Rock Critic Ken Tucker considers two New York acts who are known for their humor: folk-singer Christine Lavin, and the eclectic rock group, They Might Be Giants. Lavin's album, "Attainable Love" is on Rounder Records. They Might Be Giants' album is "Flood," and it's on Elektra.
Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews "Manic Traditions," the new album by Les Miserables Brass Band. They're an eclectic group that plays brass music from around the world, as well as original works. (They're on the Northeastern label).
After a government decree that Indonesian musicians reject Western music and focus on local traditions, a new style emerged, called Jaipongan. It combines gamelan rhythms, a charismatic woman singer, and melancholy lyrics about jilted lovers. World music critic Milo Miles reviews two CDs featuring vocalist Euis Komariah.
World music critic Milo Miles reviews some current books on African music. His big recommendation is "Sweet Mother: Modern African Music," by Wolfgang Bender (published by University of Chicago Press).
World music commentator Milo Miles reviews the new album by the Terem ("Ter-yem") Quartet from St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad). It's a group that couldn't have existed in the past. (Realworld Records)