- Rave On Buddy Holly - Various Artists (Fantasy Records) Rating: 7 (out of 10)
Rave On Buddy Holly, released on the eve of what would have been the late legend's 75th birthday in September, features 19 covers of his classic songs by a diverse range of performers.
Drawing from the influential artist's short but storied career, the compilation features both light and frothy, and intense reimaginings.
Rave On kicks off with an appealingly understated performance by The Black Keys on "Dearest" followed by "Everyday," which Fiona Apple lends her voice to, in duet with Jon Brion. Apple, who's taken a break from the spotlight is rumoured to have a new album in the works, a follow to 2005's Extraordinary Machine.
It's unfortunate that M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel's version of "Rave On," which appeared on Ward's Hold Time (2009), didn't appear on the album. She & Him instead offer "Oh Boy!," with the title track recorded by Julian Casablancas.
Nonetheless, The Strokes frontman does a great job, his version characterized by heavy and pulsing electric guitars.
Modest Mouse does an appropriately dark and melancholic job of "That'll Be The Day" and My Morning Jacket's Jim James channels Holly's signature warbling vocal style on "True Love Ways."
In contrast, Cee Lo Green's "(You're So Square) Baby, I Don't Care" is a fun romp, similar in tone to his mega hit "F**K You!" and "I'm Gonna Love You Too" by rising star Jenny O. drips with sweetness.
Legends in their own right also pay fitting tribute - Paul McCartney, Graham Nash, Patti Smith and Lou Reed included.
Timelessness is an important measure of songwriting talent, as is resonance, and the ability of the artists featured on Rave On Buddy Holly to make these songs their own is testament to the talent of Holly and his widespread and lasting impact on the music of yesterday, today and long into the future.
- Chamber Music - BallakÃ© Sissoko and Vincent SÃ©gal (Six Degrees Records) Rating: 8 (out of 10)
Perfect for a hot August night (or any other time for that matter) Chamber Music combines the talents of two brilliant musical explorers Ballake Sissoko on kora and Vincent SÃ©gal on cello.
Both men have worked in a variety of contexts and bring a wide understanding of musical possibilities to their current project. Sissoko's elegant kora (a 21-string North African desert harp) has accompanied many of Mali's greatest musicians as well as bluesman Taj Mahal and Italian minimalist composer Ludovico Einaudi. Experimental French 'triphop' cellist SÃ©gal has been heard with Sting and Elvis Costello among others.
Together Sissoko and SÃ©gal merge their radically different styles seamlessly.
The music is based on original compositions improvised over three sessions at Salif Keita's Moffou studio in Bamako, Mali. The disc was originally released in France in 2009 on the No Format label but has just come out this year in North America on Six Degrees Records. Intricate, intense savannah soundscapes that merge traditional and contemporary music without losing anything in the process. Highly recommended.
August 23 Stephen Malkmus and the Jerks - Mirror Traffic.
August 30 Tinariwen - Tassili; Red Hot Chili Peppers - I'm with You; Lenny Kravitz - Black and White America; Beirut - The Rip Tide.
Sept. 6 Drawn Ship - Low Domestic; Lindsey Buckingham - Seeds We Sow.
Sept. 13 Black Francis - Paley & Francis; Blondie - Panic of Girls; Neon Indian - Era Extrana; Laura Marling - A Creature I Don't Know; St.
Vincent - Strange Mercy; Ladytron - Gravity the Seducer; Girls - Father, Son, Holy Ghost; Lady Antebellum - Own the Night; Blitzen Trappen - American Goldwing.
Sept. 20 Clap Your Hands Say Yea - Hysterical; Tori Amos - Night of Hunters.