Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 8:41 pm
Blur was never huge in the U.S. Even the British group's best-known song (the two-minute explosion "Song 2") failed to chart on the Billboard Hot 100. So the moment the group is having right now might be confusing for casual listeners. Blur has reunited in recent years to play live (it'll headline the closing ceremony of the Olympics this weekend) and release a few new songs (last month's "Under the Westway" is lovely). Last week, the band put out a career-spanning box set.
One of the toughest tricks for a singer to pull off is putting a fresh face on each composer in a program. All too often, the Handel starts sounding like the Mozart, which in turn takes on too much of the Verdi and it all becomes indistinguishable.
Originally published on Tue August 7, 2012 10:04 am
Predicting the sound of any given Stars song takes some doing: The Montreal band traffics in everything from joyfully guitar-driven power-pop to synth-based dance music to string-swept ballads that detail the heartbreaking minutiae of doomed romance. Even the lead voices shift from song to song, with Amy Millan and Torquil Campbell singing to, over and about each other, occasionally swapping verses.
The L.A. band La Santa Cecilia crafts a unique style of Latin Alternative music by mixing traditional South American rhythms with everything from tango and mariachi to rock, jazz and Afro-Cuban percussion. The sextet, named for the patron saint of musicians, is led by the enchanting voice and often eccentrically flamboyant presence of Marisol "La Marisoul" Hernandez.
Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 7:23 pm
Anthony Heilbut's book The Fan Who Knew Too Much: Aretha Franklin, the Rise of the Soap Opera, Children of the Gospel Church, and Other Meditations is that too-rare thing: music writing that lays claim to the larger world. Oh, Heilbut knows the music he writes about like the avid listener he clearly is, but he ain't preaching to the choir.