The Sleepwalkers sound wide-awake on their full-length debut. The Reckless Kind finds a comfortable space between cheerful power-pop, ’70s Southern California singer-songwriter confessions...]]> Galeet Dardashti - The Naming http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12016-galeet-dardashti-the-naming.html As a young girl living in Brooklyn, N.Y., Galeet Dardashti was fascinated by stories of her grandfather, a great Jewish cantor in Tehran whose voice drew Muslims to his synagogue. Her CD The Naming reclaims the endangered Persian-Jewish heritage in a contemporary setting. The music is a dramatic mix of the...]]> Ola Belle Reed - Rising Sun Melodies (Smithsonian Folkways) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11962-ola-belle-reed-rising-sun-melodies-%2528smithsonian-folkways%2529.html Ola Belle Reed learned the banjo and songs of Appalachia as a child in the 1920s; by the 1940s she played in string bands; and in the ’50s she became an object of interest to folklorists. Rising Sun Melodies collects some of the recordings she made for the Folkways label in the ’70s along with previously unreleased...]]> Lee “Scratch” Perry - Revelation (Megawave/MVD Audio) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11963-lee-ldscratchrd-perry-revelation-%2528megawave_mvd-audio%2529.html Lee “Scratch” Perry was one of the most distinctive voices to emerge from reggae and an innovator in dub, the echo-laden, studio-generated island music offshoot. Revelation continues Perry’s journey through stream-of-consciousness Rasta word spins and intriguing sonic textures. The elastic rhythms and hypnotic...]]> Dairyland Youth - Re:Volting (Catlick) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11964-dairyland-youth-revolting-%2528catlick%2529.html The Germantown punk rock kids of Dairyland Youth have grown up in the 22 years since they first sang of young romance and other youthful adventures. Thankfully for longtime fans, they haven't grown up all that much—and they continue the fun times on their reunion album, Re:Volting. Their hooks may be a little...]]> M.I.A. - MAYA (N.E.E.T./XL/Interscope) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11894-mia-maya-%2528neet_xl_interscope%2529.html Rest assured: No song on this album will ever make its way into the public consciousness. Its first single, “Born Free,” pretends to be a sample of or homage to Suicide’s “Ghost Rider,” but it is almost indistinguishable from the original, except M.I.A.’s pseudo-political karaoke dropped on top. I wanted to...]]> Gaelic Storm - Cabbage (Lost Again Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11895-gaelic-storm-cabbage-%2528lost-again-records%2529.html Cabbage furthers the Celtic quintet’s absorption of multiple influences, including rock, bluegrass, Jamaican, African and Middle Eastern music, but its strongest cuts remain its firmly Gaelic instrumental rave-ups (“Blind Monkey,” “Jimmy’s Bucket” and “Crazy Eyes McGullicuddy”). Part of the Titanic house band’s...]]> Richard Thompson - Dream Attic (Shout! Factory) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11896-richard-thompson-dream-attic-%2528shout_-factory%2529.html While most rock artists of the 1960s faded to mediocre long ago, Richard Thompson remains vital. A batch of new songs recorded on tour, Dream Attic recapitulates many familiar elements of his sound without succumbing to redundancy. Echoes of West Coast psychedelia ride alongside the Anglo-Celtic folk rock he...]]> Toussaint - Black Gold (I Grade Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11869-toussaint-black-gold-%2528i-grade-records%2529.html One of the best reggae albums of recent years, Black Gold was cut with a spot-on band in the Virgin Islands by the songwriter and singer Toussaint. While he can vocalize commandingly in reggae style, Toussaint also has the chops of a testifying soul singer and R&B balladeer. Much of Black Gold moves in...]]> Dick Dale - Guitar Legend: The Very Best of Dick Dale (Factory! Shout) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11859-dick-dale-guitar-legend-the-very-best-of-dick-dale-%2528factory_-shout%2529.html Orcha - Lost Out in the Abyss http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11828-orcha-lost-out-in-the-abyss.html Orcha is all over the place, often in listenable ways. The Milwaukee quintet may have jam-band inclinations, but the group keeps things relatively focused on its debut CD. Lost Out in the Abyss mixes New Age acoustic guitars with heavier rock sounds alongside nimble piano and bombastic organ chords...]]> Ruth Gerson - This Can't Be My Life (Wrong Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11829-ruth-gerson-this-cant-be-my-life-%2528wrong-records%2529.html California-based singer-songwriter Ruth Gerson is the archetype of today’s creative do-it-yourself artist. A single mom, vocal coach, music producer and inventor of The Singingbelt—a bio-feedback device created to help teach singers diaphragmatic breath support, the proceeds of which she says “make it possible to be...]]> Los Lobos - Tin Can Trust (Shout! Factory) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11830-los-lobos-tin-can-trust-%2528shout_-factory%2529.html Los Lobos is in a bluesy mood on Tin Can Trust. The latest album by the Los Angeles band that reconnected rock ’n’ roll to its Latin roots features two songs in that mode, the rollicking borderland polka of “Mujer Ingrata” and the deep South American groove of “Yo Canto,” but much of Tin Can’s sound...]]> The Mighty Short Bus - The Forever Endeavor http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11758-the-mighty-short-bus-the-forever-endeavor.html Some bands simply evolve more than others. Over six years and three albums, The Mighty Short Bus has come barreling out of Madison, touring the Midwest as one of the city’s hardest-working DIY groups while consistently redefining its sound...]]> Ando & The Jolly Barrels - Who Cares? http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11759-ando-the-jolly-barrels-who-cares.html Milwaukee has long been an on-again, off-again hotbed for what's amorphously defined as punk polka. For a band bereft of a drummer and rich in accordion, Ando & The Jolly Barrels is punkier than most. Andrew "Ando" Ehlers' barbed vocal attack— like a junior Jello Biafra—and handling of the torso-encompassing...]]> Brass Menazeri - Vranjski San (Porto Franco) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11760-brass-menazeri-vranjski-san-%2528porto-franco%2529.html Balkan brass band music captivated California clarinetist Peter Jaques after he discovered the genre by exploring one of its cultural cousins, klezmer. Like his models in the Serbian Gypsy bands from the former Yugoslavia, Jaques’ group found the melancholic yet raucous Eastern sound elastic enough to embrace...]]> Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble - Couldn't Stand the Weather—Legacy Edition (Epic/Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11676-stevie-ray-vaughan-and-double-trouble-couldnt-stand-the-weathermdashlegacy-edition-%2528epic_legacy%2529.html It’s been two decades since Stevie Ray Vaughan, a swaggering blues revivalist with a thick and recognizable style, played his final concert at Alpine Valley on Aug. 26, 1990. He then jumped into a helicopter that crashed minutes after takeoff and killed everyone onboard...]]> Cyberchump * Janzyk - ReGrooved (Internal Combustion) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11677-cyberchump-%252A-janzyk-regrooved-%2528internal-combustion%2529.html The Milwaukee/Kansas City aural sculptors (as Cyberchump calls itself) decided to remix the electro-acoustic amalgamations of their first two CDs. Enter Milwaukee laptop music-maker Janzyk. The collaboration birthed a collection of eccentric ambient and intelligent dance tracks—or, rather, beat-driven...]]> Micah Olsan - Off Beat Clappers and Hip Toe Tappers http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11678-micah-olsan-off-beat-clappers-and-hip-toe-tappers.html Micah Olsan incorporates so many styles into his folkiness it's enough to make one's head spin. And that might be the folkie-funky Milwaukeean's aim on his second CD. Into his intricate acoustic guitar work he integrates classical, jazz and Latin flair to augment what might otherwise be standard coffeehouse picking...]]> Glyder - Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (Steamhammer/SPV) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11613-glyder-yesterday-today-and-tomorrow-%2528steamhammer_spv%2529.html Irish rockers The Answer enjoyed recent success in the United States with a retro, Led Zeppelin sound. Now, The Answer’s fellow countrymen in Glyder hope American listeners are craving more throwback rock. Glyder proudly worships at the altar of Thin Lizzy—and, in fact, made its public debut in 2004 at...]]> Charming Hostess - The Bowls Project (Tzadik) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11614-charming-hostess-the-bowls-project-%2528tzadik%2529.html One of the most spine-tingling recent rock albums has roots going back 3,000 years to the ancient folk magic of the Near East. Charming Hostess draws many of its lyrics from ancient Jewish texts, their images of a leviathan in the boundless deep and the firmament overhead powerfully sung by Jewlia Eisenberg in the...]]> John Jackson - Rappahannock Blues (Smithsonian Folkways) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11615-john-jackson-rappahannock-blues-%2528smithsonian-folkways%2529.html During the 1960s, folklorists searched the back roads of America for an earlier generation of blues musicians, most of them known only for recording a few 78 R.P.M. discs in the 1920s and ’30s before disappearing. Like many of those “rediscoveries,” John Jackson found a second career on the blues festival...]]> China Shop Matador - China Shop Matador http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11616-china-shop-matador-china-shop-matador.html Milwaukee's multicultural funk/disco/rock quintet China Shop Matador revisits the post-punk dance proffered by early ’80s New York City labels such as 99 and ZE, with a healthy appreciation for the edgier accessibility of Prince and Milwaukee's multicultural funk/disco/rock quintet China Shop Matador revisits the post-punk dance proffered by early ’80s New York City labels such as 99 and ZE, with a healthy appreciation for the edgier accessibility of Prince and...]]> Bad Lieutenant - Never Cry Another Tear (Universal Motown) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11547-bad-lieutenant-never-cry-another-tear-%2528universal-motown%2529.html For hardcore fans of New Order and Joy Division, the wait is over—somewhat. Even though the erupting Icelandic volcano postponed Bad Lieutenant’s U.S. tour, the band’s music remains intact. Former New Order lead singer Bernard Sumner stands at the helm, and drummer Stephen Morris plays on a number of...]]> Icarus Witch - Draw Down the Moon (Cleopatra Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11548-icarus-witch-draw-down-the-moon-%2528cleopatra-records%2529.html Ronnie James Dio spawned countless imitators—musically, vocally and lyrically. And if imitation is, indeed, the sincerest form of flattery, then Pittsburgh’s Icarus Witch—a veteran under-the-radar metal band that opened for the Dio-fronted Heaven & Hell last year—may have unwittingly released one of the finest...]]> Sharking Hour - Telemetry http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11549-sharking-hour-telemetry.html The earnest and skittish Milwaukee band Sharking Hour smoothes out some of its idiosyncrasies on its sophomore album, Telemetry. Instead of the eclectic alt-indie pastiche of Sharking Hour’s previous CD, North of Nippon, this time they lessen the piano, pile on more guitar and approximate early Weezer as a...]]> Greg Laswell - Take a Bow (Vanguard) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11523-greg-laswell-take-a-bow-%2528vanguard%2529.html Greg Laswell is a producer with a good ear and the author of beautiful songs. For his third album, Take a Bow, Laswell retired to a cabin and accompanied himself on all tracks. Most of his 12 songs are grounded in their origins on acoustic guitar or piano and rise into gorgeously melodic, pop rock choruses with...]]> Herbie Hancock - The Imagine Project (Hancock Records/RED) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11474-herbie-hancock-the-imagine-project-%2528hancock-records_red%2529.html Imagine a jazz CD by piano virtuoso Herbie Hancock that isn’t entirely—or, in this case, even primarily—instrumental and you’ll have a sense of where The Imagine Project is going. But it takes repeated listening to understand how far the 70-year-old Hancock has pushed the jazz genre...]]> Greg Koch - From the Attic (Pepper Cake/ZYX Germany) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11475-greg-koch-from-the-attic-%2528pepper-cake_zyx-germany%2529.html Milwaukee veteran blues rocker Greg Koch is among the few musicians from the city with a foreign label deal. His latest trio outing on a European imprint delivers textural and lyrical diversity with a blue-collar sense of humor that makes it difficult to understand why Koch doesn't have a domestic record contract...]]> Josh Thompson - Way Out Here (Columbia Nashville) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11476-josh-thompson-way-out-here-%2528columbia-nashville%2529.html Cedarburg native Josh Thompson is one of the first Wisconsinites since the ’80s to crack commercial country radio’s top 20. The hit to take him there, "Beer On the Table," benefits from amiable hooks and sly machismo. His sincere delivery sells songs (all of which he at least co-wrote) that trot out the virtually...]]> Conference Call - What About…? (Nottwo) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11490-conference-call-what-abouthellip-%2528nottwo%2529.html Daniel Cros - Las Vueltas que de la Vida (Rosazul) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11468-daniel-cros-las-vueltas-que-de-la-vida-%2528rosazul%2529.html Daniel Cros is a Spanish pianist and singer who, after a career in rock, discovered the music of one of his country’s former colonies, Cuba. His fifth album, recorded with Cuban expatriates as well as jazzmen from Cros’ homeland, conjures up the florid yet bittersweet emotions and rhythmic tempi of Cuba in an elegant...]]> Peter Karp/Sue Foley - He Said, She Said (Blind Pig) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11386-peter-karp_sue-foley-he-said-she-said-%2528blind-pig%2529.html What started as an exchange of correspondence between two musicians who spend a lot of time on the road turned into a 14-song album. Peter Karp and Sue Foley are singers, songwriters and guitarists with loads of life experiences and talent. Foley has won numerous Canadian and French music awards. Karp...]]> The Tallest Man on Earth - The Wild Hunt (Dead Oceans) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11387-the-tallest-man-on-earth-the-wild-hunt-%2528dead-oceans%2529.html Bounding, ebullient, fraught with youth, at once joyous and tortured: The diminutive Swedish whirlwind of songwriting energy known as The Tallest Man on Earth is back for a second full-length release. As on 2008’s Shallow Grave, Kristian Matsson reveals himself to be undoubtedly a man of the world...]]> electri-violet - electri-violet http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11388-electri-violet-electri-violet.html Vocalist Carole Ferrara and guitarist/singer John Plankenhorn have been performing around Milwaukee for the past 12 years as electri-violet. Given the lack of self-conscious trendiness about what they do, their act can be called organically retro. The confessional catharsis of ’70s singer-songwriters melds with the...]]> The Black Keys - Brothers (Nonesuch) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11309-the-black-keys-brothers-%2528nonesuch%2529.html In the beginning, it was all greasy riffage, lean beats and an unerring, angst-ridden crunch. Everything The Black Keys did reeked of sweaty adolescents getting off to Zeppelin in between frozen pizza rolls and Pabsts in a basement in Akron, Ohio. On the likes of Rubber Factory and Magic Potion, purists of...]]> Gogol Bordello - Trans-Continental Hustle (American) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11310-gogol-bordello-trans-continental-hustle-%2528american%2529.html The high-energy affinity between punk rock and traditional Eastern European music was explored as far back as Brave Combo and Camper van Beethoven. Gogol Bordello, a group of American transplants from the former Soviet Union working the East Coast club circuit, bring a pointed edge to the enterprise with...]]> Kartick & Gotam - Business Class Refugees (EarthSync) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11311-kartick-gotam-business-class-refugees-%2528earthsync%2529.html Israeli producers Kartick & Gotam deliver a melodious stream of music that flows from the Eastern Mediterranean through India. The electronic soundscape incorporates classical Indian vocals and a Tajik accordionist on an aural journey that parallels a long stretch of the old Silk Road that once linked...]]> Carmen Rizzo - Looking Through Leaves (Electrofone Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11231-carmen-rizzo-looking-through-leaves-%2528electrofone-records%2529.html Producer-remixer Carmen Rizzo has written film scores for Michael Apted, worked with Coldplay and K.D. Lang, recorded Tuvan throat singers and collaborated with Paul Oakenfold and Seal. He is also a recording artist in his own right and his latest solo CD covers much ground. Some tracks are reminiscent...]]> Blue Rodeo - The Things We Left Behind (Telesoul Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11236-blue-rodeo-the-things-we-left-behind-%2528telesoul-records%2529.html Blue Rodeo, something of an institution in their Canadian homeland, has released 12 studio albums since 1987. The Things We Left Behind, an ambitious double CD, blends country, folk and pop while taking a serious glance back toward the studio sounds of Laurel Canyon. The thick instrumentation and lush mix...]]> Hounds Tooth - Soul Rockin (Tweed Tone) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11237-hounds-tooth-soul-rockin-%2528tweed-tone%2529.html Milwaukee blues rock group Hounds Tooth sounds hungry and committed. When it comes to vocals and guitar chops, Jared James Nichols practices restraint where others of his generation (he cites Stevie Ray Vaughan as a formative influence) would add flash. The quartet of local music veterans might not add...]]> Leroy Airmaster - Live at Turner Hall (Kanie Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11238-leroy-airmaster-live-at-turner-hall-%2528kanie-records%2529.html Leroy Airmaster always towered over most of the competition. Back in the ’70s and ’80s, when second- and third-rate blues imitators proliferated in the heartland, the Milwaukee band had the edge in musicianship and empathy for the music. Reunited last year, Leroy Airmaster recorded a pair of shows at Turner Hall for...]]> Haiku Funeral - Assassination in the Hashish Cathedral (Hikikomori Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11149-haiku-funeral-assassination-in-the-hashish-cathedral-%2528hikikomori-records%2529.html William Kopecky may have relocated from Racine to France, but as one-half of the duo Haiku Funeral, he arguably makes the most sinister-sounding music ever linked to Wisconsin. Sure, his work in Yeti Rain, Far Corner, Snarling Adjective Convention and the eponymous trio Kopecky has always been dark, but the...]]> Lovanova - Day 4 of Nine (Brand X Recordings) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11150-lovanova-day-4-of-nine-%2528brand-x-recordings%2529.html Is Lovanova like Booker T. & The M.G.'s for prog rockers? Or prog rock for those still hung over from the ’90s lounge revival? Milwaukee punk and noise alum Paul "Evil" Kneevers calls his latest band's style “lounge prog rock.” It's a fitting designation for Lovanova and the monstrous tones of Kneever’s Hammond...]]> Eric Blowtorch - Groping in the Dark (Simmerdown Productions) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11151-eric-blowtorch-groping-in-the-dark-%2528simmerdown-productions%2529.html The latest vinyl from Milwaukee's white socialist/pacifist reggae emissary is an electro treat with Chinese dulcimer and pots ’n ’ pans ’n ’ paint buckets programmed among the synths. It finds our man mixing romance and social conscience in a way only a guy with his particular convictions could. The other three...]]> Bing Crosby - So Rare: Treasures from the Crosby Archive, Bing on Broadway (Collector's Choice Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11075-bing-crosby-so-rare-treasures-from-the-crosby-archive-bing-on-broadway-%2528collectors-choice-music%2529.html Mention Bing Crosby to many Baby Boomer rock fans and eyes will roll. For them, he represented everything out of date. He was dad’s favorite singer. But as recent biographies have shown, Crosby was once a hipster and an innovator; as a young white man exploring the black music of his day (the 1920s)...]]> Sean Michael Dargan - Snap Your Fingers & Stomp Your Feet (Slightly Charred Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11081-sean-michael-dargan-snap-your-fingers-stomp-your-feet-%2528slightly-charred-records%2529.html Madison-based singer/songwriter/guitarist Sean Michael Dargan takes his time releasing albums, but they tend to be worth the wait. His crisp Snap Your Fingers & Stomp Your Feet arrives five years after The Big Picture (which, incidentally, came eight years after his eponymous second album). More raucous than...]]> Waitiki 7 - New Sounds of Exotica (Pass Out) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11082-waitiki-7-new-sounds-of-exotica-%2528pass-out%2529.html Although a certain campiness clings to tiki lounges and “exotica,” the musical genre associated with fruity tropical drinks and thatch-covered bars, 1950s exotica band leaders such as Martin Denny were talented musicians with a multi-cultural vision. The Waitiki 7 pick up the branch where it fell in the ’60s, combining...]]> Feufollet - En Couleurs (Feufollet Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11083-feufollet-en-couleurs-%2528feufollet-records%2529.html Most of us expect certain things from Cajun music since its resurgence in the ’80s, and Feufollet is happy to deliver the hot-tempo party sound on a few tracks of En Couleurs. But most of the CD by the francophone Louisiana band is a surprise, starting with the moody atmospherics of the opening ballad (“Au Fond du...]]> Los Saicos - Demolicion! The Complete Recordings (Phantom) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11033-los-saicos-demolicion_-the-complete-recordings-%2528phantom%2529.html We tend to think of garage rock as the product of exchange between the U.S. and the U.K., going from early rock to The Yardbirds’ electric blues and back to The Count Five and the Nuggets groups. But while the genre’s roots may lie in the English-speaking world, its influence reverberated far beyond...]]> Fiesta Cubana with Omara Portuondo & Band (EuroArts) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11034-fiesta-cubana-with-omara-portuondo-band-%2528euroarts%2529.html Cuba remained a musical enigma for most Americans for decades until 1997, when guitarist Ry Cooder introduced the Buena Vista Social Club, a group of the island nation’s most influential performers who brought the sounds of Cuba to life for a new generation of fans. BVSC member and singer Omara...]]> Trance Halo - We Keep Our Secrets Safe http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11035-trance-halo-we-keep-our-secrets-safe.html Milwaukee hard rockers Trance Halo inaugurate a refigured line-up with their second release. Christ Radomski (guitar) and Russ Fink (drums), both formerly of Evel, segue smoothly into the band's dramatic post-grunge moodscapes. Theirs is a commercially viable sound that would fit with glove-like ease on active...]]> Slammin’ the Infinite - 5000 Poems http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11036-slamminrs-the-infinite-5000-poems.html Tightly knotted clusters of simultaneous soloing, whether hanging in space or propelled by rhythmic fury, are among the hallmarks of Slammin’ the Infinite, a free-jazz unit led by trombonist Steve Swell. It’s not all high-octane assault; playful impressionism can be heard along with pulse-like grooves that pick up John...]]> Fresh Cut Collective - Fresh Cut Collective (Uni-Fi Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10987-fresh-cut-collective-fresh-cut-collective-%2528uni-fi-records%2529.html Fresh Cut Collective, comprised of seven artists with extensive histories with other Milwaukee bands, play music live that otherwise would be presented using either pre-recorded sounds or a combination of that and, say, a couple of live players. This album is live music restoration, taking music back from...]]> Jeff Healey - Last Call (Stony Plain Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10937-jeff-healey-last-call-%2528stony-plain-records%2529.html Though the title of Jeff Healey’s third posthumous release hints at the barreling barroom boogie blues-rock that epitomized his brilliant cameo in the film Road House, Last Call actually focuses on the blind guitarist’s penchant for the 1920s Hoagy Carmichael-via-Django Reinhardt jazz he explored during the last decade of his career...]]