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Around Hear Page 2

| August 30, 2007 | 1 Comment

Perhaps releasing a two-CD set in eco-friendly packaging was meant to preserve resources, but by offering 33 lackluster tunes on Unified Folk Theory The Giving Tree Band simply wear out their welcome. Songs like “Sunshine Baby” and “Where Am I?” capture the spirit of Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie, but altogether ignore those artists’ insight and intellect. The group’s collective heart is in the right place; their melodies just need to follow. (www.thegivingtreeband.com)
– Jeff Berkwits

Green Sugar carries the torch for boogie-shaking, foot-stomping rock in the blues tradition of The Black Crowes on its three-track demo. By way of Southern California, the band has honed its gritty, tight sound on rockers “Trouble” and “Simple Touch.” Founder and native Chicagoan Parker Dodson leads the trio with his simple yet warm 1970s-style crooning. (www.thegreensugar.com)
– Jason Scales

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The title of Howard And The White Boys‘ fifth and latest CD – Made In Chicago – is most apropos given the band’s respected stature in the city’s blues and R&B circuits. What sets the group and this recording apart is the presence of dual talented guitarists whose interplay of leads and riffs further draw the listener into the songs as opposed to overpowering all by dint of virtuosity. Indeed, this quartet’s musicianship is intensely passionate – solid blues rock material delivered with authority. (www.howardandthewhiteboys.net)
– David C. Eldredge

From one spin of Letterbomb‘s Airing Of Grievances, it sounds as if a harder-working party band would be difficult to find. While citing a number of influences, the one that sticks out the most is The Replacements, which is especially apparent on “All The Time” and “Lone Gunman Theory,” the album’s two standouts. However, there’s not a whole lot of variety to the rest of the disc, which probably isn’t helped much by the rather limited vocal range of the singers. (www.letterbomb.net)
– Dean Ramos

Lost Armada plug in and bust out high-octane anthems on the gleefully sloppy Empty Houses, an effort that really should have stuck with the manic Superchunk vibe of the first two tracks. As the EP gets twangy (starting with “Raton”), the four-piece lose momentum. With influences ranging from The Replacements to Whiskeytown, it’s obvious they have a killer record collection. But they can’t play all their records at once, can they? (www.lostarmada.com)
– Mike Meyer

After the painful breakup of his band Easy Tiger in 2005, Russell Baylin was left lost and disillusioned. Songwriting became his therapy, leading to a new solo project aptly titled Theme Songs For Your Melancholy under the moniker My My My. Baylin‘s new sound centers around his smart lyrics and simple indie acoustic pop, with a slight infusion of soul. While there are no stand-outs among the eight tracks, none of them merit skipping to the next song either. Baylin hoped to bring the listener alongside his journey through his emotions – mission accomplished. (www.myspace.com/iluvmymymy)
– Carter Moss

Recorded just before the 2004 presidential election, Thomas Pace‘s If You Want To Be Heard, SPEAK UP! is a brief but politically charged EP from this proud liberal singer-songwriter. Pace’s Dylan influence is ever evident in his classic folk rock styling heard on these four tracks. Despite the all-too-obvious inspiration, Pace’s well-informed political poetics and down-home resonance results in a rather reliable output. (www.myspace.com/thomaspacemusic)
– Max Herman

Without a doubt, the star on Diana Rein’s album, The Back Room, is her evocative, lofty voice. Her delivery and range propel the bubbling opener, “You’ll Be Mine,” and lends grace and subtly to the title track. Her seductive vocals are matched with her superb guitar playing. Fiery leads on “Goodbye” show an acute sense of marrying melody with nimble technical acumen, and her flashy playing allows ample room for her songwriting to shine. (www.dianarein.com)
– Patrick Conlan

Retro punk outfit The Romeros come off sounding like your everyday high school garage band on their debut EP, Cooler Than Your Boyfriend: They’ve got the vigor, the carefree attitude, and decent enough musicianship. But on the other side of the coin, their lyrics and concepts could use some work (e.g. “it was a whirlwind romance/Now I want a second chance”). While this quartet is having fun, simplicity isn’t always a good thing. (www.myspace.com/theromeros)
– Max Herman

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Category: Around Hear

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  1. dan bellus says:

    Just trying to help out my old mate’s in Letterbomb, who I’m sure would want everyone to know it’s Letterbomb.net.
    How about a reunion boy’s, let’s give’em something to write about! You know you want to………

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