LISTEN!! Digital Music News #4

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POP
Linda Wood: Melodic, eclectic 'quirk-pop'
Although singer-songwriter Linda Wood has been compared to Kate Bush, Tori Amos, Rickie Lee Jones, and even a bit of Doris Day, she is a true original with her own style. Threads of jazz, blues, Latin, hip-hop, techno, pop, and cabaret, create a musical tapestry on which her diverse vocal stylings are embroidered. From the Santana-like vibe of "Goodbye Perfectionist", to the jazzy Stray Cat Strut jive of "Get Out Of My Life" with it's Andrew Sisters style harmonies, to the driving techno tribal beat and middle Eastern-inflected vocals of "Peter Pan", there is so much to like. There's also an unlisted bonus song at the end - a poignant ballad about loss and healing. One of the most quirky, yet endearing songs is "Bittersweet," a psychedelic carnival ride of a tune, complete with yodeling, triangle, and tuba that would not have been out of place on an early Frank Zappa record or Fellini soundtrack. Linda Wood’s vocals illuminate an emotional gamut from sassy and sultry to longing and vulnerable.

CLASSICAL
Kathleen McIntosh: Delicious Boismortier harpsichord rarities
Joseph Bodin de Boismortier, the composer, was born in 1689 in the Age of Enlightenment. By 1724 he had begun to self publish, and achieved great financial success without having to rely on the largess of patrons. His music is elegant, witty and charming but mostly written for players of modest technical ability, his amateur customers. Nonetheless, his near contemporary, Jean-Benjamin La Borde, wrote of his work in 1780 "whoever takes the trouble to search through this abandoned mine will find enough bits of gold to make an ingot." This unusual release presents four enchanting Boismortier Suites for harpsichord plus a set of five excerpts arranged by harpsichordist Kathleen McIntosh.

JAZZ
Manuel Ochoa: Jazz and tango from Argentina
Featuring trumpet, saxophone, piano, contrabass and drums, Fauna is a jazzy album with long tender ballads and vibrant swing tunes. The compositions are easy to listen to and have creative improvised solos which create a very fresh music experience. The trumpet player plays flugelhorn on the ballads and the saxophone player alternates between alto saxophone and soprano saxophone. Manuel's sound on the piano is very personal and soft.

WORLD
Kiwi: World roots soul music
Kiwi's 2010 effort Mischief Reigns is the kind of album that reveals new layers of itself each and every time you listen. Themes such as life, death, love, and loss are set to a rich fabric of roots rhythm and bass, punctuated by killer horn arrangements and delivered in sultry harmony by a male/female vocal duo. Adding to the unique sound is a variety of percussion and keyboard instruments. With sharp songwriting and lyrics in both English and Portuguese, this up and coming 9-piece from Jersey City, NJ is guaranteed to have you hooked.

ELECTRONICA
DJ Markitos: Happy trance
Evolution of the Mind is the trance of DJ Markitos, a young producer from the Slovak Republic who fell in love with the utterly non-commercial nature of the underground scene there and captured it perfectly in his music. It's all in there: the layered, textured sounds, washes, crescendos, and occasional soulful vocals. Definitely evocative of the underground parties and raves that center around electronic music itself as the main attraction—as well as the blissful anonymity and release it provides to those who dance to it all night long.
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