> Book Club - Wash Away http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10938-book-club-wash-away.html Waupun’s Book Club is set to make the town known for more than its prison. Vocalist-guitarist Sam Sterk sounds a bit like Billy Corgan, but lyrically he is probably in a less-tortured place than the Smashing Pumpkins/Zwan frontman. Neo-psychedelic grinding and earnest, emo-esque pleading inform vignettes that...]]> Ravi Shankar - Nine Decades Vol. 1, 1967-1968 (East Meets West Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10939-ravi-shankar-nine-decades-vol-1-1967-1968-%2528east-meets-west-music%2529.html The first in an ambitious, projected series of albums culled from the personal archives of Ravi Shankar focuses on the two-year period when the sitar master found himself at the center of Western counterculture. One of the tracks is actually a sequence of cassette-recorded responses to Shankar’s music by a young...]]> Tempest - Another Dawn (Magna Carta Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10862-tempest-another-dawn-%2528magna-carta-records%2529.html The 12th studio album from Celtic rockers Tempest opens with the multinational band’s first-ever single: a “Celtodelic” cover of the Grass Roots’ 1967 hit “Let’s Live for Today.” The upbeat reworking sets the tone for Another Dawn, an album notable for its positive vibes...]]> E-40 - Revenue Retrievin' (Heavy on the Grind/EMI) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10863-e-40-revenue-retrievin-%2528heavy-on-the-grind_emi%2529.html E-40 is nothing if not prolific. With 30 years in the game and a dozen albums and EPs (as well as a slew of singles and group efforts) under his belt, you would think the Bay Area rap icon would show some signs of slowing down. But then he goes and releases Revenue Retrievin’, a massive 38-song statement that spans...]]> Chazz Dixon - Love Notes (Da'Soul Recordings) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10864-chazz-dixon-love-notes-%2528dasoul-recordings%2529.html Prolific Milwaukee adult R&B/smooth jazz crooner Chazz Dixon delivers another set of sensuality and sentimentality with Love Notes. Deceptively minimal production by J brings to mind the softer side of ’80s soul, made for seduction and (on the mid-tempo numbers) dancing. Dixon's yearning tenor brings Smokey...]]> Mike Benign Compulsion - Rollicking Musical (Beautiful Human) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10854-mike-benign-compulsion-rollicking-musical-%2528beautiful-human%2529.html Rollicking Musical is a minor masterpiece of rock production recorded by Milwaukee music veterans Mike Benign and Joe Vent. The debut album by this new lineup of old friends is a carefully layered effort that...]]> Iggy & the Stooges - Raw Power (Columbia Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10825-iggy-the-stooges-raw-power-%2528columbia-legacy%2529.html Iggy Pop recorded a trio of albums with the Stooges, each one distinct in sound if not in attitude. Their 1969 debut could be described as sullen psychedelia; Fun House (1970) flirted with free jazz and Iggy’s final outing with the Stooges, Raw Power (1973), was a great hard rock album. The new Legacy Edition...]]> TriBeCaStan - 5 Star Cave (EverGreene Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10765-tribecastan-5-star-cave-%2528evergreene-music%2529.html When John Kruth lived in Milwaukee, he had little trouble finding a few musicians whose wide-ranging tastes in ethnic music and rock matched his own. Back home in New York City, however, Kruth found musical soul mates on nearly every corner. TriBeCaStan, his partnership with fellow...]]> The BoDeans - Mr. Sad Cown (429) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10759-the-bodeans-mr-sad-cown-%2528429%2529.html Overrated by the rock press when they debuted in 1986, the BoDeans were elevated by excitable critics from promising Milwaukee bar band to champions of heartland rock. Many groups would have evaporated under the withering hype and exhausted their stock of inspiration in a blur of relentless touring. Somehow...]]> Jakob Dylan - Women Country (Columbia) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10718-jakob-dylan-women-country-%2528columbia%2529.html Following his two-decade journey from The Wallflowers to record-store discount bins everywhere, Jakob Dylan has quietly reinvented himself over two solo albums in the vain of Nebraska-era Bruce Springsteen. 2008’s Seeing Things painted the heir-of-a-voice-of-a-generation in surprisingly...]]> Mose Allison - The Way of the World (ANTI-) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10699-mose-allison-the-way-of-the-world-%2528anti-%2529.html Mose Allison’s laconically bluesy recordings from the 1950s and ’60s were more like a dry martini than a shot of whiskey, making them hard to place alongside Muddy Waters. They were also a little too straightforward and matter of fact for jazz. Possibly, the pianist had his greatest influence on the emerging...]]> Ana Moura - Leva-me Aos Fados (World Village) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10700-ana-moura-leva-me-aos-fados-%2528world-village%2529.html “Fado” is Portuguese for “fate,” but it’s also a musical genre that has been called—with good reason—Portugal’s blues for its lower-caste origins and bittersweet lyrics of hope and misfortune. Ana Moura has become one of fado’s bright young voices, the person Mick Jagger wants to sing with when...]]> Burgundy Ties - On the Other Side http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10701-burgundy-ties-on-the-other-side.html On Milwaukee quartet Burgundy Ties’ first full-length CD, On the Other Side, the group comes across like an adult-contemporary radio dream band. Echoes of laconic ’70s country rock and singer-songwriter confessional sensitivity get filtered through current-day Americana. Those influences mingle with the kind of...]]> Cesaria Evora - Radio Mindelo http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10685-cesaria-evora-radio-mindelo.html The African island nation of Cape Verde is little known except for its musical treasure, singer Cesaria Evora. Radio Mindelo is a collection of assured and memorable recordings from the early 1960s, made in a local studio when Evora was barely 20 and Cape Verde was still a Portuguese colony. She was a prodigy...]]> Roky Erickson with Okkervil River - True Love Cast Out All Evil (Anti-) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10616-roky-erickson-with-okkervil-river-true-love-cast-out-all-evil-%2528anti-%2529.html Roky Erickson added a footnote to the hit parade through his raging 1966 recording with the Thirteenth Floor Elevators, “You’re Gonna Miss Me.” Although only a minor national hit, the single signaled a transition from garage rock to psychedelia. After the Texas songwriter and vocalist moved the Elevators...]]> Tito Gonzales - Al Doblar la Esquina http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10603-tito-gonzales-al-doblar-la-esquina.html Tito Gonzales began performing in Cuba, singing and playing the diminutive local guitar called the tres. Somehow, he made his way to San Francisco and formed a band with fellow Cuban expatriates, Son de Cuba. Their new album is a band effort in sound, with crisp arrangements for horns, piano and a rumba line...]]> At the Well - Finitude… the becoming of a storyteller http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10609-at-the-well-finitudehellip-the-becoming-of-a-storyteller.html Kudos to Milwaukee duo At the Well for reviving and putting a new spin on a 1970s style without making it sound retro. At the Well's Solomon Behnke and Cory Jacobson bring the Me Decade's acoustically folky pop/rock into a compelling sphere with some metallic guitar solos and the kind of oddly funky grooves that...]]> Chris Burton Jácome - Levanto http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10610-chris-burton-jaacutecome-levanto.html Guitarist Chris Burton Jácome wanted to be the next Eddie Van Halen when he came of age in the ’80s—until a different muse whispered in his ear. The Mexican-American musician found another route to display his dexterity on the frets in the probable music of his distant ancestors, flamenco. Levanto...]]> Avishai Cohen - Aurora (EMI) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10611-avishai-cohen-aurora-%2528emi%2529.html The sound of many contemporary jazz musicians comes from a generic anywhere, rooted in nothing but their conservatory training. Bassist-vocalist Avishai Cohen is one player who sounds much like the place where he lives. Aurora is unmistakably Israeli jazz, slipping between the modes of New York cool and...]]> Tom Tesions - Me, My Songs … & Beer (Neven) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10577-tom-tesions-me-my-songs-hellip-beer-%2528neven%2529.html Serj Tankian - Elect the Dead Symphony (Serjical Strike/Reprise) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10480-serj-tankian-elect-the-dead-symphony-%2528serjical-strike_reprise%2529.html Serj Tankian fronted one of the great metallic rock bands of recent years, System of a Down. Even then, no one could accuse him of narrow ambitions. Politically active and finding subtle ways to incorporate the music of his Armenian heritage into raging, aggressive rock, Tankian was able to blend blood-soaked apocalyptic imagery with angry social insights...]]> Rick Miller - Falling Through Rainbows (Unicorn Digital) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10481-rick-miller-falling-through-rainbows-%2528unicorn-digital%2529.html A man out of time, Canada’s Rick Miller has composed, produced, performed and recorded since the early ’80s. But his fourth solo CD, Falling Through Rainbows, confirms that his real musical influences come from the ’70s. Featuring a fuzzy unicorn on its cover (which looks a tad too much like My Little Pony), this album takes plenty of inspiration...]]> Various Artists - Classic Appalachian Blues (Smithsonian Folkways) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10482-various-artists-classic-appalachian-blues-%2528smithsonian-folkways%2529.html Many of the most significant blues performers originated in the Mississippi Delta, but blues music was widespread in the South from early on. Classic Appalachian Blues is by no means the final word on the subject, but it includes recordings made by Folkways producers who searched the hilly region in the 1950s...]]> Pretty Ricky Phontaine - It Ain't Eazy Being Pretty Ricky Phontaine http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10483-pretty-ricky-phontaine-it-aint-eazy-being-pretty-ricky-phontaine.html One might assume that a Milwaukee rapper who calls himself a Martian with the soul of a hippie would be an East Side alternative MC with aspirations of being on a label like Def Jux or Rhymesayers. That Pretty Ricky Phontaine fits better with the Northwest Side hip-hop mainstream makes for an interesting surprise...]]> Lokesh - Utopia http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10446-lokesh-utopia.html Lokesh is a man with deep roots but no boundaries. The expatriate Indian electronica artist has lived in San Francisco for several years and brings diverse influences together with the sonic essence of his homeland. Sitar and acoustic guitar weave into the crowded sounds of the dance floor; the passionate wail of Indipop...]]> Gaida - Levantine Indulgence (Palmyra) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10392-gaida-levantine-indulgence-%2528palmyra%2529.html The Syrian-born singer Gaida was immersed in the musical traditions of her homeland while growing up but found her voice only after moving to New York City. On Levantine Indulgence, she sings in the passionately expressive ululations of the Near East, accompanied by a tinkling, percussive band generally...]]> Allison Moorer - Crows (Rykodisc) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10393-allison-moorer-crows-%2528rykodisc%2529.html Making a near-perfect B-side to Johnny Cash’s posthumous meditation on death, American VI: Ain’t No Grave, Allison Moorer's eighth studio release comes on like just another neo-Nashville croonfest, taking its time to reveal the brooding layers of grief, damage and ennui. Sure, Crows is occasionally lovely, and...]]> Dommin - Love Is Gone (Roadrunner Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10395-dommin-love-is-gone-%2528roadrunner-records%2529.html Delivering on its title, Dommin’s Love Is Gone plays like a soundtrack for brokenhearted goths. Consider the leadoff track, in which fragile lead vocalist, guitarist and band namesake Kristofer Dommin sings, “My heart in your hands/Closing your grip/I’m so afraid that you’ll leave me cold” over a doomy claustrophobic...]]> Suzanne Jamieson - A Sun-Up Sky (LML Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10396-suzanne-jamieson-a-sun-up-sky-%2528lml-music%2529.html Long before "pop" became whatever Ryan Seacrest is hawking in any given week, it was a word synonymous with the Great American Songbook and the mature emotional palette expressed therein. Racine native Suzanne Jamieson excels in applying the colors from that palette to some of that book's songs...]]> Jim Guttmann - Bessarabian Breakdown (Kleztone) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10376-jim-guttmann-bessarabian-breakdown-%2528kleztone%2529.html With the rising force of globalism, many talented musicians have felt the pull of eclecticism, but had no feel for pulling it off. Their musical fusions were cold, their juxtapositions mismatched. Veteran jazz and klezmer bassist Jim Guttman and his excellent band bring a more evolved sensibility to the...]]> Joanna Newsom - Have One on Me (Drag City) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10313-joanna-newsom-have-one-on-me-%2528drag-city%2529.html Though it’s already being lauded as her most accessible album, Have One on Me isn’t necessarily Joanna Newsom’s most listenable. A two-hour-long, triple-disc set is a lot to ask an audience to absorb in the age of download-the-songs-you-like-and-ignore-the-rest. Musically, finding a middle ground between her...]]> AtmOsfear - Zenith (ProgRock Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10314-atmosfear-zenith-%2528progrock-records%2529.html Progressive metal’s pretentious reputation won’t be spared with Zenith, the third album from AtmOsfear. Indeed, the 71-minute disc contains only six songs, including the four-part finale “Spiral of Pain,” which clocks in at almost half an hour. But the German quintet—not to be confused with the U.K.-based jazz/funk...]]> .357 String Band - Lightning From the North http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10315-357-string-band-lightning-from-the-north.html The third album from Milwaukee’s .357 String Band continues the group’s fearless and fierce refashioning of un-amped acoustic Americana/alt country, plumbing further depths of the Saturday-night rowdy/Sunday-morning righteous dichotomy. There’s a reason they call this music streetgrass...]]> Sweet Electra - When We Abandoned Earth http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10306-sweet-electra-when-we-abandoned-earth.html Apart from a single Spanish lyric, no clue is given on When We Abandoned Earth that Sweet Electra originated in Mexico. Now living in New York, the duo of Nariz Cooke and Giovanni Escalera could have come from anywhere in the world. Sweet Electra is an electro-pop group spinning dreamy electronica...]]> Present Music - Graffiti (Innova) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10244-present-music-graffiti-%2528innova%2529.html Present Music has been Milwaukee’s foremost performer and presenter of contemporary classical music since the early ‘80s. They have also played a role in commissioning new work. On Present Music’s new CD, Graffiti, the ensemble have recorded recent commissions from a trio of composers, unrelated to...]]> Michael Hurley - Ida Con Snock (Gnomonsong) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10228-michael-hurley-ida-con-snock-%2528gnomonsong%2529.html Michael Hurley surfaced at the eccentric end of the American folk revival of the 1960s and hasn’t moved far since, becoming a totem figure for new generations seeking a path into the weird old America. Although Hurley’s latest album was recorded over several years at different studios, the songs flow like a river...]]> Gil Scott-Heron - I'm New Here (XL Recordings) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10231-gil-scott-heron-im-new-here-%2528xl-recordings%2529.html Chicago-born, Tennessee-raised, New York-schooled Gil Scott-Heron has made a career out of a decades-long fusion between poetry, literature, spoken-word jazz, old soul, slick R&B and a kind of precursory hip-hop. Simply, the man is an amalgam of arts, places and times—much like his latest, I’m...]]> WiszdomStone - Rise http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10232-wiszdomstone-rise.html High-school buddies Ray Luokka and Brian Noonan had all but given up on becoming rock stars. But years later, in little ol’ Jackson, Wis., the guitarist and drummer found a vocalist with wide range and a serious bassist, and decided to give it one more shot. Wise move. Rise is a progressive-metal...]]> Number 9 Hard - All Lubed Up and Ready to Go (S.B.S.) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10233-number-9-hard-all-lubed-up-and-ready-to-go-%2528sbs%2529.html If emo is the emotionally effusive and tender offspring of hardcore punk, there should be a new word coined for Milwaukee's Number 9 Hard. Call them “inebrio.” They're all about their booze. And screwing. And, if the graphics of this 15-song assault on all things tasteful indicate any truth about them, junk food. They may...]]> Highway 414 - Hellbound for the Highway http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10154-highway-414-hellbound-for-the-highway.html It’s refreshing to hear new, original music that isn’t self-absorbed and fraudulent like that of so many contemporary singer/songwriters crying into their imported beer. Hellbound for the Highway suffers as a result of weak lyrics—overused stuff—but excels in music that is tough, honest and technically proficient. One can ignore the words and not be burdened...]]> Ravi Shankar - Rare and Glorious (Times Square) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10155-ravi-shankar-rare-and-glorious-%2528times-square%2529.html In the 1960s Ravi Shankar became Mr. Indian Music to a world of young musicians, influencing the direction of the Beatles and psychedelic rock. As noted in the booklet essay accompanying Rare and Glorious, the accomplished sitar player came from a family of musical ambassadors to the West that...]]> Charlotte Gainsbourg - IRM (Elektra) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10096-charlotte-gainsbourg-irm-%2528elektra%2529.html Charlotte Gainsbourg’s near-death experience following a water-skiing accident in 2007 resulted in countless unnerving hours spent in MRI machines, a realization that we all may be living on borrowed time, and Gainsbourg’s most personal and cohesive album to date. While not a songwriter herself, Gainsbourg knows how to pick her creative partners. Her first album, recorded when Gainsbourg was just 13, was conceived...]]> Various Artists - ART-i-facts: Great Performances From 40 Years of Jazz at NEC http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10097-various-artists-art-i-facts-great-performances-from-40-years-of-jazz-at-nec.html The New England Conservatory (NEC) has long been at the forefront of jazz education, boasting a sterling staff and many illustrious alumni. ART-i-facts collects a baker’s dozen selections from the school’s jazz studies concert series and includes elegantly rendered swing, energized bebop, moody instrumental ballads...]]> Brian Drow - Sky Was Wide (Big Bread) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10098-brian-drow-sky-was-wide-%2528big-bread%2529.html Johnny Cash - American VI: Ain't No Grave (American Recordings/Lost Highway) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10013-johnny-cash-american-vi-aint-no-grave-%2528american-recordings_lost-highway%2529.html Music producer Rick Rubin doesn’t read music or write lyrics. But he feels things deeply. And when you seamlessly weave his gift of intuition with a spiritual yet complicated artist like the late Johnny Cash, one thing is created: an overwhelmingly...]]> Jimi Hendrix - Valleys of Neptune (Experience Hendrix/Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10014-jimi-hendrix-valleys-of-neptune-%2528experience-hendrix_legacy%2529.html The surprising thing about Valleys of Neptune is that it took more than 40 years for this collection of 1969 Jimi Hendrix recordings to surface. Some songs—“Stone Free,” “Fire” and “Red House”—aren’t new, but new versions appear on this 12-cut CD. Other numbers like “Lullaby for the Summer” and “Crying Blue...]]> Hank Williams - Hank Williams Revealed: The Unreleased Recordings (Time Life) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9941-hank-williams-hank-williams-revealed-the-unreleased-recordings-%2528time-life%2529.html As a performer and composer of country songs, Hank Williams had absolute, rock-solid consistency. Williams’ writing credentials have never been in question, and with Hank Williams Revealed—the second three-CD set of songs intended for one-time radio broadcast—Williams’ abilities as a performer...]]> Statobahn - The Band In Room Number 4 http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9942-statobahn-the-band-in-room-number-4.html Statobahn, founded by Milwaukee music vets David Hucke and Peter Torres, plays heavy rock with a decidedly progressive edge. Bludgeoning guitars agitate against the more celestial tones of organ and other keyboards. The act has a secret weapon, too, in Debbie Seeger's thumping bass. None of the four songs...]]> Jym Mooney - Live...Now and Then (Moo-Town Productions) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9943-jym-mooney-livenow-and-then-%2528moo-town-productions%2529.html Folk music might be best appreciated when one mingles among other folks. Veteran Milwaukee folkie Jym Mooney proves that point on this collection of concert recordings from 1981 to 2009. Whether at The Coffee House, on Wisconsin Public Radio's “Simply Folk” or entertaining at a festival in Shawano...]]> Christian Gerhaher & Gerold Huber - Lieder (RCA Red Seal) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9930-christian-gerhaher-gerold-huber-lieder-%2528rca-red-seal%2529.html Several of Gustav Mahler’s monumental and challenging symphonies have become staples in classical music, overshadowing the composer’s more intimate songwriting. Baritone Christian Gerhaher and pianist Gerold Huber would like to raise the prominence of Mahler’s lieder in the concert repertoire by calling...]]> Longital - Gloria (Sinko) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9911-longital-gloria-%2528sinko%2529.html The language barrier will doubtlessly keep Longital from mainstream American audiences, but open-minded alt rock fans will find reason to enjoy the music of one of Slovakia’s most popular bands. Longital combines the plucked, staccato rhythms of acoustic strings with electric guitar edge on some numbers, while soaring...]]> Eloy - Visionary (The Laser's Edge) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9867-eloy-visionary-%2528the-lasers-edge%2529.html Eloy should be a familiar name to progressive-rock fans of a certain age. And now, thanks to the outstanding reunion album Visionary—the German band’s first studio record since 1998 and released to coincide with Eloy’s 40th anniversary—a whole new generation of listeners can hear what all the fuss was...]]> Polkafinger - Polkafinger http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9868-polkafinger-polkafinger.html Richard LaValliere has traipsed through a few musical genres since his pioneering Milwaukee punk and post-punk bands, The Haskels and Oil Tasters. The name of his latest band offers a clue as to LaValliere's unforgotten Brewtown roots. Brooklyn, N.Y.’s Polkafinger revives the idea of melding Eastern European...]]> The Spy From Cairo - Secretly Famous (Wonderwheel) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9869-the-spy-from-cairo-secretly-famous-%2528wonderwheel%2529.html Mix-master Moreno Visini has employed many names and guises as a DJ on the New York club scene, including Zeb and his latest incarnation, The Spy From Cairo. His CD under that name is a trance-inducing vision of the Near East transposed to a contemporary dance floor. Unlike some failed efforts in this vein by...]]> Crazy Rocket Fuel - Vol. One http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9852-crazy-rocket-fuel-vol-one.html Milwaukee distaff rockabilly foursome Crazy Rocket Fuel make their retro country rockin' danceable while playing up bad girl imagery. Some of the language and metaphor they employ would surely have gotten Wanda Jackson a radio ban in her '50s heyday. These gals, however, work their sass factor...]]