Friday, July 21, 2006

album reviews: Ocote Soul Sounds, Paul Weller (Live!), The Punch Line, White Whale

Here are some of the albums that are making my Summer the groove-fest that it is so far:

Ocote Soul Sounds and Adrian Quesada - El Nino Y El Sol

Brooklyn meets Austin in this collaboration between Martin Perna of Antibalas and Adrian Quesada of Grupo Fantasma. A beautiful hybrid of Afrobeat and Latin Funk, this faux movie soundtrack is tailor-made for hanging in the backyard, the park, or a rooftop with chilly beers and few plans.

Steamy, hazy, chilled, and trippin'...this disc will turn a low-key hang into an event instantly.

Ocote Soul Sounds - "Dedication TV" mp3 buy

Paul Weller - Catch-Flame!

You can count on one hand the number of musical artists from the early Eighties who are still making relevant and interesting music today...and one of those people is Paul Weller. Though The Jam and The Style Council are mainly what Weller's known for here, unfortunately his solo works have not made the kind of commercial impact in the States as they have in the UK. In fact, Weller was awarded the "Outstanding Contribution To Music Award" at this years Brits.

This two-CD set (recorded at Alexandra Palace in London this past December) is a fantastic live representation of Weller's fine solo work, and also includes three Jam songs and a pair of Style Council singles as well. I'm not a big fan of live albums, but not only does this one sound great, but somehow seems perfectly appropriate for this stage in Weller's long career.

Two-hours of rock & soul from an originator, not a perpetrator.

Paul Weller - "That's Entertainment" mp3 buy
Paul Weller - "Come On/Let's Go" mp3 buy

The Punch Line - ...To Get To The Other Side
Speaking of the Modfather, New Jersey's The Punch Line obviously has a few copies of some Weller work amongst its bandmembers. Splitting the difference between The Jam and The Undertones (with some Damned influence for good measure), these guys craft rockin' poptunes with all the right moves...a little fuzz here, some buzz there, and just the right touch of jangle throughout.

These guys are a bit older than the baby-faced "punks" that you can't seem to avoid these days, and the experience shows in the music. Apparently, they have some live dates forthcoming, including a gig at the International Pop Overthrow fest in NYC this November. There's nothing better than a good power-trio live, in my book. Gonna have to check them out.

The Punch Line MySpace

The Punch Line - "Let It Go" mp3 buy

White Whale - WWI

One of those records with so many influences and points of view, but every one a good one. Also one of those albums that are really interesting all the way through. Soaring and swirly guitars, pounding pianos, and totally catchy beats and melodies make this disc stand way above all the other "everything but the kitchen sink" bands that seem to be catch all the buzz (every band from Montreal in the last nine months...I'm looking at you!).

The label's hype sheet makes references to bands from Big Star and Black Sabbath to Badfinger and Okkervil River, but I'm thinking World Party meets Rob Dickenson at The Ocean Blue's pad with David Bowie hanging on the couch. Yeah, that's exactly what they sound like.

White Whale - "The Admiral" mp3 buy

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