Har Mar Superstar
Watch out, Prince -- there's a new soul/funk/ dance diva in town. Granted, Har Mar is a chubby, slightly balding white fellow, but this fellow Minneapolis denizen knows how to make the ladies go crazy.
Har Mar (aka Sean Tillmann) has sweet vocals that are best compared with those of Stevie Wonder or that tiny Jamiroquai fellow. His latest album, The Handler i>, is his most consistent, showcasing songs that are really fun and would be perfect at a house party. What's so cool about Har Mar is his ability to be sexy without being serious, with lyrics that have been heavily dipped in the humor batter. While pop makes an occasional appearance, for the most part the songs are full of funk and '80s flava. "Cut Me Up" features Yeah Yeah Yeahs queen Karen O, who shines with nontypical sexy boredom as she spars verbally with Har Mar, channeling the best of Prince and Sheila E. duets. "O" is an amazingly pretty love song, showcasing his truly lovely tenor vocals. "As (Seasons)" provides a calendar's-worth of sweet lovin', as he beckons the girl of his dreams to cast off her snowsuit (but leave the moon boots on) to end their "libido hibernation." Aw yeah.
-- Kara Luger
Christmas Regrooved font>
What a kick! The subtitle, "Holiday classics re-imagined, re-mixed and re-grooved by some of the most influential artists of the electronic music world" hardly prepares you for the fun of Christmas Regrooved. It's bright, alright, with the highs on some tracks literally jumping out with fun as these sometimes hilarious remixes convert Santa's chimney into a post-psychedelic disco dance palace equipped with every strobe light, hip-hop, platter- spinning effect imaginable. Joseph Jaime, EROS, Jay Atwood, Domingues & Ives, and Mysti- Quintet are among the nine artists who together contribute 14 fabulous tracks. You will love this disc.
-- Jason Victor Serinus
Swales and Angels
New World Records
How New York composer Beth Anderson, ensconced across from the Brooklyn Museum, manages to capture the hometown, country air of the Kentucky swales (a meadow or marsh in which a lot of plants grow together) of her youth, underscoring the inexplicable miracle of composing genius. "March Swale" could easily be a holiday tune, its gentle, comforting nature beautifully conveyed by Belgium's Rubio String Quartet. Anderson's simple, unpretentious music, timeless in its warmth and decidedly understated modernity, is as perfectly suited for Christmas as for the first buds of spring or the colorful burst of a fall landscape.
-- Jason Victor Serinus