> Vladimir Horowitz - The Legendary Berlin Concert, 18th May 1986 (Sony Classical) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9802-vladimir-horowitz-the-legendary-berlin-concert-18th-may-1986-%2528sony-classical%2529.html By now, most of the great recorded performances of classical music have been issued and reissued again. And yet, the archives are being scoured for new discoveries. One recent find is Vladimir Horowitz’s 1986 recital in Berlin, recovered from a German radio archive. Although 82-years old at the time, the great pianist...]]> Gary Tanin - Natural Selection (Daystorm Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9772-gary-tanin-natural-selection-%2528daystorm-music%2529.html Gary Tanin’s name might not ring a bell with all local rock fans. But as a veteran producer, he’s worked with some of the city’s finest and best-known musicians—including the BoDeans’ Sam Llanas, the Violent Femmes’ Victor DeLorenzo and Genesis’ Daryl Stuermer. Natural Selection gathers 18 songs from...]]> Galactic - Ya-Ka-May (ANTI-) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9773-galactic-ya-ka-may-%2528anti-%2529.html New Orleans has always been America’s most unique city, nurturing great music from the days of Jelly Roll Morton and Louis Armstrong through the present. Galactic, a contemporary Crescent City band, has second-line marching band rhythms and staccato horns in its bones. And like the city itself, Katrina or no...]]> SambaDá - Gente http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9774-sambadaacute-gente.html On any sunny day on the beaches of Santa Cruz, Calif., a crowd might gather to hear a true world music hybrid, SambaDá. Formed by Brazilian immigrants and their Yankee neighbors, the band distills the easygoing lilt of bossa nova into a rock-funk format, with carnival rhythms and echoes of more ancient...]]> Jen Gloeckner - Mouth of Mars http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9778-jen-gloeckner-mouth-of-mars.html On her second album, Jen Gloeckner digresses occasionally into the elastic whiplash chords of rock, or slips into a harsh-tongued vocal emulation of Americana. Mostly, Mouth of Mars is a layered, largely acoustic sequence of soundscapes involving febrile and agitated strings, percussive echoes and surreal...]]> Various Artists - Dengue Fever Presents Electric Cambodia (Minky) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9707-various-artists-dengue-fever-presents-electric-cambodia-%2528minky%2529.html Mention Cambodia and the killing fields of the country’s Communist regime still come to mind. But since the toppling of the Khmer Rouge and, later, the restoration of a constitutional monarchy, Cambodians have taken steps to reclaim their culture from the devastation wrought by Pol Pot, one of the 20th century’s most...]]> Keller Williams - Odd (KW Enterprises) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9708-keller-williams-odd-%2528kw-enterprises%2529.html On his latest studio album, Odd, veteran one-man band Keller Williams sounds perpetually stoned—just the way his fans like him. Williams receives minimal accompaniment on these dozen tracks, and he keeps the arrangements sparse enough that he’ll be able to handle them just fine at his whimsical solo gigs...]]> Prana Trio - The Singing Image of Fire (Circavision) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9709-prana-trio-the-singing-image-of-fire-%2528circavision%2529.html At the heart of The Singing Image of Fire is the poetry of Rumi and other timeless literature from the Near East, India and the Far East. Led by drummer Brian Adler, Prana Trio’s music seems inspired by the atmospheric chamber jazz of the old ECM label—a rippling symphony of orchestral percussion and fluid...]]> Coco Montoya - The Essential Coco Montoya (Blind Pig) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9619-coco-montoya-the-essential-coco-montoya-%2528blind-pig%2529.html Coco Montoya's new album is a compilation of original songs and covers drawn from three albums released in the mid- to late-1990s, after a 10-year run with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. All three CDs received critical acclaim, and his debut album earned him a W.C. Handy Award for Best New Blues Artist, along...]]> Chuck Prophet - Let Freedom Ring (Yep Roc) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9620-chuck-prophet-let-freedom-ring-%2528yep-roc%2529.html At the heart of hugely underrated singer-songwriter Chuck Prophet’s sound there’s always been a kind of tug-of-war among disparate eras. In turns Petty-esque, Springsteen-like and generally rife with Stones swagger, there’s also an undeniably coy, modern indie slant. Sure there’s “Born to Run”-style driving...]]> Melissa Czarnik with Eric Mire Band - Local Live: Live on 91.7 WMSE June 2 2009 http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9621-melissa-czarnik-with-eric-mire-band-local-live-live-on-917-wmse-june-2-2009.html Melissa Czarnik and Eric Mire are among East Side Milwaukee's more verbally dexterous rappers. Their sociopolitical M.C.-ing and the organic soul/jazz vibes on their latest studio projects transfer well to a live setting in one of the city's favorite noncommercial radio stations, WMSE. Saxophone, bass, guitar and...]]> Gov’t Mule - By a Thread (Evil Teen) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9555-govrst-mule-by-a-thread-%2528evil-teen%2529.html While Widespread Panic packs the Riverside Theater for three-night residencies, and the Black Crowes maintain name recognition and album sales, those in the know give Gov’t Mule the nod as titleholder of all things crunchy, power blues-rock—at least if you consider those in the know to be the beer drinkers and...]]> Jim Hoehn - Royalty Check Hotel http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9556-jim-hoehn-royalty-check-hotel.html Former Journal Sentinel reporter and author Jim Hoehn releases an album every few years, whenever he has amassed enough songs to make it worthwhile. Hoehn’s varied styles, more or less Americana, expound on themes of making music and making escapes from everyday dreariness. Polka, country, lite rock...]]> Gabriel Johnson - Fra_ctured (Electrofone Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9557-gabriel-johnson-fra_ctured-%2528electrofone-music%2529.html A schooled trumpeter, Gabriel Johnson has added a touch of jazz to the soundtracks of such recent Clint Eastwood films as Invictus and Changeling. On Fra_ctured, Johnson sets the cool, lonesome, Miles Davis-inspired tone of his horn against moody and melodic synthesized backdrops. The result conjures...]]> Norah Jones - The Fall (Blue Note) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9473-norah-jones-the-fall-%2528blue-note%2529.html If sultry songstress Norah Jones has proven exceptional at one thing, it’s projecting her Blue Note sensibilities into an all-ages, easy-to-digest formula. Yet on 2007’s Not Too Late, and here again, she seems as determined to shed her perfect-present-for-mom, Starbucks stigma as she does the unnamed...]]> B. Reith - Now Is Not Forever http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9474-b-reith-now-is-not-forever.html When Brian Reith sings R&B, he doesn't have to hire a rent-a-rapper to provide hip-hop flavor. That's because he's pretty killer at spitting out rhymed, spoken couplets, too. The Milwaukee native who goes by his first name's initial had been kicking around the city's gospel, contemporary Christian, indie ground for a...]]> Kate Miller-Heidke - Curiouser (Sony BMG) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9416-kate-miller-heidke-curiouser-%2528sony-bmg%2529.html Lene Lovich was among the most unique talents of the late-’70s new wave, and, at moments, Kate Miller-Heidke conjures memories of her crisp, quirky pop. The bold strokes of new wave rock rhythms and guitar are sometimes reminiscent of Lovich, and Miller-Heidke has a similar fondness...]]> Elvis Presley - Elvis 75: Good Rockin' Tonight (RCA/Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9354-elvis-presley-elvis-75-good-rockin-tonight-%2528rca_legacy%2529.html Each musical anthology of Elvis Presley, and one has been released every few years since his death more than 30 years ago, feels more and more like a referendum on the relevance of the man’s work. True, he altered the pop music landscape in the 1950s and may be the biggest-selling act in his label’s catalog...]]> Them Crooked Vultures - Them Crooked Vultures (DGC Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9355-them-crooked-vultures-them-crooked-vultures-%2528dgc-records%2529.html After Dave Grohl announced in a 2005 Mojo interview that his project with Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme and Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones “wouldn’t suck,” most fans of hard-hitting rock would’ve found it difficult to question such a statement. Four years later, said project finally released, it’s...]]> Jayne Taylor - Firecracker http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9287-jayne-taylor-firecracker.html If Milwaukee is nurturing another American Idol contender, let it be Jayne Taylor. On her new CD, Firecracker, the 17-year old songbird tackles a batch of mostly pre-Beatles rock, pop and country tunes associated with Wanda Jackson, Brenda Lee and Buddy Holly. She hits all notes beautifully and displays...]]> HEDDA - The Calm Before… http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9295-hedda-the-calm-beforehellip.html Dimension X—one of the freshest progressive-metal bands to come out of Milwaukee in recent years—may be no more, but members of that outfit have teamed up with Sun Prairie-based vocalist John Swenson (Cherry Pie) to form HEDDA. The Calm Before…, a four-song EP loosely based on a concept...]]> Conrad Plymouth - Loathe, Love, Blame, Defend http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9296-conrad-plymouth-loathe-love-blame-defend.html With a voice resembling a young Jackson Browne, Milwaukee's Conrad Plymouth is a singer-songwriter with a heavier heart and a more indie musical background than the mellow dude he sounds like. Loathe, Love, Blame, Defend varies between lighter and heavier sonic textures through its seven songs, until at last...]]> Jon Lundbom & Big Five Chord - Accomplish Jazz (Hot Cup) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9297-jon-lundbom-big-five-chord-accomplish-jazz-%2528hot-cup%2529.html The Bad Plus trend among young jazz combos is to take a familiar song from well outside the Great American Songbook of the 1930s and ’40s—say, “Smells Like Teen Spirit”—and deconstruct it without losing sight of the melody. New York guitarist Jon Lundbom and group venture further afield, into...]]> Kitka - Cradle Songs (Diaphonica) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9298-kitka-cradle-songs-%2528diaphonica%2529.html An anthology of lullabies sounds like a sleepy proposition, and while that may be the point, bedtime music is like any other medium for the human imagination: There is good, bad and mediocre. The women of the California choral group Kitka have chosen their material well, focusing on the inevitably haunting melodies...]]> Owl City - Ocean Eyes (Universal Republic) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9223-owl-city-ocean-eyes-%2528universal-republic%2529.html The whimsical Owl City creates an all-around feel-good vibe. For the most part the lyrics in Owl City’s Ocean Eyes are entirely concrete; a picture is painted and all you have to do is follow along as your mind begins to wander and gets lost in the overwhelming amount of effects taking place. The songs are quite...]]> Sylvester and the Hot Band - The Blue Thumb Collection (Hip-O Select/Geffen/Blue Thumb) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9224-sylvester-and-the-hot-band-the-blue-thumb-collection-%2528hip-o-select_geffen_blue-thumb%2529.html Before reinventing himself as an influential electro-disco divo, Sylvester (née Sylvester James) plied his otherworldly falsetto and drag queen fashion sense to funky, bluesy rock. But despite pop music’s glammy sexual ambiguity during the first half of the ’70s, the two albums this large, flamboyant dude recorded...]]> Paul Cebar - One Little Light On (Groovesburg Joys) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9225-paul-cebar-one-little-light-on-%2528groovesburg-joys%2529.html Paul Cebar is usually thought of as a bandleader, exploring Afro-Caribbean-American music with the Milwaukeeans and—in an earlier epoch—the R&B Cadets. But Cebar began as a soloist in the late ’70s and in recent years has opened for Nick Lowe, Chris Smither and others with just a guitar in hand...]]> Kiddus I - Rocking Rebel Volumes 1 & 2 (MVD) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9226-kiddus-i-rocking-rebel-volumes-1-2-%2528mvd%2529.html The lo-fi murmurs of many of these “lost” recordings by Jamaican singer Kiddus I, recorded circa 1980, only enhance their appeal. Aside from a couple of earnest efforts to ride the fading disco wave, the tracks on this two-disc set are roots reggae with touches of dub and obvious debts to earlier American R&B...]]> Thee Midniters - Thee Complete Midniters: Songs of Love, Rhythm & Psychedelia! (Micro Werks) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9109-thee-midniters-thee-complete-midniters-songs-of-love-rhythm-psychedelia_-%2528micro-werks%2529.html Los Lobos, America’s leading Latino rock band since the 1980s, always honored the memory of its predecessor from East Los Angeles, Thee Midniters. Curiously, Thee Complete Midniters, a four-disc set collecting the 1960s-era band’s four LPs plus B-sides and bonus tracks, gives only slight sonic...]]> Skillet - Awake (Atlantic/Ardent/INO) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9110-skillet-awake-%2528atlantic_ardent_ino%2529.html The Kenosha-based band Skillet has parlayed its solid popularity in the Christian subculture into growing general market success for much of the current decade. Awake finds the quartet refining its lite industrial rock to address heretofore unaddressed lyrical themes and vocal...]]> Various Artists - A Christmas Gift for You From Phil Spector (Columbia Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9111-various-artists-a-christmas-gift-for-you-from-phil-spector-%2528columbia-legacy%2529.html Already having refined his famous “wall of sound,” a monophonic Wagnerian approach to rock-accented pop, producer Phil Spector turned his talents to producing a holiday album. A Christmas Gift...]]> Cesaria Evora - Nha Sentimento (Lusafrica) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9077-cesaria-evora-nha-sentimento-%2528lusafrica%2529.html If the tiny African island nation of Cape Verde is known for anything, it’s the warm and expressive voice of Cesaria Evora. On her latest album, the prolific recording artist with an international following continues to explore the bright melancholy of the traditional local music known as mornas, finding new avenues in this...]]> Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey - One Day in Brooklyn (Royal Potato/Megaforce) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9030-jacob-fred-jazz-odyssey-one-day-in-brooklyn-%2528royal-potato_megaforce%2529.html The latest offering from Tulsa, Okla.’s white-boy nouveau-boppers, the Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, continues their penchant for doing it live: Four out of the last six of the quartet’s studio releases have, actually, been from the stage. And here—apropos of the title, “One Day in Brooklyn”—is an insular...]]> Komeda Project - Requiem (WM) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9031-komeda-project-requiem-%2528wm%2529.html The haunting lullaby that opens Rosemary’s Baby is undoubtedly the best-known music by composer Krzysztof Komeda, who wrote the scores for several Roman Polanski films before his death in 1969, just before his 38th birthday. But he was also involved in a thriving European jazz during the ’60s...]]> Julie Thompson - Reverie: Jazz Impressions http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9032-julie-thompson-reverie-jazz-impressions.html Milwaukee jazz songstress Julie Thompson issues a clear, sweet tone on her sophomore album. Balancing emotional nuance with a bell-like, almost motherly delivery, her restraint makes for a pleasing set of genre standards and show tunes. Piano, seven-string guitar, clarinet and a male a cappella quartet...]]> Garage a Trois - Power Patriot (Royal Potato Family) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8980-garage-a-trois-power-patriot-%2528royal-potato-family%2529.html The fourth iteration of modern jazz supergroup Garage a Trois finds the boys dropping guitar wizard Charlie Hunter, probably leaving him back at the record store with most any and all of their collective influences. Free-form and forward-thinking is the game when drummer Stanton Moore, vibraphonist Mike Dillon...]]> Steve Lewandowski - Familiar Melodies (Mobius Trip) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8981-steve-lewandowski-familiar-melodies-%2528mobius-trip%2529.html Steve Lewandowski and his nimble, fluid guitar tones may be familiar to some as their teacher or from the orchestra pit at touring Broadway shows playing Milwaukee. The infrequently recorded axeman has gathered a diverse ensemble for his first jazz session as bandleader in years. Familiar Melodies showcase...]]> Wonderlick - Topless at the Arco Arena (Rock Ridge Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8982-wonderlick-topless-at-the-arco-arena-%2528rock-ridge-music%2529.html Following Radiohead’s lead, Wonderlick—a little-known California pop duo featuring former members of ’90s alterna-poppers Too Much Joy—asked fans to preorder their second full-length CD, Topless at the Arco Arena, and pay whatever they wanted for it. Little did Wonderlick realize that individuals would shell...]]> BalkanBeats; Boban i Marko Markovic Orkestar; Mahala Rai Banda - A Night in Berlin (Piranha); Devla: Blown Away to Dancefloor Heaven (Piranha); Ghetto Blasters (Asphalt Tango) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8890-balkanbeats-boban-i-marko-markovic-orkestar-mahala-rai-banda-a-night-in-berlin-%2528piranha%2529-devla-blown-away-to-dancefloor-heaven-%2528piranha%2529-ghetto-blasters-%2528asphalt-tango%2529.html Robert Soko, a Bosnian in Berlin exile, has been involved in a host of musical projects with fellow immigrants from the defunct nation of Yugoslavia. The peoples of that country split apart in the worst way during the ’90s, egged on by extreme nationalists, opportunistic politicians...]]> Hot Club of Cowtown - Wishful Thinking (Gold Strike/Thirty Tigers) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8891-hot-club-of-cowtown-wishful-thinking-%2528gold-strike_thirty-tigers%2529.html The members of veteran Western swing/pop trio Hot Club of Cowtown don’t sound like they’re coming off of a mid-decade hiatus. Wishful Thinking finds vocalist/fiddler Elana James, vocalist/guitarist Whit Smith and upright bassist Jake Erwin together again—seven years after their last studio...]]> Jay Flash - Lonesome Heroes (Sector Five Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8892-jay-flash-lonesome-heroes-%2528sector-five-records%2529.html The second disc from Milwaukee experimental folkie Jay Flash doles out another helping of political sentiments and personal reflection, often within the same song. Guitar strumming mixes with synth programming of a systems-oriented classical bent that sounds like he collaborated...]]> Jay Farrar and Benjamin Gibbard - One Fast Move or I'm Gone (F-Stop Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8670-jay-farrar-and-benjamin-gibbard-one-fast-move-or-im-gone-%2528f-stop-records%2529.html Aside from the Beat roads of Tom Waits, the marriage between music and the words of Jack Kerouac is probably best experienced in the novelist’s own collection of readings and jazz singing, Jack Kerouac Reads on the Road, or more recently on the Jim Sampas-produced, Ginsberg/Ferlinghetti/Hunter...]]> Los Lobos - Los Lobos Goes Disney (Disney Sound) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8671-los-lobos-los-lobos-goes-disney-%2528disney-sound%2529.html Los Lobos’ distinct sound, derived from Mexican folk, R&B and rock, has continued to develop over the years since their emergence from the ’70s Los Angeles punk scene—sometimes in surprising directions. Los Lobos Goes Disney is exactly what its title promises: a romp through songs from decades of Disney...]]> Vandana Vishwas - Meera—The Lover… http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8672-vandana-vishwas-meeramdashthe-loverhellip.html Meera Bai was a 16th-century Hindu woman whose devotional poetry to Krishna crossed between the spiritual and the physical. She claimed, perhaps not unlike some Catholic mystics in a different context, to be the bride of Krishna. The Indian-born Canadian singer Vandana Vishwas’ song cycle based...]]> Watermelon Slim & The Workers - Escape From the Chicken Coop (NorthernBlues) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8569-watermelon-slim-the-workers-escape-from-the-chicken-coop-%2528northernblues%2529.html With ubiquitous cowboy hat, pervasive National steel guitar and song titles like “Skinny Women and Fat Cigars” and “Hank Williams You Wrote My Life,” there seems little doubt that Watermelon Slim and company are straight out of ZZ Top country. Slim’s latest, a batch of trucker songs, complete...]]> Vince Guaraldi - The Definitive Vince Guaraldi (Concord) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8570-vince-guaraldi-the-definitive-vince-guaraldi-%2528concord%2529.html Pianist Vince Guaraldi was probably the most widely heard jazz artist in the 1960s, thanks to his music for the perennially popular Charlie Brown TV specials. Some of it can be heard on this two-disc survey of recordings from...]]> The Sheep - The Sheep (Blue Collar Tunes) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8571-the-sheep-the-sheep-%2528blue-collar-tunes%2529.html The Milwaukee band The Sheep made a unique international impact. Born in the local “Jesus movement” of the late ’60s, the group wound up in Finland to record their first album. Soon, they recorded a couple more LPs in England, where they starred in a stage musical that brought them back to the...]]> Totó La Momposina - La Bodega (Astar Artes) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8572-totoacute-la-momposina-la-bodega-%2528astar-artes%2529.html Totó La Momposina grew up with the music of Colombia’s coastal region, formed from the currents of Spain, Africa and Native America in colonial times. She is a soulfully expressive singer, fronting a band whose pounding African percussion provides the power for chanted choruses...]]> The Carpenters - 40/40 (Universal) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8539-the-carpenters-40_40-%2528universal%2529.html A surprising number of musicians involved in the early wave of punk rock liked the Carpenters when they were kids —liked at least some of their music—and preserved that affection into their music-making years. It was a guilty pleasure for many and the secret fondness leaked out little by little over the years—in a nod to the fuzztone guitar solo...]]> Polvo - In Prism (Merge) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8505-polvo-in-prism-%2528merge%2529.html The last decade has brought about a rush of rock nostalgia, from the latest Beatlemania resurgence and unprecedented success of tribute groups like U2 Zoo and The Musical Box to the multitude of reunions from the likes of The Police, Pixies, Pink Floyd, Phish, even Pavement...]]> Eric Mire Band - Spooky Love (Hyperdrive Motivator) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8506-eric-mire-band-spooky-love-%2528hyperdrive-motivator%2529.html With their second CD, Eric Mire and his band are breaking some ground, as the Milwaukee rapper/singer puts a bass-riddled take on folk, alt soul, hip-hop, funk and cool jazz. The themes of love, socioeconomic struggle and politics may be similar to the Michael Franti/Spearhead and Arrested Development...]]> MarchFourth Marching Band - Rise Up (MarchFourth Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8507-marchfourth-marching-band-rise-up-%2528marchfourth-music%2529.html The staid reputation of marching bands has been upended in recent years by the wider exposure of the New Orleans brass band tradition as well as the general shift toward cultural eclecticism. Witness Portland, Ore.’s MarchFourth Marching Band, for whom Crescent City funk is only the starting point...]]> Jasper Rude - The Distorted Tales of Jasper Rude http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8508-jasper-rude-the-distorted-tales-of-jasper-rude.html Four Milwaukee music veterans and a lead singer-songwriter from South Dakota via Arkansas summon the kind of bluesy, dance-infused hard guitar anthems, introspections and goofs that would sound right at home on classic rock radio. That should come as no surprise, considering Jasper Rude’s many...]]> Loudon Wainwright III - High Wide & Handsome: The Charlie Poole Project (2nd Story Sound Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8379-loudon-wainwright-iii-high-wide-handsome-the-charlie-poole-project-%25282nd-story-sound-records%2529.html Weeks before drinking himself to death at age 39 in 1931, North Carolina millworker-turned-banjo-picker Charlie Poole recorded “Milwaukee Blues,” a song that has nearly nothing to do with Milwaukee. It was modestly successful, an achievement given that the Great Depression was two years under way...]]