Author Archives: Coprinus

John Adams/Leila Josefowicz/St. Louis Symphony – Violin Concerto

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Genre: Classical
Format Reviewed: Spotify 320 kbps
Rating: 7.5/10
Commentary: John Adams is not a composer that I’ve ever really gotten into… but this recording of by violinist Leila Josefowicz is just magnificent. Apparently there is also a significant backstory, with Josefowicz and Adams have a strong mutual longstanding attraction to each others’ compositions and playing style, which was also interesting to read about. Paul McCreesh and the Gabrieli Consort have been producing wonderful choral recordings for a long time, including my favorite choral recording ever. This album is also wonderful, a collection of Mary-themed pieced both contemporary and traditional (blended in just the right way). One of my favorite albums of the year so far.
More info: here.
Listen: here.

Gabrieli Consort/Paul McCreesh – A Rose Magnificat

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Genre: Choral
Format Reviewed: Spotify 320 kbps
Rating: 8/10
Commentary: Paul McCreesh and the Gabrieli Consort have been producing wonderful choral recordings for a long time, including my favorite choral recording ever. This album is also wonderful, a collection of Mary-themed pieced both contemporary and traditional (blended in just the right way). One of my favorite albums of the year so far.
More info: here.
Listen: here.

Belly – Dove

Belly- DOVE
Genre: Rock
Format Reviewed: Spotify 320 kbps
Rating: 6.5/10
Commentary: This is a very enjoyable rock album that sounds a lot like the band’s last release 20 years ago, but fresh enough to be not just indulgent nostalgia. The first half of the album in particular is strong, with “Shiny One” and “Human Child” being the stand-out tracks. A guilt-free alt-rock fix, although hard to imagine that anyone younger than 35 years will find it relevant.
More info: here.
Listen: here.

Sleep – The Sciences

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Genre: Doom Metal
Format Reviewed: Spotify 320 kbps
Rating: 8/10
Commentary: You spend most of the time you are listening to this album embarrassed by how much you are enjoying it. What can I say? It is a killer doom metal album, by a band which just is a little bit too intent on smoking marijuana.
More info: here.
Listen: here.

John Prine – Tree of Forgiveness

John Prine- Tree of Forgiveness
Genre: Folk/Country
Format Reviewed: Spotify 320 kbps
Rating: 6.5/10
Commentary: John Prine is one of those song writers who just can’t produce a bad album. This one is classic John Prine – dark but with strategic doses of optimism deployed just when things seem about to collapse from too much self-deprecation. It isn’t Prine’s very best, but it’s a solid entry.
More info: here.
Listen: here.

Various – Johnny Cash: Forever Words

Johnny Cash- Forever Words
Genre: Rock
Format Reviewed: Spotify 320 kbps
Rating: 6.5/10
Commentary: This album is surprisingly good. A series of left-over lyrics and writing fragments from Johnny Cash, made into songs by an interesting range of artists. There are a few forgettable entries (“Why do we still listen to Elvis Costello?”) but also some great standouts, especially “Gold All Over the Ground” (which might be the best thing Brad Paisley has ever done), and “You Never Knew My Mind” (delivered, heartbreakingly and in good form, by Chris Cornell).
More info: here.
Listen: here.

Hugh Masekela – ’66-’76

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Genre: Jazz
Format Reviewed: Spotify 320 kbps
Rating: 8.5/10
Commentary: Hugh Masekela–the great South African trumpet player, musical virtuoso, and activist–just died this year. This great first retrospective brings together a lot of hard-to-find music, showcasing his diverse musical styles and political edge.
More info: here.
Listen: here.

Kacey Musgraves – Golden Hour

Golden hour Kacey Musgraves
Genre: Pop
Format Reviewed: Spotify 320 kbps
Rating: 7.5/10
Commentary: This album has been getting inflated reviews from lots of folks who don’t understand much about country music and are just utterly flabbergasted to here such a solid pop album. It is still a very good album; “Butterflies” is a perfect radio single. And, despite being a perfect pop confection, the album is trippy and elusive in a way that is unsettling and subversive.
More info: here.
Listen: here.

La Armada – Anti-colonial Vol. 1

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Genre: Hardcore Punk/Thrash Metal
Format Reviewed: Spotify 320 kbps
Rating: 6.5/10
Commentary: Great politically-charged cross-over metal. Music to be make you angry, and get you out on the streets. Lots of sound samples of Trump sounding stupid about walls and Mexicans and everything else. The band–originally from the Dominican Republic–moves effortlessly between Spanish and English in a way that amplifies the political urgency of the message.
More info: here.
Listen: here.

Rare Birds – Jonathan Wilson

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Genre: Pop/Rock
Format Reviewed: Spotify 320 kbps
Rating: 6.5/10
Commentary: “The world sucks right now and we need to figure out how to deal with that” is a pressing concern in our current neoliberal neoracist Trumpian landscape. But it’s a tricky thing to do aesthetically. Father John Misty, for example, sounds a lot like a pebble rattling around in a big rusty coffee can, basically the musical definition of bad faith. Johnathan Wilson — coincidentally a collaborator of Father John — manages to get the tone right. These songs are fragile and cynical, but also useful and meaningful.
More info: here.
Listen: here.