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Music of the Moment – August 2017

August 3, 2017 - 2:44 pm

Robyn HitchcockRobyn Hitchcock
It’s been forty years since Robyn Hitchcock first recorded music with The Soft Boys. His signature sound of blending rock, folk and psychedelia with a sardonic wit and lyrics that can make you laugh and then choke you up – sometimes in the same song are spread out over an amazing 21 solo albums. His latest album, simply self-titled, is decidedly not from an artist content to phone it in. It rocks and jangles and slashes and cuts. There’s a few surprises, too. A pedal steel guitar is added to the mix on some of the songs, and there’s even a stone cold rockabilly stomp. Mostly it shimmers the way a great Hitchcock album should. – Iaan Hughes

Lydia RamseyBandita
Indianola native, Lydia Ramsey’s new album is flat out terrific. It’s loosely themed around her family’s Appalachian and Irish roots, but these songs of loss and love resonant beyond the old country. Lydia’s voice, set against the sparse instrumentation, reminds the listener of Jean Ritchie’s high and roughhewn singing; high, lonesome, comforting. Do this: Play Jean Ritchie’s “Barbara Allen” and then segue into Lydia’s “Ghosts.” It’s a haunting and heady mix of old and new. Much like those dark Appalachian hills of her past, these are songs to get lost in. – – Iaan Hughes

Juana MolinaHalo
Who is Juana Molina? Depends on who you ask. She’s an Argentinian actress, a comedian, the daughter of a revered tango singer, a folk musician, a pop singer, an experimental artist. On her 7th album Halo she embraces all of who she is. It’s strange and playful, full of wonky rhythms and ambient loops layered and then layered again. The album is loosely based on the Argentinian myth of Luz Mala – the Evil Light, seen hovering on the horizon made up of bones and broken souls. Follow it and you may find treasure or death. We recommend the safer course of watching the floating omen from a distant while listening and weird dancing to this album. – Iaan Hughes

Jaco PastoriusTruth, Liberty & Soul: Live in NYC
The late Jaco Pastorius, the self-proclaimed world’s greatest electric bassist (he was), reinvented bass playing with new melodic and harmonic possibilities. The discovery of this dynamic jazz festival recording shows off his dazzling playing as well as distinctive arranging skills for his Word of Mouth big band. Featuring the likes of Peter Erskine, Randy Brecker and Don Alias, this was the culmination of Jaco’s big band vision: virtuosic, rocking and hip. Any fan of Jaco or Weather Report, the band the brought him fame, will be blown away.
‑Gordon Todd, The Shape of Modern Jazz, afternoons

Azniv Korkejian was born to Armenian parents in Aleppo, Syria. Her family relocated to Saudi Arabia and then to the U.S. – where she’s lived in Houston, Boston, Savannah, and now Los Angeles. Azniv performs under the name Bedouine, perhaps a nod to her nomadic life. For all of her wandering the album has rather soulful introversion vibe to it, not unlike Leonard Cohen’s late 1960s album run. An unfair comparison for a young singer, no doubt, but listen to it and see if you don’t agree that her beguiling melodies and literary lyrical turns, her beautiful skepticism don’t conjure the old poet-songwriter. – Iaan Hughes