> Oz Noy - Schizophrenic (Magnatude Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8380-oz-noy-schizophrenic-%2528magnatude-records%2529.html Israeli electric guitarist Oz Noy must realize that not even serious musicians (like himself) can listen to mindless shredding all of the time. That would explain why he injected Schizophrenic, his third all-instrumental CD, with enough quirky attitude and ego-free chops to make the disc a refreshing...]]> Longacre - Transfixed Summer http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8381-longacre-transfixed-summer.html Milwaukee’s Longacre follows last year’s full-length debut with five songs that further their adult alt aesthetic. Adding to the group’s muscularly hushed emotional vignettes are more exotic, international sounds and themes. Some flamenco guitar and American-Indian powwow drumming form the bass for a couple...]]> Abaji - Origine Orients (Absilone Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8382-abaji-origine-orients-%2528absilone-music%2529.html Born in Lebanon, a crossroads of trade and culture for thousands of years, the multi-instrumentalist Abaji is a convergence of Greek and Armenian heritage, growing up speaking Turkish, Arabic and French and listening to Western rock. His new CD is similarly spread across the map. Origine Orients sounds like...]]> Tyondai Braxton - Central Market (Warp) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8334-tyondai-braxton-central-market-%2528warp%2529.html Braxton’s second solo album, the first since forming the hugely successful math-rock super-group Battles, won’t necessarily appeal to all the scene kids who found themselves at house parties engrossed in that group’s epic, grind-inducing “Atlas.” But those who temper their Crystal Castles records with Frank...]]> Jenna Lynne - Crash (Jenna Lynne Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8335-jenna-lynne-crash-%2528jenna-lynne-music%2529.html Pop radio has been kind to teen girls for the past couple of years, and Milwaukee’s Jenna Lynne aspires to count herself among the charts’ young hit-makers. Crash reveals a fairly mature singing and songwriting talent, about as adept at relating deeper, more universal themes as the expected concern with boys of...]]> Arlo Guthrie - Tales of '69 (Rising Son) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8336-arlo-guthrie-tales-of-69-%2528rising-son%2529.html Along with all the repackaging and retrospection it triggered, the 40th anniversary of Woodstock sent archivists scurrying for lost material from 1969. Recorded in concert, Tales of ’69 finds Arlo Guthrie in his storytelling mode, spinning many pointedly “groovy” asides in between numbers. Variations of some songs...]]> Various Artists - Where the Action Is! Los Angeles Nuggets 1965-1968 (Rhino) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8240-various-artists-where-the-action-is_-los-angeles-nuggets-1965-1968-%2528rhino%2529.html With its long bohemian history, San Francisco became the Mecca for the American counterculture in the 1960s. But even as hippies flocked to the bay wearing flowers in their hair, the big city to the south never fell silent. Los Angeles was the West Coast headquarters...]]> Sister Hazel - Release (Rock Ridge Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8241-sister-hazel-release-%2528rock-ridge-music%2529.html On Release, Sister Hazel’s ninth CD this decade, the Florida-based jangle rockers decided to make the songwriting process more democratic. Rather than have lead vocalist/acoustic guitarist Ken Block do most of the heavy lifting, each of the five members penned at least two tunes. The result is an...]]> The Barrettes - A Whole Lotta Melodica http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8242-the-barrettes-a-whole-lotta-melodica.html Melodica, cello, French horn, electrified ukulele and mandolin in a rock band, and it’s not prog? Believe it: The Barrettes put a punk sheen on all those elements, adding some of the fiercest chick-rock vocals Milwaukee has produced in some time. The Barrettes recall ’80s English...]]> Big Star - Keep an Eye on the Sky (Rhino) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8209-big-star-keep-an-eye-on-the-sky-%2528rhino%2529.html Their name couldn’t have been more optimistic or revealing. Big Star wasn’t conceived as an art project or an alternative to anything, but as a band following the pop-rock line first drawn by the Beatles and other great ‘60s groups. But the star they were born under in the early ‘70s was not a sign of success, at least when measured in sales and airplay...]]> Murray Perahia - Bach Partitas 1, 5 & 6 (Sony Classical) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8184-murray-perahia-bach-partitas-1-5-6-%2528sony-classical%2529.html The fluid mathematics of J.S. Bach’s compositions for keyboard are given a graceful rendering by Murray Perahia on his latest CD. The Grammy-winning concert pianist applies an empathetic touch t]]> Drive-By Truckers - The Fine Print (A Collection of Oddities and Rarities) 2003-2008 (New West) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8150-drive-by-truckers-the-fine-print-%2528a-collection-of-oddities-and-rarities%2529-2003-2008-%2528new-west%2529.html From the scuzzy Skynyrd-esque guitars to the dirty Southern mentality and devil-may-care hairdos, the Drive-By Truckers’ charm is all about from-the-hip looseness. Their career has also covered much of Dixie’s wide-open musical spaces, from alt-country and modern hillbilly to straight Allman’s rock. Last year they even made it over...]]> Rick Germanson Trio - Off the Cuff http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8151-rick-germanson-trio-off-the-cuff.html Milwaukee-born pianist Rick Germanson heads another trio session on Off the Cuff, his third album as a bandleader. Exceptionally crisp engineering brings out the richness of the bass from fellow Milwaukeean Gerald Cannon as well as the sticks and brushes on the kit of one-time Cannonball Adderley drummer Louis Hayes...]]> Eyal Maoz’s Edom - Hope and Destruction (Tzadik) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8152-eyal-maozrss-edom-hope-and-destruction-%2528tzadik%2529.html The opening track of Hope and Destruction sounds like Jewish Black Sabbath, heavy riffs with a distinct Sephardic accent. And so it goes on this excellent album by Israeli-born guitarist and composer Eyal Maoz. Here, the John Zorn collaborator fronts his own band, a confident merger of ’60s garage rock with Near East and...]]> Susana Baca - Seis Poemas (Luaka Bop) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8114-susana-baca-seis-poemas-%2528luaka-bop%2529.html Peru’s Susana Baca is descended from African slaves brought to the Pacific coast when the land belonged to Spain. Her music, usually influenced by Latin ballad traditions, has always been beautiful and bittersweet. The six songs on Seis Poemas travel between moods, from lilting and gentle to the fiery percussive patterns inherited... ]]> Porcupine Tree - The Incident (Roadrunner) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8058-porcupine-tree-the-incident-%2528roadrunner%2529.html Since their emergence in the ‘90s, Porcupine Tree has been a prog rock band that transcended the genre’s conventions and clichs. The Incident, their new two-CD set, suggests that Peter Gabriel’s Genesis provided them with a road map—their moody chamber rock and interconnected song suites could have descended from...]]> The Subdudes - Flower Petals (429 Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8063-the-subdudes-flower-petals-%2528429-records%2529.html Delivering their second Katrina-anniversary-timed album in four years, New Orleans’ Subdudes continue to explore a water-themed, working-class-sympathetic, minimal-pop take on their city’s roots. And if they’ve all but dropped the full drum kit since 2007’s Street Symphony, the drumbeat of dread and resigned...]]> Volcano Choir - Unmap (Jagjaguwar) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8064-volcano-choir-unmap-%2528jagjaguwar%2529.html Milwaukee’s Collections of Colonies of Bees have been doing electro-acoustic post-rock for more than a decade. The group’s friend, alt folkie Justin Vernon of Eau Claire’s Bon Iver, has become an internationally hailed indie sensation over the past couple of years. Their collaborative act, Volcano Choir, brings together the best of everyone involved. Systematic staccato motifs, surging crescendos...]]> Os Mutantes - Haih…Or Amortecedor (Anti-) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8065-os-mutantes-haihhellipor-amortecedor-%2528anti-%2529.html Brazilian music in the ’60s is remembered for great samba and bossa nova, but alongside those rapidly evolving sounds was a superb rock band. Os Mutantes constructed their own tropical psychedelia from misunderstandings of the Beatles and other global pop heroes of the era. Absent for 30 years, Os Mutantes has returned, not as a toothless oldies act on South America’s county-fair circuit, but as vital artists, picking up the...]]> Slavic Soul Party! - Taketron (Barbes) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8066-slavic-soul-party_-taketron-%2528barbes%2529.html New York’s Slavic Soul Party! is one of several groups to connect the dots between soulful Balkan brass bands and the street-marching funk of New Orleans. On Taketron, these New York City musicians add the polyphony of their own urban...]]> Jim Lauderdale - Could We Get Any Closer? (Sky Crunch) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7978-jim-lauderdale-could-we-get-any-closer-%2528sky-crunch%2529.html If not the most innovative man in Nashville these days, Jim Lauderdale is certainly one of the most expansive. His career has spanned pop, contemporary country and bluegrass, and he’s found considerable success as a songsmith for the likes of George Strait, Patty Loveless and Vince Gill. Now, amid swirling and hopeful reports that Lauderdale’s been collaborating with Milwaukee’s own Paul Cebar...]]> The Cave Singers - Welcome Joy (Matador) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7979-the-cave-singers-welcome-joy-%2528matador%2529.html Kicking off like Seattle’s answer to our very own Bon Iver, The Cave Singers’ sophomore effort cracks and acoustically buzzes like the busy lot of today’s bearded, flannel-clad folk rock. While not so overly harmony-happy as their obvious cohorts, Fleet Foxes, the granola lyricism and poppy twang sound much like a different strand in that same earthy quilt. The boys are at their best when vamping up their bare-bones approach...]]> The New Lost City Ramblers - 50 Years: Where Do You Come From? Where Do You Go? (Smithsonian Folkways) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7980-the-new-lost-city-ramblers-50-years-where-do-you-come-from-where-do-you-go-%2528smithsonian-folkways%2529.html Pete Seeger sometimes gets all the credit, but his brother Mike, who died last month, was at least as instrumental in the folk-blues revival that inspired Bob Dylan and altered the DNA of popular culture. Mike’s group, The New Lost City Ramblers, differed from many of its contemporaries by neither treating the songs as antique documents under glass nor polishing them for a pop audience. As their handsome three-disc career retrospective box set shows...]]> The Black Seeds - Solid Ground (Easy Star) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7981-the-black-seeds-solid-ground-%2528easy-star%2529.html From Jamaica and pockets of interest in the United Kingdom, reggae has spread across the world since the ’70s to become the voice of the oppressed and their sympathizers. In New Zealand, reggae found resonance among the native Maori as well as Kiwis of European heritage. The Black Seeds are among the island nation’s most popular apostles...]]> Fruit Bats - The Ruminant Band (Sub Pop) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7888-fruit-bats-the-ruminant-band-%2528sub-pop%2529.html It’s hard to imagine Fruit Bats being anyone’s favorite band: It’s taken Eric D. Johnson four years of playing sideman in bands like The Shins and Vetiver to return to recording—and if you’re going to take that long to put out a record, you’d better be Pink Floyd or The Flaming Lips or someone dropping a dramatic bomb of an album... ]]> Eric Blowtorch and the Welders - Most Dangerous Man (Bopaganda!) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7889-eric-blowtorch-and-the-welders-most-dangerous-man-%2528bopaganda_%2529.html Eric Blowtorch goes to admirable lengths to make his reggae authentic and biting. The veteran Milwaukee singer, instrumentalist and DJ dedicates his vinyl maxi-single to a doctor who works with Human Rights Watch (which will receive 10% of the record’s profits). For the occasion, he enlists such Jamaican talent as toaster Prince Jazzbo...]]> Miles Davis & Sonny Rollins - The Classic Prestige Sessions, 1951-1956 (Prestige) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7890-miles-davis-sonny-rollins-the-classic-prestige-sessions-1951-1956-%2528prestige%2529.html Miles Davis and Sonny Rollins were among the premier jazz musicians of the 1950s, an era when jazz reached new heights of expressiveness. The trumpeter and tenor saxophonist recorded together often during those years, and the results were usually issued on a series of quickie LPs. The Classic Prestige Sessions packages all of those...]]> Bill Frisell - Disfarmer (Nonesuch) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7843-bill-frisell-disfarmer-%2528nonesuch%2529.html Among his colleagues in the big four of modern jazz guitar-John Scofield, Pat Metheny, Mike Stern-Bill Frisell's place is most distinctive by a few identifying characteristics: a refusal to get down in any kind of groove, a penchant for old-timey Americana, and a sound largely comprised of finger-picked country twang. Namely, he's the most hillbilly of the bunch. Which is the vibe the WexnerCenter for the Arts was hoping to bottle when they commissioned...]]> The Daredevil Christopher Wright - In Deference to a Broken Back (Amble Down) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7844-the-daredevil-christopher-wright-in-deference-to-a-broken-back-%2528amble-down%2529.html The Daredevil Christopher Wright, a hyperactive Eau Claire trio, hails from the same northwest Wisconsin environs as Bon Iver's Justin Vernon, who mixed this full-length debut. But the act's sound is original and requires no indie star power. The Daredevils pile on sounds while retaining an endearingly homey style. Wedded to songs with cryptic autobiographical details]]> Various Artists - Blodeugerdd (Smithsonian Folkways) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7845-various-artists-blodeugerdd-%2528smithsonian-folkways%2529.html Tucked into a far corner of Great Britain, Wales is a country with its own language and culture. The Welsh are known for singing, and plenty of voices are heard on Blodeugerdd, an anthology of Welsh music recorded at a 15th-century historical site, along with Celtic bagpipes and fiddles and gossamer sounds from the harp. The collection makes...]]> Scott LaFaro - Pieces of Jade (Resonance) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7806-scott-lafaro-pieces-of-jade-%2528resonance%2529.html Bass and drums had kept the time since jazz began, but in the 1950s bassists and drummers increasingly explored the wider potential of those instruments. Among them was Scott LaFaro, determined to make beautiful music in all registers on the upright bass. LaFaro had already enjoyed a distinguished career...]]> New York Dolls - 'Cause I Sez So (Atco) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7733-new-york-dolls-cause-i-sez-so-%2528atco%2529.html A mere 36 years after producing the New York Dolls' debut album, Todd Rundgren returns to work with a band based around surviving members David Johansen and Sylvain Sylvain. A bit of history: In the early '70s, the Dolls released a pair of pioneering albums that came to define glam and punk rock. True to form, the band self-destructed...]]> Strange Land - Catharsis http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7734-strange-land-catharsis.html On Catharsis, StrangeLand's third album, the local progressive-metal trio shows why it deserves to finally break free of regional status. Original drummer Brad Klotz has returned to the fold, joining guitarist Sean Gill and lead vocalist, bassist and keyboardist Chad Novell on an album rich with more melodies, vocal harmonies and musical adventure than the band's previous discs. Heavy crunchers "Asinine (Nothing Better)" and...]]> Salaam - Salaam http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7735-salaam-salaam.html Salaam's music sounds as if it could have emerged from the cafes of Beirut. Instead, it's the brainchild of Middle Western Americans, not all of Middle Eastern descent. Some of the music on their debut CD recalls the swirling, lush Arabic orchestras of the early 20th century; some is closer to Balkan melancholy or the lively craziness of klezmer. Occasionally, jazz and...]]> Farms in Trouble/Crappy Dracula - White Women (Activities Recordings) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7736-farms-in-trouble_crappy-dracula-white-women-%2528activities-recordings%2529.html The White Women EP consists of funny, askew punk rock from a couple of Milwaukee bands in a nostalgic 7-inch format. With their semi-psychedelic/semi-crusty numbers, Farms in Trouble add a tad more melody than their compatriots. The act with the crazier name, Crappy Dracula, has the noisier sound, too, but it's an abrasiveness tempered by...]]> The Jayhawks - Music from the North Country: The Jayhawks Anthology (American/Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7672-the-jayhawks-music-from-the-north-country-the-jayhawks-anthology-%2528american_legacy%2529.html At the time of The Jayhawks' mid-'80s inception, the Minneapolis/St. Paul scene that spawned the group was more about the punk and hardcore of The Replacements and Hsker D than the kind of edgy folk country rock in which this band specialized. During the mid-'90s, when the likes of Hootie and Sister Hazel were making certain...]]> Dream Theater - Black Clouds & Silver Linings (Roadrunner Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7673-dream-theater-black-clouds-silver-linings-%2528roadrunner-records%2529.html Dream Theater ranks among America's most consistent metal bands, both in terms of output and critical acclaim/reproach. Black Clouds & Silver Linings continues that trend. The group's 10th studio release in 20 years contains such signature Dream Theater elements as long, overworked songs (six songs in 75 minutes); muscular and complex musicianship; technical albeit catchy arrangements; repetition of musical motifs; and James LaBrie's...]]> Purgatory Hill - Purgatory Hill (DarkPresents) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7593-purgatory-hill-purgatory-hill-%2528darkpresents%2529.html Veteran Wisconsin songwriter and singer Pat MacDonald recorded his latest album under the name Purgatory Hill. The CD is nothing less than a shocking reinvention of blues and rock music. Aside from numbers by PJ Harvey and Iggy Pop, a traditional entry and one co-written by others with MacDonald...]]> Fermata - Only Ghosts Remain (Fermata) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7594-fermata-only-ghosts-remain-%2528fermata%2529.html The Madison quintet Fermata call what they do chamber art rock. The acoustic ensemble got that right. Intricate virtuosic plucking and strummed guitar, mandolin and banjo weave over upright bass, viola and violin, with a smidgen of accordion in the mix. Add literate...]]> Maestros del Joropo Oriental - Y Que Viva Venezuela! (Smithsonian Folkways) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7595-maestros-del-joropo-oriental-y-que-viva-venezuela_-%2528smithsonian-folkways%2529.html The waltz was once as pervasive as rap is today, and took unexpected turns as it penetrated the world far from the salons of Vienna. In Venezuela the waltz mutated into joropo, a relentlessly up-tempo genre played on string instruments. Maestros del Joropo Oriental is part of a wave of Venezuelan players...]]> CU - Vagarosa (Six Degrees) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7498-c%25E9u-vagarosa-%2528six-degrees%2529.html On Vagarosa, the gently lilting, quietly insistent rhythms of samba and other sounds of Brazil dissolve into reggae tempos drenched in oceans of dub and dissolve again into global pop of unknown boundaries. Singing mostly in Portuguese but oc%uFFFDcasionally in English, the Grammy-nominated C%uFFFDU maintains a calm siren's demeanor, channeling the elegantly expressive and never effusive voices of great Brazilian singers... ]]> Paleface - The Show Is on the Road (Ramseur Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7496-paleface-the-show-is-on-the-road-%2528ramseur-records%2529.html The Show Is on the Road serves as a love letter to both the longtime New York City home of anti-folk pioneer Paleface and his new dwelling space in Concord, N.C., where he sought refuge after nearly dying from alcohol abuse. In a voice both raw and intimate, with accompaniment only from an acoustic guitar and occasional...]]> Santana - The Woodstock Experience (Columbia/Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7497-santana-the-woodstock-experience-%2528columbia_legacy%2529.html The 40th anniversary of the Woodstock music festival is providing new excuses to repackage old material. At least in this case, the old material is superb and there is rhyme and reason for the programming. Santana's excellent 1969 debut LP has long been out on CD; here, the album that gave us "Evil Ways" and "Jingo" is paired with a disc containing the band's...]]> Sharking Hour - North of Nippon http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7499-sharking-hour-north-of-nippon.html The Milwaukee band once known as Art Is for Amateurs continues its grow-on-you amalgam of Americana rock, surf instrumentals, piano-pop and art-punk a la Television and Yo La Tengo. The unease with which their constituent elements commingle makes for some attractive tensions. Sharking Hour's lyrics often lament various kinds...]]> Peter Mac - Dreaming in Neon http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7417-peter-mac-dreaming-in-neon.html Many electric guitarists feel the need to get all self-indulgent when recording instrumental albums, but Peter Mac is above that. Perhaps it's because the ax slinger for the Milwaukee Bucks' house band, Streetlife, isn't just adept on the frets. Mac plays guitar, keys and sometimes bass on most of the 11 tracks on Dreaming in Neon...]]> Lem Genovese - Six Lazzeri Lane (Yankee Medic) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7418-lem-genovese-six-lazzeri-lane-%2528yankee-medic%2529.html Lem Genovese, from Holmen, Wis., may be a war veteran from the Vietnam era, but he sings of his militay experienceamong other topicswith the verve of a younger man. Vocally, he could be mistaken for Madison folkie Ken Lonnquist, but Genovese's often-funky acoustic guitar takes that comparison only so far. Whether he's laying down tasty instrumentals or singing of a prayer for post-9/11 troops or the symbiotic relationship betwee... ]]> Justin Adams & Juldeh Camara - Tell No Lies (Real World) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7419-justin-adams-juldeh-camara-tell-no-lies-%2528real-world%2529.html Rock is partly rooted in blues, and blues is genetically linked to West Africa. The convergence of these sounds and their shared sources are explored in Tell No Lies. A collaboration between British rock guitarist Justin Adams and Gambian griot Juldeh Camara, Tell No Lies weaves the hypnotic lines of one-string fiddle and African...]]> Steve Earle - Townes (New West) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7335-steve-earle-townes-%2528new-west%2529.html It was never a matter of if, only of when, Steve Earle would get around to honoring mentor Townes Van Zandt with a tribute album. Earle's latest release embraces that role with both simplicity and finesse. As one of Van Zandt's best-known acolytes, Earle adds his characteristic rasp to simple arrangements that highlight the songs' impressionistic...]]> Don Lewis - On the Other Side of Town (L-Town) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7336-don-lewis-on-the-other-side-of-town-%2528l-town%2529.html Don Lewis is an asset to the vitality of jazz in Milwaukee. As founding director of the Young Urban Jazz Creative Arts Foundation, he nurtures fledgling talents who otherwise may lack the opportunity. He's also a fine trumpet player. Lewis' harmonious hard-bop, along with excursions that touch on funk and fusion, stays on point with tonal richness. It's when he sings, as he does on two of the 10 tracks, that the proceedings get dicey. He's amiable...]]> Miles Davis - Miles: The New Miles Davis Quintet (Concord Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7337-miles-davis-miles-the-new-miles-davis-quintet-%2528concord-music%2529.html Before Miles Davis moved to Columbia Records, where he made a series of masterpieces from the late 1950s into the '70s, the trumpeter recorded prolifically for the Prestige label. The original Prestige engineer, Rudy Van Gelder, who claims the new reissue is "how the musicians wanted to sound," has remastered this LP for CD. Taking Van Gelder at his word, the musicians wanted to sound relaxed and entirely at home in music...]]