Originally published on Tue August 7, 2012 9:04 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 6:23 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.
Let's start with the familiar. Three fifths of the band Black Prairie are members of The Decemberists. The band's new album is produced by one of music's finest producers, Tucker Martine. And it gets better. In addition to The Decemberists' Chris Funk, Jenny Conlee and Nate Query, Black Prairie also includes Annalisa Tornfelt (violin and voice) and John Neufeld (guitar), both very talented players.