"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Pam's New Music Downloads

Ben Folds still tries his darndest not be normal with the quirky piano pop on his latest solo outing, Way to Normal, whether it's the perky "The Frown Song" or "You Don't Know Me," his whimsical duet with kindred spirit Regina Spektor.

Rachael Yamagata is a smoky-voiced singer who delivers an ambitious double disc. Elephants . . . Teeth Sinking into Heart is all moody atmospherics - Norah Jones meets Damien Rice - while the second disc, which feels like a bonus CD, has more rock bite.

The first Pretenders album in six years, Break Up the Concrete, features an entirely new lineup. Except for front woman, Chrissie Hynde, that is. The founding member of the group remains its life force, writing all but one song while keeping this from sounding like a solo project. "Break Up the Concrete," is a Bo Diddley-style groove.

With his richly textured voice, Ray LaMontagne can elevate even the most mediocre material on his latest CD, Gossip in the Grain. But when he has a truly good tune, like the retro-soulful "You Are the Best Thing," it's really something special.

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