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MIKE BIRBIGLIA/Sleepwalk With Me Live: Comedy Central wanders off the lot a bit from their usual home grown format to capture the well decorated off Broadway one man show by a unique comic that finds the funny in his cancer, his sleep disorders and all this other stuff that might have made people uncomfortable in the past but are now a part of every day life. Filling another slot in the Comedy Central line up, this ‘sick' comic certainly has us laughing with him and not at him. Recorded on the road in what sounds like a showcase setting at a comedy club, you feel like an insider as to the proceedings. A marvelous laugh detour into the darkness.

ANTSY McCLAIN/Heroes Last Forever: He had a record deal that went nowhere in 1999 and he seems like the kind of cat that's going to survive in these deconstructed time. Going his own way with his own folkabilly sound, he makes his vision of trailer park music that's really a cool Americana vector. Not afraid to let his influences show and thrilled to have recorded this at Sun, he's building his fan base one fan at a time and he's got the music to keep them loyal. Offbeat enough to sound like outsider music at first blush, McClain is really a rock star from an alternate universe. Fun stuff that's going to grab you and make you hold on tight. Check it out.

EMMANUELLE BERTRAND/Le Violinelle Parle: The booklet pictures show us Bertrand walking down the street with the cello case strapped to her back while she's wearing heels. As nimble as her fingers may be, she's no delicate flower, and she shows that when really digging into the music in these contemporary cello classical pieces. Focusing on the modern era in her four selections, this goddess of the strings makes her instrument speak as well as sing. Packaged with a DVD, you really get to know Bertrand the player and the modern master. A killer player that shows she knows how to get it done. Check it out.

LSO/Debussy-La Mer: So when is warhorse repertoire not warhorse repertoire? How about when Valery Gergiev leads the London Symphony into a new version of their own vision that shakes the classic up and let's the listener find new music in the listening experience. A delightful reshaping of the classic, this is not only sitting down music, it's sitting down music that must be savored and fully experienced. First class throughout, this is the real deal from start to finish. If you can listen to this in it's SACD presentation, so much the better.

VALERY GERGIEV/Shostakovich Symphonies #3 & 10: More than merely composing, the real Shostakovich fan knows there's a lot of personality and autobiography in the music in these works. Gergiev leads the Mariinsky Orchestra through a full bodied performance of these works bringing out all the nuance and drama inherent in the works and engaging the touch that shows he's one of the modern masters of the podium. Encoded in SACD and DSD, the uber audio geek of classical bent will have this on his Christmas list, if he can hold out that long. A winning set that doesn't miss a beat at all.

MICHELE DeWILTON/Daydream: This Jim Brickman approved solo piano player steps up with a set of contemporary instrumental music loaded with classical flourishes. Finding the drama that's inside a grand piano, this set seems a little darker than her last release. A stressed out mom herself, she knows how to convey that sound to other stressed out moms not necessarily looking for new age sounds but for something that can take them someplace else, even if for a little while. A solid player/composer, DeWilton has it all on the ball.

BERTHOLD GOLDSCHMIDT/Mahler Symphony 10: A three disc set that reaches back over 50 years with some previously unreleased material. Some taken from BBC radio broadcasts, these pieces include a lecture as well as the music. With three views of an unfinished work being presented, there's a lot here for the Mahler fan to dig into and argue about in toto. A dandy journey through the past.

HARRY POTTER & the Deathly Hallows Part 1: "Star Wars" gave me a headache, and this generation's "Star Wars", which is an even bigger series, gives me an even bigger headache. Not because it isn't well made product for kids of all ages but because all this sci fi stuff gives me a headache. Too much to remember, too many goofy names and characters, situations that require too much suspension of disbelief. Sci fi is just too much work for some of us. However, if you are a kid or a kid of all ages, Potter taking on Bumblefuck and the douche bags of what ever their names are will satisfy and satiate. The final chapter is split into two halves, like "The Sopranos" was. So strap yourself in for some wizardly excess as no expense was spared in making this blu ray a totally immersion experience. Packaged with a standard DVD and digital copy, as well as the Summer finale preview, this'll make you forget about the economy, dashed nuke plants and all the crap that makes real life suck. Enjoy the fantasy.

Volume 34/Number 163
April 13, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2011 Midwest Record

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