> Ocote Soul Sounds and Adrian Quesada - Coconut Rock (ESL Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7338-ocote-soul-sounds-and-adrian-quesada-coconut-rock-%2528esl-music%2529.html A collaboration between a unique set of talents in hip-hop, jazz and Afrobeat, Coconut Rock sounds like a great lost album by a hip Latin band, circa 1970. Think Sergio Mendes on a mild psychedelic trip, jamming with Mongo Santamaria and Tito Puente. The songs feature Afro-Caribbean rhythms, staccato horns, lilting melodies in deep tropical florescence, fuzz tone rock guitars set at conversational level and ghostly...]]> Cheap Trick - The Latest (Cheap Trick Unlimited) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7258-cheap-trick-the-latest-%2528cheap-trick-unlimited%2529.html Cheap Trick has been around forever, or so it seems. Actually, it's been 35 years since the four lads from Rockford, Ill., formed the band that would become a cornerstone of power-pop, and 20 million albums later-some much better than others-the band is still going strong with The Latest, a cleverly titled follow-up to 2006's consistently effective Rockford...]]> Fox & Branch - Take Time in Life (Doodleywag) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7259-fox-branch-take-time-in-life-%2528doodleywag%2529.html Hometown folk singers Fox & Branch continue the kids 'n' family friendliness of their previous output with a nifty percussion arsenal (including washboard!). Repetition-inflected melodies begging for sing-alongs, story songs and dance instructions dominate the jovial proceedings, along with Midwestern takes on music from the international public domain. In fact, nearly...]]> Olatunji - Drums of Passion (Columbia Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7260-olatunji-drums-of-passion-%2528columbia-legacy%2529.html To Americans, African music once meant the tribal, tom-tom frenzy heard in Tarzan movies. With Olatunji, they finally got an earful of the real thing. The Nigerian drummer was an exchange student in the United States during the 1950s when he put together his drum and vocal ensemble, replicating the call-and-response singing and complex percussive rhythms of West Africa. The Legacy edition includes his 1959 debut album...]]> Greg Wall’s Later Prophets - Ha'Orot (Tzadik) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7261-greg-wallrss-later-prophets-haorot-%2528tzadik%2529.html Poetry or other spoken words set to jazz is a concept going back to the Beat era, and the idea of jazz as a unique vehicle for spiritual elevation is as old as John Coltrane. Greg Wall's Later Prophets explore those paths with a particular goal in mind-bringing the writings of an esteemed early 20th century Cabbalist and rabbi, Avraham Itzchak HaCohen Kook...]]> Dave Brubeck Quartet, Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Tito Puente - Time Out (Columbia Legacy), Sketches of Spain (Columbia Legacy), Mingus Ah Um (Columbia Legacy), Dance Mania (RCA Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7173-dave-brubeck-quartet-miles-davis-charles-mingus-tito-puente-time-out-%2528columbia-legacy%2529-sketches-of-spain-%2528columbia-legacy%2529-mingus-ah-um-%2528columbia-legacy%2529-dance-mania-%2528rca-legacy%2529.html The late 1950s and early '60s was a wonderful time for jazz. Arguably, the music had never before been as expansive or expressive and has never since reached such levels. For evidence: a parcel of Legacy CD reissues by major artists, the original albums augmented by additional discs containing alternate versions, concert recordings and...]]> Terrior Bute - Realm Dwellers (Vicious Pop) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7174-terrior-bute-realm-dwellers-%2528vicious-pop%2529.html Precedents exist for making punk rock out of synthesizers, but recent history hasn't produced many albums worth hearing. Milwaukee synth-punk trio Terrior Bute bucks the trend, though, with a sophomore disc that is worth a listen for its utter spazziness alone. The combination of electronic keyboards and acoustic drums...]]> Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest (Warp) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7078-grizzly-bear-veckatimest-%2528warp%2529.html Remember when bands cared about albums as an art form? Instead of slapping together a dozen tracks because, hey, they'll just end up on everyone's iPod shuffle anyway, musicians considered how their songs might congeal as a whole or form some sort of dramatic arc. Allow Grizzly Bear to reintroduce you to...]]> Elvis Costello - Secret, Profane & Sugarcane (Hear Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7079-elvis-costello-secret-profane-sugarcane-%2528hear-music%2529.html Elvis Costello's frequent collaborator T-Bone Burnett produced Secret, Profane & Sugarcane, an Americana-inflected album working with country and folk traditions for images of sawdust floors set to mandolin and fiddle. Costello intended one song, "Complicated Shadows," for Johnny Cash, but the Man in Black died before recording...]]> B. Reith - The Forecast EP (Gotee) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7080-b-reith-the-forecast-ep-%2528gotee%2529.html Brown Deer native Brian Reith has moved to Tennessee, but raps with such sweet soul that his hometown should be proud. Fellow white R&B crooners such as Justin Timberlake and Robin Thicke may want to watch their backs for B.'s honeyed tenor. Alongside his religious and social concerns, Reith excels...]]> Monks - Black Monk Time (Light in the Attic) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7081-monks-black-monk-time-%2528light-in-the-attic%2529.html Dubbed the "Anti-Beatles," the Monks were formed in 1964 by five American G.I.'s stationed in Germany. 1966 saw the release of Black Monk Time followed by a quick slip into obscurity, their garage-psych-punk and chant call and response vocals remembered mostly by obsessive collector weirdos. Luckily, most of those weirdos started bands of their own. And the 35-page liner notes that accompany this lovingly...]]> Crimson Jazz Trio - King Crimson Songbook, Volume 2 (Inner Knot) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7082-crimson-jazz-trio-king-crimson-songbook-volume-2-%2528inner-knot%2529.html The strength of great songs can be measured by how well they stand being reinterpreted, especially in ways that might not have occurred to their authors. Could Robert Fripp have imagined his prog rock epic, "In the Court of the Crimson King," as a post-bop instrumental, opening an album of jazz renderings of music by King Crimson?]]> Mediterranean Music - New Songs from Points East http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6986-mediterranean-music-new-songs-from-points-east.html With the rise of nationalism, the music of the Eastern Mediterranean was categorized according to political borders, ethnicity, the languages of the singers. But despite many local variations, the continuities in a region marked by the common heritage of Hellenism, Byzantium and Islam are important...]]> Van der Graaf’s Latest CD http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6966-van-der-graafrss-latest-cd.html At times dreamy, at other moments urgent, the organ leads the way on Trisector, the 11th album by British progressive rock band Van der Graaf Generator. One is tempted to say legendary prog rock band, and for once, the word legend is more than mere hyperbole. Van der Graaf Generator has kept the integrity...]]> Damon Fowler - Sugar Shack (Blind Pig) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6949-damon-fowler-sugar-shack-%2528blind-pig%2529.html In an era when individual songs, rather than albums, are the preferred choice of many music consumers, it seems no longer necessary, or even desired, for an album to be stylistically consistent and cohesive. Perhaps to adapt to a changed market, record companies previously known for promoting one type of music have been diversifying, which may be liberating for musicians who prefer to record a variety of songs...]]> Douglas King - Resonant Hush: Deceptively Simple Melodies Vol. 2 (Mindworm) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6950-douglas-king-resonant-hush-deceptively-simple-melodies-vol-2-%2528mindworm%2529.html Every now and again, a recording artist knows exactly how to describe his or her music. Milwaukee's Douglas King calls his gentle way with a piano "new age classical ambient acoustic keyboard music." The 37 selections on Resonant Hush last about 76 minutes, and King delivers motifs with just enough embellishment to give his miniature melodies a heft that might otherwise escape them. King calls the tunes...]]> Lily Storm - If I Had a Key to the Dawn (Songbat) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6951-lily-storm-if-i-had-a-key-to-the-dawn-%2528songbat%2529.html By her account, Lily Storm has no village roots in the Eastern European/Western Asian region whose music she loves, yet If I Had a Key to the Dawn suggests she's native to the dozen or so lands whose repertoires she performs. Based in San Francisco and working with a band that includes accordion, wooden flute and a bevy of string instruments, Storm has gained mastery over the octave-gliding sustain, the melancholy...]]> Michelle Shocked - Soul of My Soul (Mighty Sound) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6952-michelle-shocked-soul-of-my-soul-%2528mighty-sound%2529.html Covering miles of musical ground on Soul of My Soul, Michelle Shocked works the tougher precincts of alt country and vulnerable balladry, and ventures toward old-school soul and new-wave rock, leading the way with her strong, confident vocals. Topically, Shocked opens painful personal wounds, searches for spirituality and...]]> J.J. Cale - Roll On (Rounder) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6893-jj-cale-roll-on-%2528rounder%2529.html Opening studio album No. 15, Roll On, with some rapping about modern-day angst ("Who Knew") and a reflection on his advancing age ("Former Me"), J.J. Cale might hint at a wizened, changed outlook. Yet besides a couple of digital bleeps and embellishments (who showed the old guy Pro Tools?), this is but another installment...]]> John Sieger - Live at Bob's (Faux Real) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6894-john-sieger-live-at-bobs-%2528faux-real%2529.html In the '80s, when John Sieger was in the R&B Cadets, you might have labeled his songs revisionist. Later, with Semi-Twang, the band's heartland sound would be seen as a precursor to alt-country. But as the times catch up with each solo album, it becomes clear that the Milwaukeean's songs are simply timeless. Taking his cues from the...]]> Traveling Music - Rough Sounds From Milwaukee and Elsewhere http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6866-traveling-music-rough-sounds-from-milwaukee-and-elsewhere.html Tony Bennett & Bill Evans - The Complete Recordings (Fantasy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6817-tony-bennett-bill-evans-the-complete-recordings-%2528fantasy%2529.html Christopher’s Project - No Deposit No Return http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6818-christopherrss-project-no-deposit-no-return.html Traditional and free jazz purists may deride it, but lite/fusion leaves room for versatility. Take Milwaukee saxophonist Christopher Pipkins and his Christopher's Project. No Deposit NoReturn starts off with the usual suspects of his genre: silk bathrobes, aromatic candles, chocolate-coated strawberries and nights of intermingling limbs. But the Project goes from strength to strength in tackling samba, reasonably...]]> Marshall Crenshaw - Jaggedland (429 Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6819-marshall-crenshaw-jaggedland-%2528429-records%2529.html In the '80s Marshall Crenshaw could find a bittersweet shadow of melancholy on the sunniest day. He was a pop-rock classicist imbued with the verities of smart but not intellectualized words and melodious music, supple and never wimpy as he addressed the human heart. On his first album in several years, Crenshaw's core sound remains intact, sometimes delivered with a harder guitar edge than in the...]]> Mariachi Real de San Diego - Mariachi Classics (Mardi Gras) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6820-mariachi-real-de-san-diego-mariachi-classics-%2528mardi-gras%2529.html Somehow, mariachi became synonymous with tourist trade Mexico. But in origin, it was a deeply rooted folk music of Mexico's poor, coalescing a century ago around the time the blues was born a little further north. Mariachi Real de San Diego reclaims that heritage, scouring thrift stores for scratchy old records and learning the old songs before they are forgotten. Their new CD, Mariachi Classics, is full of the...]]> Pete Seeger - American Favorite Ballads (Smithsonian Folkways) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6738-pete-seeger-american-favorite-ballads-%2528smithsonian-folkways%2529.html Pete Seeger, who turned 90 last month, can look back on a life of accomplishment. Many tributes marked his birthday, including this five-CD box set comprised of the traditional American folk tunes he recorded for the Folkways label between 1957 and 1962. Seeger was always more folklorist than folk singer in the strictest sense. The product of a comfortably well-off New York family...]]> Carbon Leaf - Nothing Rhymes With Woman (Vanguard) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6739-carbon-leaf-nothing-rhymes-with-woman-%2528vanguard%2529.html Not many words may rhyme with "woman," but the Virginia-based quintet Carbon Leaf still finds plenty to say on its eighth CD. Treading the squiggly line between indie rockers and jam band, the appeal of these casual dudes-particularly verbose vocalist/lyricist Barry Privett-lies in their ability to not get too worked up about...]]> The Pale Figures - Memphis and Chicago (Peacefist) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6740-the-pale-figures-memphis-and-chicago-%2528peacefist%2529.html Chicago Americana band The Pale Figures recorded part of their debut CD in their hometown, but the lure of Memphis drew them to Tennessee to record other numbers. What might have been intended as a stark contrast comes off instead as a progression from laconic, lyrically quizzical fits of slacker twang to experimentation...]]> Happy Birthday, Luaka Bop - David Byrne's World Party http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6718-happy-birthday-luaka-bop-david-byrnes-world-party.html During the 1980s, the Talking Heads broke out from their brittle, avant-punk, art-funk origins into a wider, world-conscious sound. Leading them on was David Byrne, a cultural omnivore drawn to obscure local music traditions from all over. Leveraging his commercial success with the Talking Heads, Byrne founded one of the world's best, most diverse boutique labels, Luaka Bop. Twenty-one years later, Luaka Bop... ]]> Various Artists - The Complete Motown Singles Vol. 11B (Hip-O Select/Motown) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6660-various-artists-the-complete-motown-singles-vol-11b-%2528hip-o-select_motown%2529.html The 12th volume of the ambitious, luxuriously appointed multiple-CD set collecting every single released on Motown Records and its many imprints marks something of an event for Milwaukee music collectors. The label's sporadic cracks at the rock market were especially evident at the dawn of the '70s, and...]]> Various Artists - Classic Protest Songs From Smithsonian Folkways (Smithsonian Folkways) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6661-various-artists-classic-protest-songs-from-smithsonian-folkways-%2528smithsonian-folkways%2529.html American protest songs have a long history, especially on the picket lines of bygone labor struggles. During the 1950s and '60s they confronted popular culture as part of the folk music revival that nurtured Joan Baez and Bob Dylan. Culling from the archives of a label that was at the forefront of the folk revival, Classic Protest Songs presents... ]]> John Scofield - Piety Street (Emarcy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6592-john-scofield-piety-street-%2528emarcy%2529.html One can never know quite what to expect from guitarist John Scofield: traditional quartet bop here, straight soul jazz groove there, maybe a smattering of avant-garde otherness. A guest-laden tribute of Ray Charles covers? Why not? His latest finds the guitarist in a new mood altogether-that of Sunday morning...]]> Dustin Lee - On My Way Back Home (RockIt) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6593-dustin-lee-on-my-way-back-home-%2528rockit%2529.html You can hear the heartland in singer-songwriter Dustin Lee's clear, deep and comforting voice. The veteran of several bands in Iowa and Illinois, Lee moved to Milwaukee about two years ago and recently teamed up with other area musicians (including guitarist Peter Mulvey and keyboardist Rick Forkes) to record On My Way Back Home...]]> Oreka Tx - Nmadak Tx (World Village) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6594-oreka-tx-n%25F6madak-tx-%2528world-village%2529.html Most musical instruments are made to be played by only one musician at a time. But from Spain's Basque Country comes an instrument built for two. The txalaparta, third cousin to the vibraphone, has entered world music circles through the efforts of the Basque duo Oreka Tx. Seeing their chosen instrument as a metaphor of musical encounters, their latest CD is a set of collaborations with musicians from India...]]> Rehyn - A Time to Fly (Funtup) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6595-rehyn-a-time-to-fly-%2528funtup%2529.html It would be too easy to compare Milwaukee's Rehyn to Carole King in her Tapestry prime. Considering her age, however, it's fair to believe that Rehyn's softly sung vocals with piano were influenced by contemporaries such as Vanessa Carlton. On her debut EP, Rehyn plumbs some philosophical depths, appears a tad emotionally masochistic and-no surprise-sounds like she's loved and lost. Rehyn...]]> Joshua Redman - Compass (Nonesuch) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6488-joshua-redman-compass-%2528nonesuch%2529.html Expounding on 2007's Grammy-nominated Back East and his growing jambase.com-friendly following, saxophonist Joshua Redman seemingly has new directions on his mind for Compass. Tracks such as "Uncharted," "Faraway," "March" and "Through the Valley" might hint at progression, but it's basically a lot more of his "shoot the piano player" experimentation...]]> NeverShoutNever - Me and My Uke http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6489-nevershoutnever-me-and-my-uke.html NeverShoutNever aka Christofer Drew, the trendsetter from Joplin, Mo., has stirred up a frenzy with his latest spill-your-guts album, Me and My Uke. Having successfully recorded at 16 (he's now 18), Drew's MySpace plays are sky-high, averaging 20,000 a day. He flaunts catchy one-liners that today's adolescent crowd absolutely... ]]> The Midwest Blues All-Stars - Covered Up (Hander Pander) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6490-the-midwest-blues-all-stars-covered-up-%2528hander-pander%2529.html Dazy Head Mazy - Mercury Said 65 http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6484-dazy-head-mazy-mercury-said-65.html No stranger to Wisconsin's club scene, the veteran Minnesota trio Dazy Head Mazy continues to make rootsy, feel-good heartland rock on its fourth CD, Mercury Said 65-a smooth and instantly familiar collection of 12 nostalgic, cynical and catchy songs. Bigger groups such as Hootie & the Blowfish, Sister Hazel and even R.E.M. and Dave Matthews Band have trod these smooth trails for years, but that's no reason to overlook...]]> James LaGrone - Love Is the Light (Slide G) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6485-james-lagrone-love-is-the-light-%2528slide-g%2529.html Union Pulse - Between Love and Addiction http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6486-union-pulse-between-love-and-addiction.html Milwaukee's Union Pulse sounds like what country rock might have evolved into had it not been homogenized post-Eagles. The band also counts early-'90s rockers such as Counting Crows and Soul Asylum as key influences. All those sounds are evidenced in Love and Addiction, along with a literary aura about their lyrics. With a punkier...]]> Green - The Planets (GangGreen) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6487-green-the-planets-%2528ganggreen%2529.html The Planets, Green is on familiar ground, infusing its classic sources with an edge of ecstasy...]]> Alpha Transit - Transit Comes Alive (Transit Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6333-alpha-transit-transit-comes-alive-%2528transit-music%2529.html Milwaukee's Alpha Transit makes jazz fusion funk for prog space rockers. Or is that spacey funk for fusionist proggies? However one wants to brand the foursome's instrumental musings, the seven tracks rumble, whoosh, bump and soar like the highfalutin spawn of the Yellowjackets and Hawkwind, with Frank Zappa, Tangerine Dream and F/i somewhere in the lineage, too. It's semi-improvisational, proud of its virtuosity yet playful...]]> Cracker - Sunrise in the Land of Milk and Honey (429 Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6334-cracker-sunrise-in-the-land-of-milk-and-honey-%2528429-records%2529.html Cracker has been among the best, most consistent bands to rise from the alt scene in the '90s. On the group's newest album, Cracker demonstrates deep command of rock 'n' roll essentials. Much of Sunrise sounds indebted to classic '70s Stones (even the Americana influences seem filtered through Beggars Banquet), when they aren't drawing from the energy of punk. Most of all, Cracker is in control of the surging dynamics and killer riffs, the song craft, of great rock. The sardonic glow of David Lowery's voice...]]> M. Ward - Hold Time (Merge Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6304-m-ward-hold-time-%2528merge-records%2529.html Possibly the most appealing quality about lo-fi folk hero M. Ward-namely that unrelenting pleasantness-could also prove the biggest deal-breaker for new listeners: As Kate Winslet reprimands Jim Carrey in Eternal Sunshine of theSpotless Mind, "I don't need 'nice.'" And so begins Hold Time, Ward's sixth...]]> Soy un Caballo - Les Heures de Raison (Minty Fresh) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6261-soy-un-caballo-les-heures-de-raison-%2528minty-fresh%2529.html The band name "Soy un Caballo" means "I am a Horse" in Spanish, the group's lyrics are in French and the main songwriting duo of Aurlie Muller and Thomas Van Cottom come from Belgium. Luckily for those skittish about a little taste of the exotic, not everything about Soy un Caballo will be foreign to savvy music aficionados...]]> TriBeCaStan - Strange Cousin (Evergreene) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6262-tribecastan-strange-cousin-%2528evergreene%2529.html It's a snapshot of New York, the photo of TriBeCaStan on the back cover of the duo's CD debut. Milwaukee expatriate John Kruth leans against the railing of a bridge, a bohemian cradling an obscure string instrument from an Eastern land. At his side, Jeff Greene, natty in bow tie and white suit, bows a fiddle of uncertain provenance...]]> A.R. Rahman - The Best of A.R. Rahman (Sony Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6263-ar-rahman-the-best-of-ar-rahman-%2528sony-legacy%2529.html Everyone associated with Slumdog Millionaire stands to gain, including A.R. Rahman, composer of the Oscar-winning score. Rahman already enjoyed a prolific career in Bollywood and was duly noticed in world music circles. The new best-of compilation could serve as a demo for work in Hollywood, whose gates have been opened to him through his Academy Award. Culled from the soundtracks of eight Indian films, the... ]]> Morrissey - Years of Refusal (Attack/Lost Highway) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6183-morrissey-years-of-refusal-%2528attack_lost-highway%2529.html Morrissey returns to familiar territory on his ninth solo album, Years of Refusal, re-energized amid flourishes of mariachi horns, rollicking guitar jams and vocals that reach beyond his tall, lanky frame. Fortunately for fans of The Moz, his love-hate relationship with the world around him remains intact. This time out, the former...]]> Leonard Cohen - Live in London (Columbia) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6175-leonard-cohen-live-in-london-%2528columbia%2529.html Given the intimacy of Cohen's songs, and the worn warmth of his voice, there's something slightly off-putting about picturing him performing in a 20,000-seat arena. Maybe that's why it's so charmingly reassuring when, announcing a set break during the close of "Anthem," Cohen offers a "Thanks for your kind attention...]]