New Reviews: September 22, 2003

Reviews by Paula E. Kirman

The Slackers
Close My Eyes
Hellcat Records

Reggae and punk? It can happen. The Slackers, a New York-based band, takes traditional reggae grooves and peps it up with a punk attitude. Close My Eyes is a concept album heavily influences by 9/11, with socially-conscious lyrics that call for reflection and introspection. Really intense vocals, and light production bring the songs full-force into the spotlight.

Various Artists
Festival in the Desert
World Village

There are many live recordings of festival concerts, but not many that involve a location so remote that it can only be accessed by camels or a 4x4. Festival in the Desert was worth the effort for the artists involved, who include Lo'Jo, Justin Adams, and Robert Plant. Recorded in January of 2003 at Le Festival au Désert in the Sarhara, the energy of the event comes through loud and clear. Stay tuned for the DVD to be released next year.

Leah Callahan
Even Sleepers

Leah Callahan has a voice that commands attention. Even Sleepers is the eclectic singer's first solo album (she previously has sung with the Bost avant-garde band Turkish Delight and Betwixt, and Butterfield 8), and features Eastern European influences. With a minimalist approach to instrumentation, Callahan's voice is front and centre. This is definitely music for coffeehouses, romantic evenings by the fireplace, or anyone wishing to discover a talented, new female vocalist and songwriter.

Paula E. Kirman is the Editor and Webmaster of Inside World Music.