Sunday, September 1, 2013

CD reviews: Latest from Zia Quizon

Fresh-faced Zia dedicated her new album to “Rodolfo Vera Quizon, who put the song in my heart, and Mama, who taught me how to sing it.” That album has many shades and based on Zia’s new album, she’s partial to and most comfortable with the pop and jazz sides of the spectrum. She also knows she’s got a fine voice that she can wrap around other genres as well. It’s no surprise then that Zia does justice to the light pop of “Pasakalye” and the bittersweet ballad, “”Kung Ayaw Mo Sa Akin.” She mixes a dose of Adele with a dash of downbeat Nelly Furtado in the opening number “Under and Over.” Zia delivers a knockout performance in the blues-rock slither of the title track. She may, however, need a splash of whiskey to give the song some bite in concert. Her cover of Asin’s “Masdan Mo Ang Kapaligiran” lacks distinction though, and its good intentions aside, the anti-bully tune “Katulad Ng Iba” sees her coy, barely commanding voice taking a support role to Gloc-9’s glib rapping. It’s unexpectedly a well done album nonetheless. A few more sharp edges drawn from experience onstage and living life in general should be welcome next time around. Jake Bugg "Jake Bugg" Barely 18 years-old, Britain’s latest sensation Jake Bugg makes music that sounds much older than him, yet every song on his eponymous album holds the immediacy of recently imbibed love potion No. 9. In varying shades of influences, the 14 tracks on Bugg’s first album rekindle the spirits of rockabilly Presley, ‘60s Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, The Everly Brothers and The Beatles. They’re as far away from the prefab pop of One Dimension as much as the euphoric dubstep of swinging London. But it has not stopped the album from reaching the top of the UK charts and it’s a safe bet people will still be listening to this album a decade from now. What’s not to love? Opening number “Lightning Bolt” crackles with authentic slash and burn rockabilly followed by the Beatlesque rock & roll of “Two Fingers.” “Simple As This” recalls the thrill of Bob Dylan’s early years while Bugg’s delivery is a toss-up between Bruce Springsteen and Roy Orbison. “Seen It All” expresses existential teen angst and its power trio backing shoots it up to the ranks of future classics. Jake Bugg has said he is a 30-year-old in a teenager's body. His alchemy of extracting subtle beauty from contrasting moods and roots has led to a most extraordinary re-discovery. All aboard Bugg’s magic carpet ride. Queens of the Stone Age "… Like Clockwork" This once highly regarded supergroup has now settled into that top of the line status by just playing true to the legacy of previous albums which once featured the full services of super-drummer Dave Grohl. That’s not to say that the band led by desert rock originator Josh Homme cruises to the same old beat and rhythm. Not at all. Where their previous best record entitled "Rated R" cut and diced hard rock to prime slices, the latest album, their first in five years, shapes those prime cuts into melodic, at times dance-friendly, rockers. It betters "Rated R" at its own dated game. There’s hardly any place for lead guitar histrionics so "… Like Clockwork" is more of a group thing and only Homme’s trademark vocals gives its 10 tracks the QOTSA hallmark. Well, contributions from guests Sir Elton John, Trent Reznor, Mark Lanegan and Alex Turner provide some digressions from the original plan such that unpredictability rather than precision becomes its ultimate attraction.

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