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Around Hear Page 2

| October 31, 2006 | 4 Comments

The first compilation from startup label Four Play Music features half-a-dozen musicians following in the Chicago house music tradition. Artists like Home & Garden, Lake Street Project, and label head Andrew Emil all supply a few tracks here, but with similar beats and minimal vocals, no one really stands out. However, the album does flow – like only a house comp could – and helps expose a group of musicians who would probably go even more unnoticed on their own. (www.fourplaymusic.net)
– Joseph Simek

Cleverly designed to look like an old 7-inch, Rick Goldschmidt‘s debut, Rick Goldschmidt Sings (Miser Bros.), is a slick, modern rock album similar to Gin Blossoms’ (a band he lists in the liner notes) debut. If anything, Goldschmidt displays greater guitar acumen, paying tribute to ’70s classic rock with melodic leads (“The Last Time (Tennis Song)”) and showing a knack for pop sweetness (“Brand New Love”). “Baby Song” finds him strumming a winsome, lilting folk tune with equal verve. (www.myspace.com/rickgoldschmidt)
– Patrick Conlan

Though he is of Japanese descent, Steven Hashimoto has a rich understanding of Latino music. He and Suenos Latin-Jazz blend Afro-Caribbean, flamenco, and South American jazz influences on Azul Oscuro. The steel drums give a sultry, windswept feeling to the traditional “Enamorado” while punctuating the swinging interpretation of The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby.” (www.stevenhashimoto.com)
– Patrick Conlan

For those who thought rockabilly died the day The Stray Cats broke up, Champaign’s The Hillbilly Jones argue otherwise with Ready To Fire. Going from sweet and old-fashioned one minute (“Remember”) to down-n-dirty the next (opener “Ridin’ High”), The Hillbilly Jones pull the whole thing off with a twang in their heart, a swing in their strut, and nothing but pure honky tonk in their soul. (www.thehillbillyjones.com)
– Dean Ramos

For his latest release, The Hitmaker has given a techno treatment to four separate remixes of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.” The tracks feature an inspired version of Steve Perry’s original vocals by Deen Castronovo, who left Bad English to drum for Journey in the late ’90s. If you ignore the absurdity of this whole ordeal, the first time around it’s kind of fun. But hearing “hold on to that feeling!” rearranged over four very similar tracks gets old real fast. (www.tierecords.com)
– Joseph Simek

A compilation of numerous local Chicago artists of varying genres, you’ll find a little of everything on Hostage Radio. A few of the highlights include the catchy little alt-rock opener “Waiting” by The Waiting Game; Sanction & King James‘ protest song with a hip-hop beat, “War On War”; and introspective, country-tinged love song “Troubled Souls” by Harvest. So put whatever fears you have for the future of the Chicago music scene to rest because it’s obviously in good hands. (kim@wcrecords.com)
– Dean Ramos

The Lesser Scene enter the greater Chicago music scene with a debut EP that proves to be an experiment – can their approach of using multiple songwriters and singers (both male and female) lead to a diverse but unified record? Their laid-back funk/pop/rock sound (think Maroon 5 on Prozac) serves them well, especially on lead-off tracks “Astro Annie” and “First Time Around.” But their multi-gender harmonies come dangerously close at times to ABBA rip-offs, so they’ll have to let the experimentation continue. (www.thelesserscene.com)
– Carter Moss

With Pessimism & Satire (Fearless), Logan Square contributes mightily to the “new Chicago Sound” of power pop punk. Produced by Sean O’Keefe (Fall Out Boy, Hawthorne Heights), the 11 tracks bristle with energy and driving guitars. “I Wish You Hell” and “Misdirection” are highlights on an album full of catchy hooks. (www.fearlessrecords.com)
– Jason Scales

Los Vicios De Papa join forces with kindred spirits Los Pies Negros on the split album Latin Ska Force Volume 2 (Jump Up). With buoyant Spanish vocals and a sprinkling of faithful interpretations from other ska artists (“All Night Long”), splashes of keyboards and fizzling horns bolster the energetic rhythms. As a juicy fusion of traditional and modern ska infused with reggae and jazz accents, these songs capture the essence of blending ethnic influences and musical styles. (www.myspace.com/losviciosdepapa)
– Patrick Conlan

Lost In Blue emerges as a potent instrumental trio on the three-song These Are The Days To Remember. The band hopes to add a lead singer, but in the meantime, listeners can enjoy “Kali Mist,” which evolves from a mysterious intro to a full metal attack. The melodic “A Day To Remember” proves these guys can play a variety of styles. (www.lostinblue.com)
– Terrence Flamm

After a major-label meltdown, Lucky Boys Confusion returns for the independent EP How To Get Out Alive. The five-track disc continues in its pop/punk/alternative rock direction, falling right in line with what fans expect without mixing up the pot. The closest thing to growth comes on the danceable “When Bad News Gets Worse,” though it’s nothing Panic! At the Disco hasn’t already tried. (www.luckyboys.com)
– Andy Argyrakis

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  1. I appreciate the kind review of my CD! Look for us on WGN MORNING NEWS 12-24 at 7:50am and then we will be doing an appearance with the original RUDOLPH & SANTA puppets at AMAZING FANTASY BOOKS in Tinley Park, IL at 5pm!

  2. Correction our WGN appearance will be on 11-24..day after THANKSGIVING!

  3. Governor Rod Blagojevich says:

    I’ve actually seen The Lesser Scene perform. They’re not too shabby.

  4. Captain Denny says:

    can you give me a call I would like to have thehillbillyjones band play for me but I don’t have a contact number.

    Thanks Capt Denny

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