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Around Hear Page 3

| February 28, 2007 | 0 Comments

Lucy Smith‘s Movin On is something of a mixed bag. The flat and emotionless vocals of the opener (a cover of The Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'”) is bound to discourage listeners from moving forward, but the jazzier “Kiela,” the longing-fueled “All I Meant,” and her sassy rendition of “Go Down Moses” simply shouldn’t be missed. Much of the rest of the disc is rather dull and forgettable, which is a shame because it’s obvious her voice is capable of so much more. (www.lucysmithjazz.com)
– Dean Ramos

For a great ’70s rock ‘n’ roll flashback, Stone Free‘s Nothin’ To Lose is exactly the record you’ve been waiting for. Fun and groovy on tracks like the sexy homage “Land Of Hendrix” and the instrumental, CCR-inspired “What’s Happening,” the album’s highlight, though, has to be the ironically titled “Fuck Your Reviews,” which takes things into the next decade with its scorching Axl Rose-like vocals. (www.myspace.com/stonefree1)
– Dean Ramos

On “Rock Bottom Blues,” Sunwheel Psychedelic takes a traditional blues riff to its logical and more modern conclusion with a jam band groove filled with pulsating guitar leads and driving rhythms. On its 11-song second album, Compassion And Cruelty, it’s clear the band isn’t a cliché blues band that merely provides background noise for the local bar scene. Although never reaching true musical “psychedelica,” led by sneering localist G.W. Miner, the band ably bridges blues and hard rock, with just enough distorted guitar leads to provide the unexpected twists. (www.sunwheelpsychedelic.com)
– Jason Scales

The packaging of Tangleweed‘s Where You Been So Long looks just like a mini vinyl record, and the roots rock sounds found inside are just as vintage. The project was recorded with Mike Hagler (Wilco, Billy Bragg) whose ingenious fingerprints are especially evident throughout the blistering bluegrass of “Black-Eyed Susie,” the old-time country nugget “Drunkard’s Blues,” and the finger-picking fury of “Hard Times.” (www.tangleweed.org)
– Andy Argyrakis

Seems like everyone names Radiohead as an influence, and This Is Cinema are obviously indebted, but they manage to infuse originality into their melancholy indie-rock. They sprinkle slippery strings, psychedelic accents and grand gestures throughout their hazy soundscapes. They clear out the amp dust with the final two songs on Birth: “Trapula Fruit” and the title track are sprawling, heroic tracks that stretch and twist through their epic lengths. (www.myspace.com/this iscinema)
– Patrick Conlan

Mutating from Olde Style, Three Fifths has evolved into Matt Walters’ outlet for channeling his catchy power pop muse. It’s Worth It For The Rumors (Spade Kitty) is sprinkled with driving guitars and withering vocals. Nods to Elvis Costello, Brit pop, and Big Star abound, but Three Fifths never fails to inject its own personality. With occasional quirks and unusual vocal twists, tracks like “The Time” and “Perfect Money” are characteristically spry. (www.myspace.com/thethreefifths)
– Patrick Conlan

“The earth it shook and the sky turned red/See you in hell that’s what he said.” Lyrically, the chorus from the first song on Thunderdriver‘s self-titled album is hardly original coming from a hard rock, almost-metal band. However, it’s important because within the song the chorus is extremely catchy. It shows that although not every song on the band’s album is a keeper, this Zion three-piece knows writing memorable songs is more important than guitar wanking and screaming. (www.myspace.com/thunderdriver)
– Joseph Simek

With no vocals or blaring guitar to distract from their straightforward drum-and-bass rhythms, Triple Whip let loose on Horsepower with an instrumental assault that’s quite removed from their earlier, self-described “cinema art rock” efforts. Nevertheless, whether listening to the first cut, “Lesson Learned,” or the fifth, “Where’s The Line?,” all nine songs sound awfully similar. This talented female duo is definitely capable; it’s their music that’s monotonous. (www.triplewhip.com)
– Jeff Berkwits

Unlucky Atlas makes intricate, interesting, and sometimes dissonant acoustic music with guitars, mandolin, fiddle, autoharp, and vocals that truly defies categorization. This is epic art folk that includes elements of Renaissance music as well as an indie sensibility. There is no concern for pop shown here, with some songs running seven to nine minutes in length. Still, the band is listenable and engaging. (www.unluckyatlas.com)
– Mike O’Cull

Phistine Verona blurs the line between hard rock and punk on its latest release, New Millennium Cleansing. “IAGO” decries both the horror and rationale for modern warfare with a hard-hitting arrangement, and “The Greatest Salesman” takes after greedy corporate types with the fury of The Clash. “No Easy Way Out” adds a touch of glam to this ambitious 15-song effort. (www.phistineverona.com)
– Terrence Flamm

It has taken 16 years, but The Vidiots have finally released their first CD. Comprising three well-known Chicago music vets, the recently reunited band blast through 10 tunes on Channel Surfing, including the wacky “Danger In The Surf” and “Molly Grover,” a silly ditty dedicated to bassist Dave (DNA) Allard’s dog. Some songs were written well over a decade ago and as a result sound dated, but on the whole it’s a rockin’ reunion. (videobeat@aol.com)
– Jeff Berkwits

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