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Around Hear Page 2

| September 29, 2006

The three-song sampler for Secrets To Be Told, Rob Nicholas And A Moment’s Notice‘s debut CD, is tolerable but by no means terrific. “Lost Yourself” and “You Say” are run-of-the-mill alt-rock odes, with “Crave” adding a dash of jazz guitar to an otherwise mediocre melody. Hopefully the full-length disc features more originality, as quite honestly this trio of tunes is nothing special. (
– Jeff Berkwits

Ostensibly a family of players a la The Jacksons, The Northside O’Donnells is apparently just Frank Carey, as he’s the only individual credited on 5 A.M., In The City Of Chicago. The CD is an entertaining albeit uneven album, offering a unique interpretation of the Windy City’s many after-dark attractions. The mix of hip-hop, soul, and dance isn’t entirely successful, but it’s intriguing enough to adequately capture the imagination. (
– Jeff Berkwits

Five-man band The Peelers are all about letting the good times roll. On their sophomore album, Let’s Detonate, they deliver 12 short-but-energetic bursts of outright rock ‘n’ roll, ideal for a sweltering mid-summer stage show. But while The Peelers’ garage sound would probably best be enjoyed live, there aren’t many dull moments on this action-packed disc and could leave the most down-and-out listener feeling at least a little invigorated. (
– Max Herman

Foul Weather Clothes, the debut disc by pop rockers Pontius, isn’t as undesirable as the title implies, though the group still hit some rough spots within their melodic foundation. For starters, vocalist/guitarist Ethan Buhr has no problem delivering with potency on the huskier “90 Days” and “King On The River,” though doesn’t drive home the softer songs with nearly as much confidence. “Statistic” and “Ballad Of The Fallen” fall flat, leaving a soggy aftertaste to the project’s tastier moments. (
– Andy Argyrakis

A more eclectic, entertaining hip-hop compilation you’d be hard pressed to find. From sexy R&B to jazz horns and dance beats, and even a little reggae and Eastern flavors added to the mix, P.U.R.E. (Purely Underground Radio Entertainment) figures to be a truly great outlet for otherwise unknown artists to get some much deserved exposure. (
– Dean Ramos

Power trio Pyrite‘s five-song sampler, Iron Soul Fight, equally straddles both avant/ jazzbo and nihilistic/agro/rock. Or as the band puts it, Gang Of Four crossed with The Jesus Lizard – to which one could also add a tempering of no wave sensibility. The dual vocals – one deadpan, the other more screaming – are an interesting turn, even if the lyrics aren’t all that clear. But beyond the solid bass and drum playing, the way the guitar lines consistently veer from the “expected” ending pleases throughout. (
– David C. Eldredge

Afro/Caribbean/Latino “big band” Radio Mango‘s five-song Tune In! amply displays the ensemble’s myriad global influences. Earnestness of intent and musicianship aside – perhaps because the band has been together a relatively short time – there’s a sense of depth/conviction/heart lacking to what should be an over-the-top sound given the size and nature of the group. (
– David C. Eldredge

It’s hard to pinpoint what’s missing from Raised On Zenith‘s Not Always So. The band has an evocative singer in Ukrainian import Zhenia Koval, but the cutting-edge arrangements sound off kilter. It could be because of lyrics like “I am destructed also I am hollow I have not eaten for 20 days.” Then again, maybe Raised On Zenith likes being a few steps off the beaten path. (
– Terrence Flamm

With bright melodies married to melancholy lyrics, Sanawon recall the best of ’90s indie female-fronted bands (Tsunami, Lois, Tiger Trap). Bubbly anthem “Why Do I” is a buoyant slice of shimmering pop, with Jenny Choi’s vocals teasing with every lush breath. The thin, tinny production, which would otherwise be unforgivable, perfectly complements these airy, crisp songs. (
– Patrick Conlan

Tinley Park resident Matt Schneider has advanced from playing in hard rock/metal bands such as The Glass Hour and Catamount to a new solo avocation, releasing the seven-song Premature Unconsciousness. His songs range in length from 5:36 to 8:40 and seem to be primarily showcases of his guitar prowess (which is influenced by classical and Spanish) rather than standing out as memorable songs themselves. His other-worldly vocals are a bit reminiscent of Layne Staley, but it’s unnecessary for the songs to be so long. (
– Penelope Biver

Section 4‘s lead singer, Serena Romero, croons like Feist or Portishead’s Beth Gibbons on her band’s first recorded effort, a three-song demo. Singing lines like “Treat me rotten, just for now,” Romero matches the dark, sometimes jazz-inspired rock created by her three bandmates. Losing the soft verse/loud chorus dynamic and pushing Romero’s vocals even more to the forefront would be a smart way for this Chicago band to build on its solid foundation. (
– Joseph Simek

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Category: Around Hear

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  1. cory says:

    hello IE.
    looks like you didn’t actually look at the album you reviewed,The Peelers “LETS DETONATE”. It is not, by any means LETS DONATE. I guess your staff might need us to “DONATE” a pair of glasses. Preferably the ones w/ a darker shade.
    keep the hate alive,
    the peelers

  2. IE says:

    Spell check filters are a blessing and a curse. All fixed.
    – IE Webmaster

  3. You are absolutely right, it does sound off kilter,…we just dont want to sound like every band in Chicago area.
    We appreciate your review (We enjoyed) and looking forward another review of the same nature.
    We are playing House Of Blues tomorrow, so if anybody reads this, please come to the HOB, we are playing at 9:30pm, October 19th, 2006
    Thanks a bunch.
    P.S. We are glad you were able to work out the Peelers album name right.