PopMatters home | short takes home | archives

PopMatters Music Short Takes
our brief reviews of new releases

e-mail print comment

16 June 2006

Recyclone & soso, Stagnation and Woe (Clothes Horse)
soso, the idiosyncratically-capital-letter-averse beatsmith behind Canada's fiercely independent Clothes Horse Records, makes shimmering, gorgeous, and unbelievably beautiful beats. His are the perfect piano chords behind the best work of artists from the charismatically-nerdy Epic to, well, soso himself, clear and clean and poetic like the stark black-and-white album art. Recyclone, on the other hand, is a dark whirl of an MC. He spits tumbly verses of flowing apocalyptica, dark visions and pain: "Mechanism of mentality creates car smashing demonology and orgiastic crowbar slavery," the disc begins, adding later on within the first track, "Homeless kittens tossed to the gutter like bent bobby pins and used Q-tips / ...Plastic finger nails, crunched up empty cigarette packages". How, then, do these two styles work when put together? The answer, surprisingly, is such: entirely perfectly. Recyclone's nimble abstractions of urban collapse fit soso's production here to a tee, especially when soso switches up his usual style by mixing in elements of subtly chaotic machinery noise in the background. The percussive sound effects are never enough to quite mar the beauty of the beat, but they add a darker feeling that complements Recyclone's lyrics well. Together, the two artists build and sustain a pitch-perfect mood of strikingly bleak, utter hopelessness, a mood that would probably wear thin if the album didn't end after only seven tracks. Album-closer "The Introduction" blazes its way out on a wonderfully different note, Recyclone's voice shifting and glowing with emotion as soso's beat explodes with new, ominous energy and MC after dope abstract MC shows up to drop a verse. The aptly-named Stagnation and Woe may be short, but it's a masterfully-executed, brilliant mood piece of a short album: worth every red-eyed, sleepless cent. [Insound]
      — Michael Frauenhofer
"Gearbox Therapy": [MP3]
"Episodes of Constant Torture": [MP3]

Spy, Spy (Deathray)
Spy work hard to create an underground mystique: their self-titled debut album (recorded by Steve Albini, natch) is available only on white vinyl or by free download, and the band's press release really pushes phrases such as the Spy's "somewhat mysterious mien." It all seems like a cynical cross between those fake-indie labels used to build hipster cred in the 1990s and the more sophisticated viral marketing of today, but for a few songs it works: "Blame the Fakers" busts out of the gates like everything the Strokes were supposed to be, with garagey guitar attitude and a singer pretending to be bored while sarcastically mentioning his wounded heart, and "Underground" explodes like Depeche Mode filtered through Fugazi, all glam and grit and pop grandeur. Alas, Spy takes a quick turn for the worse, with a series of bland midtempo songs closer to Hoobastank ballads. On "Break My Mind" the band sounds too preoccupied wondering what its stilted guitar lines will sound like shooting for the arena rafters to bother writing an actual song, and by the time singer Chad Etchison declares "the end is nigh" soon thereafter, one could only wish it were so. Things rebound near the actual end with some tracks that recapture the verve and momentum of the opening duo, but Spy ultimately remains an inauspicious debut; fortunately for the band, their capacity for blandness bodes well for their presumed plan to conquer the world after it wins its indie scene points. [Insound]
      — Whitney Strub
Entire album, free download: [MP3]
Rock / Indie  

Various Artists, South Beach Sounds: Miami Music Week Vol. 1 (Immergent)
This odd CD/DVD compilation seeks to capture the vibe of Miami's annual Winter Conference, a weekend-long debauchery of the dence music industry, but feels more like a schwag-bag promo disc. The DVD side is laughable, an amateur documentary of girls dancing outside in bikinis and leading questions of big-name DJs as to why Miami and the conference are so great. And then there's the music: the nine tracks on the CD side include three artists -Ė Murk, Infusion, and Pete Tong -Ė with two tracks apiece. So, no points for creativity in the mix; and the songs themselves are on the whole forgettable, a mix of at best not-very-progressive house, with throwback trance elements and a commercial sheen. At worst, we get Tong's plodding "Ka Da Ta", a bad chillout groove. The only things worth a listen are the two tracks by Australian dance act Infusion (both of which are included on the UK version of the band's latest release, Six Feet Above Yesterday). "Daylight Hours" opens in tinkling reverie, recalling the group's Phrases & Numbers days, before morphing into an Australian-accented, continually shifting chant with a jittery undercurrent of dirty electro. And "Natural" is a straight-up dance-rock anthem. Apart from these, just wait for this one to turn up in the one dollar bin. [Insound]
      — Dan Raper

