Ana Gasteyer  Nothing Rhymes With Christmas (HG)

Ana Gasteyer Nothing Rhymes With Christmas (HG)

www.anagasteyer.com

“Saturday Night Live” alum Ana Gasteyer should not be passed off as just another actor who pines for a career in music. Indeed, Gasteyer displayed her vocal abilities on that program from 1996 to 2002, eventually landing a role in the much-lauded musical, “Wicked.” She can sing, friends.

“Nothing Rhymes With Christmas” is a charming affair combining the best of cabaret, jazz and nostalgic kitsch. “Sugar and Booze” is a mixed-drink recipe for getting through the holidays, “The Man With The Bag” is one of the best versions in recent years, and “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” struts and slinks in “Hey, Big Spender” style. Highly recommended.

New Releases;

Prince/1999 Deluxe (Warner Bros.)

Rick Wakeman/Christmas Portraits (Sony)

Robbie Williams/The Christmas Present (Sony)

Libera/Christmas Carols With Libera (IH)

Joe Pesci/Pesci…Still Singing (BMG)

Tom Holkenborg/Terminator: Dark Fate (La-La Land)

Putumayo Presents/Blues Christmas (Putumayo)

CD’s Provided By CD-DVD-Games Warehouse, 3717 80th Street, Kenosha, Wi, 53142, 

(262) 942-9400

Desert Sessions Volumes 11 & 12 (Matador)

Josh Homme assembled this consortium of musicians to create music on the spot at the remote Rancho De La Luna, in Joshua Tree. The work model was simple, pick up an instrument and play, with no regard to the opinions of record company suits or their accompanying flow charts.

The results are a mixed bag, as you might expect. “Move Together” drones a bit too much for my liking, as if it’s an idea that needs fleshing out. On the other hand, “Easier Said Than Done” pulls me in with a hypnotic piano riff. I’m not sure there are enough strong moments to recommend this to the casual listener, though fans of the folks involved might feel differently.

Rob Halford Celestial (Sony)

Rob Halford Celestial (Sony)

As the frontman of stalwart metal outfit Judas Priest, Rob Halford’s banshee-like voice elicits many things. To most, sugarplums and mistletoe wouldn’t have a chance of making that list. “Celestial” is that holiday long-player that nobody asked for, yet manages to be its own brand of endearing.

Halford takes on mostly solemn, traditional material. “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and “Deck The Halls” conjure up images of Dickensian England, though in this version of “A Christmas Carol,” Tiny Tim is throwin’ the horns and Marley’s ghost plays a Gibson Flying V. Although dark at times in tone, it’s definitely an interesting listen.

 

Dan Reviews  “The Mandalorian”

Dan Reviews “The Mandalorian”

Nothing could be more exciting to a kid who grew up in the 1970’s than a new entry into the Star Wars saga. It was from that vantage point, that I excitedly waited to watch “The Mandalorian.”

From Disney, “After the stories of Jango and Boba Fett, another warrior emerges in the Star Wars universe. “The Mandalorian” is set after the fall of the Empire, and before the emergence of the First Order. We follow the travails of a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy, far from the authority of the New Republic.”

While that official description might not elicit excitement in Star Wars fans, the serial itself will. It does play like a futuristic western, and the character of The Mandalorian (played with Clint Eastwood dryness by Pedro Pascal) is humanized far more than the Fetts. In his quest to obtain multiple bounties, he’s warned by Greed Karga not to bite off more than he can chew. Played with weightiness by Carl Weathers, Karga offers up a bounty that must be done off of the books, and the adventure begins.

Created by director Jon Favreau, clearly a fan of “A New Hope,” this serial puts the viewer back into the worn-out galaxy that Han Solo and Luke Skywalker came from. The future shown isn’t covered in shiny stainless steel and glass, it’s full of underworld miscreants and horrible weather. 

In a nutshell, that’s the real thrill for me. As a fan himself, Favreau completely understands our need to not only see new Star Wars stories and characters, but the need to escape life for an hour or two and actually go to the places they inhabit. I, for one, can't wait to go back.

 

Beastie Boys Root Down E.P. (Grand Royal)

Beastie Boys Root Down E.P. (Grand Royal)

Capitol Records is reissuing the Beastie Boys’ catalog, so I took a listen to the “Root Down” e.p. The album track is featured here, along with two additional remixes, the Free Zone mix and the Pop Balloon mix. 

The remains twelve tracks are fleshed out with performances from the band’s triumphant 1995 European Tour, when their Lp “Ill Communication” was everywhere. Though the crowds seem a bit subdued, the Beastie Boys give it their best. Completist fans will want this.

New Releases:

Neil Young/Colorado (Reprise)

Van Morrison/Three Chords & The Truth (Caroline)

Ringo Starr/What’s My Name (RS)

Old Dominion/Old Dominion (Sony)

Harry Connick/True Love (Columbia)

CD’s Provided By CD-DVD-Games Warehouse, 3717 80th Street, Kenosha, Wi, 53142, 

(262) 942-9400

Check them out at: CD Warehouse