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12 July 2006

Track a Tiger, Woke up early the day I died (Future Appletree)
Dear Track a Tiger, I am so so so sorry for my late correspondence. For I really feel after listening to Woke up early that you are truly interested in the two-way communication only good music can offer. You know as struggling up-and-comers how hard it is to get people to take a chance on unknowns. That's because 99% of the aluminum filling up record stores is made by people who want to talk to us rather than with us. But from the first clattering drum beat of "Glad to Be Scattered" onward, I knew you weren't like that. Apart from conjuring the best moments of Yo La Tengo, Ida, and other champions of atmospheric indie pop and soothing boy/girl harmonies, you make me want to dance awkwardly to "Happy" and write long, understanding apologies to mistreated ex-girlfriends because of "Seashaken Heart". Seriously, that twittering guitar thingie you've got going on "Happy" has already earned me many a puzzled look from passersby. I wish you a long career with a full mailbox. [Insound]
      — Michael Metivier
"Glad to Be Scattered ": [MP3]
"Sound As Ever": [MP3]
"Seashaken Heart": [MP3]
multiple songs: [MySpace]
Alternative / Folk Rock  

Anushka Pop, Akathena (Sassy Boy)
This Boston power-pop band's second EP opens with some delightfully buzzing songs redolent of blue-album Weezer. In a less corrupt, rigidified radio world, a song like "Gurlfriend", with its irresistible melody and cheerfully straightforward lyrics, might be a hit. As it is, it will be driving music for the select few who investigate Anushka Pop's bubbling confections. Singer/guitarist John Soares fires off exuberant shouts, bassist Johnny Arguedas grounds things with harmony vocals, and drummer Chris Welch has a knack (the Knack, even) for finding the right beat to keep things light but rocking. The band cites inspiration from '70s heroes like the Raspberries and the Cars, but its sharper guitar tone more accurately recalls '90s power-poppers like the Smoking Popes -- a fine enough reference point, to be sure. Akathena trails off a bit on the second half of its seven tracks, but it's still worthwhile on the basis of its front end, which announces the band as a refreshing remedy to the current crop of vaguely-similar pop-punk bands less steeped in the melodic tradition. [Insound]
      — Whitney Strub
multiple songs: [MySpace]
multiple songs: [official site]
Power pop  

Viva La Foxx, I Knew It Wasn't Love But... (Shake It)
Pop quiz: Is "Viva La Foxx" the name of a band or the name of a gentlemen's club? Possible answers are: (a) a band, (b) a gentlemen's club, (c) both, and (d) neither. Got your answer? All right, if you answered "(c) both" (why is "c" always the right answer?), you hit the jackpot, which, in this case, consists completely of bragging rights. Of course, there's the additional gem of discovering the Cincinnati, Ohio rock band Viva La Foxx. Composed of Amy Jo on vocals and guitar and Danielle B. on bass, Viva La Foxx's guitar and distortion will blow your speakers out. The guitar is wild and the lead voice often sounds like a transmission through a walkie-talkie, which is actually real cool. When it comes to rockin' out, Viva La Foxx will pass the test. The eight songs on this release sound very much like an attempt to whet your appetite for the live shows rather than functioning as a stand-alone album. In this regard, the songs succeed. Accompanied by Pearlene's Reuben Glaser as co-vocalist and on guitar, the group calls its sound a "wrecking ball cabaret" and "a chorus line on broken heels". Of their original tunes, "Fake It" and "Dirty Drill" are top-notch rockers. The band also gets the job done nicely when covering "Doctor" by the Outsiders and "Clubnite" by Teddy & the Frat Girls. For the full effect, though, you gotta hear 'em jam in person. [Insound]
      — Quentin B. Huff
multiple songs: [MySpace]
multiple songs: [official site]

Anaís, Así Soy Yo (Univision)
Anaís Martinez won the opportunity to record this album when she came first in a Puerto Rican reality pop show called Objetivo Fama. She's 21 years old, has never really recorded anything before, bless her, and, as the photographer takes care to point out, she has a nice, flat tummy decorated with a tattoo of a Chinese dragon that is trying to crawl down the front of her pants. The songs on Así Soy Yo are pretty much what you would expect: slow power pop ballads (parts of "Estoy Con Él Y Pienso En Ti" suggest Celine Dion's "Because You Love Me"); a loungey number; a brassy thing called "Sexo Sexo"; and a piece of hip-pop with a repeated run of notes so stabby and brittle that I swear they'll eat into your brain. The album gets juicier when the music starts showing off some Latino roots. "Como Olvidarte" charts a course from pop-tango into a pop-mariachi trumpet jag, with Anaís' voice sounding so sternly dramatic that you might grin with pleasure. Así Soy Yo comes in one- and two-disc versions. The second disc includes a few music videos, a photo gallery, and "La Historia: Escenas de su participatión en Objetivo Fama." Don't go out of your way to find it; the one-disc version should be fine. [Insound]
      — Deanne Sole
Latin / pop  

.: posted by Editor 7:13 AM

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