Smart, vaudevillian popThe marquee-style album title is telling here: Kuala Lumpur-based strummer Zee Avi is being offered up by Jack Johnson’s Brushfire imprint as exotic vaudeville entertainment from the other side of the world, and justifiably so. Her arrangements are music-hall clever, her erudite lyrics reference the most arcane subjects, and her flapper-vampy voice camps up everything to the point of burlesque. While a backbeat patters out some scratchy blues, the brainy Avi watches a lover succumb to opium addiction, blithely trilling, “He used to love German Expressionism films / But now he drinks until he falls … the poppy took my baby away from me.
After earning a following for videos posted on YouTube, Zee Avi caught the attention of Jack Johnson, who asked her to record an album for his Brushfire Records label. It’s easy to see why Johnson in particular would love Avi, whose catchy and carefree guitar riffs have a spirit much like his own. But it’s also easy to see how anyone would love Avi.
Big money says Zee Avi's new self-titled CD will be available in Starbucks before you can say Accessibility Meets Post-Colonial Hip. Lucky for us, this won't be one of those Putumayo 'It sounded good in the store' purchases..
Iggy Pop Iggy Pop as a chanteur, crooning and contemplating life with autumnal bitterness and resignation? That’s his unexpected guise on “Préliminaires” (Astralwerks); he even sings “Les Feuilles Mortes” (“Autumn Leaves”) in mediocre French. The album was sparked by Michel ….