South Beach Sounds - Miami Music Week Vol. 1>

Ellery, Lying Awake (Virt)
Husband and wife whose surname, oddly enough, is not Ellery. It's Golden, as in Tasha and Justin. And for three albums and many tours, they've been delivering many golden musical moments. Using Tasha's fragile but still solid vocals as the centerpiece for near pristine adult contemporary pop like "Anna" and the deliberate piano panache of "Be Like This" with the drums way off in the distance, letting the guitars seize the musical controls that brings to mind 10,000 Maniacs at the top of their game. Meanwhile, "Song For Lovers" has a subtle alt.country undercurrent that keeps it simple and folksy. Doing what they do best, and doing it better than a lot, makes even the percussion-driven tunes that branch out like "Long Coat On" work almost too smoothly. Only during the melodramatic ditties such as "The Simple Things" and "Some Lovely Story" does it get rather slick, polished and sterile. But for some reason, Ellery returns to form with "Know Better Now" that could've been found on any recent Emmylou Harris album. [Insound]
      — Jason MacNeil
multiple songs: [MySpace]
Pop / Acoustic / Folk  

.: posted by Editor 4:02 AM

15 June 2006

Be Your Own Pet, Summer Sensation EP (Ecstatic Peace!)
Before their self-titled debut album even hit American stores, the young and fresh-faced punks of Be Your Own Pet were already plagued with Strokes syndrome. While first single "Damn Damn Leash" was nearly universally lauded as an enthusiastic sugar rush of raw energy, the tide was beginning to shift as the general hipster consensus became "over-hyped, derivative, sounds too much like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs". Be Your Own Pet do sound like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, but so do a lot of other guy-fronted groups, and this dismissal by comparison seems like both too easy of a knock and one rooted more in lead singer Jemina Pearl's gender than anything else. Be Your Own Pet are not, admittedly, genius messiahs of innovation heralding a new age for music, but the guy that invented the guitar only comes about once every 5,000 years, and BYOP bring a refreshing skill, energy, and excitement to what they do. At its worst moments, their new EP Summer Sensation is entirely enjoyable pop-post-punk, and at its best, it's undeniably, fuzzily, yelpingly catchy. Opener "Bicycle, Bicycle"'s thundering hook, "We're on two wheels, baby", is indelible, and "Fire Department" brings Jemina squealing out her words with infectiously angsty delight. The slower saunter of "Take That Walk" is a strong emotional climax as well, but the most memorable moments are those like this in "Bicycle, Bicycle": "Have fun / And be safe with it," Jemina sings, her voice immediately cracking with sheer exuberance into "Just kidding / Fuck shit up!". Earnestly: they mean it. As if it was the first time. [Insound]
      — Michael Frauenhofer
multiple songs: [MySpace]
"Bicycle Bicycle You Are My Bicycle" [video]: [quicktime]
Rock / Noise Pop  

