|Gerald Levert - In My Songs|
Gerald Levert's latest release was never meant to be his last. Finished just before his untimely death in November, the soulful collection is a fitting but bittersweet cap to an R&B career that's spanned more than two decades and resulted in millions of albums sold. Gerald's father, Eddie Levert, lead singer of the legendary 1970s group The O'Jays, offers a brief message at the start of the disc saying how pleased his son had been with what would end up being his final studio album. What follows is an at times reflective, always optimistic collection of tracks that shows why Levert built a huge fan following with a smooth, polished, vintage sound â€” one that has disappeared far too soon.
Chimaira - Resurrection
As long as there are teenage boys, there will be a demand for gut-churning heavy metal bands. And the city's music scene produces them by the ton. But few are great and even less are excellent. Chimaira, like Mushroomhead before it, is one of the best. The band's fourth release, "Resurrection," is a punishing mix of earth-rattling drums, fiery guitar riffs and plenty of screaming that'll force you to appreciate the musicianship and cohesiveness of its six members, even if you outgrew this sort of stuff long before Metallica cut off all its hair. Of course, Chimaira's songs are loaded with themes of violence, teen angst and the pending apocalypse. But that's kind of the point, isn't it?
Kassaba - Dark Eye
Take a quartet who aspire to perform the most American of music styles â€” jazz, teach them too much about classical music and expose them to some wild percussion instruments from throughout the world. It ain't bad. This Cleveland-based "progressive jazz" band's second release is an odd combination of sounds and influences. While some of the piano, sax and bass playing is predictable, the percussion sounds from some 25 instruments not usually found in Western music help make the listening experience more of an adventure. You'll find yourself asking: "Does this work?" again and again. Regardless of the answer, the result is always edgy.