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BRIAN ANDRES & THE Afro-Cuban Jazz Cartel/This Could be That: Ditching the theme motif that dominated this crew's first two albums, three is the charm is you want to hear them playing fiery Latin jazz with all bets off while everything is on the table. A purely high octane sonic party on a platter that provides heat for the feet that can't be beat in a non-stop sweet treat, this disc asks nothing from you but to enjoy a solid crew that's obviously enjoying themselves. Killer stuff throughout.

IDAN RAICHEL/At the Edge of the Beginning: If you've kept up with half of the things Raichel has been doing for the last decade and you think you know him you're in for a surprise. Rather than make a bigger, bolder, ballsier statement that he has in the past, he's goes inward with a personal album that gives him a breather and gives voice to stuff he's been holding back from his other worldly world beat extravaganzas. You may not always know what he's talking about in his lyrics, but this lo-fi stop over is no mere stopping point. Showing another side that's been hiding out, Raichel continues to push his boundaries, even if it seems like he's going back to base, and create a nu creative universe. Sure, it might be low key, but once you turn that key... Check it out, world beaters.

DOWNTREAD/War Behind the Wolf: No pretense here, this is hard and heavy dose of melodic hard rock that is made for maximum headbang. Most assuredly the never leaving sound of the suburbs where ennui runs rampant, this bunch is not one to be messed with when they kick it out on their musical home turf.

FLYING COLORS/Second Flight Live at the Z7: Some brand names give more instant cred than others. With Steve Morse's name prominent in the credit list, you know you can't go too wrong even if this several years old band is new to you. Mixing cats from various places on the dial into a populist super group of sorts, this bunch hasn't been shy about making waves as the crowd noises attest. Progressive music that combines all the right moves in all the right places makes for a progressively, commercial good time. Merrily genre splicing as well as giving technology an equal footing with the music, this is a double disc dose (with a DVD as well) look into the future for millenials that want to follow in boomer taste footsteps. Well done by pros that never let you down.

JULIA VORONTSOVA/Over: There's a lot of misguided genre bending in the next statement but Russian born Vorontsova sounds like Lotte Lenya brought forward into the electronic age with nu offbeat cabaret music. With personal trajectories that almost mirror this, here's a set that was made for hipsters in late night clubs where clove ciggies and black clothes among the steam punk accoutrements run rampant. Considered underground in her homeland, perhaps underground is more of an international language than we think since she's vocalizing in her native tongue. Wild stuff for cutting edge tastes even if Taylor Swift's drummer is at the back of the bandstand hitting the skins.

ALLIE LOUISE: This 16 year old country thrush wants to follow in Tay Tay's footsteps and she's proudly commercial with a sass and zip that seems burnished beyond her years. With an ep under her belt, it's hard to be sure to predict how well and how far she'll carry the ball but this indie release makes you feel that she'll bring more to the party than one and out like so many before her.

LA FIN ABSOLUTE DU MONDE/Clarity Amongst the Rubble: Dark ambient stuff for kids that don't find Goth appealing but want to take a walk on the wild side nonetheless. When hard rock meets electronics, it can't bode well for the suburbs as a new underground is given a lift with this album length debut by this duo. Loaded with amphetamine buzz, this is music for young and malcontented to use as a jumping off point.

Volume 39/Number 52
December 22, 2015
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2015 Midwest Record

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