The Latin rock band Del Castillo started in the winter of 2000 in Austin, TX, as a family CD project for singer/guitarists and brothers Mark del Castillo and Rick del Castillo, who eventually added Alex Ruiz on lead vocals, guitar, and harmonica; Albert Besteiro on bass; and Mike Zeoli on drums. That CD turned out to be Del Castillo's debut release, Brothers of the Castle, in 2001. Vida followed in 2002, and Brotherhood (with special guest Willie Nelson) in 2006. The group's self-titled fourth album appeared in April 2009. Del Castillo also has contributed to several films directed by Robert Rodriguez, including Spy Kids 3D, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Sin City, and Grindhouse. Performing with Rodriguez under the name Chingon, they recorded a version of the traditional Mexican song "Malaguena Salerosa" used in the Quentin Tarantino film Kill Bill Vol. II.
One of the main protagonists of the Italian dance music scene, Planet Funk emerged in 1999 as the fusion of two successful club music outfits, Souled Out (formed by Neapolitan producers Alessandro Sommella, Domenico "GG" Canu, and Sergio Della Monica) and Kamasutra (Florence's keyboard player Marco Baroni and DJ Alex Neri). The name Planet Funk was taken from an old Alex Neri track. English vocalists Auli Kokko and Dan Black were asked to join, and the ensemble mixed the track "Chase the Sun" for the summer of 2000. The song became an unexpected hit in Ibiza, prompting Verve's discoverer David Boyd to sign the group with Virgin Records. The first album, 2002's Non Zero Sumness, went gold and was also crowned at the Italian Music Awards. A remixed version Non Zero Sumness Plus One appeared toward the end of the year, followed by The Illogical Consequence in 2005 and Static in 2006. Other vocalists featured in the albums include Raiss, Sally Doherty, John Graham, and Luke Allen. Planet Funk have been invited to collaborate with Simple Minds, and to remix tracks by New Order and Faithless, among others.
The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra is a cultural ambassador for Israel, and is regarded as one of the best orchestras in the world. Recorded in the Mann Auditorium, Tel Aviv in March 2010, this concert sees the Israel Philharmonic conducted in this all-Beethoven programme by the eminent conductor and violinist Itzhak Perlman. After the Egmont Overture, Perlman and the orchestra are joined by the Perlman/Schmidt/Bailey Trio for the beautiful ‘Triple’ Concerto. The programme concludes with the rousing and evocative ‘Pastoral’ Symphony.
Lambchop have made a number of outstanding albums as they've evolved from "Nashville's most f–ked-up country band" to a singular chamber pop ensemble during a career that lasted nearly two decades, but one of their finest works is not really a Lambchop album at all. Vic Chesnutt recruited Lambchop to serve as his backing band on the 1998 album The Salesman and Bernadette, and the results were a marvelous fusion of the group's broad but emotionally intimate approach and Chesnutt's witty, skewed, and perceptive gifts as a songwriter. Chesnutt and Lambchop's Kurt Wagner seemed like kindred spirits, fellow Southerners who married oblique yet telling poetry to melodies that were strong yet fluidly graceful, and it should surprise no one that Wagner was hit hard by Chesnutt's death in late 2009. Lambchop's first studio project since Chesnutt's passing, 2012's Mr. M, is dedicated to Wagner's friend and collaborator, and though the songs don't deal explicitly with Chesnutt, there's a sense of sorrow in these songs that's deeper than what we've come to expect from Lambchop, infused with an air of reflection and regret that's impossible to miss.
Flying the flag for British rock throughout the Seventies and well into the next decade, Climax Blues Band were at the forefront of high quality, entertaining music, performed with equal success ‘live’ and on record. This ten track selection was first released in 1980, a time of change and conflicting influences. But whatever the moods affecting the musicians, they always played with maximum passion and expertise, as is revealed on ‘Flying The Flag’. The opening number ‘Gotta Have More Love’ is closer to disco pop than the blues that first inspired the group, but whatever style they espoused, Climax always delivered songs with cool expertise. And the core feeling for the rockin’ blues can always be found in performances like Peter Haycock’s outstanding ‘So Good After Midnight’ and the aggressive ‘Blackjack And Me’, that are among the highlights of a vibrant high flying album.