> Marianne Faithfull - Easy Come, Easy Go (Decca) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6176-marianne-faithfull-easy-come-easy-go-%2528decca%2529.html When she debuted as a pop singer in '60s Swinging London, Marianne Faithfull was like the choir girl who fell into bad company as she sang lovely versions of Rolling Stones songs. She re-emerged from heroin-induced seclusion 10 years later with Broken English (1979), an adult album inspired by the rise of punk...]]> Matt Turner, Peg & Bill Carrothers - The Voices That Are Gone: The Music of Stephen Foster (Illusions) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6177-matt-turner-peg-bill-carrothers-the-voices-that-are-gone-the-music-of-stephen-foster-%2528illusions%2529.html Is it an insult to makers of improvised music to say that their work sounds composed? Appleton improv cellist Matt Turner joins Michigan vocalist Peg Carrothers and her husband, Bill, on piano for 12 reworked songs by America's first great popular songwriter, Stephen Foster. Especially on those pieces where Peg Carrothers adds her...]]> BoDeans - Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams (Collector's Edition) (Rhino) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6064-bodeans-love-hope-sex-dreams-%2528collectors-edition%2529-%2528rhino%2529.html Vindication for years of internal ups and downs and music-industry apathy comes in the form of this lavish and richly deserved Collector's Edition of the BoDeans' sturdy debut album, Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams. Produced by T-Bone Burnett and released in 1986, when new artists were putting crisp pop spins on old rockabilly sounds, the album contained 11 simple, catchy...]]> Neko Case - Middle Cyclone (Anti-) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6065-neko-case-middle-cyclone-%2528anti-%2529.html You'd think the well of country-twang guitar chord permutations would have long ago run dry. Yet Neko Case consistently manages to dig something new from the reservoir, sweetening it with rustic themes of nature, animals and alternating violence/calm of weather. "Marais La Nuit," a 30-minute field recording of a bog... ]]> Occidental Brothers Dance Band International - Odo Sanbra http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6066-occidental-brothers-dance-band-international-odo-sanbra.html Who could have guessed that the chords of New Order's "Bizarre Love Triangle" are similar in shape to those of West African pop music? Michigan-born guitarist Nathaniel Braddock heard the connection and brought the song to the band he formed in Ghana with local musicians. The Occidental Brothers Dance Band International cover of "Bizarre Love...]]> The Bird and the Bee - Ray Guns Are Not Just the Future (Blue Note) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5986-the-bird-and-the-bee-ray-guns-are-not-just-the-future-%2528blue-note%2529.html The Bird and the Bee's 2007 self-titled debut garnered moderate attention, with opening track "Again & Again" finding its way into an episode of "Grey's Anatomy" by subscribing to the Garden State Rule: Twee acoustics and loungey jazz with danceable electronics make for the best accompaniment to romantic melodrama.]]> Warsaw Village Band - Infinity (Barbes Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5987-warsaw-village-band-infinity-%2528barbes-records%2529.html While exploring the roots of Polish music, the Warsaw Village Band discovered that they run deeper than most suspect, connecting with the klezmer music of Poland's Jewish community and running further east. The Polish kingdom at one time stretched to the Black Sea, making it a terminus of the fabled Silk Road. Not content with the past...]]> Mariza - Terra (4 Quarters/World Connection) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5988-mariza-terra-%25284-quarters_world-connection%2529.html The gorgeously sad Portuguese music called fado is similar in social origins to African-American blues or Greek rembetika. The sound comes close to the chansons of Edith Piaf. A dynamic live performer and a stark presence on record, Mariza has become fado's young star. Her latest CD is devoted to the poetic melancholy of fado tradition while unafraid to mix it up a little. The sidemen are a bevy of Latin musicians from Cuba, Spain...]]> Sunshine for the Blind - See the River Rise (Uvulittle) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5989-sunshine-for-the-blind-see-the-river-rise-%2528uvulittle%2529.html It figures that a power-pop band emerging from Madison nowadays would be on the more cerebral side of the usually lovey-dovey genre. That braininess constitutes a substantial portion of Sunshine for the Blind's appeal. With a balance of snottiness and contemplation, the trio summons classicist buzz, crunch and groove to ponder existential quandaries commonly reserved for music that's not quite so danceable. Slight insinuations of prog...]]> Miles Davis - Kind of Blue: Legacy Edition (Columbia/Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5930-miles-davis-kind-of-blue-legacy-edition-%2528columbia_legacy%2529.html The pop music of 50 years ago sounds so last century. For that matter, most jazz and art music from 1959 wears the patina of its time and place. Somehow, Kind of Blue sounds different. Everything on Miles Davis' 1959 album works as well today as back then. The thoughtful compositions are performed with irresistible...]]> Chero Michel - Learned From the Best (Ginjibu Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5931-chero-michel-learned-from-the-best-%2528ginjibu-music%2529.html Lovely sight though it is, Chero Michel doesn't need the sultry bare-midriff shot that draws attention to her first full-length CD. The Milwaukee R&B diva's lustrous voice and alt-soul production could produce sufficient attention with these mature songs that draw from her recent life and the classic romantic themes of her...]]> Zero Boys - Vicious Circle (Secretly Canadian) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5932-zero-boys-vicious-circle-%2528secretly-canadian%2529.html Originally released in 1982, the Zero Boys' Vicious Circle is one of the best punk-rock records you've never heard. The Zero Boys didn't have much going in their favor in the early '80s: They were from Indianapolis (not exactly a hotbed of early punk activity) and sounded little like contemporaries such as Black Flag or Dead Kennedys. Instead, the Zero Boys-behind the blazing guitar work of Terry Hollywood-embraced...]]> Susan Tedeschi - Back to the River (Verve Forecast) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5852-susan-tedeschi-back-to-the-river-%2528verve-forecast%2529.html Coming off like a drunken Bonnie Raitt-all mournful wailing, whiskey-sodden riffs and prurient urges-Susan Tedeschi's latest album aims for the gut and, even when it swings a bit wide, is likely to rustle more than a few bar stools. With the Skynyrd-drenched "Talking About" kicking...]]> Seven Steps to the Green Door - Step in 2 My World (ProgRock Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5853-seven-steps-to-the-green-door-step-in-2-my-world-%2528progrock-records%2529.html Seven Steps to the Green Door blurs pop, jazz, rap and progressive rock, never stylistically standing still long enough for listeners' attention to lapse. The German collective featuring four musicians and a trio of male and female vocalists previously won two prestigious German Rock and Pop Awards in the progressive and experimental...]]> Jay Flash - The Loser http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5855-jay-flash-the-loser.html Jay Flash refers to his style as "experimental folk music," even if the 25-year-old Milwaukee pianist sounds as influenced by Philip Glass, Sufjan Stevens and Ben Folds as Leonard Cohen and Nick Drake. As indicated by the title of this debut album, The Loser overflows with despair, though it's as articulate as it is achy. Flash's resigned...]]> Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion (Domino) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5764-animal-collective-merriweather-post-pavilion-%2528domino%2529.html For its eighth full-length, Animal Collective has pulled together its most like-minded set of material, making for the group's most consistently listenable, even poppiest album, to date. Each track builds through a tension-and-release pattern based on layers of modal drones and sound effects, with Brian Wilson harmonies dropping in and out as choruses whenever appropriate. Gone are the usual free-folk elements...]]> Yid Vicious - Dollars to Doinas (Giant Clam Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5765-yid-vicious-dollars-to-doinas-%2528giant-clam-records%2529.html A doughnut with pink frosting and colorful sprinkles on top graces the cover of Dollars for Doinas, the fourth CD from Madison's internationally renowned klezmer band Yid Vicious. It's a fun, deliciously appropriate image for a group that's helped keep Yiddish folk songs alive for almost 15 years...]]> Bill Bruford - The Winterfold Collection 1978-1986 http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5767-bill-bruford-the-winterfold-collection-1978-1986.html Bill Bruford was much admired for his elaborate drumming in Yes and King Crimson before he stepped out as a jazz-rock fusion soloist. The best music on the first of two career-spanning anthologies, The Winterfold Collection, is the earliest, culled from Bruford's first album, Feels Good to Me. It featured...]]> The Pulltops - The Pulltops http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5768-the-pulltops-the-pulltops.html The Pulltops' name makes it sound like a group that would inspire listeners to put on some tunes and kick back with a few brewskis, but the Milwaukee trio actually blends Goth dance with roots-rock, the ponderousness of late-period Pink Floyd and a nod toward jam bands. On its debut album, the group's use of...]]> Dan Auerbach - Keep It Hid (Nonesuch) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5687-dan-auerbach-keep-it-hid-%2528nonesuch%2529.html Heartache, paranoia and the purest form of analog recordings are saturated into the recent solo debut from Dan Auerbach. Not veering from his sound as a member of The Black Keys, Auerbach passionately connects psychedelia, soul and blues with no digital effects on this 14-track disc recorded in his Akron Analog Studio...]]> Melvin Gibbs’ Elevated Entity - Ancients Speak (LiveWired) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5688-melvin-gibbsrs-elevated-entity-ancients-speak-%2528livewired%2529.html Melvin Gibbs makes ancient modern music out of the African-American heritage. In Ancients Speak, America encompasses anywhere in the New World where the descendants of slaves continue to make music. Afro-Cuban and Bahian influences mingle easily with rap and electronic beats. Field recordings from... ]]> Wooldridge Brothers - Days Went Around (Media Creature) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5689-wooldridge-brothers-days-went-around-%2528media-creature%2529.html The Wooldridge Brothers were one of Milwaukee's popular alternative bands from the early '90s. They have returned with a superb new album filled with witty and evocative lyrics and tuneful melodies embedded in solid arrangements. Some of the music seems grounded in the roots of alt-country or influenced by new-wave pop...]]> Curt Mychael - Sketches In Time http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5690-curt-mychael-sketches-in-time.html If there's such a thing as nutritious bubble gum, Milwaukee's Curt Mychael is making it. On much of Sketches in Time, Mychael's keen melodic sensibility parallels some of the best of The Archies. Melding that powerfully poppy inclination to varied romantic perspectives gives Mychael an in to Jason Mraz's fan base...]]> Various Artists - Let Freedom Sing: The Music of the Civil Rights Movement (Time Life) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5594-various-artists-let-freedom-sing-the-music-of-the-civil-rights-movement-%2528time-life%2529.html Forty years after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., something unthinkable at that time finally happened: the election of an African-American president. The election of Barack Obama would have been impossible without the civil-rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, and that movement would have been unlikely...]]> Karmakanic - Who's the Boss in the Factory (InsideOut Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5595-karmakanic-whos-the-boss-in-the-factory-%2528insideout-music%2529.html What began as one of numerous side projects for members of The Flower Kings, Sweden's purveyors of traditional progressive rock, has evolved into a respectable five-man entity. Karmakanic, helmed by Flower Kings bassist Jonas Reingold along with a handful of distinguished guests, is rooted in classic prog with twists of...]]> Threat Level 3 - Orange Alert (XART Audio) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5596-threat-level-3-orange-alert-%2528xart-audio%2529.html Neither the name of the band nor the album connotes any danger from Homeland Security. Instead, Threat Level 3 turns their Orange Alert into electro-acoustic free jazz meditations on world music. Ex-Milwaukeeans Billy X. Curmano and John Pendergast pluck, strum and bow their stringed and keyed instruments...]]> Derek Trucks Band - Already Free (Victor) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5597-derek-trucks-band-already-free-%2528victor%2529.html No one enters a song like Derek Trucks. Understated and refined, with his own band or as a guest, playing a cover or an original, from the very first note of slide riffage there is never a "who is that?" moment on a Trucks recording. All the things that make the guitarist so distinct-that immaculate tone, Eastern tinge, precise frenzy and pure Empathy-are back...]]> Uncle Mike and His Polka Band - Pint Size Polkas Vol. One http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5598-uncle-mike-and-his-polka-band-pint-size-polkas-vol-one.html Considering the good vibes that polka seems to naturally engender, it's something of a wonder that the children's market hasn't been further exploited. Milwaukee bandleader/radio announcer Mike Schneider goes a long way in remedying that with Pint Size Polkas. The polka, waltz and schottische material sounds...]]> Pat DiNizio - Pat DiNizio/Buddy Holly (Koch) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5599-pat-dinizio-pat-dinizio_buddy-holly-%2528koch%2529.html For years now, estimable jazz artists have produced albums honoring their more illustrious predecessors-the pathfinders who made their music possible. The phenomenon has extended to rock 'n' roll. Pat DiNizio, vocalist for the excellent '80s band The Smithereens, lends his talent to an album of Buddy Holly covers. Interesting moments aside, the effort... ]]> Lambchop - OH (ohio) (Merge Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5489-lambchop-oh-%2528ohio%2529-%2528merge-records%2529.html While nearly impossible to describe without the perfunctory "sleepy" label, Lambchop seems especially well settled into their languid leanings on OH. From the gentle pull of an "oh, oh, ohio" that leads into the title track, there's less of everything big-electric, strings, piano balladry-that the band has used since 2001's Nixon, and much more of their well-worn, old-shoe country warmness...]]> Slank - Anthem for the Broken Hearted (MRI) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5490-slank-anthem-for-the-broken-hearted-%2528mri%2529.html They've sold 15 million records in their native Indonesia, and now the five members of Slank-a rough translation of "come as you are"-invade America with their first English-language album, Anthem for the Broken Hearted. Far from a reference to the lovelorn, the title refers to the inhabitants of a homeland riddled with strife and corruption...]]> Eric Blowtorch and the Welders - “Salt Water” (Bopaganda! Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5491-eric-blowtorch-and-the-welders-ldsalt-waterrd-%2528bopaganda_-records%2529.html The trail end of 2008 saw the RIAA confirm that sales of vinyl records are surging. Sure, CDs and MP3s are convenient, but all you have to do is listen to vinyl to confirm its sonic superiority. Look no further than Milwaukee's own Eric Blowtorch, who has released a 7" vinyl slab of reggae flavor. The A-side "Salt Water" skanks along with a throbbing rhythm section as Blowtorch sings of dread on the high seas. The flip side is a dub-crazy version led by a melodica riff that fades into ghostly piano and Echoplexed vocals. While some artists... ]]> Time To Kill - Insanity (Turkey Vulture) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5492-time-to-kill-insanity-%2528turkey-vulture%2529.html It takes a while for the post-hardcore metal to gel on this debut album by Wisconsin Rapids thrashers Time To Kill, but when it does, it portends better things to come. The affectations and antagonism of vocalist Nicole Williams sound sincerely angry when the dudes behind her finally build to a commensurate head of rage. Only time will tell whether Time to Kill will rise to the heights of hard rockers such as Kittie...]]> Todd Snider - Peace Queer (MRI) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5378-todd-snider-peace-queer-%2528mri%2529.html "Lately, my friends have been telling me that my songs have gotten more and more opinionated," says Todd Snider, struggling to explain himself on Peace Queer. Sure the romantic that normally populates Snider's musical landscape of Mellencamp-esque Americana seems to have suddenly found CNN, yet this isn't a complete departure from the "alright guy" that fans originally found so amusing. After all, Snider follows the clarification... ]]> Mercury Rev - Snowflake Midnight (Yep Roc) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5379-mercury-rev-snowflake-midnight-%2528yep-roc%2529.html Mercury Rev's latest album is so dreamy that it makes The Flaming Lips seem comparatively grounded. Snowflake Midnight drifts and pulses through a natural world observed with occasionally microscopic vision and near-constant wide-eyed wonder. That drift is not without direction or coherence, though-just as a twig borne along the currents of a river is definitely going...]]> The Desert Sound Ensemble - The Desert Sound Ensemble http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5380-the-desert-sound-ensemble-the-desert-sound-ensemble.html Milwaukee's Desert Sound Ensemble brings the otherworldly tonalities and chords of Near Eastern and Indian music into the realm of acoustic psychedelia. Guitarist-vocalist Ali Lubbad's songwriting is dreamily evocative, a mirage of images playing against an ever-receding horizon. Veteran musician Mike Kashou anchors the music in tradition with his oud and Neil Qusba holds down the gently rippling beat on tabla while Leah...]]> Medeski Martin & Wood - Radiolarians 1 (MRI) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5294-medeski-martin-wood-radiolarians-1-%2528mri%2529.html Medeski Martin & Wood, by now everyone's favorite organ trio, continues their venture into pluralistic weirdness on Radiolarians 1, an attempt to turn the write, record, tour chronology on its ear. Starting with nothing but song sketches, MMW fleshed out their latest effort in front of audiences on tour, before finally returning to the studio's confines to hit "record." If the process sounds like driving backward during rush hour, so do much...]]> Various Artists - Launchpad 2008 http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5295-various-artists-launchpad-2008.html The Wisconsin School Music Association's Launchpad program is a statewide battle of the bands for high-school groups formed outside of school. The festival-like concert in Madison, which took place last summer and featured 12 finalists from four regional semifinals, makes for a mostly engaging live compilation album. Pop-punk/emo and post-hardcore...]]> Various Artists - Sound of the World Presents Beyond the Horizon (Warner Classics & Jazz) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5296-various-artists-sound-of-the-world-presents-beyond-the-horizon-%2528warner-classics-jazz%2529.html Britain's Charlie Gillett has had a remarkable career, starting with his pioneering history of R&B, The Sound of the City, and continuing through today as a BBC world music DJ. With this double-disc compilation, Gillett culls from recent playlists to assemble a great super-set of music from all over-minus station IDs, news breaks and chatter of any sort. In keeping with the porous borders of globalization, many of the bands...]]> Hank Williams - The Unreleased Recordings (Time/Life) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5212-hank-williams-the-unreleased-recordings-%2528time_life%2529.html When Hank Williams died at the age of 29 he had released 61 songs. In spite of this relatively small amount of material, Williams found himself at the apex of country music. Since 1953, Williams' estate has milked revenue from the deceased star's recordings in ways that make the Jimi Hendrix vultures look like amateurs, and endless...]]> Stefanie Keys - Say You Will (CMG Entertainment/Wefunk) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5213-stefanie-keys-say-you-will-%2528cmg-entertainment_wefunk%2529.html San Francisco-based Americana-rocker Stefanie Keys may have nabbed a record deal with her gutsy, carefree version of Janis Joplin's "Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)," but her own songs on the debut CD Say You Will-including the acoustic, catchy and organ-driven I-found-my-man affirmation of "Whiskey Bottles," the slick blues rock...]]> David Tomaloff - Birds on Wires (Hey!LowSound) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5214-david-tomaloff-birds-on-wires-%2528hey_lowsound%2529.html On his first solo offering, the erstwhile leader of Racine's Dammitheads stretches into a significantly different direction than his previous act's frazzled modern rock. This time around, David Tomaloff adds to the tradition of combining folk, country and rock influences into songs at once confessional yet enigmatic. He adds a misty tenor and...]]> Larry Penn - War Stories (Cookie Man Music) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5144-larry-penn-war-stories-%2528cookie-man-music%2529.html In an era when most singer-songwriters rarely travel farther then the distance between their bedroom and their computer, I have to salute the work of 81-year-old Larry Penn, whose new CD, War Stories, begs to be heard by those patriots still brave enough to carry the flag of the common man. In "Army Life," Penn sings of disillusionment, regret and loneliness, with each verse ending in "Gee, mom, I want to come back home... ]]> The Killers - Day & Age (Island) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5145-the-killers-day-age-%2528island%2529.html In the world of music, artists are only as good as their latest works. And that's not good news for The Killers, considering their third studio album. Their debut, Hot Fuss (2004), brought them international success. But the band's latest release, Day & Age, delivers nothing but a "hot mess." MTV recently quoted lead singer Brandon Flowers as saying, "I think it's our most playful record." But after trudging through 10 tracks with...]]> The Residents - The Bunny Boy (Santa Dog) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5066-the-residents-the-bunny-boy-%2528santa-dog%2529.html Although the wacky, anonymous, eyeball-mask-wearing members of The Residents make a point of labeling it a collection of "pop songs," The Bunny Boy isn't simply a pop album. It's also a cryptic Internet series that "inspired" the album, a live performance piece, a yet unavailable companion album-all inspired by a mysterious package supposedly sent to The Residents' compound. And, of course, it's all part of the concept/performance.]]> Steve Grimm - Keep Your Dreams Alive (Legend) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5067-steve-grimm-keep-your-dreams-alive-%2528legend%2529.html Steve Grimm's place in Milwaukee music history remains secure for having fronted one of the city's most prominent bands to make it to a major label. It's been a while since Bad Boy was a happening entity, but Grimm remains vital-if inextricably linked to a time when hard rock correlated to long hair and tight pants-on his third strictly solo CD. The best of this eight-song disc shows...]]> Jimmy Hughes - The Best of Jimmy Hughes (Fame) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5012-jimmy-hughes-the-best-of-jimmy-hughes-%2528fame%2529.html Muscle Shoals, Ala., became a soul-music mecca in the '60s on the strength of its famed recording studio and crack crew of mostly white but unfailingly soulful sidemen. Fame Records was associated with the Muscle Shoals sound and one of its top artists, Jimmy Hughes, is honored with a CD reissue of some of his best material from the era. Hughes was an expressive and insistent black R&B singer armed with a batch of irresistible songs performed by tough yet supple rhythm...]]> Roy Orbison - The Soul of Rock and Roll (Monument/Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4949-roy-orbison-the-soul-of-rock-and-roll-%2528monument_legacy%2529.html If Roy Orbison's career had ended after his 1950s rockabilly phase, he would still have been assured of a footnote in the history of music. Along with Sun Records peers such as Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis, Orbison's songs showed a sly, rascally character that put a fun spin on the fledgling movement called rock 'n' roll. Of course, if that had been the end, he would have remained a cult act at best. And the music world wouldn't have taken full advantage...]]