Sheila Shahpari 

If you pick up a copy of Sheila Shahpari's debut full-length, What Is Real — and if you like soulful, restless rock music, you should — don't be frightened off by the opening track, "Black Coffee." In an oversight in track sequencing, Shahpari chose to start off her strong, varied disc with her weakest effort, a piece of boho coffeehouse funk that finds her quoting Cypress Hill's "Insane in the Brain," scat-singing and threatening to "get down with the funk." Now, this type of jammy, acoustic soul turns up again later (albeit more successfully on the title track), but the rest of the disc finds Shahpari trying on straight-ahead guitar rock, whimsical orchestral pop and low-lit vocal jazz.
Mon., March 8, 2010

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