Be Your Own Pet - Adventure

Micah P. Hinson, The Baby and the Satellite (Jade Tree)
Micah P. Hinson's debut, And the Gospel of Progress, gained about as much publicity for its backstory (growing out of homelessness, prescription drug addiction, heartbreak at the hands of an ex-Vogue cover girl) as its music, a whisky-sodden acoustic reverie on lost love. Hinson's debut EP, The Baby And The Satellite, was actually recorded before those songs, and is presented here both in original (as a 30-minute single track), and re-recorded form. An interesting choice, since Hinson's covered, Bill Callahan-like voice can be overwhelming after a while, but the songs generally hold up to the repeat treatment; of course, the re-recordings are cleaner and fuller, and you may find yourself switching off before track nine. "The Dreams You Left Behind" (which returns in reprise) hovers delicately over military drums, a fragile Civil War melody; "For Your Eyes", with the chord progression from Amandine's "Union Falls", is similarly gorgeous. But the drum machine explosion of "The Last Charge of Lt. Paul" are out of place, a starkly odd choice. Throughout, Hinson's voice communicates drunken indifference, a startling and alienating effect that is somehow hypnotic. [Insound]
      — Dan Raper
"The Leading Guy": [MP3]
multiple songs: [MySpace]
"Caught In-Between (demo)": [MP3]
"Possibilities (demo)": [MP3]
Indie Pop  

Micah P. Hinson - Yard of Blonde Girls

Cue the Doves, Architectures of the Atmosphere (Dead Letter)
It had to happen. Emo has become fairly predictable, a genre now reliable enough in its constraints to be one of the more radio-friendly forms of "alternative" music around. Minnesota's Cue the Doves aims to buck all trends with its debut album, Architectures of the Atmosphere. A gorgeous title, don't for a second be misled into thinking you'll be in for some airy and expansive post-rock, or a long, cool expanse of ambient electronica. The pummeling assault of high-speed riffs coming your way will quickly obliterate any ethereal daydreams the album's name might have evoked (trust me on that). The lyrics, however, are astrally concerned, inspired by lead singer Ryan VonBergen's obsession with science fiction, extraterrestrial life, and alien abductions. No, these are not the typical heart-on-sleeve themes of emo. Nor is the music confined to that genre. While emo provides a leaping off point, the guitars are more screechy than buzzy. This shred-ready sound, combined with the band's breakneck tempos, veers too close to thrash metal terrain for its won good. Cue the Doves aims for post-hardcore, but it mostly just creates a mess, with its awful distortions making mud of its fast-paced, precision breaks. Perhaps a tighter and more tuneful attempt at this combination of approaches lies in Cue the Doves' future, but Architectures of the Atmosphere misses the mark. [Insound]
      — Michael Keefe
multiple songs: [MySpace]
Experimental / Rock / Hardcore  

The Exeter Popes, The Exeter Popes (White Shoe)
This three-song EP by The Exeter Popes would make fans of bands like Belle and Sebastian, The Smiths and Morrissey somewhat happy. Short and to the point, the group paints a pretty sonic picture with the lovely but simple "The Moon Is Red" with its subtle keyboards and other knickknacks thrown in. The New York band nails the song without any problems thanks to lead singer Stephen Lipuma's deft touches. Just as appealing, although not as grandiose is "Temporary Skin' that brings to mind Travis covering Radiohead. The only thing missing is a loud, bruising guitar solo that could fit well over the rhythm section. The closing tune is "King Waltzer" that takes on, you guessed it, a waltz-like pop hue. On the whole 'tis a very good introduction into what hopefully is an equally appealing debut album. [Insound]
      — Jason MacNeil
"Mr. Smith": [MP3]
"The Moon Is Red": [MP3]
multiple songs: [MySpace]
Indie / Progressive / Rock  

.: posted by Editor 8:52 AM

14 June 2006

The Bees (U.S.), High Society (ROAR)
Nashville indie breakouts The Bees have made the unfortunate mistake of sharing a name with an already-established British band, leading to confusion on the part of those who might discover them (thus the parenthetical). Those who have, however, will assure you that this band can stand on its own. High Society, the follow-up to their lush 2004 debut Starry Gazey Pie, is a deliciously fizzy '70s throwback with short, spunky tunes that are devoid of any jaded indie pose. The freshest tracks, opener "This Country Life" and the smooth "Hard Luck Tom" recall Elton John and Ben Folds, while others ("Ms. November", "Imaginary Girl") bring a breezy surf sound. The ending of the album drops off a little when Daniel Tashian's Rufus Wainwright-ish vocals become a bit too croon-y, but any missteps The Bees make are saved by their winning melodies and laid-back appeal. They've adapted the silly-smooth radio sound of the '70s for a new generation, sounding like Phoenix would if they came from Nashville, not France. These guys are certainly worth keeping an eye on -- it's only a matter of time before they knock out any similarly-named competition. [Insound]
      — Maura McAndrew
multiple songs: [MySpace]
Indie / Pop  

