Composed and arranged by Simon Hanes, and performed by him and his 15-piece orchestra, Tredici Bacci, Amore per Tutti is a soundtrack for an Italian movie that was never made. The 11-track album is Hanes’ homage to the film scores of the ‘60s and ‘70s, an era when composers like Ennio Morricone, Nino Rota, Bruno Nicolai, Luis Bacalov, Armando Trovajoli and many other lesser-known figures created vivid soundscapes for genre films—gialli (gory thriller and horror flicks), polizieschi (police procedurals), and the western all’italiana (better known as spaghetti westerns). Their work often was eclectic, mixing and matching, sometimes in a single soundtrack, jazz, free jazz, bossa nova, rock, electronic music, and mariachi.
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Texas singer-songwriter James McMurty has written a song called “Remembrance” just in time for election day tomorrow. It’s a Dylanesque folk number looking back at previous elections. This tune isn’t currently planned for an album release, but McMurtry was moved to write an election-themed song, one that encompasses elections of the past around the world, including Spain’s first democratic government, the Reagan election in 1980, as well as Thatcher in the UK. McMurty asserts in the song that “those placing faith in intelligence / Must surely be out of their minds / Out of their minds,” which echoes contemporary analyses of the 2016 contest and Bill Maher’s frequent comments that the U.S. public isn’t well-educated enough to make smart decisions about candidates.
Eclectic pop jazz orchestra Pink Martini is releasing their latest album, Je dis oui, on November 18th via Heinz Records and we’ve got a new song to share with you. “Pata Pata” is a classic South African song first performed by the legendary Miriam Makeba. The tune was so important to her, being both a feminist and anti-apartheid song. Of the song, bandleader Thomas Lauderdale says “I’ve loved this song for years. When it debuted, it was widely seen as a feminist statement against apartheid. When we were recording this, our Greek trombonist Antonis Andreou was whistling along, and I said, “That sounds incredible!” So I had him record the whistling and I think that it really makes the song!” It’s a rollicking and infectious number sure to create a party atmosphere. Somehow, Pink Martini always work their special charm to make their music irresistible.
Detroit quintet Handgrenades are on the cusp of releasing their sophomore album, and song for song, it’s one of the strongest underground indie rock releases of the year. In some ways, Tunnels is more an alternate debut album than a successor to 2012’s The Morning After. There’s a new lineup, with singer-songwriters Nick Chevillet and Andrew Pawelski and drummer Joby Kaslowski joined by fellow songwriter Jesse Shepherd-Bates and keyboardist Joel Sanders. Largely absent are the prior album’s Motown and Beatles emulations, traded in for a more nuanced and esoteric approach influenced by the likes of Radiohead, the National, Jeff Buckley, and Ryan Adams (one song even lifts an Adams lyric). Reflecting the change, the band has nixed the “the” prefacing their name and have ceased capitalizing the “G” as well.
London’s Izzy Flynn is an artist on the rise as her blend of electronic, electropop, soul and jazz is mesmerizing. Flynn trained formally in jazz music at Leeds College of Music and she has toured the world accompanied by the Abstract Orchestra, supporting Mos Def, De La Soul and Afrika Bambaataa. Flynn has a new EP, Faith, coming on November 18th and we’ve got the title track to share with you today.
“Faith” builds slowly with a strong sense of movement and direction as spare instrumentation showcases Flynn’s deeply affecting voice. More electronic elements enter the scene, as do additional voices and the chorus is revealed as the full musical accompaniment fills in. Flynn says, “the track involves a lot of layered textures and heavy synth/arpeggiated chords.” It’s beautiful composed and stunningly performed. Fans of FKA Twigs, SOHN, James Blake, and Jessie Ware are sure to find Izzy Flynn completely irresistible.