Beyond Playlist: Von Südenfed and More

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Von Südenfed Tromatic Reflexxions (Domino)

The Fall’s Mark E. Smith doesn’t seem like the natural kin of Mouse on Mars’ Andi Toma and Jan St. Werner -- yet their teaming on Von Südenfed’s striking debut presents them as compatible members of a memorably nasty family. On tracks such as “Speech Contamination/German Fear of Österreich,” Smith’s declamatory exhortations find effective underpinning in Marsian electro-manipulation that splits the difference between doomy throwback synthetics and modern technocraft. Pleasantly unsettling. -- Michael Roberts

Avishai Cohen After the Big Rain Anzic Records

Cohen is credited with handling trumpet and effects on Big Rain, and both are key ingredients in this atmospheric excursion into dreamy avant-worldbeat. “Patro Forte” blends Cohen’s percolating lyricism with Daniel Freedman’s complex percussion and the hyper-cool vocalizing of Lionel Loueke to create a captivating quasi-jazz soundscape, while “Miryama” relaxes on an ambient bed built by keyboardist Jason Lindner. The players get plenty of mileage out of this smooth-running hybrid. -- Roberts

Daddy Yankee El Cartel: The Big Boss (El Cartel Records/Interscope)

Not so long ago, corporate radio tried to build an entire format around a single song: “Gasolina,” an ultra-catchy (and sorta irritating) smash delivered by Ramón “Daddy Yankee” Ayala. El Cartel, Ayala's attempt to consolidate his stardom, demonstrates why this attempt fell to earth. Despite expensive production courtesy of LunyTunes, the team behind “Gasolina,” and name dial-twisters such as the ubiquitous Scott Storch, Ayala comes across as a one-dimensional party prompter as interchangeable as the disc’s most disposable beats. -- Roberts

John Lee Hooker Jr. Cold as Ice (Telarc)

The senior Hooker stood out from the blues pack due largely to his matchless voice (so sleepy, so lethal) and a guitar technique that made the most out of open spaces. In contrast, his namesake is, at least thus far, thoroughly generic, hardly straying from the electric blues sound that’s been prevalent for the past three decades plus. Cold as Ice isn’t so much bad as it is thoroughly unnecessary -- and that would be just as true if John Jr. had a different last name. -- Roberts

Various artists Hairspray: Soundtrack to the Motion Picture (New Line Records)

Loved the music in John Waters’s tangy original movie, and enjoyed much of the stage version’s original score -- and some of those songs survive recasting by Hollywood types; “Good Morning Baltimore” and “You Can’t Stop the Beat” are so Broadway brassy that they blast past the conservative, underwhelming arrangements imposed upon them by producer/composer Marc Shaiman. But there are plenty of other moments that inspire thoughts of tall buildings, open windows and running starts -- foremost among them “(You’re) Timeless to Me,” an excruciating duet between Christopher Walken and a draggy John Travolta, who definitely deserves a dressing down. -- Roberts

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.