TiŽsto, In Search Of Sunrise 5: Los Angeles (Black Hole Recordings)
When TiŽsto cut the definitive remix of Delerium's "Silence" in 2000, it was the TiŽsto In Search of Sunrise Remix. It seems the incredibly popular Dutch trance DJ has been in that one long night for six years now. His characteristically shiny commercial trance is less of a novelty in the mainstream of dance than it was back then, but since we're in the business of selling an image, I can't imagine a style more fitting for Los Angeles; like a piece of clothing by Versace, TiŽsto's music is colourful, decadent and the slightest bit trashy. Think diva vocals and shiny, pulsing beats... and that's about it, for two hour-long CDs. Highlights come and go (like any night at a club) Ė- Fonserelli's "Moonlight Party" has a vocal that's infectiously, breathlessly enthusiastic, and Progression's "Technophobia" introduces a cool Tetris vibe. Other songs, though, like "Novocaine" by Kalafut & Fygle, feel like the soundtrack to a bad coming-of-age telemovie. But in general, at least the mixing's consistent, full of light and life. A little too treble-heavy to be a true reflection of a TiŽsto club night, but a competent and confident summer soundtrack for your headphones or car stereo. [Insound]
      — Dan Raper
multiple songs: [MySpace]
multiple videos: [official site]
Electronic / Trance  

TiŽsto - Live

DJ GQ, Let 'Em Know 17 [mixtape] (Cash Money)
None of the tracks on Let 'Em Know 17, the latest mixtape from DJ GQ (Miami's self-proclaimed "Mixtape King"), aspire to be high art. And, no surprise, none of them are. The mixtape's cover art is interesting enough in style -- oddly, sharply beautiful, like a hard-cut cutout softened at its edges -- but take a second look at what it portrays: DJ GQ and Birdman of Cash Money Records, in a luxurious Miami night scene replete with palm trees and gigantic, glittering jewelry. The mixtape itself is similar in concept: old wrapped in new, the flavor of the moment (electro-hyphy-snap-synthy beats and popular newer artists) working to enliven the same old hip-hop themes (shameless materialism, mindless machismo, and casual misogyny). If none of this bothers you, then you will no doubt enjoy this disc. In between the Busta Rhymes drone of "Love My Bitch" and too many tracks from the likes of Sizzla and Dirte Red come Biggie and Game spitting over "Tell Me When to Go" and two world premiere songs from Kanye West, but the better tracks here tend to get outweighed by the heavily-ominous synthesized club bangers from monotone hostile men. This may be commercial, disposable gangsta pop, but it's A-list gangsta pop; nevertheless, isn't an A-list shit still a shit? [Insound]
      — Michael Frauenhofer
multiple songs: [MySpace]

Japanese Sunday, Taps, Taps, Lights Out (Grayscale)
This San Diego quartet gets this album off on the wrong foot with "Cold Bright Blue Lights" that tedious before finally getting off the ground somewhat and leading into "Eight O'Clock Robot", trying to gain some much needed intensity. And they do reach some grand heights with this big, beefy indie rock track. But several of these songs don't live up to expectations, resulting in some noodle-ing of the highest order during "Kagaku" before again hitting some semblance of sonic pay dirt to close. However, they meander again with the rather ordinary, self-absorbed "First Shot Fired on a Blue A.M.". The record does have some redeeming moments with the somber but vast Radiohead-ish approach to "Tigers on Ships" and also with the fine Cure-lite "Search _ + Rescue" being definite highlights. Japanese Sunday though don't quite know where they're heading musically, resulting in an uneven and at times awkward listen. They show promise. They're just not quite there yet. [Insound]
      — Jason MacNeil
multiple songs": [MySpace]

