We’re listening to Netta Barzilai’s “Bassa Sababa” because it's awesome and in honor of the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest in Israel. This is her follow-up song after winning the Eurovision in 2018 with the infectious track “Toy.”
Leon Seti is an electro-pop solo project born in 2016 out of the mind and voice of the 23-year-old Leo Baldi, an Italian-born, alternative synth/pop musical artist.
by Mike Peros
If you’re looking for an endearing super-hero with a likable sidekick (this time from DC Comics, and not the Marvel Universe), you need look no further than Shazam! Asher Angel (Disney Channel’s Andi Mack) and Zachary Levi (Chuck, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) share the title role, in that it involves young orphan Billy Batson (Angel) and the adult superhero he turns into (Levi)—and out from—when he says the word “Shazam!” There’s plenty of backstory to go around, involving Billy’s search for his birth mother and becoming part of a foster family. Billy’s disabled foster brother Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer) is a superhero geek and the target of bullies. After Billy demonstrates some goodness and bravery while defending the hapless Freddy, he is summoned to a mystical lair complete with a wizard (Djimon Hounsou) who bestows all his powers on an initially unwilling Billy. However Billy is not alone with these powers, since the Wizard has earlier had a confrontation with the unlucky, mistreated young lad Sivana—who alas, did not exhibit the requisite goodness to gain the wizard’s powers at the time. As an embittered adult, Sivana (Mark Strong) possessed enough cleverness (and wealth) to later find his way back to the lair where he stole whatever powers he could, including the all-powerful Eye of Sin. And by the way, Sivana’s hatred extends not only to his own father (John Glover), but to the newly created Shazam!
Shazam! as directed by David F. Sandberg from a screenplay by Henry Gayden, has many of the characteristics (not sure I would say virtues) endemic to films of this ilk, including many scenes of the vengeful super-villain showing just how lethal he can be. Mark Strong does a decent job without being especially memorable, and the final battle goes on far too long for the movie’s good. What elevates Shazam! above others of its kind are its liberal doses of humor, accompanied by a whole lot of heart—and two exceptional performances. While Asher Angel is fine as the young Billy, Zachary Levi is sensational as the “adult” Billy/Shazam. Levi hits all the right notes, playing Shazam as an overgrown kid with a new super-suit of clothes, gleefully surprised by the powers that accompany it (though he does neglect the fact that with great powers comes great responsibility—but that’s Marvel). Jack Dylan Grazer is also terrific as Freddy, the only one (at first) who know of Billy’s new superpowers, and the scenes where they’re testing Billy’s powers and trying out new names (his superhero name isn’t decided on till the end—you can probably guess what it is). It also helps that the film encourages you to care about Billy’s new foster family, including his siblings, and they are also a recognizably human bunch—they too add a good deal of the film’s heart. The bottom line if you’re still looking for a “superhero fix,” Shazam! is hard to beat—at least until Endgame.
I wasn’t aware that the world was clamoring for yet another Hellboy, especially following Ron Perlman’s take on the role of the brooding hunter of lost souls (to put it kindly) from the Guillermo Del Toro films. Yet here we are with the all-new Hellboy with David Harbour taking on the role; to his credit, Harbour projects enough angst and anger along with the quips to acquit himself in a respectable manner. The plotting is unwieldy to say the least, and there are several respected actors who come in for a quick appearance before becoming human mulch. Hellboy’s major nemesis is a long-buried Blood Queen (Milla Jovovich) who either wants to destroy Hellboy or marry him (though in Hellboy’s world, that might prove one and the same). Ian McShane is also here, picking up the rent money as Hellboy’s loving foster father (there is a backstory here too). I can’t say that Hellboy is a good film, but it does have some offbeat humor and is fairly entertaining at times, —as long as you don’t take it too seriously and have invested in some ear plugs to be utilized at strategic points.
With her beautiful, angelic voice, like a gift from the ancients and her spiraling, soaring sounds GEA creates an almost circus like atmosphere full of layered vocals and gorgeous beats where one has the feeling that absolutely anything could happen.
