Monday, 13 April 2020

Led Zeppelin ‎– Houses Of The Holy (1973)

Style: Blues Rock, Hard Rock
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Atlantic

Tracklist:
A1.   The Song Remains The Same
A2.   The Rain Song
A3.   Over The Hills And Far Away
A4.   The Crunge
B1.   Dancing Days
B2.   D'yer Mak'er
B3.   No Quarter
B4.   The Ocean

Credits:
Vocals – Robert Plant
Drums – John Bonham
Bass, Mellotron, Synthesizer, Organ, Piano, Synthesised Bass – John Paul Jones
Guitar, Producer – Jimmy Page

It’s easy to forget just how quickly Led Zeppelin went from sharply juxtaposing blues thump with delicate folk on their debut to blending the two sounds seamlessly at once. After releasing three masterfully multidimensional LPs in 1969 and 1970, the group began its middle period relatively early, in 1971, with the release of its untitled fourth album. 
That record remains Led Zeppelin’s masterpiece because it showcases everything the band did best – acoustic flourishes, heavy blues, insightful poetry, tawdry catcalls – in equal measure. From Robert Plant’s lascivious howling on the blues romp “Black Dog” to folk singer Sandy Denny trading verses with Plant amid plinking mandolin on “The Battle of Evermore,” and from the churning boogie-woogie of “Rock and Roll” to the guitar sludge of “Four Sticks” – all of which coalesced on “Stairway to Heaven” – the group never arrived at a better balance of its otherwise disparate interests. 
The latest reissue of the album spotlights its sonic depth, thanks to illuminative remastering by guitarist-producer Jimmy Page, and, on the deluxe edition, alternate mixes of each track. A darker-sounding “Stairway to Heaven,” mixed in L.A., illustrates its mournfulness, a hypnotically instrumental “The Battle of Evermore” somehow makes the song more meditative and a stockier, drum-rattling “When the Levee Breaks” flexes its blues power. This time, all that glitters surely is gold. 
The band’s follow-up album, 1973’s Houses of the Holy, presents Led Zeppelin at the height of confidence and willing to experiment. Although riff workouts like “The Ocean” and “The Song Remains the Same” caught the band flexing familiar muscles, the tracks that made the group’s fifth LP a triumph were the ones where they took risks: the woozy sliding guitars of “Dancing Days,” the twee blue-eyed reggae of “D’yer Mak’er,” the slippery funk of “The Crunge,” the jazzy mysticism of “No Quarter.” Decades of classic-rock radio saturation have made some of these songs canon, but when put in the context between Led Zeppelin’s fourth record and the double-LP deep dive that was Physical Graffiti, they reveal a band eager for change.

As with the reissue of the group’s fourth album, Page has impeccably restored the glimmer of Houses of the Holy and uncovered an LP’s worth of fascinating outtakes that show the band’s headspace at the time. An instrumental mix of “The Song Remains the Same” comes off as a guitar extravaganza, while a version of “No Quarter” underscores the track’s otherworldly qualities. Rough mixes of “The Crunge” and “Dancing Days” don’t reveal much more than alternate views of the versions that made the final LP, but a “working mix” of “The Ocean” feels a little freer, thanks to Plant’s louder shoo-bop, doo-wop backup vocals in the outro. It would take Led Zeppelin another two years to muster up the densely textured rock collages of Physical Graffiti, which would usher in the final phase of the group’s career, and it’s extraordinary to follow along with them on the journey that got them there.​
Kory Grow / Rolling Stone

Tenesha The Wordsmith ‎– Peacocks & Other Savage Beasts (2019)

Genre: Electronic, Jazz
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: On The Corner Records

Tracklist:
1.   Dangerous Women
2.   Why White Folks Can't Call Me Nigga
3.   Bastard
4.   The Collection
5.   Corny Ass Poem
6.   Madea
7.   Peacocks & Other Savage Beasts
8.   Again
9.   Dream So Loud

Credits:
Performer, Written-By – Tenesha Smith
Producer – Khalab

First coming on to the scene as a guest on the title track of DJ Khalad’s 2018 On The Corner release, Black Noise 2084, Tenesha The Wordsmith has delivered a timely yet timeless solo album with Peacocks & Other Savage Beasts. Blending and bending genres, Tenesha holds true to her name, wordsmithing to weave narratives together, painting a new reality in the process. This album withholds nothing, deftly balancing social commentary, and critiques, with narrative. There is also a clear through-line of hope. Though many of the narratives included within this album are considered personal, they are framed such that they transcend the individual to become the collective, as exemplified in the track, ‘The Collection.” The pieces that bookend the album, “Dangerous Women” and “I Dream So Loud,” are poetry as prayer; they are invocation, they are inspiration, they are aspiration.  
Tenesha The Wordsmith hails from Oakland, CA, and Peacocks & Other Savage Beasts holds true to the rich literary and musical traditions birthed from that area. Being multi-dimensional, the album is simultaneously able to exist in multiple realms while still grounding itself firmly in its uniqueness. There is also a tangible Ancestral presence that allows the listener to simultaneously be in dialogue with their past, present, and future selves. The nine tracks are revolutionary, poetic, lyrical, and on the pulse of a musical tradition that has faded from the public eye, until now. The instrumentation, as varied as the subject matter, is perfectly aligned as it reaches across the musical aisle and through the archives to bring to the forefront a unique mix of African instruments, electronic dance music, and jazz elements. A modern-day griot, Tenesha The Wordsmith highlights for listeners that there are multiple ways of telling the story.
Just Duléa / Black Groove

Oleta Adams ‎– Circle Of One (1990)

Style: Soul, Smooth Jazz, Downtempo
Format: CD, Vinyl, Cass.
Label: Fontana

Tracklist:
01.   Rhythm Of Life
02.   Get Here
03.   Circle Of One
04.   You've Got To Give Me Room
05.   I've Got To Sing My Song
06.   I've Got A Right
07.   Will We Ever Learn
08.   Everything Must Change
09.   Don't Look Too Closely
10.   Circle Of One (Remix)

Credits:
Backing Vocals – Carol Kenyon, Tessa Niles
Bass – Pino Palladino
Drums – John Cushon
Keyboards – Oleta Adams
Percussion – Luis Jardim
Piano – Oleta Adams

At the time of the release of her debut, Circle of One, Oleta Adams was best-known as the impassioned backing vocalist on Tears for Fears' 1989 album The Seeds of Love; most prominently featured on "Woman in Chains". About a decade later, she was best-known for "Get Here": a gospel-tinged belter later revived by one Justin Guarini as his showpiece on the 2002 phenomenon American Idol. This, of course, proves that even small hits have an unexpected shelf life, and anybody who decides to go back to Adams' debut may not find anything quite as good -- though the other single, "Rhythm of Life," comes close -- it's nevertheless a high-class, quality, contemporary R&B record that perhaps sounds a little bit too much like its year.
Stephen Thomas Erlewine / AllMusic

Anar Band ‎– Anar Band (1977)

Style: Experimental
Format: Vinyl
Label:  Alvorada

Tracklist:
A1.   Aquaman / Plasticman / Batman / Superman
B1.   Fantasma / Sandokan / Mandrake / Tarzan

Credits:
Composed By – Jorge Lima Barreto
Electric Guitar – Rui Reininho
Percussion – Jorge Lima Barreto, Rui Reininho
Piano – Jorge Lima Barreto
Synthesizer – Jorge Lima Barreto

Notes:
Dedicated to Abel Mendes and Rui Neves.