Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

cd reviews uptown dec 27

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THIS WEEK'S SINGLES

DIDO FEATURING KENDRICK LAMAR

Let Us Move On (Sony)

The wispy British singer returns with a moody bit of trip-pop featuring production from her brother Rollo (of Faithless fame) and a gruff but suitable rap from man-of-the-moment, Kendrick Lamar. Sexy, soothing, and sinuous. 'Ö'Ö'Ö1/2

T.I. FEATURING CEE-LO GREEN

Hello (Atlantic)

This playful, laid-back jam from T.I.'s newly released Trouble Man album sports some solid, stuttering beats courtesy of the Neptunes and an ultra-catchy chorus from Cee-Lo. An understated winner. 'Ö'Ö'Ö1/2

CRAZY P

Heartbreaker (2020 Vision)

A deliciously thick bassline, luscious guitar licks, soulful vocal snippets, and handclaps galore combine for a very classy house music experience. Perfect for a beginning-of-the-night warmup or an end-of-the-night cooldown. 'Ö'Ö'Ö'Ö

-- Reviewed by Steve Adams

-- POP & ROCK

Barney Bentall

Flesh & Bone (True North)

EVER wonder what happened to former Legendary Heart leader and Something To Live For guy Barney Bentall? Well, he's now a cattle rancher in British Columbia and in true Canuck, Ian Tyson-style, Bentall is still recording while workin' the land. Seven albums in and this nouveau elder statesman still mines the kind of musical terrain that rests somewhere between the likable roots rock of his former combo and a kind of earthy, back-to-the-land style of folk pop. Bentall is a charmer. His songs are personal, yet spread their warmth to the listener with a grace and connection reserved for a truly gifted writer of songs. The carefree joy of One Fine Day blends perfectly with the earnestly lovely Her Beautiful Mind and the Springsteen-like St. Valentines Day. His strength comes from his low-key attack combined with the ability of his band to add heft to the sometimes-light framework of the tunes. He's still got the chops to keep his career afloat and you'd be hard-pressed to find another album in this genre that works so well front to back. ***

DOWNLOAD THIS: St. Valentines Day

-- Jeff Monk

AC/DC

Live at River Plate (Columbia)

ESTADIO Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti, a.k.a. River Plate Stadium in Buenos Aires, Argentina, has enough room to handle nearly 75,000 music or sport fans and everyone from Miley Cyrus to Roger Waters has played the mammoth venue. It makes sense then that Australian rock behemoths AC/DC would find themselves situated in such a colossal entertainment environment when touring their Black Ice album in 2009. They are, after all, crowned gods of classic rock, right? Since bigger is better here, the band can only churn out the kind of music that translates to a sea of humanity that is essentially there for the spectacle, and not much else. As the party band for this multitude this night, the quintet delivers the goods with much muscle. Lead throat Brian Johnson still sounds like he is being electrocuted when he vocalizes and the apocalyptic sub genius boogie thud of guitarist and figurehead Angus Young aims to please without subtlety or polish, and succeeds. The CD's sound is a little quiet, which is curious considering there should be pails of loud available when there's tens of thousands of screaming AC/DC fans in the house. Fans will already own this. **

DOWNLOAD THIS: Let There Be Rock

-- Jeff Monk

-- COUNTRY

Little Big Town

Tornado (Capitol/EMI)

THIS quartet has been a recording act since 2006 and has always been a little different, but the group's fifth disc finds it paddling even harder against the Nashville mainstream.

The lazy summer-party vibe of the album's lead single, Pontoon, gave the band its first No. 1 single. The second single, the title track, is Pontoon's darker, more dramatic cousin, but with spaghetti western whistling. Leavin' In Your Eyes and Self Made both sound like outtakes from Fleetwood Mac's Rumours. That slightly subversive attitude (by Nashville standards) really gets in your face on the Adam Hood/Chris Stapleton composition Front Porch Thing, with its swampy dobro, edgy guitar and soulful harmonies. The loneliness of Night Owl echoes the acoustic folk of the '60s.

Tornado may lack lyrical substance at times, but it's musically different enough to be both oddly satisfying and refreshing.

Little Big Town plays Pantages Playhouse Theatre on March 26. Tickets are $62.35 at Ticketmaster. ***1/2

DOWNLOAD THIS: NIGHT OWL

-- Bruce Leperre

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 27, 2012 ??65532

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