Good Tunes Friday

Okay, it’s late Friday night on week that was slow on the political news. So I’m going to try something different. Since there has long been a strong connection between liberalism and music, I’ve got some short takes on some great new discs you should check out:

Ben HarperBoth Sides of the Gun (Disc One): this is the mellow disc from Ben’s new two disc set. Most of Harper’s past outings (with the exception of the classic Fight for Your Mind) have been inconsistent – mixing 4 or 5 great tunes with a number of throwaways. This disc is strong throughout. Set your player to repeat and press play. The tunes feature lush string arrangements and, as always, great guitar work. But it’s Harper’s vocals that carry the day. The dude is as passionate about his music as Marvin Gaye or the seventies era Stevie Wonder. And if you want a religious experience better than church, go see Ben Harper live. He offers incredible musicianship (he’s got a great band) and tunes that immediately take a hold of you.

Neko CaseFox Confessor Brings The Flood: One of my ATF female vocalists. I own everyone of her solo outings and – though very different – this one rivals Furnace Rooom Lullabies as Case’s best. This one’s a lot less alt-country and is really genre-less. The album is a bit odd in that many of the songs lack a chorus but, thankfully, not Neko’s great melodies. Like Harper’s set, the vocals rule, followed closely by the lyrics. Neko’s got some stories to tell.

Ghostface KillahFishscale: Urban radio – at least where I live – sucks right now. They play the same ten songs over and over to the point it sounds like one never-ending bore-a-rama. It’s a shame because there is some truly great hip hop being made. Last year, we got the DangerDoom album. This year, an early entrant for album of the year, regardless of genre, is the new Ghostface Killah onslaught. Instead of trying to sound like the Neptunes (like virtually everybody else), Ghostface relies heavily on vocal samples which by themseelves might sound weird but come across spectacularly when coupled with deft beats. Killah’s forte is storytelling – but he’s telling different stories than Neko.

MyloDestroy Rock & Roll: Electronic melodies with only the rare spoken vocal. Great for background music but also offering amazing subtlety for those who give it a closer listen.

I hope you all enjoy a little Friday night break from all the politics.

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