Eva Salina grew up immersed within the Balkan music community that highly revered the work of Serbian singer Šaban Bajramović, whose work in the 1960s and 1970s made him a star among Yugoslavians, the Romani and the diaspora of both groups. Salina studied Balkan singing from a young age and first traveled to the Balkans at the tender age of 12 to study the culture. Performing steadily around New York, Salina got the idea to record a tribute to the legendary Bajramović, but filtered through her own NYC jazz and worldbeat influences. Salina also secured the involvement of noted area bands such as Slavic Soul Party!, Kultur Shock, and the Klezmatics to help work on the tribute. “I Barval Pudela” is the first single from LEMA LEMA, which releases today. It’s a gorgeous tune that highlights the complex singing style employed in Balkan music and shows off Salina’s stunning voice.
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Austin singer-songwriter duo Penny and Sparrow move from delicate folk to rough-edged Americana on their new album, Let a Lover Drown You. Vocalist Andy Baxter and composer Kyle Jahnke met while roommates at the University of Texas at Austin. The intensity that comes with living together contributes to the closeness and tightness of their harmonies, which have been compared on occasion to Simon and Garfunkel. “Makeshift” highlights these talents brilliantly and leans toward the folk end of Penny and Sparrow’s musical spectrum.
Janiva Magness has built a career on the intersections of genres, seamlessly blending blues, Americana, country, pop, and most importantly soul into her own unique sound. After years on highly respected Chicago blues label, Alligator Records, Magness stepped out on her own with 2014’s Original releasing via her own label Fathead Records. For her latest, Love Wins Again releasing in April, Magness partners with Blue Élan Records, a pairing that is allowing her to increase her presence on the exploding Americana scene. “Love Wins Again” is her latest single and it’s a deeply soulful number that makes one want to dance the groove.
Sarah Zupko: Throwing Shade critiques the phony plasticity and the anti-intellectualism of social media most effectively on “hashtag IRL”. The music is simple and the annoying hashtags are called out for a good reason, to highlight the essential impermanence and aural clutter of much of today’s internet, particularly the Twitterverse, but also our clickbait culture. [7/10]
Sam Taylor: Premier purveyors of the weird Moderat return, collaborating for a third time with aural ally Apparat on “Reminder”, with a swirling techno soundscape that evokes Trentemøller’s music as much as it does In Rainbows-era Radiohead. The track’s press release claims that Apparat’s vocals present, “an unfiltered insight into his personal take on the journey we call life – he is opening up, discussing his shadow, his fears and doubts.” If “Reminder” is a good example of what’s to come, then new album III can’t come soon enough. [8/10]