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25 July 2006

Danko Jones, Sleep Is the Enemy (Aquarius)
Danko Jones eats, sleeps, breathes and several-other-verbs rock and roll, but importantly, the dude bleeds rock and roll. On his latest excellent CD -- is there any other kind from Danko? -- he cements his reputation as rock's most impassioned frontman. Sure, any rocker can do angry ("Now I give you the finger!!" he bellows on the AC/DC-indebted "The Finger") or cocksure (the swaggering "First Date", where he promises he kisses on the first date), but who else would be willing to John Bobbitt himself to get a girl's attention, as he offers to do on "Invisible"? Extremes aside, what sets Danko apart from the crowed is his willingness to share actual emotions. He has a hard time recovering from a break up on "Time Heals Nothing" and tells folks there's nothing wrong with not being in love ("Don't Fall in Love"). And anyone who's followed Jones' career will find SITE to be the best, most-various sounding album of his career, thanks to Jones' decision to cede full producing duties to Matt DeMatteo. A riff-fest with heart, Sleep Is the Enemy is one of the year's best hard rock records. [Insound]
      — Stephen Haag
"Baby Hates Me": [MP3]
"First Date": [MP3]
multiple songs: [MySpace]

Danko Jones - First Date

Alice Peacock, Who I Am (Peacock Music)
Women love this album. During the course of a single play at the bookstore where I work, three female customers floated up to the front counter, smiling quizzically and gesturing towards the ethers around them, asking, "Who is this?" Alice Peacock is who she is and Who I Am is the singer-songwriter's cozy second album. And, apparently, it produces sound waves that stimulate the release of estrogen, or endorphins, or maybe chamomile tea. Like Carole King's Tapestry did for our mothers, Peacock's piano-based songs create a womblike listening environ, all warm and safe as houses. No, her songwriting isn't as good as King's, but it's good enough, with nice movements within the tunes and structures that are sturdy. Her lyrics can yield mixed results, though. In "Here I Go Again", she'll give us a compelling "tempting fate out on the ledges", only to wimp out with a recycled phrase like "flirtin' with disaster". Still, her words manage to feel personal, which counts for a lot. The often busy orchestrations on Who I Am, however, sometimes fight the closeness created by the other components of the record. The remaining instruments (piano, bass, drums, a bit of guitar) are recorded warmly, and Peacock's voice is very supple and exacting, while coming across as totally relaxed. Fortunately, those orchestral arrangements stay out of the way often enough to allow easy enjoyment of this accomplished sophomore album. Yes, Alice's sound has found its way since her self-titled debut, which seemed content to blend in with the crowd. Who I Am, on the other hand, sits firmly on its own. Less artsy than Tori, more content than Fiona, less pop than Sheryl Crow, and prettier than Shawn Colvin, Alice Peacock has found her niche in the women's music market. And watch out, guys. You might get lured in, too. It's a very inviting niche, indeed. [Insound]
      — Michael Keefe
multiple songs: [MySpace]

Alice Peacock - Who I Am

David Ford, I Sincerely Apologize For All The Trouble I've Caused (Independente)
David Ford is a strange animal; one not previously catalogued by Animal Planet explorers. He's a singer/songwriter and an angry young man -- at the same time. No one knows how this crossbreeding ever happened, but he's definitely a creature worthy of our attention. In "State of the Union", Ford sarcastically announces: "With friends like these, who needs politicians?" Hmm, something tells me Mr. Ford has trouble finding guests for his dinner parties. He also isn't afraid to drop a few F-bombs here and there, as he does during "Cheer Up (You Miserable F***)." Ford sings all of these vitriolic little numbers over folk-rock arrangements. "What Would You Have Me Do?" stands out for its violin solo, and "I Don't Care What You Call Me" features a harmonica solo. "Don't Tell Me" even has a little twang-y guitar. David Ford answers the previously unconsidered question: What would happen if Elvis Costello possessed James Taylor's body? [Insound]
      — Dan MacIntosh
multiple songs: [MySpace]
Indie / singer-songwriter  

David Ford - State of the Union

Ben Adams Quintet, Old Thoughts for a New Day (Lunar Module)
New days sometimes need old thoughts, and sometimes old thoughts can be taken for new ones. It's only secondarily important, if at all, whether thoughts are old or new. Are they valid, true, good? Bobby Hutcherson with Eric Dolphy was probably the first to consolidate a rhythm section in which vibes took over from piano with a transformation of rhythmic profile. An outstanding pianoless recording some years ago, now under the drummer Tony Reedus's name with Steve Nelson's vibes and Dave Holland on bass presaged Nelson's continuing work in the latter's group. While this pianoless set's notes refer to that, its own rhythmic profile is actually that of a rhythm section with piano. Adams with especially Fred Randolph's powerhouse acoustic bass, combining well with Sameer Gupta, plays squarely, reversing the move made by Hutcherson and Nelson. Erik Jekabsen in taking the first solo on the opener, a lullaby, impresses at once, a pretty trumpeter. The leader tends to lag somewhat, excessively unhurried, and even his puissant bassist and drummer can't keep him from staying too far behind the beat. His compositions are however shapely, nicely varied, characterful, and his solo on "The Actual" manifests an impressive sense of structure and musical intelligence. The lack of spring in his step, maybe engrossment, a seeming lack of spontaneity, give this set an impression of the not fully realised. Mitch Marcus is also anything but a negligible tenor saxophonist. [Insound]
      — Robert R. Calder
multiple songs: [MP3]

Daniel Cirera, Honestly I Love You (Cough) (Tommy Boy Entertainment)
Daniel Cirera tries to be what could be loosely termed as a shock singer-songwriter. Playing by one's own rules are okay at times, but the jazzy pop opener "Motherf*cker-fake Vegetarian Ex-Girlfriend" sounds like something a bitter 13-year-old teen would hum but never put down on paper, let alone expect people to pay for. While the arrangement is fine, it's an average song at best. But "Roadtrippin'" is a much deeper and evolved effort, showing Cirera's folksy talent that brings to mind Eagle Eye Cherry. And the tension-building "She Rules the School" is another strong arrangement with less than impressive lyrics. The sparse "Sorry, SORRY, Sorry" sounds like a bland James Blunt. And "1992" refers to New Kids, Madonna and Faith No More in the vein that flash in the pan LFO did a few years back. Perhaps if there were instrumental versions of these songs it would be an improvement, but "Castle" manages to work by hook or by crook. The same can be said for "Dog". There are too many dogs on this record though, particularly the folksy cover of the Sex Pistols' "Anarchy in the UK". Okay, dog, I'll stop before I get Randy Jackson-itis.... [Insound]
      — Jason MacNeil
multiple songs: [MySpace]

Daniel Cirera - Motherfucker Fake Vegetarian Ex-Girlfriend

.: posted by Editor 8:53 AM

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