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Local CD Reviews

| November 30, 2006 | 0 Comments

The four songs on The Accord‘s demo swing between reggae beats and prog/ethereal yearnings – oft’ times within the same cut – with a “recorded live” sound that further reinforces the band’s integrity. Playing (keyboards especially) far outshines songwriting, however, primarily because the melodies too strongly bring other artists’ tunes to mind and some lyrical turns (“Roots raise the fruits,” “I know you been screwing every dog in the pound”) are cringingly embarrassing. But such are not insurmountable shortcomings by any means. (www.accordradio.com)
– David C. Eldredge

Local label Bone Records showcases two more-than-capable post modern punk bands, After The Fall and Laugh To Scorn, on volume two of its Split Series. ATF takes a lead-guitar-shredding and in-your-face political approach on songs such as “Our Forefathers Are Spinning In Their Graves” and “You Voted For Bush Twice: Now There Are Dead People All Over The Place, And It’s Entirely Your Fault.” Laugh To Scorn displays a more definite pop punk appeal with traditional verse-chorus-verse structure and repetitious, simplistic vocal lines, like these found on “Burning Avril”: “I’m nothing without you.” (www.bonerecordschicago.com)
– Jason Scales

“Rap, Roll, Groove, Smooth” is the description Darryl B and Don Carlos give to their blend of hip-hop and R&B. On Hot Like A Sauna, these two Midwest musicians/MCs leave out the drug and alcohol glorification and sexist attitudes of many mainstream acts. The PG-13 lyrics are what you’d expect, as they varying from sexy slow jams to neighborhood shout-outs. Surprisingly, it’s the unimaginative production techniques that present a more obvious weak spot as compared to popular R&B-infused hip-hop. (www.darrylbuchanan.net)
– Joseph Simek

Jeanie B! And The Jelly Beans follow a parade of Chicago pop music acts doing music for the tot set with Mommy Knows Best. Songs like “Mommy’s In Menopause,” “I Can’t Stop Drooling,” and “Bath Time” will be amusing even to adults without children! Jeanie B! et al serve up their kiddie sing-alongs through a mix of country, folk, blues rock, and a pinch of punk. This is a great way to teach children lessons in life and also to introduce your kids to pop and rock music without exposing them to adult lyrical themes. (www.jeaniebmusic.com)
– Penelope Biver

To catch Jeff Baraka, a.k.a. O Type Star, on record these days is rare because this veteran MC/producer’s presence in the lab has been sporadic. Fittingly, his most recent release, The Shift (Ver 6.5), is not an album but a promo EP. Despite the lack of new material, this compact collection of semi-recent tracks is airtight. Whether it’s with his spirited tale of survival in Chicago, “Hard Knock UniverCity,” or the smooth meditative joint, “Soul Oasis,” Baraka proves he’s still one of our city’s most eloquent rhymesayers. (www.myspace.com/jeffbaraka)
– Max Herman

The beauty of instrumental music is lyrics can’t tell listeners what a particular song is about. Therefore, bands like Catamount can give their songs titles like “George Papadopolis” and it doesn’t make them any less serious. As far as we can tell the “instrometal” (though lyrics are occasionally used) band took Public Displays Of Private Delusion very seriously because it’s an impressive effort. Unlike most of their instrumental peers who generally ease on and off heaviness, bludgeoning is the name of the game throughout these seven tracks. (www.catamountmusic.com)
– Trevor Fisher

Whether it be tentacled beasts like Pelican or unconscionable freak outs like An Albatross, instrumental rock has abandoned one should-be-enduring principle: Slint. Del Rey haven’t. Weaving through the occasional Eastern tone, A Pyramid For The Living builds to menace (“A Brief Strangle”) without manical, primitive blasts or unruly guitar solos. The album is constant, soul-crushing pressure, like being pursued in a 14-year-old Mazda by a tractor-trailer. At times sinisterly methodical, “Lamplighter” meets occasional promontories that are breathtaking in their beauty, a feat frequently managed by old Chicago combo Dianogah – only instead of two bassists, Del Rey sport two drummers. (www.dlry.net)
– Steve Forstneger

The thing that stands out most on Deuce‘s nine-song CD is the sweet plunkety-plunk groove of the rhythm section comprising bass player Nate Bellon and drummer Peter Varey. A close second would be the funky moves by keyboardist Mike Hallagan. They play a funk/R&B/blues hybrid with a touch of New Orleans flavor for good measure. But where their talent abounds is in the more traditional R&B tracks like “Fifty-5” and “Memphis.” Not a commercial endeavor by any means, but they probably please the happy-footed bar crowds just fine. (brainschicago@yahoo.com)
– Penelope Biver

The intentions behind Doleful LionsSong Cyclops Volume Two are admirable, but the execution is a serious let down. The group’s power pop hooks could thrill fans of the Beach Boys or Cheap Trick, but the production is so terrible it sounds like the songs were recorded on a boom box without any editing whatsoever. As a result, otherwise delightful ditties like “Freezing Breezes” and “Saturday Mansions” sound undercooked and amateur. (www.parasol.com)
– Andy Argyrakis

J.P. Dorsey offers covers and originals on his latest release, the seven-song Fab Before The Beat, with the common thread being each song resonates emotionally for him. Sappy new age synthesizers detract from Dorsey’s otherwise enjoyable version of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” but he gives his own “Why Are You Crying” an amiable country and western arrangement. (No contact given)
– Terrence Flamm

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Category: Around Hear, Monthly

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