.: posted by Editor 7:10 AM

13 June 2006

Au Revoir Simone, Verses of Comfort, Assurance & Salvation (XX)
Describing Au Revoir Simone as a Brooklyn low-fi bedroom electronic trio may turn some of you off Ė- used to turn me off, for sure Ė- but don't let it: ARS have produced a sumptuous mini-debut album, 30 minutes of sleepy music for staring out the window on a cloudy day, when you're not unhappy just quietly at peace. "Through the Backyards" opens with a gentle steamship-beat and the fluttering sound of electronic butterflies, a natural accompaniment for the flat female vocals, like a female Jose Gonzalez. At their more upbeat, like on "Hurricanes", the electric organ whirls around like Postal Service or, more appropriately, Decoder Ring Ė- though Au Revoir Simone are less experimental and in the end, less compelling with their la-la-la choruses and major melodies. And when they start singing "This message is for all the people / The people who are always waiting," it sounds like an attempt at Architecture in Helsinki-like spontaneity, but one that doesn't quite work out. Most of the time, though, Au Revoir Simone spin quiet-eyed wonder, with confident sophistication (you don't hear rubato in electronic music very often, it's really refreshing). Au Revoir Simone spin their bewitching melodies in gentle arcs, a melancholy soundtrack for you to float to on your own. [Insound]
      — Dan Raper
"Hurricanes": [MP3]
"Through the Backyards": [MP3]
multiple songs: [MySpace]
Indie / Pop / Electro  

Au Revoir Simone - Tour de Brooklyn Teaser

Dave Stoops, Spill Your Drink (Sevrin Songs)
Some artists are so influenced by others that they lose themselves in those influences. And while Dave Stoops comes off at times like a protťgť of people like Westerberg and Davies, songs such as "Burn Too Bright" seem a hair forced. But Stoops hits a better note with the lush, horn-tinted "Cricket Scores" that is different and almost a classic pop style. From here he sets his own high quality tone with the rudimentary but hook-filled "Satellite Star" and the slower, melodramatic "Carlysle Hotel" that sounds like an Americanized Pulp. And after these pleasers he can go back to the initial stuff without any bumps in the road. Not too rich for anyone's palette, a number such as "Wintergreen" brings to mind a contemporary Echo & The Bunnymen. However, the simplistic "Invisible Again" does nothing to make any impression on the listener. And if he wasn't inspired by Brit groups, take a second or ninth repeated listen to the head-bobbing "Pounds & Quids". And the Strokes-ian "Godless Ghost" isn't too shabby either. [Insound | CD Baby]
      — Jason MacNeil
"Cricket Scores": [MP3]
"Satellite Star": [MP3]
"Carlysle Hotel": [MP3]
multiple songs: [MP3]
Pop / Britpop  

Jovina Santos Neto, Roda Carioca (Adventure Music)
Born in Rio de Janeiro, long based in Seattle, as flautist and/or pianist the composer Santos Neto has performed a wide range of Brazilian and "Legit" music, as well as jazz. classical, as composer and pianist and flautist. He doesn't just play a little bit, he's a strong jazz pianist, here presented with a solid trio as on the opening "Estrela do Mar", augmented pretty expertly with various not altogether guests: he dubbed the melodica on "Marfim", and his solo swings like the clappers; as does Hamilton de Holanda's mandolin on "Gente Boa". Fabio Pascoal is added on percussion on these and a couple others, and Fabio's pappy, Ermeto, Santos Neto's sometime boss, plays melodica and various informal odds and ends on a tune of his own. The one title with vocal has some gutsy, real jazz singing from Joyce, who (if you didn't know) calls herself just that. She has left her guitar at home. For all that this is wider appeal music, not aggressive but often vivid -- like the first tracks mentioned abovem and the perky samba for trio, "Festa de Ere", to give another example. Nothing's watered down, and there's nothing gimmicky about "Coco na Roda": with Fabio Pascoal and the trio's bassist and drummer Rogerio Botter Maio, and Marcio Bahia, the leader provides the rest of the band, dubbing his own flute (twice) and accordion. This isn't one of the cases Klezmer enthusiasts and Hispanophiles can complain about, of an aggressive notion of jazz elbowing out or enslaving ethnic music. It's not even a marriage, it's a coexistence in one. The liner notes feature a glossary of Portuguese cultural and musical terms, as if the gentler samba "Homeopatia" had some deeper meaning in its title. Marcos Amorim's acoustic guitar is perfect in the ballad "Rancho Azul", and the two harmonicas on the harmonically rich "Bach-te-Vi" are both Gabriel Grossi, who thought he was recording two takes from which one would be chosen for dubbing over the piano trio track. Santos Neto used both, don't call him the slightly compromising "clever": ingenious is truer, alongside senstitive, vivacious, play it again. [Insound]
      — Robert R. Calder
song samples: [MP3]
jazz / Brazilian Jazz / Post-Bop  

