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Local CD Reviews

| March 30, 2007 | 0 Comments

Young indie rockers The Alpha Couple carry a sound that’s primed for major radio and “TRL” play. Of course, working with an established producer like Dan Duszynski has helped this Frankfort quintet perfect the polished pop rock the band provide on The Alpha Couple & Me EP. While not entirely distinguishable from their suburban counterparts, The Alpha Couple’s upbeat tunes like “Mr. Raincloud” embody a certain accessibility that many bands never attain. (www.myspace.com/thealphacouple)
– Max Herman

Whitney Young High School junior Sima Cunningham and her band The Audians impress to no end. This isn’t a novelty act for fellow teens; Cunning-ham and her cohorts are jaw-droppingly sophisticated. “My Girls,” from the band’s Brian Deck-produced, six-song self-titled CD, stands up to any Rilo Kiley song. The spirit of Lucinda Williams also permeates the honky tonk groove of “Blue Days.” Already familiar faces at Metro, The Hideout, and Uncom-mon Ground, The Audians can only move up from here. (www.theaudians.com)
– Janine Schaults

For Baby Teeth‘s third album, songwriter Abraham Levitan ditched his pseudonym, Pearly Sweets, to record under his real name for the first time. Ironic, considering The Simp is all about over production. Channeling Neil Diamond, Queen, and a little disco – but all in the indie rock context – this Chicago band pour the layers on for a glossy rock-opera. An indie-hipster version of Twyla Tharp could have a field day with this. (www.babyteethmusic.com)
– Joseph Simek

Guitarist/lead vocalist Michael Sean Johnson wrote all the songs on Bellevue Suite‘s big league-ready debut, The Dark Side Of Enlightenment, and has an expressive, powerful voice. He joins forces with lead guitarist Jeremy Kletzien on hard rock songs like “Nothing Sacred” and “Final Hour,” as well as on the melodic power pop of “Happily Ever After.” The slower, more introspective tracks showcase Johnson’s songwriting chops, especially the alcoholic confessions of “Insert Your Name.” (www.bellevuesuite.com)
– Terrence Flamm

The Black Beauties on Catch A Beat are like Guns N’ Roses covering Aerosmith on Live ?!*@ Like A Suicide – sleazy, but full of enough energy to outblast their forefathers. Screeching Weasel and Apocalypse Hoboken are the obvious Chicago artifacts these six-year rockers are gunning for, and tracks like “New Relations” and “PCP To Me” open the garage doors, too. This late debut plays like The Ramones on familiar corners, which you don’t have to get nostalgic to enjoy. (www.theblackbeauties.net)
– Mike Meyer

Though fully appreciating You Said She Said from Blitch Bango probably requires visiting the band’s Web site, which is loaded with lengthy explanations of just about every aspect of the music, simply playing the disc isn’t an altogether futile experience. Mellow acoustic melodies like “I Already Know” and “Drive On Through” are decent, and although listening to all 20 songs in one sitting can be quite melancholic, when all’s said and done it’s a worthy effort. (www.blitchbango.com)
– Jeff Berkwits

On their new EP, Uniforms, Central Standard continue to mine the blues-influenced punk first explored on last year’s three-song sampler. “Heart Of Chicago” and “Bleeding Is Believing” are two of the more powerful tracks, but each of the five tunes (including “Bells Of August,” repeated from the prior platter) has its undeniable charms. Hopefully there will be a full-length soon. (www.centralstandard.info)
– Jeff Berkwits

Discovering Cola Wars‘ six-song demo, Red Flag Day, is overflowing with lyrics isn’t surprising from a quartet whose self-stated mission is an inquiry into “the relevance of modern language to tragic storytelling.” What is surprising is to have lyrics often buried in the effervescent rush of a near-swallowed vocal yelp delivery, and that even when heard in the more measured tempo of final cut “The Ghosts Of What We Know,” to find they’re not any more interesting. (www.myspace.com/colawars)
– David C. Eldredge

By attempting to please fans of the ’60s British Invasion, ’90s shoegazer scene, and modern Brit pop, Collectors cast their net much wider than can be contained. Though their EP, Travelogue, is performed and produced with precision, the canvas is stretched in too many directions and singer Michael Mazza struggles to subtly mimic Liam Gallagher come “All We Need” and “Suitcase.” (www.thecollectorsband.com)
– Andy Argyrakis

Just a year after releasing their debut LP, Chicago alt-rockers John Condron & The Benefit have already replaced their drummer and recorded a follow-up EP, Loud As Silence, to showcase their new dynamic. The addition of veteran drummer Barret Harvey is a wise choice, as his rhythms are a perfect complement to The Benefit’s laid-back but soulful rock. Subtle influences of Gavin Degraw and Maroon 5 rear their heads throughout this six-track joyride. (www.johncondron.com)
– Carter Moss

Dark Fog‘s spooky shoegazer music on The Ultimate Cult Of Psychedelic Psychosis ranges from the guitar-driven heavy metal of “Out Of My Mind” to the demonic playground conjured via synthesized drums and voices on “Peel Back The Sky.” The echo-laden, shapeless vocals on the Pink Floyd-inspired “Peak Of Night” would be more effective if they hadn’t been used on the previous nine tracks. Dark Fog sparks the imagination, but stronger vocals could help draw listeners into the band’s foreboding fantasy world. (www.originalsoundrecordings.com)
– Terrence Flamm

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Category: Around Hear, Monthly

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