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Local CD Reviews

| August 30, 2007 | 0 Comments

“Around Hear” is a monthly feature where a stable of IE writers review albums sent to us by local musicians. If you are interested in having your CD (must have a minimum of three songs) reviewed and are Illinois-based, mail it and any other media materials to 657 A W. Lake St., Chicago IL, 60661. Everything that meets the aforementioned guidelines will be reviewed in the order received. This may take several months.

South Side MC Awdazcate (pronounced audacity) has a mixed bag on his hands with the Morning Coffee 1.5 mixtape. Vocally akin to gruff NYC rhymer C-Rayz Walz, Awdazcate kicks some heated battle raps, but he attempts to do so much more with psychedelic explorations (“Rockstar”) and quasi crooning (“Basically”). Even for a mixtape, this is lacking congruity, but Awdazcate usually fills this void with his continual creativity. (www.myspace.com/awdazcate)
– Max Herman

Breakin’ Strings are a sweet and melodic acoustic duo who specialize in vocal harmony. Their sound recalls Lowen & Navarro with the occasional Beatles influence thrown in. Their second CD, Mother’s Sunshine, shows guitarists/vocalists Jose Berrios and Jim Gutierrez in fine form, and their gentle, poppy songwriting shines on tracks like “One For All” and “Until I’m Over You.” (www.breakinstrings.com)
– Mike O’Cull

Playing pure mullet-thrashing hard rock on Royal Flush, Broken Vegas know ’80s metal never went out of style. The heavenly thick, crunchy guitar tone is the heart of the album and BV ensure it’s upfront in the mix. With its meathead metal riffing and searing solo, “Serving Yourself” is a headbangin’ guilty pleasure, while “Reminds Me Of You” is the requisite lighter-illuminated metal ballad. (www.brokenvegasband.com)
– Patrick Conlan

Since their last release, it seems Coltrane Motion have incorporated a little ’60s pop into their predominantly post punk sound, a move that definitely works on Songs About Music. “How To Be,” for example, seems to be very inspired by ’60s girl groups, while the closing number, “Summertime,” could be the least “plugged in” song this band have ever recorded. “Twenty-Seven,” “Can’t,” and especially “I Guess The Kids Are OK,” are the band’s signature tracks, though, dance-floor cuts that aim to please. (www.coltranemotion.com)
– Dean Ramos

On WYLA?, hip-hop producer Copperpot moves beyond programmed beats with the aid of renowned local musicians like drummer Dan Bitney of Tortoise. The live instrumentation adds remarkable texture to some of Pot’s midtempo creations. And while he has a few worthy solo compositions on his hands (“Water The Manatee”), the long list of guest players and MCs (KRS-One, Braintax, etc.) makes this diverse album more of a community effort than a solo project. (www.evrecords.com)
– Max Herman

Sometimes a diverse sonic and even cultural spread can work to a band’s advantage, but in the case of Digable Cat‘s Letters From My Dreams, it’s full of distracting diversions. For starters, Romanian-born singer Alina Giurgiu is jumpy and breathy throughout “My TV,” while the band attempts, but never fully develops, the blues come “Rapture.” The jangle pop beats throughout the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive” adds additional insult to injury, especially as a mid-song rap interlude increases its scattered state. (www.digablecat.com)
– Andy Argyrakis

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As Queensrÿche continue to release albums attempting to recapture their former success, they may want to consider listening to The Value Of Truth. Chicago hard rockers Disonic‘s seven-track EP completely captures the early Queensrÿche sound, right down to soaring vocals that draw instant comparisons to Geoff Tate. They even show shades of “Silent Lucidity”-like brilliance in their closing, untitled ballad. Fortunately Disonic seem to have figured out how to make this potentially outdated sound relevant again. (www.myspace.com/disonic)
– Carter Moss

The ideal debut record is one that fully captures a band’s identity and talent and makes a real impact on the current music scene. The Emerald LizardsElectric Earthquake is one of those debuts. The album shakes the speakers with seismic waves of primal rock, perfectly showcasing both the diversity and the intensity of the group. The tribal-inspired instrumental opener kicks off a 10-track party that injects shots of Arctic Monkey frenzied rock, White Stripes blues-tinged rock, and The Vines garage rock. (www.theemeraldlizards.com)
– Carter Moss

South Siders Flatfoot 56 wear their Irishness like a badge of honor. Like The Tossers, Tobin, Justin, and Kyle Bawinkel and Josh Robieson infuse their rollicking tunes with the same energy pulsating through Western Ave. during the annual South Side Chicago Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade. On Jungle Of The Midwest Sea, Flatfoot 56 incorporate a bevy of Celtic instruments, most notably bagpipes, which they use to greater effect than The White Stripes on Icky Thump. These punk kids know how to rock, but keep it melodic enough to entice the over-30 set, especially on album closer “Same Ol’ Story.” (www.flatfoot56.com)
– Janine Schaults

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