> Cheap Trick - Budokan! (Epic/Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4950-cheap-trick-budokan_-%2528epic_legacy%2529.html There should be little argument that Cheap Trick's 1979 live album, At Budokan, ranks among rock's seminal live recordings, paving the way for practically every band that dared call itself "power pop." No wonder Epic Records has reissued numerous versions of that April 1978 concert at Tokyo's Nippon Budokan arena over the years. But none comes close to Budokan!, the Godzilla of reissues, featuring three CDs and one DVD that mark the original...]]> Doc Heide and Eric Lewis - Christmas in Door County (Betsy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4951-doc-heide-and-eric-lewis-christmas-in-door-county-%2528betsy%2529.html Coming from Wisconsin's cherry-growing peninsula, guitarist Doc Heide and mandolin player Eric Lewis ply their instruments to an assortment of Christmas carols and hymns, veering from traditional favorites into the Episcopal Psalter of Heide's youth. The results are finely picked and strummed, with the most dynamic and textural variation often coming when they go into minor chording. The duo's straddling of classical and folk traditions, with...]]> Marc Ribot's Ceramic Dog - Party Intellectuals (Pi) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4854-marc-ribots-ceramic-dog-party-intellectuals-%2528pi%2529.html Hats off to Marc Ribot for releasing perhaps the two most disparate back-to-back albums in history. February gave us Exercises in Futility, a solo, new age/classical, acoustic pluck-work with noodling of the likes to make Leo Kottke blush. Now the guitarist returns with Party Intellectuals, an offering from his self-proclaimed "first rock band since high school." In what sounds like a name borrowed from...]]> The Smiths - The Sound of The Smiths (Rhino) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4855-the-smiths-the-sound-of-the-smiths-%2528rhino%2529.html "Mope rock" is one of those annoying terms rock critics toss into reviews and The Smiths are usually blamed as the alleged genre's progenitor. If the accusation is true, it must...]]> Resurrection Band - Music to Raise the Dead: 1972-1998 (Grrr) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4856-resurrection-band-music-to-raise-the-dead-1972-1998-%2528grrr%2529.html One of the best classic-rock acts that nobody knows came from a Christian commune in Chicago. Resurrection Band, whose roots go back to Milwaukee's early-'70s Jesus Liberation Army group of holy hippies, created a substantial catalog of heavy rock that eventually absorbed prog, new wave, metal and folk influences-with great artistic success-over 26 years and more than a dozen studio albums. Wisconsin native Glenn Kaiser's...]]> Kocani Orkestar - The Ravished Bride (Crammed Discs) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4857-kocani-orkestar-the-ravished-bride-%2528crammed-discs%2529.html Rooted in Macedonia, the brash Balkan sound of Kocani Orkestar is a delirious romp fueled by oompah tuba and Arabesque flights of clarinet fancy. Vocalist Ajnur Azizov injects an additional gust of fervor into music whose raucous origins are entwined in the wedding bands and communal rites of its homeland. In keeping with the demands of the world-music bin they have been placed in, Kocani branches out, infusing the Mexican standard "La Llorona" with an Eastern European accent. ]]> Various Artists - Love Train: The Sound of Philadelphia (Philadelphia International/Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4776-various-artists-love-train-the-sound-of-philadelphia-%2528philadelphia-international_legacy%2529.html The rise of black cultural power in the early '70s coincided with the decline of the hit-making machinery behind Motown and Stax. The time was ripe, however, for regionally distinct soul music to make one more surge toward worldwide popularity. Enter Philadelphia International. Producers/arrangers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff honed their skills for a number of years before becoming label owners. Love Train documents...]]> The O’Jays, Billy Paul, Leon Huff - (Philadelphia International/Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4777-the-orsjays-billy-paul-leon-huff-%2528philadelphia-international_legacy%2529.html During the years when Philadelphia was a center for soul music, Philadelphia International Records became distinctive for a sound featuring silken strings, propulsive rhythms and quietly emotive singers. Along with the Love Train set, several Philly LPs have been reissued on CD, some with requisite bonus tracks and jacket notes... ]]> City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra - The Film Music of Danny Elfman (Silva Screen) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4778-city-of-prague-philharmonic-orchestra-the-film-music-of-danny-elfman-%2528silva-screen%2529.html Danny Elfman has been the greatest film composer since Bernard Herrmann, not only for the number of significant movies he has scored but also his ability to bring the classic Hollywood soundtrack sensibility into the postmodern world. The latest survey of his music is an enjoyable cross section of themes from Pee-wee's Big Adventure, Beetlejuice, Batman, Edward Scissorhands and many others, mostly performed by the City of Prague Philharmonic...]]> David Gilmour - Live in Gdansk (Columbia) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4661-david-gilmour-live-in-gdansk-%2528columbia%2529.html No, we didn't ask for an album featuring another recording of "Breathe," leading into "Time," leading into "Breathe (Reprise)," as happens on tracks two through four on Live in Gdansk. But Pink Floyd completists (we are legion) will want it anyway. However, if you're truly pink, you're also asking yourself, "Where are the Syd songs like 'Dominoes,' or obscure oldies like 'Wot's Uh the Deal' (I know they were played-I checked the blogs)?" ]]> El Guero Y Su Banda Centenario - Antes... y Despues (A.R.C. Discos) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4662-el-guero-y-su-banda-centenario-antes-y-despues-%2528arc-discos%2529.html Jorge "El Guero" Hernandez may be the best-known regional Mexican artist with Milwaukee roots. Most of a decade has passed since he and brother Rogelio moved to San Antonio, but El Guero's Banda Centenario still nurtures a unique take on the often-manic Duranguense subgenre on the group's sixth album. Amid the crazed drum fills and klezmer-like hyperkinetics, the Hernandez brothers (Rogelio plays the requisite bass drum...]]> David HB Drake - Pot Luck: A Feast of Folk Songs for the Family http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4663-david-hb-drake-pot-luck-a-feast-of-folk-songs-for-the-family.html The bespectacled, Santa Claus-bearded Milwaukee multi-instrumentalist David HB Drake sings public-domain standards, originals and remakes of fellow folk singers with warmth and a grounded quality. He peppers his songs with personal reminiscences, the history of the instruments he plays and tidbits on the people whose songs he gives his personal touch. The appreciative, multi-generational audience at the Madison coffeehouse where Pot Luck was recorded seems highly engaged with Drake's grandfatherly vibe. Instead of pushing boundaries...]]> Warren Zevon - Warren Zevon: Collector's Edition (Rhino) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4664-warren-zevon-warren-zevon-collectors-edition-%2528rhino%2529.html Warren Zevon finally arrived at stardom with Excitable Boy (1978), but the self-titled album he released two years earlier announced the presence of a rising talent. Zevon was playing piano in an expatriate's bar in Spain when his old pal Jackson Browne lured him back to California, where he gained a recording contract. Browne's too-slick Los Angeles production for this album did his friend no favors, but could not obscure the unique merit of songs such as "Mohammed's Radio" and "Carmelita." For once the second disc of bonus tracks is illuminating, suggesting that Zevon...]]> Max Raabe & Palast Orchester - Heute Nacht Oder Nie (SPV) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4665-max-raabe-palast-orchester-heute-nacht-oder-nie-%2528spv%2529.html The cabaret of Weimar Germany showcased a sophisticated mlange of avant-garde gestures, 1920s pop and early jazz, and the era left an afterimage on artists as distinct as Marlene Dietrich and Lou Reed. Max Raabe is determined to recreate the real thing. Dressed in evening jackets, the German singer and his orchestra of brass, strings and woodwinds polish songs from that time and place to a shiny dark gleam. With precise, fey urbanity, Raabe leads his band through Kurt Weill ("Moon of Alabama") and dozens of mostly unknown but intriguing songs...]]> Various Artists - All Aboard: A Tribute To Johnny Cash (Anchorless) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4598-various-artists-all-aboard-a-tribute-to-johnny-cash-%2528anchorless%2529.html In 1954, at the age of 22, Johnny Cash had a burning desire to sign a record contract-and he was lucky enough to audition for Sam Phillips at Sun Records in Memphis, Tenn. After Cash performed, Phillips offered these words of wisdom: "Go home and sin, and then come back with a song I can sell." Cash certainly took the advice to heart. After selling more than 90 million albums in his lifetime, and becoming the youngest artist ever inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, no penance was ever in order for "The Man... ]]> Altered Five - Bluesified (Cold Wind) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4599-altered-five-bluesified-%2528cold-wind%2529.html Does everything sound better when it's "bluesified"? Milwaukee's Altered Five makes that proposition work as they re-imagine oldies from the 1960s to the '80s. Even when the songs they remake were based on blues (The Rolling Stones, ZZ Top), the group adapts the tunes and takes them down different emotional avenues. With the Rod Stewart and Prince covers, Altered Five puts refreshingly earthy spins on numbers that were over the top in their ridiculousness...]]> Ry Cooder - The UFO Has Landed: The Ry Cooder Anthology (Rhino) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4600-ry-cooder-the-ufo-has-landed-the-ry-cooder-anthology-%2528rhino%2529.html Ry Cooder has been a great many things since he released his first album in 1970. He's been one of the most well-grounded exponents of what's since been called American roots music and one of the early explorers of what's been dubbed world music. Above all, he's a masterful guitarist who never lets skill stand in the way of emotional connection. The two-disc Anthology surveys 38 years of Cooder plus...]]> Rafael Manriquez & Friends - Que Viva El Canto (Smithsonian Folkways) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4601-rafael-manriquez-friends-que-viva-el-canto-%2528smithsonian-folkways%2529.html Chile's folk music was the rage in leftist circles worldwide through its association with Salvador Allende, the Chilean president toppled in a U.S.-backed coup. Rafael Manriquez hurdles barriers of language and lyrics in performances of that music crackling with vibrancy, integrity and invention. Que Viva El Canto is a survey of traditional genres, from Chile's cowboy songs to music associated with the urban poor. Many melodies are sun dappled and lovely...]]> Toninho Horta, Milton Nascimento and the Jobim Trio - To Jobim with Love (Resonance), Novas Bossas (Blue Note) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4508-toninho-horta-milton-nascimento-and-the-jobim-trio-to-jobim-with-love-%2528resonance%2529-novas-bossas-%2528blue-note%2529.html For most of us, bossa nova is the distinctive sound of Brazil. The music was born in the late 1950s, conceived in large part by Antonio Carlos Jobim. From early on, American jazz musicians parked themselves within the idiom, sensing an affinity between the cerebral emotional restraint of '50s cool jazz and bossa nova's sensual emotional grace... ]]> Sound Tribe Sector 9 - Peaceblaster (1320 Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4509-sound-tribe-sector-9-peaceblaster-%25281320-records%2529.html California's Sound Tribe Sector 9 claims that instrumental music can reflect the tension of the times. In fact, the five-man collective considers its dense Eno-esque swirl of pulsing live and electronic sounds a means of "conversation" between band and listener. And Peaceblaster, STS9's fourth studio album, finds band members in a dark mood that's occasionally tempered by shimmering rays of light. Their genre-shattering... ]]> UrbanSol - UrbanSol Live: Beautiful Music http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4510-urbansol-urbansol-live-beautiful-music.html UrbanSol Live: Beautiful Music brings together boisterous melodies, soulful vocalists and raw talent in one CD. Damion Thompson, a local fashion designer and drummer/director of the band 3 the Hard Way, is the producer...]]> Twang Dragons - Twangasm (George Street Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4511-twang-dragons-twangasm-%2528george-street-records%2529.html With their new release, Milwaukee's Twang Dragons have stepped away from their rockabilly roots. Emphasizing a little more rock and a little less 'billy, the Dragons haven't completely lost their country appeal; they've simply evolved into less twang and more strum. Rhythm section members Mark Nauman (bass) and Scott Defebaugh (drums) still drive a mean line against guitarist Tommy Dixon's riffs, while Lisa Hannon's...]]> KT's Universal Love Band - Rising Sun (Motherland) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4512-kts-universal-love-band-rising-sun-%2528motherland%2529.html How do you define "universal love"? For Milwaukee veteran KT Rusch it means a number of things. First off, it's the name of the band in which she and her band mates mix various reggae and Nigerian pop flavors. Judging from the lyrics, universal love is also the blend of Rastafarianism and Eastern mystic practices propelling her calls for freedom from the shackles of personal and political oppression. Rusch's enthusiastic vocal...]]> Buddy Guy - Skin Deep (Silvertone/Zomba) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4442-buddy-guy-skin-deep-%2528silvertone_zomba%2529.html Billed as Buddy Guy's first album of all-original material (with producer/percussionist Tom Hambridge sharing co-writing credits), Skin Deep throttles along like most of the guitarist's later-period work-pristine production backing barbed-wire jags of distorted riffs, and boastful jabs ("Show Me the Money") punctuating meditative 12-bar shuffles. Per custom on such affairs, there are the usual suspects...]]> F5 - The Reckoning (OarFin) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4443-f5-the-reckoning-%2528oarfin%2529.html Old-school metalheads Dave Ellefson and Jimmy DeGrasso-who both did time in Megadeth's rhythm section-try to snag a new generation of fans with The Reckoning, F5's second album. This aggressive five-man band blurs Megadeth, Symphony X and Disturbed with a dark, dense and raw arsenal that includes twin guitars, thudding bass and drums, and gritty, urgent vocals. But the bludgeoning...]]> Bombay Dub Orchestra - 3 Cities (Six Degrees) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4444-bombay-dub-orchestra-3-cities-%2528six-degrees%2529.html To call Bombay Dub Orchestra "exotic electronica" begs many questions. The rich East Indian textures may be exotic to the U.K. producer-masterminds behind the project, but not so for the many Indian...]]> Harvey Taylor - 'Round & 'Round We Go http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4445-harvey-taylor-round-round-we-go.html On his latest CD of songs and spoken verse, veteran Milwaukee poet/musician Harvey Taylor encompasses tunes that range from earnest to sociopolitical to goofy. A number of the city's acoustic, improvisational and/or peacenik musicians back Taylor with often-chaotic results, the effects of which can be alternately charming and unnerving. As he sings and talks about urban agriculture, romance, a half-forgotten TV episode...]]> Juaneco y su Combo - Masters of Chicha Vol. 1 (Barbes) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4446-juaneco-y-su-combo-masters-of-chicha-vol-1-%2528barbes%2529.html Chicha was an obscure genre from the backcountry of Peru, an unstable crossbreed of local traditions with the belated arrival of rock 'n' roll. Juaneco y su Combo was one of chicha's most popular bands, circa 1970, and some of their vintage recordings have been reissued on CD. Some tracks feature playful melodies and happy, percolating rhythms; others bring Farfisa organ and electric guitars to the fore in a sound not unlike the surf instrumental bands...]]> Nina Simone - To Be Free: The Nina Simone Story (RCA Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4349-nina-simone-to-be-free-the-nina-simone-story-%2528rca-legacy%2529.html Great singing isn't measured in decibels or determined by brassy attitude but by the emotions it conveys. By that standard, Nina Simone is among the greatest. Her well-programmed new career retrospective begins in 1950s jazz clubs, where she worked her supple voice around the standards. In those years when the standards were still relatively young, jazz remained a vital and popular music and Simone's mix of warmth and uncertainty, light and shadow, heralded her as a superb new talent. Her range...]]> Trey Gunn - Music for Pictures (7d Media) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4350-trey-gunn-music-for-pictures-%25287d-media%2529.html Alternately exhilarating and frustrating, Music for Pictures collects 29 pieces culled and tweaked from multi-instrumentalist Trey Gunn's film and television work. The King Crimson alum-renowned for his use of the 10-string Warr Guitar, a tapped instrument with a wide range-recruited a lineup of heavy-duty drummers to record these works between 2003 and 2008. The result is Brian Eno-like...]]> Bryan Cherry Band - Alley Apple http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4351-bryan-cherry-band-alley-apple.html The Milwaukee band that may be closest in sound to Jimi Hendrix follows up a full-length debut with a shorter EP. The Hendrix comparison continues to fit the grind and squall employed by guitarist Sean Williamson. And while Bryan Cherry's voice can also be heard as a continuation of Hendrix, there's a key difference: Cherry's wide-eyed sociopolitical conscience and empathy contrasts with Hendrix's hedonism...]]> Pezzettino - Because I Have No Control http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4352-pezzettino-because-i-have-no-control.html Pezzettino is actually Milwaukee singer, accordionist and pianist Margaret Stutt. She's new to songwriting but not to playing, learning piano by ear at age 5, with classical lessons to follow. She picked up accordion within the last year, which freed her to begin writing. Because I Have NoControl is moody and minimal. Her songs are intriguing and fresh, especially when she relies on the grave, medieval carnival sound of the accordion. If Stutt chose to record...]]> Various Artists - Rock 'n' Skiffle: Brit Beat Beginnings (Proper Box) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4263-various-artists-rock-n-skiffle-brit-beat-beginnings-%2528proper-box%2529.html 1954 was the year rock 'n' roll appeared on the U.S. horizon and Elvis Presley made his first recordings on the Sun label. The new music was entirely absent that year in Britain. If there had been a hazy view of it in the United Kingdom around the time, it would be when the Ted Heath Orchestra covered Bill Haley's "Crazy Man Crazy" in a limp version not unlike The Beatles in years to come, when the group limped through Little Richard and Buddy Holly songs. Skiffle was where it began in Britain. It could be called American folk music on speed and influenced many of the major bands that...]]> Ray LaMontagne - Gossip in the Grain (RCA) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4264-ray-lamontagne-gossip-in-the-grain-%2528rca%2529.html It's been almost a decade since Ray LaMontagne awoke at 4 a.m. to hear his radio alarm clock playing Stephen Stills' "Treetop Flyer." Something about Stills' lyrics moved LaMontagne deeply; he suddenly quit his job at a footwear factory in Lewiston, Maine, and made a decision to become a singer/songwriter. Based upon his third and latest release, Gossip in the Grain, LaMontagne won't be returning to the assembly line-ever. This disc warmly welcomes the listener to step into LaMontagne's musical shoes. These beautifully arranged folk, blues...]]> Tom Vollman - The Betty Violet http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4265-tom-vollman-the-betty-violet.html Milwaukee's Tom Vollman makes stark, earnest folk rock that surges with epic emotional tumult, like the point in classic grunge where softness careens into loudness. Gavin DeGraw and Bruce Springsteen's acoustic work make for apt comparisons, although he largely eschews the latter's sociopolitical bent and the former's happy-go-lucky vibe. The Betty Violet is comprised of regret and plenty of longing. Though Vollman could stand to vary his melodies and tempo, it's a good bet that he can capture an audience as he sings his cathartic tunes.]]> The Rip Off Artists - Esque (Ripped Off Music http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4172-the-rip-off-artists-esque-%2528ripped-off-music.html Like the free-flowing stream of consciousness one finds scribbled in a diary, Milwaukee's The Rip Off Artists emote their lightly jaded point of view with a sense of understated wakefulness on their recent CD, Esque. All songs are written and produced by Nick Pipitone and Peter Batchelder, who engineered and mixed the tracks at Milwaukee's Independent Studios. Taking a cue from Batchelder's background in film, their quirky, grown-up, retro British vibe is refreshing-at times sarcastic, even humorous-and sharp-witted in an unassuming way...]]> Richie Havens - Nobody Left to Crown (Verve) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4174-richie-havens-nobody-left-to-crown-%2528verve%2529.html Almost 40 years after he opened Woodstock with a mesmerizing three-hour performance, becoming the voice of a generation with an improvised tune that evolved into "Freedom," folk-rocker Richie Havens remains relevant. On Nobody Left to Crown, the 67-year-old singer's still-distinct, soulful voice introduces listeners to memorable and politically charged songs such as "The Key" and "(Can't You Hear) Zeus's Anger Roar," as well as smartly chosen covers...]]> Stereolab - Chemical Chords (4AD) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4175-stereolab-chemical-chords-%25284ad%2529.html After 1999's Cobra and Phases, critics decided Stereolab's well-tested formula of space-age lounge-rock had become too listless, too meandering. Then, with 2006's Fab FourSuture, the group had seemingly pulled a 180, now scorned for being "too dance-oriented." Chemical Chords should be seen as a return to form by even the most jaded and fickle of critics. There's the experimental side (the obliterating "Pop Molecule" and "Nous Vous Demandons Pardon"), which harkens back...]]> Golden Smog - Stay Golden, Smog: The Best of Golden Smog (Rhino) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4176-golden-smog-stay-golden-smog-the-best-of-golden-smog-%2528rhino%2529.html Few toss-off projects ever sounded as good as Golden Smog, a side band started by Minneapolis musicians from Run Westy Run, Soul Asylum and The Jayhawks that grew to include involvement from Jeff Tweedy and other players with interesting rsums. Solid yet relaxed grooves anchor the tracks on Stay Golden, which collects most of the band's first two albums plus an early version of "Until You Came Along" and a Brian Wilson cover. Nearly all of the tracks flirt with Americana. "Until You Came Along" shows roots in The Byrds... ]]> Southside Johnny with LaBamba’s Big Band - Grapefruit Moon: The Songs Of Tom Waits (Leroy Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4110-southside-johnny-with-labambarss-big-band-grapefruit-moon-the-songs-of-tom-waits-%2528leroy-records%2529.html   The tribute-album idiom has changed. It used to be the cover song: Pat Boone covering Little Richard, for a '50s example of white artists taking black artists' songs into middle-class homes; or Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs' "Little Darlin'" becoming a hit by the Diamonds while few even heard the first, utterly untamed version while the white cover hit the charts. And so it went, following a tradition that began much earlier, when the real thing was never the right one for charts and radio...]]> Canyons of Static - The Disappearance (Former Airline) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4111-canyons-of-static-the-disappearance-%2528former-airline%2529.html   Instrumental post-rock of a surging, emotionally varied sort marks the first full-length project by West Bend's wonderfully named Canyons of Static. The quartet-to-quintet, depending upon whether their violinist is in tow, takes as much from shoegazing, post-punk heavy guitar acts as it does from a classical approach to melodic and textual development...]]