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Local CD Reviews

| July 30, 2007


On his 10th studio album, East Side Soul, it’s obvious Phil Angotti has logged an awful lot of hours writing, recording, and playing folk music. And after hearing how deeply the Dylan, Petty, Smith, and Costello influences seep through every single track, it’s no surprise to hear Angotti turns many of his live shows into tribute nights to each of these pioneers. While none of these tracks could necessarily be called infectious, each one does display his well-developed talent for musical storytelling and solid melodies. (
– Carter Moss

The Audio Emissions compilation draws upon every conceivable genre in order to benefit I-Go Car Sharing, a non-profit organization committed to environmentally friendly driving practices. The 19-track CD ranges from the fierce blues of Koko Taylor‘s “Voodoo Woman” to Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra’s exuberant excerpt from Liszt’s “Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2.” Od Tapo Imi adds the exotic “So Far Away” while Mucca Pazza’s take on march music is an off-kilter delight. Other highlights on this consistently entertaining effort include the upbeat hip-hop of Animate Objects, the ornate indie rock of Andrew Bird, the rollicking bluegrass of Devil In A Woodpile, and the easy-going jazz of Imelda de la Cruz. (
– Terrence Flamm

Hailing from Elgin, The Brokedowns are out to revive the fine art of angst-ridden punk. There is certainly no shortage on their debut, New Brains For Everyone, which mashes old-school punk riffs (think Ramones, only less infectious) with angry non-melodic vocals (think any angst rockers that can’t sing). At least their song titles like “Who Stabbed Sean Spencer?,” “The S.A.R.S. Groove,” and “Pro-Gear, Pro-Attitude, Pro-Results” are creative. While they’re offering new brains, we’d settle for some new melodies. (
– Carter Moss

Displaying an accomplished musicianship that defies their (relatively) young age, quartet Butterfly Assassins‘ five-song EP is testimony that these college freshmen won’t rest on their laurels as 2004 Illinois Teen Battle Of The Band winners. Solid arrangements and composition make up for occasional vocal lapses, and overall musical talent overcomes occasional eggheady/prog tendencies. Above all, opener “Give It A Chance” scores solidly with an almost Santana-like groove. The upcoming full-length should prove interesting. (
– David Eldredge

The Cells do what we used to call “power pop” and do it very well. The trio is all about hooks, crunchy guitars, and driving beats that mix classic pop sounds with modern energy to great effect on *Mayday. “Drag It On” is prime summer car-radio fare and is the kind of tuneful rock Chicago was once known for. (
– Mike O’Cull

For hip-hop fans who’ve had their fill of urban grit and flashy bling, the innovative rhymes of The J. Davis Trio might be your thing. Intertwined with soul and jazz, These Things Happen is a laid-back, beat-laden record featuring cool horns and emotive strings that complement the truly awesome rhymes perfectly. (
– Dean Ramos

The possibly blood-smeared Dedlock effort demands a certain amount of attention, especially with a threatening note attached: “Against us we will destroy you.” It’s a classic case of bark over bite (hopefully). “Fill Me In” and “Steve McQueen” blast off the seven tracks scarily enough, pureeing bullhorn vox in a cage fight of guitars. (There must be a Jourgensen setting in ProTools.) Alas, savagery becomes weak rap metal (“JFK”). Elgin doesn’t need a Saliva, but it could use a Ministry. (
– Mike Meyer

Deep Space Pilots belt out convincing stoner rock on a four-song CD that relies on heavy and repetitive blues-based riffs and liberal abuse of the crash symbol. The trio, perhaps taking the lead from bands such as Wolfmother, employ a dirty guitar sound that cuts through the haze on “Call To No One” and “Death Starr.” Black Sabbath is the inspiration on “Ride On Into The Sun,” which breaks the rhythm down at a slower tempo then builds it back up to a rock anthem crescendo. (
– Jason Scales

The Delafields‘ second disc, Delightful, continues the band’s unique merger of punk influences with country sensibilities. Songs like “Cave In” and “Black Mountain” showcase its rootsy side, while the more aggressive “Wreath” and “Moo” benefit from versatile producer Matt Allison (Alkaline Trio, Duvall, Uncle Tupelo). No matter what the direction, The Delafields impress with deft playing and compelling delivery, especially evident during the gospel-fueled Hank Williams cover, “Sing.” (
– Andy Argyrakis

The Eldorado Lounge tap into the enduring appeal of contemporary adult soft rock on their debut album, Welcome To The Eldorado Lounge. Rhythmic acoustic strumming and sweet leads intertwine on “You Are What You Play,” compensating for lackluster lyrics. “Under The Eights And Nines” is a mellow pop number that saunters along with its heartfelt reminisces, while “Under The El Tracks” is gentle ballad that faintly echoes ’80s metal ballads. (
– Patrick Conlan

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Category: Around Hear, Columns, Monthly

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