January 2010 Archives

Sonya Cotton - Red River

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Sonya Cotton - Red River (self released) [upcoming shows] [audio]

Sonya Cotton has delivered another lovely album, keeping her overall identity intact while growing as a songwriter and performer. Rife with metaphor, spare yet lush, "Red River" has more complex arrangements than her previous work - a full band joins in instrumentation and vocals - but maintains her hushed folk sensibilities. In fact, many of the songs feel almost like hymns (and I thought that even before I noticed that one has "hymn" in its name). You should hear her voice.

One-Two - The Story of Bob Star

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One-Two - The Story of Bob Star (Four Music) [audio]

A pop opera doesn't come along every day, and if one did it wouldn't necessarily consist of crazy French accents over disco-beats that would charm the pants off of you. While One-Two has a sound of their own, songs like "Annie Mall" with its early-'80s punky new-wave guitar and the Spoon-like "Slippery Shoes" quickly demonstrate the band's ability to diversify their sound while giving you melodies that will stay with you once the disc stops spinning.
The Most Powerful Telescope in the Universe - The Moonlight's Fair Tonight (Data Was Lost / Ionik) [free download] [audio]

When Ionik and Data Was Lost combine for a release, you can expect a good dose of electro-pop and indie rock. A great concept- taking members from bands in both camps - Swissfarlo, Coltrane Motion, MW Ensemble - and throwing them together in a remote cabin once per year pound out an album. "Last of the Incas" recalls the Stone Roses while "Reach for the Stars" is the closest they come to getting the inevitable New Order comparisons. On the less synthy tracks, you also have what could be a Pavement instrumental outtake and also traces of a Built to Spill influence.

Kelly Jones - SheBANG!

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Kelly Jones - SheBANG! (self released) [audio]

SheBANG! is a superb combination of '60s girl group swagger and '80s pop rock. On the opening track "There Goes My Baby", Ms. Jones struts her sweetness with such shockingly shameless self-assurance that you'll want to be sitting down before hitting the play button, while new wavy tracks like "Girl with the Silver Lining" prove she's more than pure bubblegum. With the Northeast's finest power-poppers on board (including Mike Viola, Ducky Carlisle & Adam Schlesinger), the result is one delightful toe-tapper after another.
The Orange Velvets - Fuzz, Beautiful Fuzz (Cherry Lemonade) [audio] [upcoming shows]

Male and female sharing vocals on overly brief garage rock with simplistic lyrics. Influences must also include The Beach Boys (see Infections) but the title sums it up - everything has a layer of fuzz and reverb on this - particularly, the vocals and guitars. There's a couple of mellower tracks and one lonely harmonica solo. While this may recall The Jesus and Mary Chain (who have also heard the Beach Boys comparisons themselves), there is hardly any hint of the piercing distortion you may find on the latter.
Jay Farrar & Benjamin Gibbard - One Fast Move or I'm Gone (Atlantic) [audio] [upcoming shows]

The thought of Son Volt's Jay Farrar and Death Cab's Ben Gibbard collaborating on heartfelt Americana tunes sets your expectations high. The problem is that this isn't all that special. If you haven't heard Farrar's heartfelt Americana before, then you haven't heard Farrar. Hearing Gibbard tread in this territory is refreshing, but not a far stretch from his other solo recordings. As track numbers swap vocalists, you'll yearn for a Gibbard/Farrar duet with trade-off vocals. You'll keep listening, but you won't get it.

Grant Hart - Hot Wax

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Grant Hart - Hot Wax (CON D'OR Records) [audio] [shows]

Grant Hart's first studio release in a decade, featuring members of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, A Silver Mt. Zion, and Rank Strangers, most resembles his solo debut "Intolerance." Like most of his solo work, there's a healthy dose of keyboards and his ode to American furniture designer Charles Hollis Jones features a carnival organ. While commercial potential never seems to be a factor in his music, it's a shame the only appreciation Hart seems to get are from those people who remember the band he was in over twenty years ago.

Propagandhi - Supporting Caste

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Propagandhi - Supporting Caste (Smallman) [audio] [upcoming shows]

Supporting Caste!!!!!......get it!!????!! It's a pun!!! Ugh, another lousy pun. Anyways, Propagandhi is back and keeping up their fondness for metal-inspired punk. Fans of "I'd Rather Be Flag-Burning" or basically anything from the '90s will be brutally disappointed. Sure it rocks, but the message is far too forthright to be considered tongue-in-cheek, and this gets old quick. Real quick! Back in the mid-90s when punksters were debating whether or not the singer was gay was when I stopped caring. I'm going to listen to The Weakerthans in protest.

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This page is an archive of entries from January 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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