Daniel Cirera, Honestly I Love You (Cough) (Tommy Boy)
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: [MP3]
Emo / Indie / Acoustic  

Daniel Cirera - Motherfucker Fake Vegetarian Ex-girlfriend [Live in Hamburg]

.: posted by Editor 7:42 AM

12 June 2006

Head Control System, Murder Nature (The End)
Metal music can be incredibly incestuous at times, with side projects sprouting up in every direction, featuring numerous members from different bands, but as compelling as many of them are, few manage to sounds as fascinating and attention-grabbing as Head Control System does. The brainchild of Portugal's Daniel Kardoso (from Sirius) and Norway's Kristoffer "Garm" Rygg (he of Ulver and Arcturus notoriety), Murder Nature has the duo sidestepping the refined black metal of their bands in favor of an absorbing hybrid of art rock and melodic metal. Kardoso is the brains behind the music, incorporating the rhythmic riffing of Meshuggah, the mechanical sounds of Fear Factory, and the majestic, tuned-down chords of Tool, but it's Rygg who makes the album so enthralling. Arguably one of the very best male vocalists in metal today, he brings his usual knack for melodies that blindside the listener, best exemplified by such tracks as "Skin Flick", "Baby Blue", "Masterpiece (of Art)", and the darkly gorgeous "Wonderworld". Underlying it all is a strong sense of eroticism, lurking in the cascading piano, the abrasive guitars, the pulsating drumming, and Rygg's falsetto, ranging from enigmatic innuendo to pure unadulterated lust, the likes of which we rarely hear in the often asexual realm of cutting-edge metal. A tremendous album. [Insound]
      — Adrien Begrand
"Skin Flick": [MP3]
multiple songs: [MySpace]

Belle Rose, Place Your Bets Mixtape (Plug Entertainment)
While hype has been building on the West Coast for up-and-coming MCs A.C. Tatum and B.no of Belle Rose, their latest mixtape, Place Your Bets, proves them not quite the "future of West Coast G-funk" that they claim to be. They flow well, competently, and adequately, but often only that: they're better than your average mixtape MC, but there's nothing really stellar or mind-blowing to differentiate them from legions of regional prospects. The production is similarly professional but unmemorable, with few exceptions: "Give It to Me" mixes sadly contemplative chills of synth with thumpy-thundery drums, while "Just Love Me" is a nice soul groove and "G'd Up" an uptempo bustle of zippy bass and clattering, busy percussion. Songs like "Dreams" and "Tell Me" show hints of deeper lyricism from the pair, but every track in this vein is balanced out by a "Take Your Bitch" or boasting "freestyle": "Up in the suite, you could prob'ly fit your house in it / The hot tub, yeah, I'm chillin' with your spouse in it". In general, Belle Rose do just enough, and they do it well, even garnering a mixtape-opening spoken introduction from West Coast g-funk king Snoop Dogg himself -- but maybe there's a reason he didn't stay to drop a verse. [HipHopWest.com]
      — Michael Frauenhofer
multiple songs: [MySpace]

