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Around Hear Page 3

| September 29, 2006

Seven-One E/Z bring some unique elements to the razor-edged hip-hop songs and freestyles on their self-titled demo by mixing in synthesizers and using deep vocals as percussion. The gritty, first-person accounts of pimps and gangstas make this an R-rated effort, while others will be more offended by a steady flow of the “N” word and hateful attitude toward women. (
– Terrence Flamm

Touted as “seven CDs all rolled into one,” the 10 tracks on Marcus Singletary Rocks represent a sampling of Singletary’s recorded blues resume. Although the production quality is muddy at worst and uneven at best on live tunes such as “Shake Your Body Politic” and the lethargic cover of “Sweet Home Chicago,” Singletary is still able to showcase his blues crooning and extended guitar solo skills.(
– Jason Scales

Soft Targets‘ new 7-inch record finds former Reagan National Crash Diet guitarist Chris Auman hooking up with ex-Seam guitarist Reg Shrader. The pair bring a lot of energy to the melodic “Straight Line,” while “(Let It) Ricochet” glides through some intriguing tempo changes. Soft Targets, which also include bassist Tim Davison of The Clerics, plan to have a full-length effort out in the near future. (
– Terrence Flamm

Central Illinois-based Straight Jack hit you with the exact sound their name implies – cool, straightforward, no-nonsense alt-rock. This seven-piece outfit manage to fuse jazz, pop, and rock elements and come out with a clean, refreshing sound. Led vocally by weaving the harmonies of female vocalists Amber and Klee, they avoid the forced angst, cheesy pop, and over-dramatic soul that plagues so many modern female rock bands. (
– Carter Moss

Chicagoans Jennifer Boeder and Jesse Hozeny (Sub Rosa) have recorded a remarkable LP, Slings & Arrows, in apartments, basements, and rehearsal spaces, resulting in a better sound than many done in real studios. Boeder’s vocals have the melancholic cry of Sarah McLachlan, and the music she and Hozeny have written has a dark, lost-soul landscape, reminiscent of long-gone Chicagoans Catherine, sweeping guitars like Doves or The Cranberries, and arrangements that feel like a road trip across rolling hills, like Nick Drake or Beth Orton. (
– Penelope Biver

It took a mere six tracks for Chicago pop rock outfit Sunday Morning Chameleon to earn a spot on WXRT’s “Top 5 Of ’05” (the only unsigned act to do so). The tracks from their self-titled EP showcase the quartet’s penchant for producing soothing but progressive pop. Ryan Flagstad’s vocals are part Bono and part Chris Martin, while the ethereal keys are all Coldplay. Their layered-but-infectiously simple tracks like “One Of These Days” and “Light Year” might end up earning SMC’s place on a lot more lists. (
– Carter Moss

Super No One‘s 11-track album, Food For Coral, is a solid debut that offers pop rock treats such as “Killing Time” and melancholy power ballads like “Sarah’s Stone” and “Poet.” The seasoned foursome, which includes bassist Chip Z’Nuff of Enuff Z’Nuff, uses sharp instrumentation and hook-heavy arrangements throughout the courting “Anna,” “One Little Look,” and “Jacquie.” (
– Jason Scales

Treaty Of Paris‘ intent of world pop domination is self evident in the “half-full” (vs. “half-empty”) viewpoint of the dual guitar-driven, six songs on Behind Our Calm Demeanors. But earnest optimism does not fully overcome mere lyrical wordplay; nor do echoes of ’80s new wave urgency compensate for the single, killer vocal/musical hook needed for true pop ascendancy – leaving these guys just short of their mark, while well on target. (
– David C. Eldredge

Improvisation and computers seem like strange musical bedfellows, but that’s the whole idea behind TV Pow, a Chicago “underground laptop trio.” The group’s latest in a long line of releases, TV Pow Presents Michael Hartman Todd A. Carter And Brent Gutzeit As TV
– Joseph Simek

Chicago-based metalmen Twelfth Gate give fans a heaping helping of heaviness on their latest CD, Threshold Of Revolution, and display influences ranging Queensrÿche, Fates Warning, and Iron Maiden. The band have vocal and instrumental chops to burn and is the equal of their musical mentors. Fans of thrash and old-school power metal will be all over this band. Twelfth Gate stand towering over the many pretenders in the current metal scene and deserve to be heard worldwide. (
– Mike O’Cull

It has been nearly a decade since we’ve heard from Bil Vermette, but the release of BeyondHereBe . . . proves the lengthy silence hasn’t dulled his compositional skills. Nine airy instrumentals sporting titles like “Soaring . . . ” and “Waiting . . . ” recall such electronic icons as Tangerine Dream and Brian Eno while retaining a freshness that’s at once quiet and captivating. (
– Jeff Berkwits

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  1. Mike Keeney says:

    I was wondering how to go about submitting my bands new full-length CD to you guys for a review. Thanks.
    Mike Keeney