Fuel Arena
Concord Music Hall
Copernicus

Around Hear: September 2012

| August 31, 2012 | 0 Comments

The funk-infused rock on 3 In Counting‘s full-length debut, At The Edge will likely appeal to people into the Dave Matthews Band. Singer/guitarist Mike Hayes, who writes all the group’s material, often uses a rapid-fire delivery for his evocative vocals, while Eric Csukor’s fluid keyboards work is consistently impressive. “Handshake,” is a slap at superficial dealings in the music industry, and the country-flavored “Hitch And Go” features guest fiddle player Allie Kral from Cornmeal. (3ICMusic.com)
— Terrence Flamm

“Reverse Slow Motion,” the last song on City States‘ debut EP Resolution, is the most peppy of these five alt-rock tracks. The song is powered in particular by piano and bass, a departure from other songs which favor electronic touches, especially the nearly hymnal ballad “It’s Nothing.” The vocals – breathy, vulnerable and emotive – are the focus throughout the album, with instrumentation arranged to highlight them. (citystatesmusic.com)
—  Jason Scales

Built around the Diliberto triplets, Gino, Dino and Marcelleno (guitar, guitar/keys and drums), and with Scott Stiffler on vocals and Dave Wright on bass, the Coda Kings‘ self-titled debut starts off with great promise, with multi-layered and guitar-driven opening cut “Burglar” conjuring reveries of listening to early Jimi Hendrix Experience vinyl. Alas, the reverie slowly dissipates as each successive original (and Stiffler’s vocals) retreats into more rote bar band fare and the initial spark never quire igniting the fire one expected. (codakings.com)
— David C. Eldredge

At its best, Comasoft‘s hooky multi-vocal, chorus-fueled power pop crossed with retro new wave synth rock serves as an interesting Killers-meets-Darkness-by-way-of-Talk Talk guilty pleasure. Except then the band goes and lets its emo get the better of it on a couple of cuts, which kind of ruins the mood. But, in the end, one forgives them because when it’s good for them it’s good for you and vice versa. (comasoft.com)
— David C. Eldredge

Here’s a release that debunks the idea that the title track must be the best song on an album. “Redemption Salvation Temptation,” the title track of Curio’s latest album, is far too droning/plodding for its own good. However, in a redemptive moment, the rest of the album largely entertains with its self-described “voodoo rock.” Eerie, transcendent moments hold listeners captive, as on “Crossroads,” where complex song structures are forsaken for repetitive, blues-based ones. But, how do you complain about fun-as-hell rock ‘n’ roll? (curiobordello.com)
— Jason Scales

There’s much to relish on Mustard Is The New Ketchup, the latest effort from Dormlife. “I Wanted To Believe (Myself)” displays great vocal harmonies, with “Venom” offering catchy lyrics and exceptionally strong percussion. Towards the end of the 10-tune outing their indie-pop sound gets a bit stale, but there’s little question they’re adept and accomplished. (alarmclockrevolution.com)
— Jeff Berkwits

There’s clearly a reason why fans of country-pop singer-songwriter Emily Hurd gather each year in North Carolina for an informal “Emilyfest.” Long Lost Ghosts, her eighth full-length recording, unmistakably showcases her crystal clear voice, perceptive lyrics, and (mostly) happy-go-lucky melodies. Whether reveling in the buoyant title track, the charming “I Won’t Tell A Soul,” or the other eight numbers, the collection is a sheer delight. (emilyhurd.com)
— Jeff Berkwits

The musical tales on Tom Irwin‘s latest, Sangamon Songs, spring from an 1893 diary of a teenage boy named Harry Glen Ludlam. Irwin fleshes out Ludlam’s entries on shucking corn and going to Chicago’s Columbian Exposition with a folksy vocal style and homespun arrangements. The peppier songs, like the picturesque “Walking In The Woods” and “The Footsteps Of My Maker” work best, although most of Sangamon Songs is an entertaining look back at a simpler time. (tomirwinmusic.com)
— Terrence Flamm

Terry Keating, a drummer with several years of experience playing for Chicago bands, takes center stage as a singer-songwriter on Greatest Hits. He proves to be a capable vocalist, and for the most part, his guitar-based pop songs are engaging. “Palm Of Your Hand” is a bit cloying, and the instrumental, “The Bridge” leads nowhere, but “My Only Only” has some punch, and “Olivia” is fun and bluesy. The shimmering guitars and inspirational tone of “In My Heart” evokes U2. (facebook.com/terrykeatingmusician)
— Terrence Flamm

