Spring is here, and with it comes a fresh soundtrack for the season, care of Central Square Records. We’ve been anticipating a few new projects from returning artists, as well as discovering some remarkable offerings from new artists as well. Here are a few albums we think you will enjoy this spring:
Tame Impala “Slow Rush”
The highly anticipated release by Kevin Parker and his crew finds a new direction, implementing a style that seems more rooted in vintage rock, moving slightly away from the electronic sound fans have come to know. With the early releases of the singles “Posthumous Forgiveness,” “It Might Be Time,” and “Borderline,” the album put their fans at ease that it would be worth the wait. The album as a whole has a good flow, and the direction seems more expansive, a result of Parker’s ‘love of (the) weird.’ For fans dedicated to Tame Impala over the years, this album has not lost the quintessence of the band; for those wanting a new direction, Slow Rush reveals a few surprises yet.
Various Artists “If You’re Going to the City: Tribute To Mose
Allison For Sweet Release”
The scope of Mose Allison’s influence is evident in the list of artists who have chosen to pay tribute to him on this project: Iggy Pop, Bonnie Raitt, Elvis Costello, Chrissie Hynde (Pretenders), and Frank Black (Pixies), to name a few. Allison’s style blurred the lines between blues and jazz, but his approach was wholly unique, imbued with ironic humor most of the time. And the interpretations here are as random as he was, from the electro-clash of Iggy Pop’s cover of “If You’re Going To the City,” to Costello’s duet with Allison’s daughter, Amy, on “Monsters From the Id.” Though varied in its interpretations, “If You’re Going To the City” unites a stellar lineup of musicians in tribute to a great lyricist and instrumentalist.
Johnny Griffin/Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis “Ow! Live at the Penthouse”
Having not seen the light of day for decades, this phenomenal recording from 1962 at the Penthouse in Seattle showcases saxophone heavyweights Johnny Griffin and Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, as they trade blows throughout this fiery set. Released as a special vinyl reissue, this recording also features the talented rhythm section of Horace Parlan on piano, Buddy Catlett on bass, and Art Taylor on drums. Whether battling phrase for phrase, or merging into identical musical lines, the ‘Tough Tenors” as Griffin and Davis were dubbed, bring pure magic to this stellar live performance. There are some shining moments from both Parlan on piano, and Taylor on drums, as well, notably on their treatment of “Bahia.” Most of the album, however, is less a competitive ‘cutting session,’ and more of a joining of forces, evident in the playful title track, “Ow!” and the well-rendered standard, “Blue Lou.”
Jeff Parker “Suite for Max Brown”
Jazz/Rock guitarist Jeff Parker, best known as his role in the instrumental indie rock band, Tortoise, comes at us with a stellar outing, equal parts hip-hop and jazz, but threaded through a cohesive narrative. Parker doesn’t just play guitar on this album, but has arranged all of the instrumental parts, playing most of the instruments himself. The album kicks off with its only vocal number, sung by Jeff’s daughter, Ruby Parker, as she urges us to slow down and appreciate the creative process. “Fusion Swirl” lets Parker flex on his guitar, and the groove is solid. But Parker tempers his fiery chops with introspection, as in his well-chosen cover of John Coltrane’s “After the Rain.” Parker has managed to arrange an album with both heated solos and pensive devotions, without obscuring its overall message.
Classic Central Square Album: Yo La Tengo “Summer Sun” (2003)
Yo La Tengo “Summer Sun” was released just as we were opening Central Square Records in Seaside, in 2003. The album’s blissful, airy charm makes it a perfect mellow musical outing. And over almost two decades, it sounds as fresh and as inviting as ever.
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