Ugetsu, Live at the Cellar (CellarLive)
Ugetsu is a Canadian sextet ostensibly influenced by Art Blakey's early 1960s Jazz Messengers and certainly a considerable advertisement for Vancouver's Cellar Club. Since they can't possess Blakey's greatness at the drums, and are musical and intelligent, they adopt a different balance. Blakey was prominent and not unsubtle, Bernie Arai is subtle and settles nicely behind Andre Lachance's splendid bass. The opening trumpet solo after a great entry displays Brad Turner's nice big tone out of the Clifford Brown bag, Jon Bentley's tenor saxophone is soft in the line of Benny Golson, maybe Hank Mobley, and the mellow side of the music is clear in "That Old Feeling", largely a solo feature for Ross Taggart's piano, the one venerable standard in a programme which begins with Wayne Shorter's "Backstage Sally" and lets Arai show his tom-tom facility behind Turner in Joe Henderson's "Caribbean Fire Dance", distinguished later by Taggart's entry to give Rod Murray's trombone solo its second wind. The other five titles are from band members, Jon Buckley's "Chowder" opening with nice ensemble -- Murray a notable presence -- before the composer takes off. Checking a detail when writing this review I found Lachance's bass had got my foot tapping. This is a very good band, presumably on their best nights some patrons of the estimable joint where this set was recorded live will ask: why do we need guests. Well, presumably some of the biggies these guys have played with put them on their mettle. And on their mettle they hear surely are! [Insound]
      — Robert R. Calder
song samples: [streaming]
jazz / Township Jazz  

Tim Lee, Concrete Dog (Fundamental)
Tim Lee is a Southern musician, so it's no surprise that this album is power pop with Southern rock or alt.country flavoring, particularly on the jangle-y title track that kickstarts the record. Supported by a nifty and seasoned supporting cast, Lee glides through these tunes without much problem as the gritty, Byrds-ish "Half-Life" brings to mind an early Steve Earle prior to Exit O. Formerly one half of the Windbreakers with Bobby Sutliff, Lee is able to make the most out of the rapid "Alone Together" that recalls a Tom Petty b-side. And "Get Up, Get Up" has that crunchy, boogie feeling that John Fogerty mastered long ago. It still holds up here though. Generally, Lee excels on the tight, power pop of "Real Bad Habit", not reinventing the wheel but just giving it a spit shine instead. The lone problem is how many of the songs, although strong, seem to blend into one another such as "Live Through Me" and "Black & White To Me". But thankfully "Greyhound From Jackson", with its Neil Young overtones, is a surprising jewel. [Insound]
      — Jason MacNeil
multiple songs: [player]
multiple songs: [MySpace]
rock / Alternative Pop / Jangle Pop  

.: posted by Editor 7:24 AM


In bold are PopMatters Picks, the best in new music.
Abe Duque
be your own PET
Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys
The Bottle Rockets
The Brand New Heavies
Johnny Cash
Slaid Cleaves
Elvis Costello & Allen Toussaint
Cut Chemist
Miles Davis
Dinosaur Jr.
Dr. Octagon
Alejandro Escovedo
Fatboy Slim
Four Tet
The Handsome Family
Matthew Herbert
Ise Lyfe
Jefferson Airplane
Lord Jamar
Mission of Burma
Mr. Lif
Mojave 3
Allison Moorer
Paul Oakenfold
Grant-Lee Phillips
The Procussions
Corinne Bailey Rae
Ramblin' Jack Elliott
Julie Roberts
Diana Ross
7L & Esoteric
Alice Smith
Snow Patrol
Sonic Youth
Soul Asylum
Sound Team
Regina Spektor
Sufjan Stevens
Matthew Sweet
Rhonda Vincent
Thom Yorke

Baby Dayliner
The BellRays
Cat Power
The Clientele + Great Lakes
The Coup + T-Kash
Mike Doughty Band
Download Festival 2006
Fiery Furnaces + Man Man
The Futureheads
The Handsome Family
High Sierra Music Festival
Billy Idol
Bettye Lavette
Love Parade
Nine Inch Nails + Bauhaus
Sonic Youth
Splendour in the Grass 2006
The Streets
Sunset Rubdown

advertising | about | contributors | submissions
© 1999-2011 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters.com™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks of PopMatters Media, Inc. and PopMatters Magazine.