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ROBERTO OCCHIPINTI/A Bend in the River: This bass player with strong ties to the artsy side of the ledger is no stranger to accolades in Canada where he routinely gets nods at all the award ceremonies. Really letting his sitting down jazz side fly here, this is one of those dates that could swing either jazz or classical as it offers some adventurous chamber music that could easily be contemporary classical works. With chops to spare, this is the kind of set that gives art music a good reputation. Smart throughout.

OPIE HENDRIX/Camino Alto: Glorious bar band rock that mixes all your fave roots elements into a super stew that rollicks. This sounds like your friend that never got a real job knowing that he would make it, even if he would never become Stringsteen along the way. Simply fun rocking stuff that's wicked, sly and a load of fun. A must for anyone looking for some good time rock.

KEVIN KASNING & SANDOR SZABO/Returning: Guitar explorers that play guitars of their own design that they invented go deep in serving up art. Not chasing soundscapes but not doing the usual guitar duo type material, this is listening music for those that are big on creating atmosphere in their atmospheres. Clearly players passionate about their work, their explorations veer from the beaten path and are for the adventurous, even if the sound is subtle. A solid diversion for those looking for it.

VANISH VALLEY: Musical journeyman gets in touch with his inner Townes Van Zandt but injects some psychedelic and industrial elements to a sound that germinated in Austin but took root in other places, like Seattle, where post grunge entered the mix. Now tempered with a vision of what country rock would mean in LA today if anyone was doing it, this is a Valley for college kids that like it from well left of center.

DANIEL CROS/Las Vueltas Que da la Vida: This is Cros' fifth album. He recasts songs from his first four albums as cha chas and you wouldn't know any of that. What we have here is a Latin ethnic recording by a cat that has been around a while and has an easy manner getting a song across nicely even if you don't know what he's talking about. Well done, sprightly vacation music that just makes your rum drink taste so much rummier. Recorded in a very clean and present manner, sounding like he's right there with you, even if you listen to this on something cheap, just adds to the personal, personable experience. Check it out.

STEVE POLTZ/Dreamhouse: It's been a long way since co-writing "You Were Meant For Me" and getting the short shuffle from the record biz so you can figure Poltz has been disarmed of any illusions and is now content to do what he wants his way when he has something to say. With a classic Van Dyke Parks vibe hovering over this lo-fi date, Poltz let's his skewed ideas unfurl and the gentle obtuseness is really just right for the times. Beware the deceptive sunshine pop sound, this is something else indeed.

ISAAC DELGADO/L-O-V-E: The Frank Sinatra of salsa gets to live out a childhood dream of paying tribute to Nat Cole's Spanish language records that he loved as a kid. As a special kick, Freddy Cole joins in the festivities. It may not be an important album or a groundbreaking album, but it's certainly a fun album. If Delgado's musical associates aren't enough, there's a bunch of gringo ringers in the mix that are glad to be in the mix bringing up the rear. Fun stuff for people looking for some music to make them grin.

CHARMING HOSTESS/The Bowls Project: Um, this is the art chick you thought you wanted to go out with until you met her at Borders for coffee and she started telling you her innermost thoughts. Weird for the sake of being weird, art chicks will understand even if nobody else does.

Volume 33/Number 245
July 5, 2010
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2010 Midwest Record

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