In this, the third annual Forward Fives selection, we celebrate the year’s cultural output with a series of deliberately eclectic choices in music, performance, exhibitions, books and film. Here we present five of the most important Jewish music releases of 2011. Feel free to argue with and add to our selections in the comments.
My musically sophisticated Orthodox friends often tell me that they are not interested in Jewish music. It’s not hard to see why. If you take the material produced by the Orthodox pop industry, it’s often just the frum equivalent of Justin Timberlake, or over-produced boys choirs backed up by obnoxious electronics and phony string arrangements.
As their name suggests, Pitom comes on suddenly. On Wednesday night, while pedestrians clustered outside a grungy Lower East Side dive bar ogling President Obama’s motorcade on its way to and from Anna Wintour’s hush-hush fundraiser, the raucous four-piece band took the stage inside and delivered a far more exciting show.