Dan Bejar's project Destroyer just released a new EP of covers, and it's called Five Spanish Songs. Here, Behar revisits the work of Spanish rocker Sr. Chinarro, the musical alter ego of Sevillano Antonio Luque. Luque’s work derives from English goth bands like The Cure, Echo and the Bunnymen and continental crooners like Jacques Brel, too. The vocal delivery on the original recordings is laconic, casually detached and vaguely romantic in an almost intangibly European way; Behar’s covers seem self-conscious, earnest and eager—Americanized, if you will. Ironically he sings in the original Spanish. That’s cool, if you like the resulting combination of shoegaze and Obscured by Clouds-era Pink Floyd—¡En español!—that results. This EP is a solid indication of Destroyer’s potential as a successor to outfits like Guided By Voices, but the source material maintains undeniable rocanrol power.
Having listened to 7 Days of Funk—the eponymous debut of a collaboration between Snoopzilla and Dam Funk—let me tell you, it’s a heavy world those two have sonically rendered. Snoopzilla invokes the mothership on the first track, but his lyrics still linger amidst party time and only occasionally breach deeper waters. The production and instrumentation is impeccable, and Dam Funk succeeds in opening a vasty deep filled with surprising harmonic and improvisational choices. In many ways the album reminds this reviewer of the early output of Outkast in its embrace of experimentalism and narrative depictions of urban experience. Though this sort of music owes much to the past, here it is assembled and presented in a revisioned configuration that goes way beyond pastiche and is musically rewarding—if you can get past Snoop’s lingering gangsterism.
There's A Dream is a collection of the dark yet wistful country-western musings of one of the genre’s underrated artists. The deluxe box set is definitive and includes Lee Hazlewood’s solo work, numerous duets and the work of associated recording artists. Hazlewood’s songs definitely set a mood and even crossover compositions like “The Night Before” have a spooky, ethereal quality. With sharp session musicians and thick arrangements, Hazlewood’s oeuvre is great for winter listening. Stormy nights, roaring fireplaces, lingering snow and long nights are all things that make listening to this more than a nostalgic activity. These tunes come from a crazy time in American music when artists responded to an outpouring of work by folks like Dylan and The Beatles. This box set is sweet evidence of that sea change.