Pod Picks for Sept. 26, 2013

September 24, 2013 

We’ve test-driven this trio of tracks, so you don’t have to, so trust us - put ‘em in your iPod, iPhone, iPad or other personal media device - you’ll thank us alter.

“Walk Us Uptown” by Elvis Costello and The Roots

You would think some things just don’t go together. From the outset, it would seem this collaboration is as comparable as soda and bacon. But that would be judging the album by its cover because these two sounds gel naturally. Costello and The Roots’ leader Questlove are both music historians and this isn’t a one-time mix-up. These guys made a whole album together, “Wise Up Ghost.” The results are that Costello’s lyrics are given a funky treatment. A ‘70s retro backdrop with Costello adding his terrifically flawed vocals – the music sounds like an important experiment that ends up being a tasty listening experience. Plus, have you ever tried Pork Soda? It’s delicious.

“This Life” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

For those who don’t know this band has a pretty interesting story. Consisting of a revolving lineup of about a dozen members, it’s led by singer and multi-instrumentalist Alex Ebert under the bigger-than-life alter-ego of Edward Sharpe. The songs usually center on Ebert’s duets with the band’s female singer Jade Castrinos, and the music is all over the place – ’60s roots rock and folk and gospel. But they’ve been known to go too far into the psychedelic ramblings. But not here - this is all the sounds and influences in all the right places. It’s a big ethereal song with Ebert front and center, leading the band to the heights and depths of possibilities.

“Somebody's Sins” by Tricky

This English rapper/actor/trip-hop artist Tricky has been on the scene since 1995 and released 10 albums, but with his disdain of stardom and the media, he has allowed himself to get overlooked at times. His debut album “Maxinquaye” made a big splash back in the ‘90s and his new album, “False Idols,” is a return to that form. As with most of his best work, this track is led by a female vocalist. Francesca Belmonte croons on a subtle trip-hop beat and Tricky whispers in a dissonant tone somewhere in the distance. The juxtaposition is eerie and disturbing, but Belmonte’s vocals add a beauty and refashion the lyrics written by Patti Smith for the intro to her version of “Gloria.”

Derrick Bracey, for Weekly Surge

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