> Ry Cooder - I, Flathead (Nonesuch) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4044-ry-cooder-i-flathead-%2528nonesuch%2529.html   Ry Cooder's California trilogy started purposefully and thematically with Chavez Ravine, turned old-time-radio wistful on My Name is Buddy, and now takes a complete header into the deep end for the concluding I, Flathead. Assuming the point of view of Western bar band Kash Buk and the Klowns, Cooder opens with "Drive Like I Never Been Hurt...]]> Genesis - When In Rome 2007 (Atlantic/Rhino) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4045-genesis-when-in-rome-2007-%2528atlantic_rhino%2529.html   Genesis skipped Wisconsin during last year's reunion tour, but the three-DVD box set When In Rome 2007 spectacularly captures what we missed. Although original frontman Peter Gabriel and guitarist Steve Hackett passed on this tour, the incarnation of Genesis captured at a free open-air performance in front of 500,000 fans at Rome's historic Circo Massimo still boasted the longtime trio of vocalist/drummer Phil Collins, bassist Mike Rutherford and keyboardist...]]> Melissa Czarnik - Strawberry Cadillac (Hyperdrive Motivator) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4046-melissa-czarnik-strawberry-cadillac-%2528hyperdrive-motivator%2529.html   Poetry slams and rap battles: The former led to the latter for Milwaukee's Melissa Czarnik. A listen to her StrawberryCadillac debut makes it clear how that evolution came about. Though alt-soul ladies such as Lauryn Hill and Jill Scott are easy enough to hear as influences, so are Ani DiFranco (complex, feminist folk) and Edith Piaf (torchy cabaret).]]> Bob Parduhn - Lost in the Times http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3882-bob-parduhn-lost-in-the-times.html   Milwaukee singer, songwriter and guitarist Bob Parduhn recently released his fourth album, Lost in the Times. Recorded at Milwaukee's Fly Studios and produced by local bass player Guy Fiorentini, the CD includes Parduhn's band mates from Bones of Contention, organist/pianist Scott Finch and vocalist Annie Perry, with whom Parduhn has recorded two albums; drummer Bill Backes, who recorded an album with Parduhn...]]> Chris Barron - Pancho and the Kid http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3883-chris-barron-pancho-and-the-kid.html   The second solo album from Chris Barron sounds nothing like his old band, the Spin Doctors-which is reason enough to give Pancho and the Kid a spin. But more importantly, the dozen songs reflect the image of a much more thoughtful singer/songwriter than the one who penned "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong."That maturity is no doubt the result of Barron's full recovery from a paralyzed vocal cord, which back in 1999 left him...]]> Metallica - Death Magnetic (Warner Bros.) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3884-metallica-death-magnetic-%2528warner-bros%2529.html    First, the good news: Death Magnetic contains Metallica's most sophisticated, energized and-yes-heavy material since its 1988 classic, ...And Justice for All. If you were hoping for a return to form, it's hard to deny the ways that Death Magnetic sounds like one. Finally, Metallica has revived the long-song format that it built a career on, and the guitar sound hearkens back to the monumental Master of Puppets, the last time James Hetfield and company were coming from an underground...]]> Mark Mantel - Direct to the Public: Some Music of Mark Mantel(DieforArt) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3885-mark-mantel-direct-to-the-public-some-music-of-mark-mantel%2528dieforart%2529.html On this sampling of a decade's worth of work, Milwaukee interdisciplinary composer Mark Mantel offers a variety of modern classical/art music styles and experiments. Among other approaches, a suite of four works by poets is set to drones and percussive clanks and rumblings, sounding like post-punk industrial music with more tone...]]> U2 - Boy/October/War Deluxe Editions (Island/Interscope) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3758-u2-boy_october_war-deluxe-editions-%2528island_interscope%2529.html Leave it to our reliable friends in U2 to respond to the music industry's structural implosion with a triple-shot of pricey extravagance-and the promise of more to come. Who could have foreseen that the guitar wailing of "I Will Follow" from the band's 1980 debut, Boy, was actually the first breath of a larger-than-life juggernaut. To be fair, even when listening with the benefit of knowing...]]> Emmylou Harris - All I Intended To Be (Nonesuch) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3759-emmylou-harris-all-i-intended-to-be-%2528nonesuch%2529.html   A true elder stateswoman of country music, Emmylou Harris returns with her first album since 2006's Mark Knopfler collaboration, All the Roadrunning. On the nostalgic All IIntended to Be, Harris once again borrows buddy/superstar power for an updated bout of rustic shoe-gazing, Nashville-style.  Dolly Parton and Vince Gill contribute backing... ]]> Roy Harper - Counter Culture (Koch) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3760-roy-harper-counter-culture-%2528koch%2529.html   While Roy Harper was known to discerning American rock fans in the '70s as the subject of a Led Zeppelin song and the vocalist on Pink Floyd's "Have a Cigar," his own music was seldom heard. Counter Culture will hopefully bring the overlooked songwriter and singer to the attention of the acoustic underground... ]]> The Invaders - Where Ya Gone? (Maxtone) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3761-the-invaders-where-ya-gone-%2528maxtone%2529.html Milwaukee veterans The Invaders may be considered part of ska's third wave, but the group's sixth album is at its best when the band recalls the genre's '60s formative era in witty little story songs. The group achieves its own twist with the inclusion of harmonica and violin amid the requisite brass, keyboards and hyperactive rhythm section...]]> Sonny Landreth - From the Reach (Landfall) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3704-sonny-landreth-from-the-reach-%2528landfall%2529.html Incendiary slide-master Sonny Landreth cut his teeth and forged his way among John Hiatt's backing group The Goners in the late 1980s and '90s. And now, close on the heels of his former frontman's back-looking Same OldMan, Landreth offers one of his own reflective works of middle-aged pondering. Unlike Hiatt's effort, though, From the Reach borrows the guitarist's native post-Katrina sadness ("Blue Tarp Blues"), offers a number of superstar...]]> Otis Redding - Otis Blue/Otis Redding Sings Soul (Rhino) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3705-otis-redding-otis-blue_otis-redding-sings-soul-%2528rhino%2529.html   "Essential" has become an overused word, like many words in our language. In the case of Otis Blue/Otis Redding Sings Soul, essential is, for once, applicable. It's one of the great LPs of 1960s soul, featuring classics such as "Change Gonna Come" and "Respect" (which Aretha Franklin later topped with her cover) plus a version of "Satisfaction" that left the Stones in the dust...]]> Demians - Building An Empire (InsideOut Music/SPV) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3706-demians-building-an-empire-%2528insideout-music_spv%2529.html   Nicolas Chapel, a one-Frenchman band, lands somewhere between the progressive rock of Porcupine Tree and the alternative metal of Tool on Building An Empire, released under the moniker Demians. By adding color and depth to ambient electronica, he manages to sum up Demians' entire sound on the 16-minute track "Sand."]]> Manze Dayila - Sole (As Is Entertainment) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3707-manze-dayila-sole-%2528as-is-entertainment%2529.html Manze Dayila came to the United States from Haiti on a rickety boat, a refugee from the upheavals of her homeland. She brought memories of the Vodou ceremonies of her childhood, with their blend of African religion and Roman Catholicism. On her debut album, Dayila places the music of that tradition in a crisp contemporary context, blending reggae rhythms, the streamlined dynamics of rock and the weightless guitars of West Africa with the intricate polyrhythm of Haiti. ]]> High Places - 03/07 – 09/07 (Thrill Jockey) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3596-high-places-03_07-ndash-09_07-%2528thrill-jockey%2529.html The duo High Places defies categorization. This collection of recordings previously available on 7-inch vinyl or exclusive to the 'Net has the uncanny ability to not only get you dancing, but to also serve as suitable listening while reading a good book before bed . . .]]> John Kruth - Splitsville (Smiling Fez) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3597-john-kruth-splitsville-%2528smiling-fez%2529.html The minor-key sound of the Middle East was long embedded in the Balkans and carried westward by the Crusaders, eventually making its way to Appalachia with the earliest British settlers. Meanwhile it traveled to the Islamic kingdoms of West Africa and was transported to the New World with the slaves . . .]]> Jenny Magnus - Songs from Shows (Uvulittle Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3598-jenny-magnus-songs-from-shows-%2528uvulittle-records%2529.html The liner notes for Songs from Shows, a collection of musical pieces from Chicago performance artist Jenny Magnus, credit such instruments as leather gloves, a Kleenex box, a manual typewriter, a barrel rolling down the hall and a busted organ . . .]]> Cephas & Wiggins - Richmond Blues (Smithsonian Folkways) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3599-cephas-wiggins-richmond-blues-%2528smithsonian-folkways%2529.html Cephas & Wiggins are among the most respected contemporary exponents of traditional blues and focus on a particular outcropping of that bedrock music. They steer away from the Mississippi Delta sound that influenced the development of rock 'n' roll and toward the Piedmont blues that flourished in Appalachia in . . .]]> Gary Wilson - You Think You Really Know Me: The Gary Wilson Story (Plexifilm) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3532-gary-wilson-you-think-you-really-know-me-the-gary-wilson-story-%2528plexifilm%2529.html During the 1970s, Gary Wilson was hanging around his hometown of Endicott, N.Y. He made small experimental films and played concerts that resembled performance art. In 1977, he took his creativity into his parents' basement, where he recorded You Think You Really Know Me. He and his band, The Blind . . .]]> Those XCleavers, Terry Tanger - Retro-Spective, Vicodin Sessions (Neven) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3533-those-xcleavers-terry-tanger-retro-spective-vicodin-sessions-%2528neven%2529.html Those XCleavers were among the most entertaining and substantial bands from Milwaukee's new wave scene, and probably the most enduring. A reissue of choice material from the 1980s reveals their streamlined super-charged sound as part of their era, yet delivered so winningly that the music has dated hardly . . .]]> Hanggai - Introducing Hanggai (World Music Network) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3540-hanggai-introducing-hanggai-%2528world-music-network%2529.html Hanggai's leader got his start in a punk rock band as the Chinese Communist system loosened up. Later he turned to the traditional instruments of his Inner Mongolian homeland, including the horsehair fiddle and the two-stringed lute, and began singing his ancestral songs in overtones close to the famed . . .]]> Nappy Brown - Long Time Coming (Blind Pig) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3446-nappy-brown-long-time-coming-%2528blind-pig%2529.html Vocalist Nappy Brown's recent CD is appropriately titled, as it's been years since he released an album. But Brown is back, following the encouragement of Muddy Waters Blues Band's Bob Margolin to tour and record again. Long Time Coming includes many well-known musicians, including guitarists Margolin . . .]]> Yeti Rain - Nest of Storms (Crimsonic) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3447-yeti-rain-nest-of-storms-%2528crimsonic%2529.html Racinebassist William Kopecky may be spending time in France these days, but he left behind Nest of Storms, the second release from Yeti Rain, a dark and ambient duo that Kopecky formed with wind-synthesizer wiz Roger Ebner. At times almost orchestral in nature . . .]]> Howie Epstein - Early Tracks Vol. I http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3448-howie-epstein-early-tracks-vol-i.html Before his death in 2003, Howie Epstein played in bands with John Hiatt and Tom Petty and on recordings by Bob Dylan, John Prine and many others. He has a pre-history few people remember. Before leaving Milwaukee in the mid-'70s, Epstein sharpened his skills with local groups such as The Craze and Forearm . . .]]> Boiled in Lead - Silver (Omnium) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3449-boiled-in-lead-silver-%2528omnium%2529.html Boiled in Lead may be a rock band steeped in Irish tradition, but it would be hard to mistake them for The Pogues, Black 47 or most other bands that proudly wear the green. The Minneapolis group forged its own links between pub music, rock 'n' roll and Anglo-Celtic folk, coming closer to Fairport Convention at a rowdy. . .]]> Billy Joel - The Stranger: 30th Anniversary Edition (Columbia Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3387-billy-joel-the-stranger-30th-anniversary-edition-%2528columbia-legacy%2529.html Although The Stranger became one of the best-selling LPs ever after its 1977 release, a year later Billy Joel found himself on the wrong side of the cultural chasm with the rise of punk. Associated with the chardonnay on the rocks side of rock music, Joel became terminally unhip in some circles, even as he continued . . . ]]> Matthew Sweet - Sunshine Lies (Shout! Factory) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3388-matthew-sweet-sunshine-lies-%2528shout_-factory%2529.html By now, you would think Matthew Sweet's sell-by date would be long passed, that his brand of '90s power pop would have gone sour. Yet here he is, 22 years after his first solo album with one of the strongest discs of his career. Self-described as "power-pop-folk-rock-psychedelic-melodic-singer-songwriter-type . . .]]> Little Feat - Join the Band (429 Records) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3389-little-feat-join-the-band-%2528429-records%2529.html Fans of gumbo jam band Little Feat, the unlikely result of Lowell George being fired from Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention back in 1969, will flock to Join the Band, a combination "greatest hits" and "best friends" release. Produced by Jimmy Buffett, the 14-track CD featured Buffett . . .]]> Scars on Broadway - Scars on Broadway (Velvet Hammer) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3390-scars-on-broadway-scars-on-broadway-%2528velvet-hammer%2529.html System of a Down made some of the smartest, most bracing metal ever. Two of SOAD's members, Daron Malakian and John Dolmayan, have branched off as Scars on Broadway. Their debut disc is a logical continuation of SOAD, a pointedly angry assault against everything from Turkish genocide denials to . . .]]> Patti Smith & Kevin Shields - The Coral Sea (PASK) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3238-patti-smith-kevin-shields-the-coral-sea-%2528pask%2529.html Venna - Venna EP (Common Cloud) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3239-venna-venna-ep-%2528common-cloud%2529.html Willie Nelson - Stardust: Legacy Edition (Columbia/Legacy) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3141-willie-nelson-stardust-legacy-edition-%2528columbia_legacy%2529.html Pop and country music were never entirely isolated from one another. Some of the material sung by the early generations of country recording artists originated on Tin Pan Alley before seeping into the folk traditions of the South. Later, Tony Bennett recorded Hank Williams’ “Cold Cold Heart” and, during the early. . . ]]> Firewind - The Premonition (Century Media) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3143-firewind-the-premonition-%2528century-media%2529.html Do you still thrill to ’80s-era Whitesnake, Dio, Queensryche and Iron Maiden? Then Firewind should slot neatly into your head-banging collection. What this Greek powerhouse lacks in originality, it makes up for with a commitment to keeping melodic hard rock and heavy metal alive in an increasingly disparate . . . ]]> The Appliances-SFB - 3rd & Long (Rockhaus) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3144-the-appliances-sfb-3rd-long-%2528rockhaus%2529.html Eighties post-punk added a creative spark to many Madison bands in the Reagan decade. First among them may have been The Appliances-SFB (Shit For Brains added to their original name for legal reasons). The two LPs reissued on CD by a Milwaukee label demonstrate how the group adapted the innovations of its . . .]]> One Day as a Lion - One Day as a Lion (Anti-) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3145-one-day-as-a-lion-one-day-as-a-lion-%2528anti-%2529.html After years of audience anticipation for what he would come up with after Rage Against the Machine, vocalist Zack de la Rocha opts for quality over quantity on this five-song EP. That’s wise, because de la Rocha and his drummer band mate Jon Theodore already begin to repeat themselves on these tracks. It’s a minor . . .]]> Silver Jews - Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea (Drag City) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3076-silver-jews-lookout-mountain-lookout-sea-%2528drag-city%2529.html David Berman’s latest is an album where the sleeve art outshines the record itself. Think of your most hated prog album (is it Yes’ Topographic Oceans? I bet it’s Yes’ Topographic Oceans) and you’ll get the picture. A beautiful sepia-tone painting depicting Babar (that’s right; the beloved elephant) amidst jagged rocks . . .]]> J.D. King - Here's J.D. King http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3077-jd-king-heres-jd-king.html Los Angeles based musician J.D. King is a man of few words on Myspace. But his recent release speaks for itself. King introduces himself with warm vocals, seamless lyrics and plays pure acoustic guitar, harmonica and flute. And with six band mates tossing around more than whistles, drums and mandolins . . .]]> Matthew Haeffel - Toaster Fires http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3078-matthew-haeffel-toaster-fires.html Groove-oriented, improvisational-minded folk rock with a smattering of world music flavors is Milwaukee musician Matthew Haeffel's stock in trade. Haeffel and his percussionist, Cody "C-Note" Calderon, must be fans of Dave Matthews and Rusted Root. One may still hope that Haeffel cracks a few more smiles in . . .]]> Various Artists / Dirty Laundry - More Dirty Laundry (Trikont) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3079-various-artists-dirty-laundry-more-dirty-laundry-%2528trikont%2529.html Black country singers? It sounds as oxymoronic to some ears as Mexican polka, but then much Mexican music was influenced by polka and north of the Rio Grande, the cultural lines between black and white, blues and country, were often fluid. The pair of Dirty Laundry compilations is among the most enjoyable . . .]]> Cyberchump - Our Wizards of Earth (Internal Combustion) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3080-cyberchump-our-wizards-of-earth-%2528internal-combustion%2529.html Milwaukee’s Cyberchump is an electronic duo crafting wonderful melodic soundscapes. Drawing from a wide palette of instruments and influences, Cyberchump summons Pink Floyd in a mellow moment, ambient chill room electronica, moody low-key art rock, whoosing spacey sounds of Krautwerk, Near Eastern . . .]]> Jakob Dylan - Seeing Things (Columbia/Starbucks Entertainment) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-2976-jakob-dylan-seeing-things-%2528columbia_starbucks-entertainment%2529.html With the Wallflowers on hiatus, the band's frontman, Jakob Dylan—who happens to be the result of rock's greatest romance in Bob and Sara—attempts to find his own identity among the usual route of hushed obscurities and loosely finger-picked acoustic guitar. Seeing Things . . . ]]> Weezer - Weezer (“Red Album”) (DGC/Interscope) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-2977-weezer-weezer-%2528ldred-albumrd%2529-%2528dgc_interscope%2529.html Get ready to laugh, cry or do both the moment you hear Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo start rapping on the band’s third self-titled album. That he does so over a song filled with piano and choral-chanting bombast (no lie) suggests that Cuomo may have seriously lost his marbles. His hysterically loyal fan base is no doubt . . . ]]> The Orb - The Dream (Six Degrees) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-2978-the-orb-the-dream-%2528six-degrees%2529.html The subgenres of acid house and ambient electronica have produced sonic wallpaper by the yard, but few artists as creative or compelling as The Orb. The duo of Alex Paterson and Youth, two Englishmen on the ground floor of late-’70s punk, meld found voices and electronic melodies into a symphony of sampling and gentle . . .]]> Barbara Stephan - I'm Awake http://shepherdexpress.com/article-2979-barbara-stephan-im-awake.html Milwaukee's Barbara Stephan has built a reputation as a jazz-pop vocalist with blues flavor. She must realize, however, that Diana Krall and Etta James aren't getting as much airplay as other adult-contemporary divas, so she has adapted—and pretty well, at that. At this solo album's best, when Stephan . . .]]> John Hiatt - Same Old Man (New West) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-2875-john-hiatt-same-old-man-%2528new-west%2529.html Along with the album’s country-leaning roots rockers, listeners of Same Old Man get a bit of the bittersweet, ripened wisdom of John Hiatt, whose voice registers somewhere between Philip Roth's aged sentimentality and Saul Bellow's caustic remembrances as he reflects on a life in love . . . ]]> Camper van Beethoven - Popular Songs (Cooking Vinyl) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-2876-camper-van-beethoven-popular-songs-%2528cooking-vinyl%2529.html It’s time to say it: Camper van Beethoven was one of the great bands of the ’90s. They had a wacky sense of humor that sometimes delivered serious observations. They were a collective, a true band with various songwriters and multi-instrumentalists contributing to a sound that couldn’t be categorized because . . . ]]> Caamora - She (Metal Mind Productions) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-2877-caamora-she-%2528metal-mind-productions%2529.html She—a lavish two-CD set written by veteran British progressive rocker Clive Nolan and based on H. Rider Haggard’s 1887 Victorian-adventure novel of the same name—fits practically every definition of “rock opera.” The majestic, large-scale story of a white African queen who made herself immortal by . . . ]]> David Stoddard - Get Off My Lawn http://shepherdexpress.com/article-2878-david-stoddard-get-off-my-lawn.html One might hope that a folk album with such a confrontational title would be something of a laugh riot. Instead, it’s more of a minor ruckus from Minnesota-via-Wisconsin folkster David Stoddard. The fun he pokes at NASCAR, Thanksgiving, materialism and reality TV are mostly good-natured. Garrison Keillor . . . ]]> Dr. John and the Lower 911 - City That Care Forgot (429) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-2806-dr-john-and-the-lower-911-city-that-care-forgot-%2528429%2529.html Ever since his debut, 1968's Gris-Gris, there's never been a question about the exact source of Dr. John's sound. Now, though, three years after Hurricane Katrina, his amicable growl seems more poised than ever to be a musical/social/political voice for New Orleans. While City That Care Forgot isn't a likely catalyst for sweeping change, or even a musical high-water . . . ]]> Mavrothi Kontanis; Sto Kafesli Sokaki - Ksylini Kardia (Wooden Heart) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-2807-mavrothi-kontanis-sto-kafesli-sokaki-ksylini-kardia-%2528wooden-heart%2529.html The folk music of Greece is intimately tied to the music of Arabs, Armenians, Turks and other cultures that ringed the eastern Mediterranean basin in crosscurrents that spanned the Byzantine and Islamic empires. Mavrothi Kontanis, a young vocalist and oud player from New Jersey, explores the repertoire . . . ]]> Fern Knight - Fern Knight (VHF) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-2808-fern-knight-fern-knight-%2528vhf%2529.html They may come from present-day Philadelphia, but you could be forgiven for mistaking Fern Knight for a late-’60s British folk revival band. Warbly hints of psychedelia and electronic phasing mingle with gossamer, pastoral melodies played on harp and cello along with guitar and violin. At the heart of the . . . ]]> Jym Mooney and Larry Penn - Songs For Frank Zeidler (Moo-Town Productions) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28