It's time for Tuesday Reviewsday our weekly new music segment. This week we're going to be talking about rock with Justino Aguila from Billboard Magazine and music critic Steve Hochman.
Artist: Yeawhon Shin
Album: Lua Ya
Release Date: Nov. 19
Songs: “Lullaby,” “The Moonwatcher and the Child”
ECM Records, the German label known as long-time home to Keith Jarrett, Arvo Part among others, has more often than not sought out the spaces between jazz, classical and world music — or the places where they all blend together. That’s rarely been truer than on this new album featuring South Korean singer Yeahwon Shin.
Working just with pianist Aaron Parks (who has his own new ECM solo album Arborescence out now) and accordionist Rob Curo (a devotee of the Brazilian forro style), Shin uses her richly understated voice on a collection of lullabies drawing on her Korean childhood and inspired by her own recent motherhood. The results, whether on original material and largely improvised interpretations of traditional melodies, such as the opening “Lullaby,” or songs familiar in Korea such as “Remembrance,” could in places pass for French chanson, 19th or 20th century European art song, melancholy forro or its Portuguese cousin fado, yet fully integrated with Shin’s Korean roots. Lullabies, yes, but well-worth staying awake to hear.
Artist: The Entrance Band
Album: Face the Sun
Release Date: Nov. 19
Songs: “Fine Flow,” “No Needs”
Is it ent-rance, as in to going through a door? Or en-trance, as in to cause a state of bliss? Really it’s both — the purposeful, pointed homonym usage certainly intentional — for this trippy L.A. power trio. Guitarist-singer Guy Blakeslee, bassist Paz Lenchantin and drummer Derek James have been traveling their spaceways since 2006, an expansion on the solo acoustic work Blakeslee had been doing simply under the name Entrance.
Over the time they’ve developed a seemingly telepathic interplay that’s thrilling to see and hear unfold live, matched with a physical exuberance on stage that’s, well, entrancing. That still comes through on this album, even without the visual aspect, the songs building with a free-flowing energy. Blakeslee’s unaffected vocals and fluid guitar playing lead the way in the opening “Fine Flow,” ebbing and — yes — flowing over the course of nearly nine minutes, giving a sense of that live power. But in other places on this album, such as “No Needs,” the approach is condensed effectively into more structured pop contexts, but still retaining that sense of exhilarating freedom and power.
Artist: Gerardo Ortiz
Album: Archivos de Mi Vida (Archives of My Life)
Release Date: Nov. 25
Songs: “Mujer de Piedra” (Woman of Rock)
Regional Mexican singer/songwriter Gerardo Ortiz, who was recently at big winner at the Billboard Mexican Music Awards, has become one of the genre’s biggest names. At 24 he has also become one of his generation’s most successful artists. Known for his corridos and norteño-inspired compositions, Ortiz continues to have a thriving career thanks to meshing traditional Mexican music with other sounds in order to achieve a modern sound.
The Pasadena-born singer, who was raised in Mexico, is again proving that his current album (with a release date of Nov. 25), Archivos de Mi Vida (Archives of My Life), is proving popular among his fans. The current single, “Mujer de Piedra” (Woman of Rock), features Ortiz performing in the style of banda with the clarinet, horns and the tuba playing important elements in the delivery of this song.
Artist: Jenni Rivera
Album: 1969-Siempre En Vivo Desde Monterrey Parte 1
Release Date: Dec. 3
Songs: “Dos Botellas de Mezcal” (Two Bottles of Mescal)
American-born singer Jenni Rivera, who died in nearly a year ago while working in Mexico after her small plane crashed shortly after departing from Monterrey, is being remembered and celebrated by her family, friends and fans. This album is a live recording of her last concert at Arena Monterrey, where she performed in front of about 17,000 fans.
Known as the Diva of Banda music, Rivera spent two decades building a career going from an unknown to a major star. The album is scheduled for release on Dec. 3, but the single “Dos Botellas De Mezcal” (Two Bottles of Mescal) is already receiving wide attention especially with women who saw themselves in Rivera. The narrative of the song’s story is based on a woman drinking her worries away after a break-up.
Artist: Ednita Nazario
Album: El Corazón Decide (The Heart Decides)
Release Date: Oct. 22
Songs: “La Más Fuerte” (The Strongest One)
Puerto Rican-born Ednita Nazario returns with a new album featuring her soulful vocals which shine with her power ballads about love and romance. Nazario has recorded about two dozen albums in her career and many more compilations have been sold around the world. The album’s single, “La Más Fuerte” (The Strongest One) beautifully highlights Nazario’s voice with the accompaniment of a piano which helps the song build in a touching and endearing way. Nazario’s iconic voice has always worked well with these types of sweeping romantic ballads to the delight of fans around the world.