Legions Of Raum, purveyors of aggressive metal, live up to the collective weight of their band and album (The Great Beast Evolved) names. You gotta bring it with those monikers. Anything less than brutality would be laughable. The five tracks deliver a type of riffage that is familiar in its groove-making. For example, the opening title track channels Chimaira. Yet, vocal styling favors a gruff Lamb Of God delivery. (facebook.com/legionsofraum)
— Jason Scales

The Jeff Parker Trio may be the brainchild of its eponymous leader, but on Bright Light In Winter it’s clear the other two members – bassist Chris Lopes and drummer Chad Taylor – are equal partners. They’re proportionately represented in the songwriting department, and while all nine compositions contain solid improvisational jazz, the percussion is intrusive throughout the album (especially on the opening cut, “Mainz”). Tone down the skins, and this would be a splendid session. (jeffparkersounds.com)
— Jeff Berkwits

The Paver is pretty much on target in describing the exotic swirl of classical, punk, and heavy metal on its five-song EP, Bad News, as “Baroque-Core.” “Why” evokes a parade of witches, via ghastly screaming, strings, and a stomping beat, while “Leaves And Rust” is a frantically-paced nightmare. The somber “Everyone Knows You’re A Bore” borrows some of its melody from Steve Goodman’s “Lincoln Park Pirates” while “Hush” harks back to the days of Chicago’s nascent punk scene. (thepaver.bandcamp.com/album/bad-news)
— Terrence Flamm

In its fourth full-length release Clean On The Corner, Chicago’s primo jazz mover and shaker Mike Reed and his group People, Places & Things strides forward with one foot firmly rooted in the experimental side and the other in the more lyrical be-bop side of the jazz street. While some may find the occasional arty skronk of the dueling saxophones off-putting at times, they’ll find solace in the group’s forays down the legato side of the street. The ability of the musicians to masterfully bridge both serves as testimony to being an ensemble of rising jazz stars to watch. (482music.com)
— David C. Eldredge

Though raised and originally based in New York state, Rediculous spent a disproportionate amount of time promoting and developing Chicago-bred artists. He’s since moved here in time to issue the next installment of his “Masters Of Conversation” series, Punchlines And Parables. Boasting a guestlist from Sadat X to Brooklyn’s up-and-coming Ruste Juxx, Rediculous provides a progressive-hip-hop backdrop that mixes neo-soulfulness with distorted rock textures, all with throwback boom-bap beats. When New Yorkers start flocking this direction, you know Chicago has something brewing. (knowledgegivingbirth.com)
— Steve Forstneger

Music pundits never fail to make note of Jason Stein‘s instrument of choice – the bass clarinet – as an oddly difficult instrument to use to lead a jazz quartet. So let’s leave it that. On The Story This Time Jason and quartet tend to bookend esoteric free-form noodling around a more solidly accessible post-bebop center. The Monk renditions truly shine. (www.jasonsteinmusic.com)
— David C. Eldredge

Throughout Vintage Blue‘s Strike The Mics, the troupe blends a little bit of funk, folk, and good old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll. The results range between affable to overly whitewashed and bland, sounding several years behind the times while recalling the likes of Blues Traveler or Sister Hazel. Though the guys’ playing chops are certainly sharp, it’s a shame they couldn’t offer up a less exhausted style. (vintagebluemusic.com)
— Andy Argyrakis

Wells-Next-The-Sea is an English-sounding name, but the band is Chicago-bred and creates homespun indie rock songs on Passenger Side. Vocalist/guitarist Dann Morr is the only remaining member from 2010’s Guest House, but has a strong rapport with the new recruits. He shares harmony vocals with fiddle player/vocalist Liz Barnett on the acoustic “With Our Eyes Closed.” Barnett also has a duet with singer/ukulele player Brennan Mackey on the funny, barroom romance, “No One Knows You Like I Do.” (wellsband.com)
— Terrence Flamm

Young Jesus‘ debut bills itself as “the grungy lovechild of Arcade Fire and Alkaline Trio,” and as strange as that sounds, it’s actually accurate. However, that doesn’t mean the group’s alt-rock/folk rumblings and post-punk angst are meant to be played on top of one another, which leaves Home’s lofty intentions disjointed at best and maddening at worst. (youngjesus.bandcamp.com)
— Andy Argyrakis

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Category: Around Hear, Columns, Monthly

About the Author ()

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *