May 3, 2012 - It Rock And Roll

Day: May 3, 2012

Urstan continues Scottish bard Alasdair Roberts’s turn toward traditional folk songs and away from his own material. Here, however, Roberts turns to a rather different musical tradition, replacing the English and Scottish balladry of 2010’s Too Long in This Condition with the Gaelic musical tradition of the remote isles of Northern Scotland.Roberts and Morrison perform here with a full band (and a rotating cast of guest musicians), and Urstan has a looser, more live feel than anything Roberts has previously recorded. Indeed, the album is full of superlative performances, and exudes an uncommon level of energy and joy, even at its more melancholic moments, and is a far cry from Roberts’ often cold and hermetic (but excellent) solo performances. Despite Morrison and Roberts’s being the featured performance, this is clearly a group effort, a fact further underlined by the band-credited arrangements.As for the arrangements themselves, they run the gamut from the complex, Pentangle-inspired Celtic jazz of the opening track, “Mìle Marbhphaisg air a’ Ghaol” to the bluesy, almost Cajun-flavored “Làrach do Thacaidean” and the more traditional and pan-Celtic “Fiullaigean,” which incorporates several Irish fiddle tunes into a 19th century wedding song from the Isle of Lewis. Elsewhere, Roberts sticks more closely to his usual guitar-based approach, but augments it with an unexpected and perfectly deployed brass section (“The Laird o’ the Drum,” “The Tri-Coloured House” ). The album’s crowning moment, however, is a new version of Roberts’s “The Whole House is Singing” (originally featured on 2003’s Farewell Sorrow), which finds Morrison incorporating a Gaelic counter-melody. Although some of the downtempo tracks (“E Ho Leigein,” a lullaby meant to be sung while milking a cow) appear a bit lackluster alongside the fuller arrangements, Urstan is consistently exciting (and sometimes breathtaking) from start to finish.

mp3 VBR~227 kbps | 75 MB | DF DF

Some of you might know that we have a few genre-specific websites connected in the Project Music Scene family, and occasionally we receive a release that we don’t quite know what to do with. The unbelievably awesome Black Eye Galaxy, the latest upcoming album from Anders Osborne, is one of those. It certainly has enough slide work and blues undertones to be completely comfortable at the American Blue Scene — Add to that, the fact that Anders is signed to the biggest blues label in the world, Alligator Records. However, we decided to go with the American Rock Scene, because this CD not only deserves as many eyes and ears on it as possible, but Galaxy has a diverse and genre-bending magnitude that can’t be contained in a single category.

Flac | 328 MB | DF | TB

Released in January 1971, three months after her October 1970 death, Pearl quickly became Janis Joplin’s definitive studio album, rising to #1 on the Billboard charts and staying there for nine weeks. Joplin ditched the horn section that somewhat muddied her Kozmic Blues project and, along with her new Full Tilt Boogie Band, cranked out a batch of bluesy rock nuggets that would ultimately define her distinctive vocal talents as more substantial and dynamic than just the caricature of a hard charging, heavy drinking, blues belting mama she had become. It has rightly assumed iconic status in her slim catalog of studio recordings.“The definitive two-disc edition of Janis Joplin’s farewell album…” boasts this new reissue’s press release. Of course the same thing was claimed about 2005’s Legacy Edition, also a two disc set that bolstered the original 10 song program with live and bonus material. This one presents newly found studio footage of not only Janis communicating with her producer (and as the liner notes suggest, budding love interest) and band members, but running through different takes, including demos, of half the songs before settling on the one we now consider classic.But the treasures come on the second disc which includes fly on the wall studio chatter and rawer takes of “Move Over,” “Get it While You Can,” “My Baby” and “Cry Baby.” A demo and alternate version of “Me and Bobby McGee” aren’t radically altered from what ended up as the final hit. Two live songs and the “Pearl” instrumental—previously released– fill out the rest of the disc’s 75 minutes. It’s all interesting, even fascinating to hear…once. But Janis Joplin was not the Beatles, Dylan or the Stones, artists whose creative process and outtakes would be of immense historical value. While Pearl is a terrific album and the height of Joplin’s studio career, it is not in a league with some of rock’s most genre defining work. How often anyone but the hardest core fanatic will return to this vault clearing ephemera is debatable.

mp3 320 kbps | 300 MB | DF

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