Unabashedly sexual, the video exudes the humidity of a Miami summer with bodies bumping, police sirens throbbing like heartbeats and Pitbull, the Miami president of crunk, slowly gliding through the neighborhood in a robin's egg blue Impala. The editing perfectly matches the infectiously rhythmic track, cutting between street portraits of cigar-chomping sidewalk habitues, Pitbull's scantily clad harem and various bacchanalians with the protruding tongues of Maori warriors. A little late in the season now, the video would have worked well as summer sangria.
The Harry Smith Project was a musical homage organized by impresario Hal Willner several years ago for the man who compiled the seminal "Anthology of American Folk Music" in the early '50s. It became the veritable Ark of the Covenant for several generations of songwriters and performers. Willner assembled the likes of Nick Cave, Elvis Costello, Sonic Youth and Beck in performances in London, New York and L.A. to pass the gospel of Smith, and few were as effective as Beth Orton in her feminist version of the Frankie and Johnny story.
This band from Israel covers some of the same ground as Coldplay with the kind of sing-along choruses that could appeal to a large audience. Singer Ohad Eilam has an accessible sincerity and, in "Hidden Thieves," the shifting time signature helps keep what could have been a banal song interesting. When the keening guitar enters on the final chorus, providing a diversion from the center of focus (the piano) one can imagine a concert hall of swaying bodies. Their group's upcoming album is produced by Guy Erez, who has worked with the Gipsy Kings.
"Colony of Birchmen"
Summoning all woodland deities is the corporeal Mastodon, intoning from some moist cave that is doubtless tucked into the Ash Mountains of Mordor. The band creatively plays on several pantheistic themes -- a stag's head and the concept of a living, haunted wood, both of which carry particular weight in Arthurian and Celtic legends. Mastodon thrums and drums likes a metal band with a prog-rock mind while these spirits with the glowing heads of Anubis move furtively in the shrubbery.