The Sunny Side of the Moon: The Best of Richard Cheese
Surfdog / Release date: Feb. 7
Richard Cheese is one weird mofo. Dressed dapperly in a trademark tiger-print tuxedo, and backed by his band, Lounge Against the Machine, the crooner is Weird Al for the cocktail set. Simply rendering the current hits to lounge and big-band stylings, he creates an effect either highly comedic or highly dumbfounding, to say the least. His latest CD showcases the best of his albums, including versions of Disturbed's "Down with the Sickness" and Ying Yang Twins' "Badd." New to the Cheese discography are big-band versions of Nirvana's "Rape Me" and Nine Inch Nails' "Closer." When it comes down to it, Cheese's gimmick is delicious. Kara Luger
The Cellar Door Sessions 1970
Hypothetically, let's say you've got nearly $90 burning a hole in your pocket, and a hankering for a new boxed set. You've already got a sweet Led Zeppelin compilation, as well as decent Bob Marley and Beatles bookends what more do you need? Davis. Miles Davis. The epic December 1970 sessions captured and remastered in this six-disc set are so tight and smooth, they create spontaneous enlightenment. Davis is joined by an all-star cast: keyboardist Keith Jarrett, drummer Jack DeJohnette, bassist Michael Henderson, percussionist Airto Moreira, saxophonist Gary Bartz and guitarist John McLaughlin. When asked the age-old "If you could be a fly on the wall anywhere..." question, something like 80 percent of smart people answer, "The Cellar Door Sessions." Really.
Paul Armfield and the Four Good Reasons
Sat-On / Groove Attack
Not many noted rockers can call The Isle of Wight, England home. But if anyone will put it on the map, it'll be Paul Armfield. He's kind of a Jethro Tull meets Tom Waits fused with Cat Stevens with a splash of Nick Drake at midnight in Paris. Armfield plucks an upright bass while matching its notes with deep vocals, la Leonard Cohen in a style that's been called "folk noir." Evermine is a melancholic album, but not depressing. The tunes easily could accompany James Bond across a wooden dance floor somewhere in Las Vegas, or aid someone wearing a tuxedo in smoking a cigar on the open deck of a cruise ship. Cool beats mix with warm musings. Matthew Schniper