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Archive for September, 2009

CD Review – Dennis Diken with Bell Sound (Smithereens drummer goes solo)

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

Late Music
Cryptovision Records

Dennis Diken said that some of the aspects of his debut solo album have been lodged in his head since he was “5 or 6.” It sounds like it on the peppy “Long Lonely Ride” and the surfer-rock “Standing in That Line,” the latter of which was recorded with a four-track cassette. The album sounds like it came straight out of the 70’s, which isn’t surprising considering Diken and his collaborator Pete DiBella first worked together over 30 years ago. If you are a fan of pop music from 30-40 years ago, then this is the album for you. Otherwise, move along.

CD Review – Dodd Ferrelle

Friday, September 25th, 2009

Lonely Parades
2 Sheds Music

If there ever was someone who could do a spot-on Elvis Costello cover, it’s Dodd Ferrelle. His voice is like a carbon copy of Costello’s with a hint of Conor Oberst and Rhett Miller, especially on the remarkable upbeat title track. “Miss Bliss” sounds like it came directly from Oberst’s latest album, while “I Can’t Wait” is just a pure pop gem. Ferrelle has taken everything that is endearing about pop music, added a little flare, a little rock, and a lot of Costello to make an album that quietly one of the better summer albums to come out in quite a while.

CD Review – The Color Turning (Scott Weiland produced!)

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

Good Hands Bad Blood
Soft Drive Records

Even though this is produced by Scott Weiland, don’t expect another Stone Temple Pilots or Velvet Revolver album. The Color Turning is a band that lets their songs build into little modern rock masterpieces. The opening “Slow as Passing Cars” is almost seven minutes and there are barely any lyrics. But the song builds to a crescendo that keeps the listener hooked.

Each song is like that. The songs are not like what you would hear on rock radio. The band doesn’t hand the songs to you. You have to be actively listening to get the full effect of the songs individually and the album as a whole. Once you become an active listener than the album is a very rewarding listen and songs like “Marionettes in Modern Times” and “New Hooligan” become iPod staples.

CD Review – Slaraffenland – Any Dutch music lovers?

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

We’re On Your Side
Home Tapes

This dutch quintet loves them some art-rock…and math-rock…and combinations therein. On their latest Slaraffenland spend 10 songs making the point that five band members can sound like a thousand if you want them too. The last song on the album “Away” is the perfect example with percussion and brass swirled around the drums and guitars with what sounds like a light breeze. On “Hunted” they embrace their inner math rock with a sound that is very much like Pattern is Movement. Slaraffenland (which translated is “The Land of Milk and Honey”) is not for everybody, but those who are into artsy indie-rock, this album is one to check out.

CD Review – Sugarplum Fairies – Attn: Grey’s Anatomy fans!

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

Chinese Leftovers
Starfish Records

Equal parts shoegaze indie-pop and Americana, Sugarplum Fairies is a band that will just make you smile. “Hold On to Me” was a perfect choice to use in the season finale of “Grey’s Anatomy,” while “Smile” sounds like it came straight from the Arcade Fire’s cutting room floor. Channelling everybody from Belle and Sebastian to Mazzy Star and even a more melancholy Cardigans, Chinese Leftovers is a perfect album for a rainy day or sitting on your back porch on a cool Sunday morning with a warm cup of coffee.

CD Review – The Love X Nowhere, For all you Doves fans

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

High Score Blackout

The first full-length LP from this San Francisco band opens almost as a tribute to bands like Doves and My Morning Jacket with layers of vocals, guitars and other instruments creating a Jackson Pollack swirl of music on “Tomorrow’s Retreat” and continuing throughout the rest of the album through the closing track “Gooseberry.” The best track is “Din” which brings to life Roxy Music in its prime. The Love X Nowhere (pronounced The Love Times Nowhere): A little experimental, a little pop, a little indie, a lot of enjoyment.