Mariachi El Bronx - Mariachi El Bronx II A punk band doing Mariachi music? The only thing stranger than that would be if they did it completely straight without any concessions to contemporary music. Guess what - that's exactly what the punk band Bronx has done. This is a great album of Mariachi music done with traditional instruments and with great verve and style. The only thing separating them from a Hispanic band is the lyrics are all in English, but aside from that you'd be hard pressed to find anything about this band and this recording that doesn't ring true. Mariachi El Brox is not a novelty act, but they play pure and wonderful Mariachi music. Enjoy their album with your favourite tequila.
Marianne Faithfull - Horses and High Heels If there's anyone deserving of the title "The Grand Old Dame Of Rock and Roll" it would be Marianne Faithfull. With her distinctive growl firmly in place, she can still sing circles around most of the so called "stars" out there. Sure her range is limited, but she does more with what she has than anyone else could even dream of doing. Horses and High Heels is a great recording by a great artist.
Susan McKeown - Singing in the Dark Mental illness is probably one of the few taboo subjects left in modern society. By delving into the history of music and poetry, McKeown not only shines a spotlight on the subject; she underlines its connection with the creative mind. How many artistic geniuses have been suppressed because they've been misunderstood and diagnosed as mentally ill? She doesn't shy away from the dark side of the subject either. The material she's chosen to interpret makes no bones about the fine line between the light of inspiration and the darkness of depression artists walk, and she takes great pains not to romanticize the subject. Of course the music is also beautiful and her voice is amazing. As a result this collection will not only stir your soul--it will make you think.
Tinariwen - Tassili From the first time I heard them, Tinariwen have been one of my favourite bands. The combination of electric blues guitar and traditional drums is mesmerizing. With this release, they've pushed both deeper back into their traditions and reached out further into modern pop. Recorded with entirely acoustic instruments from a base camp deep in their native Saharan desert, they've also expanded their sound with guest musicians from North America for the first time. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band from New Orleans and Tunde Adebimpe of TV On The Radio supply instrumental and vocal support respectively on a couple of songs without being jarring or incongruous. Tassili perfectly exemplifies how a band can stay true to their traditions while preventing their music from stagnating.