Seth Colter Walls

  • Matana Roberts / Photo by Matthew Eisman/Getty Images

    Matana Roberts Weaves Stunning Avant-Jazz Tapestry on 'Coin Coin Chapter Two: Mississippi Moonchile'

    To recap: In 2011, Constellation Records, an indie-leaning label best known for its association with Godspeed You! Black Emperor, released the first chapter of saxophonist-composer Matana Roberts' 12-volume avant-jazz Coin Coin project, in which her family's story will be recounted alongside an exploration of recent American history. The ensembles and instrumentation can change from chapter to chapter, though the weaving of history — Roberts uses the metaphor of "panoramic sound quilting" — is the through-line.But when it comes to Coin Coin Chapter Two: Mississippi Moonchile, don't let the obvious ambition (or the "Chapter Two") throw you.

  • Elvis Costello and ?uestlove / Photo by Danny Clinch

    Elvis Costello and the Roots Are Looser Than You Expected (and Not as Stuffy as You Feared) on 'Wise Up Ghost'

    The way you react to news of this pairing says something about your appetite for pretension. Roots drummer/mastermind ?uestlove self-describes as "your favorite Twitterer's favorite music snob," and in recent years has built enough bridges to Indie Town that he now qualifies for government contracts. Meantime, Mr. Costello is the sort to send George Jones a demo tape, in order to demonstrate how the Possum might cover Springsteen. (That's on the deluxe version of Kojak Variety, if you care.) Put them together, and things could get a wee bit over-studied, right?Yet more than half of Wise Up Ghost is faultless: more exciting and hooky than much recent work from either camp. Opener "Walk Us Uptown" is where ?uestlove shows he can best the beats on Elvis' prior R&B testimonies.

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