cd re­views

Pasatiempo - - Pasa Tempos -

This, the 17th full-length Scor­pi­ons al­bum, is re­ported to be the fi­nal stu­dio hur­rah for the Han­nover, Ger­many, hard rock­ers, who first hit it big in the States with the 1984 sin­gle “Rock You Like a Hur­ri­cane.” Un­for­tu­nately, this one rocks about as hard as a fab­ric-soft­ener jin­gle. Yes, the Scorps will con­tinue to tour for a few years in sup­port of this new ma­te­rial, but I have a feel­ing a vast ma­jor­ity of the stage show will con­sist of Scor­pi­ons clas­sics — sort of a world­wide apol­ogy for this dis­ap­point­ing new CD. Long­time Scor­pi­ons fans (and I count my­self among them) ex­pect­ing an­other har­mony-rich “Rock You Like a Hur­ri­cane”-or “Big City Nights”-styled barn burner — you know, the kind of song that sat­is­fies both up­tight ma­jor-la­bel mu­sic ex­ec­u­tives and un­washed hordes of diehard metal fans — need to look else­where or stick to the back cat­a­log. While front­man Klaus Meine strains to hit notes he stopped be­ing able to nail in 2000 (in the Scor­pi­ons’ pal­lid col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Berlin Phil­har­monic Or­ches­tra, ti­tled Mo­ment of Glory — not so much), his band mates turn in a glut of dull, jan­gly, power-bal­lad shtick bet­ter suited for a Hot Tub Time

Ma­chine se­quel or a Kip Winger come­back. I’d gladly shell out the dough to buy Sting’s catchy sin­gle, “Let’s Rock!,” but I’m sus­pi­cious of the mes­sage in the al­bum closer, “The Best Is Yet to Come.” I’ll stick with the not-so-best of yes­ter­year, thank you very much. — Rob DeWalt

LALI PUNA Our In­ven­tions (Morr Mu­sic)


Sting in the Tail (Uni­ver­sal)

It blips, hisses, and crack­les. It’s glitch pop, a kind of mu­sic you lis­ten to largely while com­put­ing, pos­si­bly while driv­ing a car, and nearly al­ways when watch­ing car com­mer­cials on your com­puter. You know that jan­gle, the sound­track to a brave new world where tri­umphant lap­top beats meet elec­tric-pi­ano chords and the re­sul­tant melody is sung to the sen­sual, if ro­botic, over­tones of a highly stu­dio-pro­cessed fe­male voice. That’s Ger­man elec­tro-glitch pop band Lali Puna in a nut­shell. Purist fans of this type of mu­sic will find com­fort in Va­lerie Tre­bel­jahr’s dis­em­bod­ied vo­cals on “Re­mem­ber” and “Our In­ven­tions.” Yes, both songs sound sim­i­lar, but this is mu­sic de­signed for the iTunes re­peat func­tion. Th­ese are up­lift­ing elec­tronic har­monies to be used in con­junc­tion with caf­feine for com­plet­ing projects on dead­line. As on the group’s pre­vi­ous al­bums, Scary World The­ory and Fak­ing the Books, Lali Puna re­ally ex­cels when it ditches the glitch sounds for jams that ap­prox­i­mate dance mu­sic, like on the stel­lar “Move On,” which jaunts along like a wall­flower ver­sion of MIA’s elec­tro-dance­hall hit “Galang.” One word of ad­vice how­ever: th­ese are songs for a party of one, head­phones in­cluded. Any­one who dis­likes this mu­sic is sim­ply lis­ten­ing to it in the wrong place, i.e., some other lo­cale than in front of an LED screen.

— Casey Sanchez


Tidings (Jag­jaguwar)

The most re­cent “wolf” band comes from the U.K. and could very well have ar­rived Doc­tor Who-style, in a flash­ing po­lice box from the 1960s. Tidings’ in­tro boasts fuzzed-out gui­tars, echo ef­fects, wah-wah ped­als, and a Jethro Tull-like flute, sound­ing very much like relics from the 1960s Bri­tish In­va­sion, per­haps re­vived af­ter some­one waved a stick of in­cense (or maybe some other kind of smok­ing ma­te­rial) un­der the band mem­bers’ noses. State­side, the al­bum will only be re­leased in phys­i­cal form on vinyl, which is fit­ting, as the dense mu­si­cal in­ter­play and “mul­ti­col­ored cot­ton strands” lyrics of groovy songs like “Black Wa­ter” sound like they could only be sum­moned forth by the cum­ber­some and nos­tal­gic ve­hi­cle of the spin­ning black cir­cle (the al­bum is also avail­able dig­i­tally in the U.S. but not as a CD). Tidings seems to have been stitched to­gether from bits and pieces of sev­eral jam ses­sions, and this ram­shackle vibe is the al­bum’s great­est draw­back: there are so many throw­away mo­ments that it oc­ca­sion­ally feels like a throw­away al­bum. The po­ten­tial on dis­play here is more en­tic­ing than the fi­nal prod­uct, but if you want to hear a flute, si­tar, and funk gui­tar prac­tice free love to­gether, there

aren’t many other op­tions out there. — Robert Ben­ziker


Voices: The Mu­sic of Maria Sch­nei­der (ArtistShare)

When Maria Sch­nei­der, the Grammy-winning big-band leader and com­poser, heard that singers Ju­lia Dol­li­son and Kerry Marsh wanted to record a CD singing all the horn parts on her songs, she was skep­ti­cal. But af­ter hear­ing them, she said Dol­li­son’s “range, her sound, her abil­ity to blend with the in­stru­ments and her ab­so­lutely per­fect pitch just blew me away!” Vertical Voices has Dol­li­son singing the fluegel­horn, trum­pet, and high-wood­wind parts; Marsh singing the trom­bone and low wood­winds; and, from Sch­nei­der’s band, pi­anist Frank Kim­brough, gui­tarist Ben Mon­der, bassist Jay An­der­son, and drum­mer Clarence Penn. In the al­bum’s liner notes, Dol­li­son and Marsh say their an­swer to the chal­lenge of ap­prox­i­mat­ing the colors and tex­tures of all the horns was “to sing the mu­sic word­lessly so that we would have full flex­i­bil­ity with syl­la­bles and vo­cal tone.” The open­ing track is “The ‘Pretty’ Road” from Sch­nei­der’s most re­cent project, Sky Blue. Dol­li­son’s high so­prano work is just etheric, while the weav­ing and lay­er­ing of voices (through mul­ti­track­ing) per­fectly echoes Sch­nei­der’s dis­tinc­tive or­ches­tra­tion. Dol­li­son has her work cut out for her singing Steve Wil­son’s lovely so­prano-sax part on the song “Sky Blue.” Marsh has many fine mo­ments of his own on “Jour­ney Home” and “Hang Glid­ing.” This unique trib­ute to the hu­man voice, and to Sch­nei­der’s com­po­si­tional beau­ties, is avail­able at — Paul Wei­de­man

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