Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The Weekly, Volume Seven (part two)

Ooh... Boredom seems to have taken its toll on my afternoon, so here's part two of my January-to-June music retrospective, earlier than planned! Who knows, we might even get an update every day this week!? Part one of my rambling is here (or, just scroll down smartypants).

Waves (The Devlins)
The kind of album that simultaneously screams to be heard and begs to be kept secret. The Irish band have been around since the early '90s, where they originally drew unsurprising comparisons with U2 (their very solid 1993 debut Drift was even produced by Daniel Lanois, and the album's best songs borrow shamelessly from The Joshua Tree). Largely invisible since then, Waves has the sibling duo finding a sound of their own -- sparse but warm, with a hint of melancholy. It's an absolute gem of an album. Choice Cut: "Coming Alive."

Who's Your New Professor (Sam Prekop)
The Chicago underground's master of melodic post-rock experimentalism, Prekop's second solo album is a worthy follow-up to his well-received 1999 debut, and an excellent companion to your Sea and Cake collection. Slightly more organic and laid back than Prekop's band work, Professor is both breezy at a distance and entrancing up close, juxtaposing catchy melodies against a backdrop of intricate, patterned arrangements and subtle instrumentation. The third track "Dot Eye" is a perfect example of the above-mentioned dichotomy. Highly recommended (although I heard "Little Bridges" while at SportChek the other day, so maybe every yuppie in the GTA is already listening to the album as some kind of alternative AOR...grrr). Choice Cut: "C + F."

Deep Song (Kurt Rosenwinkel)
The sixth album from the East Coast guitarist is more of the same nuanced post-bop displayed on its predecessor, Heartcore, but with some extra meat in the line up -- on Deep Song Rosenwinkel has teamed up with currently white-hot pianist Brad Mehldau and dependable session men Larry Grenadier and Jeff Ballard, and a resurgent Joshua Redman. The expansive and richly layered tunes are mostly original compositions and are uniformly strong, though the band's atmospheric cover of "If I Should Lose You" is also a highlight. While one might argue that Deep Song has Rosenwinkel spinning his wheels a little, it's an intriguing listen nonetheless, and is made all the more enjoyable thanks to the welcome return to form of tenor saxophonist Redman, who has been off the radar for the last few years. Now, just give me a new Brian Blade Fellowship record and I'll be a happy camper. Choice Cut: "The Next Step."

Click for more after the jumperoo.


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