The Marshall Mathers LP2 Eminem
Aftermath

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

Can eminem get any better. while many of the other rappers are talking
trash, "the marshall mathers lp 2" is about reclaiming a certain freewheeling
buoyancy, about pissing off the world from a less cynical, youthfully
exuberant place. this is some angry hip-hop about women who become powerless against
the charms of an el camino-driving sleazeball. this double album showcases
everything great about eminem: a penchant for arresting detail, a remarkable
ability to switch between conversational flow, left-field role-playing, or
rage-fueled torrents at a moments notice; and bouts of amazing
self-awareness. 

Purchase from Amazon

Live At The Cellar Door Neil Young
Reprise

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

this glorious acoustic album is full of standards, including a handful of
aching oldies. neil young has done it again on "live at the cellar door." his
voice creaks like the back-porch stair you try not to steo on when you're
sneaking in after three, and his guitar still shatters windows across the
street. neil young remains the model of the rock star who gets old without
turning to rust.

Purchase from Amazon

Because the internet Childish Gambino
Glassnote Records

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

on his second album, childish gambino, actor-turned-rapper, knocks our
internet culture with style and confidence. on "because the internet" gambino
hits us with jazz and r&b styles on top of his hip-hop. his writing is still a
work in progress, but it's progress that's worth watching.  

Purchase from Amazon

Sail Out Jhene Aiko
Def Jam

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

jhene aiko is more than a hook singer, a soul singer--she's a real rapper.
with "sail out" she breaks out of the pack, like a great fillie pulling away
from the pack in the feature race. she's real good with long songs. some
singers lean right up againt the glass, and it's beautiful, but jhene aiko
smashes right through.  

Purchase from Amazon

Black Panties R. Kelly
RCA

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

r. kelly is a stone serious, sweet singing, heavily detailed pussy riot
that will delight his fans, who know the man as a hump-happy star. although on
"black panties" he tones down his lothario swagger to seduce with subtlety.
he plumbs the depths of his sexual neuroses. at his best, he expresses fears
and worries that he is too booty fixated. but his sound can rip your head
off, and that soulful knockout saves him every time.  

Purchase from Amazon

If i had a Hammer David Rovics
Liberation Records

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

david rovics began life as a poem. the poem became songs. the songs became
a modern woody guthrie. and man do we need him and his messages. "if i had a
hammer" is the title of rovics' latest album. typical anti-war music may
indict politicians and generals. rovics takes reality one step further--he
indicts arms manufacturers, as well.  he observes the world in violent
upheavel. with a very modern anger at the capitalist world after the crash. when he
sings he channels his messages as fresh as last night's business report. a
"must buy" album.


A little Piece Ray Benson
Bismeaux Records

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

Have you ever heard of the band asleep at the wheel. well, then, you should
be familiar with ray benson. mr. benson has been their main man for 45
years. here he tries out a few different things, a highly personal collection of
songs on his solo album, "a little piece." the man has captured the fun
sound of bob wills (western swing), with some help from willie nelson. he opens
his mouth and sings. and you just stand there with your mouth open in total
disbelief. 

Purchase from Amazon

The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You Neko Case
ANTI Records

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

she may not be famous, but you should help that happen. neko case's album
has the remarkable title "the worse things get the harder i fight. the harder
i fight, the more i love you." so now you know. she's a punk rocker with
some some serious country soul. the album is full of powerful opening riffs,
unforgetable marches. what does she tell you--rock and roll is here to stay.
and as bruce once said, she's "all that heaven will allow."  

Purchase from Amazon

The electric lady Jenelle Monae
Bad Boy/Wondaland

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

"the electric lady" is a very remarkable album by janelle monae. she nails
her flights of fancy and fears of worry with some powerful attention to
earthy modernism.

Purchase from Amazon

The Civil Wars The Civil Wars
Sensibility Recordings/Columbia Records

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

the civil wars has released their sophomore self-titled album. band members
joy williams and john paul white have created another winner, showcasing
trembling voices, sweet guitar, dewy eyed romanticism mixed with powerful
politics.

Purchase from Amazon

We the People Lou Dominguez
CD Baby

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

lou dominguez has released his third album, "we the people," and we're a
lucky bunch of listeners. he sings about immigrants, the working class,
religious hypocrites and iraq war veterans. the album was written in less than a
year and examines characters and situations that are unique to our
experience. this is a concentrated stomp of brothers in close quarters. there's no
room to rest. the album is a platform to jump into the deep end.  

Purchase from Amazon

Origins Camille Thurman
Hot Tone Music

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

check this out--camille thurman plays tenor and soprano sax, as well as
flute and voice on her album "origins." she presents herself as a virtuosic,
multitalented jazz musician of the highest order, who is firmly rooted in the
genre's traditions yet unafraid to reach beyond them. in her music, one
hears the past, present and future. she may never reveal her real life target in
her extraordinary music. but you know who you are, and it's got to hurt.

Purchase from Amazon

Chiaroscuro Richard Lavenda
Ravello Records

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

the album by richard lavenda entitled "chiaroscuro" is classical  chamber
music which features a duet for viola and piano, a solo piece for tenor sax,
a trio for clarinet, viola, and piano, and a string quartet. his previous
records were never so focused or direct. he.s just hitting his stride. 

Purchase from Amazon

Barrelhouse Stomp Chris James and Patrick Rynn
Earwig Music Company

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

"barrelhouse stomp" is a tough, real-deal electric blues to party to, to
dance to, to sit down and cry to. if you have the blues chris james and
patrick rynn will touch your pain with classic breakup stories that maintains a
deep emotional flow without ever getting lost in misery.  

Purchase from Amazon

Quiet Time John Brown
CD Baby

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

drawing on his extensive experience, john brown and his comrades have put
together a stirring selection of music, which, while focused on the theme of
quietude, is, nonetheless, traversing a dynamic range of emotions that is
never lacking in interest or intensity. whether "quiet time" is played in a
small club or carnegie hall, these five jazz pros will make the hair on your
toes stand up.

Purchase from Amazon

A Night in Paris Christopher Cross
Universal Music Group

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

"a night in paris" is a 2cd/dvd 90-minute show by the grammy award-winning
artist christopher cross. the performance is impeccable, with new material
fused beautifully with all the songs the audience was expecting. he shows off
his command of the stage and also his command for different sounds.
christopher's easy-going pop sound mix with his dewy eyed romanticism perfectly. 

Purchase from Amazon

Sultry Night Kathy Sanborn
Pacific Coast Jazz

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

besides producing, composing and arranging the "sultry nights" album, kathy
sanborn provides the vocal and piano artistry. she entertains us with love
ballads from a queen who's just started having some fun. as bruce sang,
she's "all that heaven will allow."  

Purchase from Amazon

Fun City Adam Smale
Space Buddy Music

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

one of the key elements of jazz mastery is the ability of the artist, in
this case adam smale and band, to tell stories through music; an art that many
feel has been lost amidst too much focus on technical prowess. the usa
still loves this rocking jazz sound and adam smale brings that influence to his
unique sound in a big way.  

Purchase from Amazon

Space Arjun
Pheromone Records

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

arjun's group has mastered the art of storytelling without words but with
grooves, emotion and raw improvisation that leans on the avant garde,
attracting a diverse group of fans. arjun's album, "space," really brings funky
jazz, as well. he  can do things that no one else would even attempt to do:
funk, soul, jazz, pop. he is smart and stubborn, and he refuses to be confined
to one genre. 

Purchase from Amazon

What's a Little Heartbreak JT Spangler
JT Spangler

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

"what's a little heartbreak" is the debut full length album by jt spangler.
the nashville-based soul-pop singer/songwriter recorded the record with
some of nashville's top session cats. they take every every cool pop sound to
bombastic heights. and the end result suggests old-time motown anthems.   

Purchase from Amazon

Josh Doyloe Josh Doyloe
CTK Records/Corporate Ogre Records

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

even though josh doyle has been hanging around nashville a lot, his
self-titled album sounds like a pure guitar-laden rock and roll record. there's
plenty of mood changes, serious soul, hollywood hell with a serious twang. a
real winner to these ears.    

Purchase from Amazon