Classic American rock, an homage to the great bands of the 70s and 80s, musical masters like Steely Dan, Leonard Cohen and Led Zeppelin. The Seattle-based Sundogs are making the music that they love.
“Don’t Break What You Cannot Fix” feels like a love song, or at least a conversation between two lovers, but it’s a little more complex than that.
There’s something very ‘punk’ these days about music that sounds like the musicians are actually playing the instruments and the singers are inhaling before they exhale…if you know what I mean. I happen to prefer my music more human than automated. DG Adams' album “Nest of Vipers” is thankfully free from the confines of electronica and autotune. It is full of the divine flaws of live recordings, the sentimental passions of a love for jamming, and the turn of a thoughtful phrase.
It’s no surprise to me that Adams is an actor and a Shakespearean one at that. The themes are dramatic; death, love, war, despair. The vocals are layered and harmonized, poignant and cinematic. The whole album feels like a performance piece in fact. More rock musical than rock concert. It even has a little comic relief with the track “Platonic Lovers,” neatly placed at the end of the second act.
The production is warm and welcoming, the musicians excellent and the songs playfully diverse, folky, Spanish, rock, soul and even a little Elizabethan. Its honesty reminds me a little of Pink Floyd or David Bowie or Joni Mitchell…that same kind of wistful mournfulness. These songs are straight from the heart, really compelling and gorgeously theatrical….loved it!!!
DG Adams: songwriter, vocals, acoustic and electric guitars
Vinay Lobo: acoustic and electric guitars, bass, keyboards, drums, percussion
Shane Wilson: drums, congas
Anna Katarina: bg vocals, keyboards
Aline Bobbin: bg vocals, violin, viola
Céline Hodler: bg vocals
Keigh: bg vocals and keyboards
This album, written and recorded by Chloe Grace Baker or Bitter’s Kiss, is inspired by and written for a movie, “The Divorce Party,” a soon to be released romantic comedy.
Norine Braun is one of those very special kinds of musician that make their own very special path to your door. She is a Canadian singer songwriter with a long history of awards and accolades in Canada and beyond. This particular album was born of a train journey across Canada, 6,000 kilometers of changing landscape, temperatures and fellow travelers, all an inspiration of music and story and intellect. You can actually hear the rhythm of the train as it slows and quickens along the tracks in all these wildly disparate songs.
As I listen I hear KD Lang, Amee Mann, Talking Heads, Patti Smith, Joni Mitchell, the Indigo Girls…and even as the echoes of all these artists reverberate through Norine’s beautiful songs, they don’t ever get in the way.
Just as her inspiration comes from them and many many more, as well as her beloved Canada and her own unique life, her songs seem just as formed by the spirit of the train. Although the tone of the album is jazz/rock, each song is touched by something else, pop or jazz, rock or dance, folk and soul. It’s as if she took each aspect of herself and mirrored it in song. She even breaks into spoken word and the poetry and the urgency of her lyrics certainly gives her right to do that.
I was absolutely captivated by this album, more than enough to explore more of her music. She has at least six other albums. This is a musician with a lot to say and a gorgeous, warm and epically harmonic voice with which to do it.
Braun and Brains Music
Producer: Adam Popowitz
Mixing and Mastering: Rear Window Song and Sound Studios
Vocals/Acoustic Guitar/Rhythm Guitar: Norine Braun
Lead Guitar/Bass: Adam Popowitz
Drums/Percussion: Elliot Polsky
Blues Harp: Huggybear Leonard
Keys and Harmony Vocals on Rue St. Jean and I'm Going Home: Alice Fraser
Tenor Sax: Steve Hilliam
We’re listening to Chicago rapper Noname’s debut studio album “Room 25,” a shimmering fusion of introspective wordplay and ethereal jazz.
This is a beautiful album. A gorgeously open, melodic and timeless group of songs tinged with Americana, folk and gentle rock.
We’re listing to Raquel Rodriguez’s "Mile High" Live at Blue Dream Studios from her album “310 part 2,” an ode to the Westside. (Can we go see a show at Blue Dream Studios, please?)
These songs evoke a kind of ageless Americana spinning with epic vistas of dust, tumbleweeds, broken down, desolate towns and distant mountains.