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Local CD Reviews

| January 31, 2007 | 1 Comment

After a four-year hiatus, The Baldwin Brothers drop Return Of The Golden Rhodes (TVT), a deliciously sexy album crackling with juicy beats, deep grooves, and their unique fusion of electronic funk. Smooth vocal flow and quirky rhymes make “A Matter Of Time” a slinky ass shaker, while “Air Is Invisible” is bred from Underworld’s mindwarping, blissed-out thump. “Bus Stop Hustle” is a funky, sticky stew of fat rhythms and slick grooves. (
– Patrick Conlan

Existing somewhere between David Bowie and Smashing Pumpkins, Allan Bilka’s Retro Nouveau deliver a synthesis of both old and new school on In The Age Of Electric Guitars. Bilka obviously spent much time working his melodic and vocal approach for this record, and the effort has yielded music more unique than average. Listen to “Contrarian” and “Shadow People” for an idea what Bilka’s electric age amounts to. (
– Mike O’Cull

By playing crunchy-yet-accessible rock, Chicago’s Blackbox follows in the footsteps of bands like Lit or Local H. The three tracks on The Introduction EP feature sing-along choruses over headbanger bases and seem written for the sole purpose of sticking in your noggin. You’ve heard this hard rock-meets-pop formula before and loved it – and Black Box knows it. (
– Joe Simek

Black Water Songbook seem to be aiming for the left of the dial with the completely non-pop, droning indie rock of their latest release, Everyone’s Your Brother Til You Need To Pay The Rent. Their best song is “Screaming God,” which is fairly regular except the vocal doesn’t come in until almost three minutes into the tune. By that time, most listeners will have most likely tuned out. (
– Mike O’Cull

The eight-track Prayer Of Death is a psychedelic rock manifesto from singer-songwriter Guy Blakesless. The album is philosophically inspired by the “Tibetan Book Of The Dead” and musically inspired by equal parts Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain. “Grim Reaper Blues” is solidly bluesy while “Requiem For Sandy Bull (R.I.P)” is a trippy instrumental featuring sitar and haunting guitar effects. Orchestral strings add another layer to Blakeslee’s harmonious wail and experimental guitar noodling on “Silence On A Crowded Train.” (
– Jason Scales

If Couldron had released Four Winds five years ago we might marvel at their sound. Unfortunately for them, though, Mastodon broke big and now this brand of sledgehammer heavy, stoner prog metal is already being beaten to death. That isn’t to say Couldron are mere imitators, just that to stand out playing this kind of music a group need to be very good, and nothing on Four Winds is there. The band’s uncompromising heaviness and incredibly tight playing could amount to something on future releases, though. (
– Trevor Fisher

Delicate Noise‘s Diversion is an atmospheric, beat-driven, and cool electronic album armed with the moody and smoky vocals of the project’s founder (not to mention sole member), Mark Andrushko. A couple highlights include “Sin,” which almost comes off as a more sophisticated, “Playboy After Dark” version of a Nine Inch Nails song, and “Artificial Light,” an absolutely superlative dance track. Innovative and eclectic, for an album that fits nearly every mood of the night, Diversion is the one to pick up. (
– Dean Ramos

Fashion Bomb takes undead Chicago industrial to a Disturbed concert on Devils To Some, Angels To Others, a generous metallic biscuit for the wandering black sheep of long-fled Al Jourgensen. “Christ Puncher” waxes blasphemy on a Rob Zombie rehash while the digital “Low” hangs from radio-friendly hooks. Fogies in the know of Sins Of The Flesh-era Sister Machine Gun might wonder what’s the big whoop, but for youngsters dressing up for Halloween in the dead of winter, look no further. (
– Mike Meyer

Their name may imply cheeky irreverence, but Frankenpony are all about tight, arena-sized rock. Giant, fat riffs, a skin-tight rhythm section, and scathing lyrics make “Hood” a poppy, anthemic rocker. With their skillful cohesiveness and versatility, Frankenpony play bluesy, slow burners and jacked-up punk jams with equal aplomb. The occasional lyrical clumsiness lacks any real insight, but it’s also refreshingly free of pretentious inscrutability. (
– Patrick Conlan

If Evanesence were filtered through an Anne Rice novel, the result would no doubt sound like Grigori 3. Dark and spooky – often sounding like a digitally remastered score to an old horror film – Exile can also be highly electronic, not to mention equally danceable, as tracks like “Awakening” illustrate. Shortly afterward, though, things begin to sound a bit tired and trite, not to mention a little contrived. Gloomy moodiness is one thing, but when it sounds manufactured, it’s time to rethink the formula. (
– Dean Ramos

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Category: Around Hear, Monthly

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  1. Ron says:

    Should every band wear tight jeans, faux-thrift store abercrombie shirts, and get annoying wolfmother white guy fros?

    Luckily not everyone in this city is sheep.

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