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Archive for January, 2010

CD Review – Robben Ford (Blues-rock)

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

Soul on Ten

Concord Records

Musician magazine called Robben Ford one of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of the 20th Century.” He proves it here on Soul on Ten. Eight of the 10 tracks were recorded live at The Independent in San Francisco, while the other two were recorded live in studio. The live renditions of these previously released songs (and three new tracks) add a depth that can only be captured in the live setting, especially on the 11-minute “Nothin’ to Nobody” and his B.B. King tribute “Indianola.” I had never heard of Robben Ford before this album. If you haven’t, then you need to. You are in for a real treat.

CD Review – The Scruffs (Classic pop, but is it worth it?)

Saturday, January 30th, 2010


This indie-pop band has been around for over three decades. Despite that, they are still putting out solid albums, and this time with some famous help. Members of Big Star, Belle & Sebastian, Teenage Fanclub and The Proclaimers all lend their hand to Conquest, The Scruffs seventh official album (they also have “Swingin’ Singles” and “Angst: The Early Recordings”). Compared to their last album Pop Manifesto, this album is all about the power chords and stick-in-your-head choruses, like the “Oo-Mau-Mau” chorus on “Curse of the Mau Mau.” This is a must listen for anyone who craves catchy pop with a vintage foundation.

CD Review – Finfangfoom (Loud building rock that is fantastic)

Thursday, January 28th, 2010


Lovitt Records

This album is what real rock is supposed to sound like. Building chords and choruses that climax into a grand and wonderous musical explosion. I haven’t heard slow-building rock this good since The Lost Stars b y Hope for the States. They toe the line of subtlety and a smack in the face, so well that you’d think they were rock gods. I do. The fact that a trio can sound more like an amped up symphony is something only musical geniuses can accomplish. I think the three in Finfangfoom are just that.

CD Review – Boy Genius (Pop music for those that don’t like pop music)

Thursday, January 28th, 2010



From the R.E.M.-sounding “Scatterbrain” to the ___ “Edison,” Boy Genius’ Staggering is just that. It is perfect pop music for those that don’t like pop music (or at least are afraid to admit it). Although most of the songs sound very similar, this is still an album worth checking out. If you like Beulah, The Feelies or a crisper sounding version of early R.E.M., then you will love Boy Genius.

CD Review – Summer Cats (dance-pop)

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Songs for Tuesdays

Slumberland Records

Clocking in at 33 minutes, the 13 tracks on the debut full-length album from Summer Cats will keep you moving. From the opening seconds of “Let’s Go!” to the closing moments of “Paperweight” the band play with enough urgency to keep you hooked, but they sneak in a little depth especially on with the boy-girl duet “In June.” Songs for Tuesdays is perfect for a summer drive, or just chillin’ at home. It may not be thought-provoking, but they’ll have you coming back for more.

CD Review – Devendra Banhart

Monday, January 25th, 2010

What Will We Be

Devendra Banhart has always been known as an innovative and strangly quirky artist who makes albums that can only be categorized as “different.” On his latest he makes it a little easier for critics like me to place his music. What Will We Be is a laid-back worldly version of a Jack Johnson album. This slickly produced album is something you can pop in and sip an icy cold beverage to. Highlights include “Chin Chin Muck Muck” and the slick opener “Can’t Help But Smile.” This is a good introductory album for anyone who is looking for something different. This is the bridge between Jack Johnson’s surf-pop and Banhart’s previous records which are more sprawling and less cohesive.

CD Review – Jookabox (A love story meets a psychedelic zombie-musical)

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Dead Zone Boys

Joyful Noise Records

Are you looking for something completely different? Look no further than the third album from Jookabox, Dead Zone Boys. Formerly Grampall Jookabox, the band says that the album is “a love story meets psychedelic zombie-musical.” I really couldn’t have put it better. This is the album you put on when you are going down that dimly-lit back road in the city that you’ve heard about, but have always been afraid to travel. With tracks like “Gonna Need the Guns/Doom Hope” and “Zombie Tear Drops,” this album is not for the casual listener or the faint of heart. This is the album that gets you through the apocalypse with your sanity still intact.

CD Review – Sean Walsh and the National Reserve (Down home Americana)

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010


Lover’s Dream Records

Listening to the debut from Sean Walsh and the National Reserve is like wearing your favorite pair of jeans. You know what you are getting. You know what Americana and alt-country basically sound like. If you don’t, then listen to Homesick. It’s decent, but like your favorite pair of jeans, they wear out. Homesick does the same thing. There isn’t anything really to distinguish the band, or the album from the hundreds of other albums out there under the same genre. So if you are looking for an Americana starter record, look no further than Homesick. If your looking for anything more than that, then look elsewhere.

CD Review – Kelley Ryan (perfect acoustic folk)

Thursday, January 14th, 2010


Manatee Records

After four albums fronting astroPuppees, lead singer Kelley Ryan goes out on her own and has created the best female folk record of this short year. Ryan’s whimsical sound is especially gorgeous on “Bleeding a Girl” and she does a stellar cover of Beck’s “Lost Cause.” This is perfect for anybody who likes Linda Draper, Indigo Girls, Mindy Smith or any of the hundreds of other female folkers in between.

CD Review – Evacuate Chicago

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010


Rock Ridge Music

Featuring three members of Psychostick, Evacuate Chicago is an audio version of a kick in the nuts. From the instant that the opener “Occasional Letter Number One” kicks off, the group screams and thrashes all the way through to the last seconds of “Forgiveness Epidemic.” If your face doesn’t melt while listening to this, then you were deaf to begin with.