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Around Hear Page 2

| May 30, 2008

You might be able to dance to Pretty Good Dance Moves‘ self-titled EP, but chances are you’ll pass. Like so much indie-electronic music, PGDM is not all about moving the party people. This duo’s first effort features texture electronic instrumentation, male and female vocals, and a bunch of heart-ache. This EP proves Postal Service’s influence on new music is never-ending, but it also suggests PGDM may have a great record in them in the future. (
– Joseph Simek

There’s a lot of history between the foursome known as Reaction (except for a brief moment in the late ’80s when the band inexplicably changed its name to These Tambourines) that comes with more than two decades of close calls, missed opportunities, and the slow chipping away at securing a place in the music industry. The band’s self-titled disc looks back at relationships of the past with the jangling guitars and angular vocals reminiscent of a certain longevity-prone Athens, Georgia group. “Summer Of Love” is as breezy as the title suggests while “Never Say Goodbye” rolls along with about as much weight as any Rob Thomas single. (
– Janine Schaults

A ’60s psychedelic flashback, The Red Plastic Buddha borrow liberally from the likes of Pink Floyd (“Rollercoaster”) and The Who (“Clouds”), but by far the best song on Sunflower Sessions has to be the relaxed, mellow, and strangely moving “Over And Over.” However, some of these songs do run a bit long (even if it is a staple of the genre), such as the lethargic “Kerosene.” (
– Dean Ramos

In Memory Of The Greatests – a 13 track instrumental opus from composer Arek Religa – is both a tribute to the gods of flashy arena shredding and singular guitar exposition that is impressive in its range and depth. Religa performs lengthy lead guitar gymnastics that either directly emulate legendary guitarists (as on the Santana-inspired “Viva Carlos!”) or attempt somewhat successfully to match up with the technical wizardry of the likes of Joe Satriani, especially on “Into The Future.” The orchestrated, synthesizer-driven interludes, however, are soundtrack cheesy and pretentious. (
– Jason Scales

The press material swears Annie Reese (aka Rock Falls) sings the two songs on her 7-inch single, but it must be incorrect. Reese doesn’t sound like a raspy, cigarettes-and-slot-machines junior-high studyhall supervisor on “Tonight Tonight” or “Perpetual Love” – that we could buy. There is really no explanation for what Reese sounds like on this single other than it isn’t the gal who graces the album cover or the voice of every song on Rock Fall’s Myspace. Whatever the hell is going on (wrong record in sleeve?), it isn’t flattering for these intimate, lo-fi, and otherwise pretty ballads. (
– Trevor Fisher

Santa‘s My Bones EP sounds like a bunch of hippie college kids trying to make an indie rock album. The Champaign-based band lists retro rockers Kings Of Leon and local heroes Wilco as influences, but neither muse is fully tapped on this fairly generic affair that wouldn’t quite fit in hipster circles, nor would it appeal to the frat-party crowd. Tracks like “The Crumble” and “Over” lack hooks and drive up the annoyance factor even further thanks to squashy guitars and an uneven mix. “Bottles And Brace-lets” is the best track thanks to fairly glo-wing harmonies, but it still misses the mark given its trippy nuances. (
– Andy Argyrakis

With a laid-back, easing-going vibe and an unmistakable heartfelt sincerity, Luke Sayers And The Last To Know deliver benign, rootsy tunes on Radio Flower. They open with some folk songs infused with a healthy respect for swampy blues history, recounting the open road (“Busy Signal”) and broken homes (“Delaying Disaster”). This influence is evident in the swinging rhythm of “Bitter Wine” as well. In an unexpected but creative twist, they inject some shots of smoky saxophone in “They Don’t Want Me,” adding a jazz fusion flavor to the mix for a delightfully well-rounded sound. (
– Patrick Conlan


Whatever musical charms singer/guitarist Seth creates with the inventive homespun arrangements on his Capillarious CD are tainted by his obsession with coming across as a hayseed sociopath. Songs about killing his girlfriends and a little girl’s mother are meant to be ironic and chilling, but simply sound obnoxious. “Letter To A Lost Love” is at least imaginative, depicting a guy who loses his true love to disease and is coerced by her ghost to find a new wife, leaving him with the fear that he’ll be widowed twice. (
– Terrence Flamm

What a difference a couple years made for The Sleepers. 2006’s Push It Nationwide was a promising but sometimes sloppy effort. Of course, when you play the kind of gritty, raw rock ‘n’ roll Sleepers do, it needs to be a bit sloppy. It’s a difficult balancing act the band nearly perfected on “Deal With You,” Detroit Ride,” and the awesome title track from Comeback Special. Vocalist Tommy Richied is still a work in progress, but luckily, the other four guys are all capable background singers able to cover their frontman’s occasional flaws. (
– Trevor Fisher

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