On his website, Little Shalimar, aka Torbitt Schwartz, describes himself as “a Lebanese, Jewish, WASP, Kentucky Colonel that grew up writing graffiti in Flatbush, Brooklyn and going to art rock shows in Louisville, KY.” Add to that his time in the dance funk band Chin Chin and his experience as a DJ, and this extensive array of influences may begin to explain the fusion of genres present in Little Shalimar’s debut EP, The New Pneumonia Blues.
The album kicks off with “Lady,” a song initially reminiscent of The Black Keys, and it only gets funkier from thereon out. From the kazoo and keyboard action on “Bad Position” to the horn section on “Love in LA,” there’s an extra element that makes The New Pneumonia Blues more interesting than the average pop rock album. Little Shalimar deviates from the successful rhythmic, guitar-driven nature of the other songs on the more electronic “Beat Bash,” but he redeems himself on “You Say You Like It.” Even when Little Shalimar is getting blown down by the “Winds of Wackness,” he’s clearly having a great time.
The New Pneumonia Blues EP is available for free on Little Shalimar’s website, www.littleshalimar.com. If the promise of good, fun music isn’t enough to make you check it out, then do so because it’s free (and legal)!
-Tess O’Connor, host of Tunes with Tess, Mondays 2-3pm on WGTB