Peter Margasak, Reader music critic
Susanna Wallumrød, Jeg Vil Hjem Til Menneskene (Grappa)
I can't say for sure why this stunning new album by Susanna Wallumrød (of Susanna & the Magical Orchestra fame) hasn't gotten any exposure in the U.S., aside from the fact that she sings exclusively in Norwegian. But that hardly matters on a recording of such beauty, where she sets the poetry of Gunvor Hofmo to sophisticated pop-rock melodies with excellent instrumental support from Ståle Storløkken (Supersilent) and guitarist Hans Magnus Ryan (Motorpsycho), among others.
Domenico, Cine Privê (Coqueiro Verde)
The first postsplit album by a member of Brazil's +2 carries on with the same killer mix of post-tropicalia range and curiosity and disciplined experimental impulses. The inventive phrasing of bossa nova and samba lies at the heart of most of these songs, even with arrangements that juggle electronic noise and dissonant harmonies; a perfect balance of songcraft and sonic exploration.
Howard Tate, Get It While You Can: The Legendary Sessions (Mercury)
The death of the great songwriter and producer Jerry Ragovoy on July 13—he was 80—sent me back to some of his best work. Although he wrote "Time Is on My Side," as well as songs for Janis Joplin, Garnet Mimms, Irma Thomas, Erma Franklin, and Lorraine Allison, my favorite example of his talent was the brilliant recordings he produced for Philadelphia singer Howard Tate in the late 60s, some of the sleekest, grittiest soul-blues ever waxed.