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SUSAN HICKMAN: You have to pay attention. When this came in, I didn't look that close and thought it was a new album from Sara Hickman. Well, both of these ladies are from Texas. This Hickman is a bunch younger and knows how to be right in the contemporary, country pocket. With right-on vocals and inflection, Hickman is a welcome addition to the commercial country scene as her songs have the right sass and bounce to get her point across. Rocked up, revved up and ready to go, it's a sweet debut that hit's the mark.

KEVIN HART/Seriously Funny: He hangs with Chris Rock and he likes to let you know he has a thug side, but Hart has been working the clubs from the bottom up long enough to know which end is up and under it all, he's a black Bill Engvall with a coating of Richard Pryor lite. And this isn't a bad thing. White or black, there isn't a guy out there that won't be ROFL over Hart's takes on sex and family. Subtitled Ďa hilarious stand up performance', that tag really says it all. Check it out if you need a straight up laugh that'll bring you back for more.

KATHRYN SMITH/With Every Breath I Take: If you're going to cover Joni Mitchell, Sergio Mendes and Dave Frishberg as well as Ellington, Coleman, and the usual etc's, you can get our attention. Taking the classic songbook on a detour and giving it a cabaret accent, even with the presence of some august jazzbos, you have an unexpected diversion from a singer giving it a new flavor. The new Karen Akers are going to come from somewhere and it looks like this is a likely launch pad.

10 FT. GANGA PLANT/10 Deadly Shots V. 1: The riddim crew skanks in wid dere first all instrumental album which feels like a throwback to the great offbeat 70s reggae albums that were like the Nashville producer's instrumental busmen's holidays. Totally irie stuff that sounds like it came right from the heart of the scene as well as right from the heart of the players. Ol skool lovers of the sound that lit the fire, this is a wonderful summer record for anyone that knows the joys of getting flat and wants to do it as much as possible. A great time throughout.

BAD COP/Harvest the Beast: All the members are under 21 and loaded with the real spirit of youth in revolt. If anything this is a genre bender approach to the golden age of alt.rock when the Ďalt' really meant something. Hard hitting, high energy and a great straight ahead rock underground sound, this is what kids need to party with as we careen through summer and all it's heat and weirdness. A solid bet for kids of all ages as roadhouse rock never gets old when it's done right no matter what tag you hang on it.

Volume 33/Number 250
July 10, 2010
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2010 Midwest Record

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