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24 February 2006

Matters & Dunaway, Hightech (Symmetric) Rating: 6
Matters & Dunaway are up to their necks in electronica, but is a very good kind of electronica that brings to mind M83 at times. Sweeping arrangements make songs such as "Rna" soar without sounding too over-produced. Meanwhile, "Memorial" features a darker mood along the lines of The Cure or Moby on a downer. A few tracks stretch out into six to seven minutes, including a punchier "Vitrify" that is driven heavily by the electronica but again takes on a mournful, somber tone at times, bringing to mind Air without the funny, inane capes that they wear. There isn't much diversity in the album, but the tandem does make each song count, including another rather electro-lush ditty entitled "Align" that contains an intricate bass line. Other highlights include "Fire Drips Down" with its ambient flare and tension. As well, the lengthy and interesting "Traveler" moves from some simple piano on the intro into something rather experimental yet ethereal. — Jason MacNeil [Insound]
"Memorial": [MP3]
"Keep Reachin'": [MP3]
"Fire Drips Down": [MP3]

Head Wound City, Head Wound City (Three One G) Rating: 5
Anyone curious what a collaboration between members of the Blood Brothers, the Locust and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs would sound like can now rest content: Head Wound City has answered the query. Actually, the band mostly sounds like the Blood Brothers circa two albums ago, since BB singer Jordan Blilie and guitarist Cody Votolato are running the show here with hyper vocal shrieks and squeals and manic guitar spasms; the Locust's rhythm section appears in order to occasionally shove things in a more grindcore direction, but Head Wound City never approaches the Locust's extremism. YYY's Nick Zinner contributes plenty of screeching feedback and probably most of the fanbase, who will not find a follow-up to "Maps" here. Instead, we get seven songs in ten minutes that leave little impression. "Prick Class" has some amusing lyrics ("So you've aced the prick class/Moustache for extra credit"), and things pick up in intensity as they go, but given how musically promiscuous all involved are, it's no surprise that Head Wound City suffers from side-project-burnout: it sounds like five mutual admirers getting together, spending a week hanging out, and writing and recording an EP as an afterthought. — Whitney Strub [Insound]
multiple tracks: [myspace]

Brian Blain, Overqualified for the Blues (Northern Blues) Rating: 6
If you don't mind cutesy-poo song titles like "Saab Story" and "Hi-Tech Blues" and the one that gives this album its title, this isn't too bad. Blain's been making records for more than 30 years, and he's got a little charm and some nice chops. This is the kind of record that appeals directly to other people just like Brian Blain (60-year-old white blues-loving guys with beards), but it might have some appeal outside that demographic as well, especially when he bags on stupid label guys who don't actually listen to poor hard-working Canadian blues singer-songwriters in clubs. Because that's, like, punk rock, right? — Matt Cibula [Insound]
"The Big Fire": [MP3]
"No More Meetings": [MP3]
"Blues Is Hurting": [MP3]

Various Artists, Comomusic Anthology 1990-2005 Volume 2 (Painfully Midwestern) Rating: 4
This compilation would be a great souvenir for a week spent exploring Columbia's music scene (which must be composed largely of straightforward rock bands), but it doesn't work so well as a general music collections. Too few of the bands distinguish themselves, leaving the two discs to be primarily a series of forgettable bar band numbers. The groups who do stick out, like post-punkers Untamed Youth, deserve the attention they might get from this disc. Oddly, the collection's best music finds itself buried in the middle of the second disc. In a four-song run, Digiki (plus guests) drops a fun hick-hop number, Mark Speckman creates a soft atmposphere through his glitch-pop, The People's Republic of Klezmerica performs the comp's least likely style, and Bald Eagle brings dance-rock riffs that are sure to incite, well, at least dancing. Over the course of 44 tracks, though, you're unlikely to stay hooked unless you're already familiar with the scene. Or had a really good visit. — Justin Cober-Lake [Insound]

.: posted by Editor 7:29 AM

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