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Around Hear Page 2

| February 29, 2008 | 0 Comments

Singer/multi-instrumentalist Dominic Harris sounds like he’s aiming for a streetwise Lou Reed on his new CD, Ride, but it often sounds forced. A more natural delivery and sharper lyrics would have made the full-length disc more accessible. There are good things going on here, like the soulful, catchy strings Harris arranged for the pretty love song “Rhyme,” as well as the good-time guitars, piano, and drums jamming on the humorous “I Don’t Know, I Don’t Care.” (www.dominicharrismusic.com)
– Terrence Flamm

The Heaven Seventies write hooky, modern pop tunes with danceable beats and cool production. Their super-single release, Devotion, features three songs and all manner of remixes and extras. The group is very listenable and seems to pack the gear in both their music and marketing to become a popular act. Check the title track and “Coldest Day Of The Year” to grasp a bit of what the Seventies are about. (www.h70s.com)
– Mike O’Cull

Lazy pedal steel guitar, haunting female backing vocals, and even a toy piano accentuate the melancholy of “Acquired Taste,” the opening song from Doug Hoekstra‘s 11-track Blooming Roses. The talented singer-songwriter moved to Nashville and is backed by at least 12 musicians – including those playing accordion, various stringed instruments, and organ – resulting in a rich and soothing, folk country feel. Hoekstra’s delicate, breathy vocals don’t carry enough punch at times (“Naper Vegas Scrabble Club”) and therefore fail to rise above lounge-singer status. (www.doughoekstra.com)
– Jason Scales

Nick Jones revisits his 2006 self-released EP Daydreamers with Mike Hagler (Wilco, Neko Case) handling the remastering. Some may think it sounds a lot like Modest Mouse – and this re-made/remodeled version undoubtedly sounds much cleaner – it still has the feel of a work in progress. (www.myspace.com/miningblackdiamonds)
– David C. Eldredge

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Lucid Ground‘s Shift is a compact, cohesive document of heavy, melodic, radio-friendly modern rock. Immediately catchy, the pummeling rhythm and thick bass in “Misdirection” lay the foundation for the huge hooks and biting guitar grit. Karl Hafner’s soulful, yearning vocals fuel “Reverse,” clearly expressing the confusion and regret of lost opportunity, and an emotional coda, “Lost You,” is a blistering, heart-rending finish. (www.myspace.com/lucid ground)
– Patrick Conlan

Vocal chameleon Tony Ocean is an entertainer in the style of Dean Martin and Tom Jones, both of whom he imitates on his latest release, Pardon My Past. He’s also fluent in Italian, bringing an authentic flavor to “Love Theme From The Godfather” and “Che Sara.” Ocean picked a few too many ballads this time out, but it’s a blast to hear him cruising through “My Kind Of Girl” just like Dino. (www.tonyocean.net)
– Terrence Flamm

Brian Cook and Rebecca Scott of Panda Riot celebrate their recent move to Chicago with the release of She Dares All Things, a full-length CD of lushly layered, breathily sung shoegazing pop. While opening cut “White Elephants” is enervated by the only instance of live drums, there’s a predictability to this duo’s D.I.Y. bedroom “studio” recordings that, along with an overriding and lyric-obscuring fuzziness, leads to disengagement from the rest of the recording. (www.pandariot.com)
– David C. Eldredge

Imagine early Melvins crossed with hints of Godflesh, and you have a pretty solid idea of the sonic sludge Planetstruck churn on Mild Chronic Inflammation. Incredibly heavy slabs of molten riffage and relentless rhythmic pounding, enhanced by perfectly suitable lo-fi production, characterize their sound. The deadpan vocals on the fierce anthem “He’s No Good To Me Dead” add an intriguing twist, and “Moss Sauce” is a blistering smash-up. To crack the sludgy, metal monotony, they use Middle Eastern-tinged guitars on the perfectly named “Nervous Tic.” (www.myspace.com/planetstruck9)
– Patrick Conlan

The Plastic Thirds label their sound as groundbreaking “acoustic prog-tronica.” Yet, on the co-ed duo’s Anoxia, they merely end up forging the same terrain as the Dave Matthews Band, albeit with less encumbering instrumentation. The disc’s 11 tracks do, however, conjure up a funky vibe present in the likes of Australia’s John Butler Trio. Jeff Perlstein’s vocals are affable enough, but the concept album maintains a one-note trajectory. (www.theplasticthirds.com)
– Janine Schaults

On Tomorrow’s Never Going to Come, The Powerknobs resurrects the sassy garage rock sounds of The Kinks with the rebellious punk leanings of The Stooges. “Floor Shaker” is an organ-infused psychedelic romp that would make Roky Erickson proud, while “Get Myself Together” and “I Can’t Stand Myself” are retro rock at its finest (and meanest). Even on the tamer, ’50s-tinged rockabilly of “Cryin’ And A-Shakin,'” the group is still fierce, feisty, and perhaps most importantly, downright fun. (www.thepowerknobs.com)
– Andy Argyrakis

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