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Around Hear Page 2

| November 30, 2007 | 0 Comments

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Forty Piece Choir‘s swan-song, The Profound Nature Of Life, offers little insight into the veteran Americana act’s recent breakup. Instead of a funeral march (or wispy, introspective folk), their fourth full-length is a celebration of boogie-woogie horns, jubilant electric piano, and an almost Born To Run level of uplifting vocal urgency. FPC have hit their rock ‘n’ roll stride while walking out the door. The less folksy the future for the ex-members, the better. (www.fortypiecechoir.com)
– Mike Meyer

He may have just tipped 20, but tunesmith Ezra Furman recalls the older, legendary likes of Neil Young and Bob Dylan on his Minty Fresh debut, Banging Down The Doors. “How Long Diana?” is steeped in folk slapped with alternative country undertones, while “I Dreamed Of Moses” is anchored by bluesy harmonica blasts and roots rock ideals. Despite a few rough spots (like the off-key howler “God Is A Middle-Aged Woman”), the newcomer proves impressively palatable. (www.ezrafurman.com)
– Andy Argyrakis

Hay Perro is a four-piece old-school punk outfit from Chicago’s Rogers Park. Their sound is Stooges/Buzzcocks-esque and is authentic, sweaty, and fun. The band is good at writing in this punk style, but plays with a bit more skill than some of groups that begat this sound, which makes their five-song CD, A Stepper’s Affair, a little more accessible. Hay Perro still displays plenty of edge-and-ragged glory, however, and all the tunes are worth checking out. (www.hayperro.com)
– Mike O’Cull

Le Concorde is the artistic umbrella for Stephen Becker, a multi-instrumentalist who centers Suite E.P. around warm vocals and lo-fi indie electronics. He benefits from the geographic variety of studios in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Paris with collaborative power from Scritti Politti member David Gamson and Ken Stringfellow (The Poises, R.E.M.). Though there are occasional ’80s influences (such as the Prince-infused “April Wine”), the project is planted in the present with Beck-like quirkiness (“All These Fragile Unions”). (www.leconcorde.org)
– Andy Argyrakis

With a name that’s longer than any of their songs, Let’s Get Out Of This Terrible Sandwich Shop recently recorded their simply titled LP Listening, and from the sound of things, they’ve been listening to an awful lot of They Might Be Giants. The half-male, half-female alt-pop quartet seem to have spent more time coming up with clever song titles (“Bionic Dolphin,” “Chattanooga Kookoo”) than actually writing them. The lyrics are expectedly absurd, and the music lacks hooks, which all combines to make Listening hardly worth hearing. (www.letsgetoutofthisterriblesandwichshop.com)
– Carter Moss

If Marvin Gaye ever made an indie rock album, it might have sounded like Lo/Fi Pioneer‘s Solid State. This Chicago trio takes an unpolished, indie slant on R&B, funk, and soul. Singer Aryk Crowder delivers like it’s 1974, while the band produces a modern rock aesthetic. It’s not overwhelmingly original, but give this band credit for pulling off an idea that looks horrible on paper. (www.myspace.com/lofipioneer)
– Joseph Simek

Instrumetal band Lorus bring carnival keyboards to power-chord groove on Deluge, an all-too monotonous debut despite mathematic ambition. Problem is, the band’s sunny anomaly is their one-trick pony. Guitarist Dylan Burr churns out heavy, overdriven street grit on “Evocation” and “Priapism,” but neglects the upper half of his fretboard. The unexpected Bonham-esque drum solo on “Moon 02” is a needed breather. If Lorus are to be genremates of Pelican and Russian Circles, the newbies might want to invest in the experimental details. (www.lorusband.com)
– Mike Meyer

The title track of M&R Rush’s latest CD serves as a theme song for a band whose history in the Chicago scene stretches back to the late 1970s. “Keep On Rockin'” emphasizes guitars and vocals with three guitarists and five members who sing, but banal lyrics remain a problem. Longtime fans will be thrilled with the nine originals, but the best track by far is a cover of Free’s “Wishing Well.” (www.manrrush.com)
– Terrence Flamm

On All Roads Lead To Roads, Glenview singer-songwriter Brian Mazzaferri and his band play the type of tranquil folk arrangements that provide the perfect soundtrack for a day of kicking back in a coffee shop. In contrast, Mazzaferri’s lyrics aren’t quite as effortlessly smooth, as his metaphorical poetics can sound overwritten (e.g. “I read a book today/said love is something gone the way of dinosaurs and Faberge: Fragile things that couldn’t stay”). Still, the sonics of this disc alone should satisfy pop folk fans. (www.brianmazzaferri.com)
– Max Herman

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