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DAVE ARMO/Poets on the Wall: One of those literary type singer/songwriters, Armo isn't aiming for the masses so much as aiming for the heart. Kind of a reminder of that sensitive kid down the dorm hallway that often brooded over something late into the night, Armo is a reservoir of thoughts and feelings that many often look to others to articulate.

DILLON HODGES/Rumspringa: Break out those atavistic genes, here comes a third generation neo-traditionalist that has earned his spurs with everyone from Ralph Stanley to Civil Wars and feels like a worthy successor to all the great modern era Texas troubadours, even if he should have soul music coming out of his pores being originally from Muscle Shoals. A folkie and a picker that rockets right to the front of the class, Hodges is sure to make listeners forget a lot of the manques that have been place holding in the ranks of the genre until a real dealer like this could come along and break through. Hot stuff throughout.

BAMBARA/Dreamviolence: Just think, if the Higgins Boys & Gruber wanted to be musicians and were influenced by Nick Cave, they might have turned out something like this trio made up of two brothers and their pal since 7th grade. Springing from Athens, GA and showing their older brothers where they can shove their version of college rock, these noize makers deliver the music you need for snorting heroin rather than shooting it. Hey, Lou Reed, show these kids how it's done. Or maybe they can show you what a 70 year old has to do to stay in the game. Whatever.

LOWER PLENTY/Hard Rubbish: The indie album of the year in Australia, this set proves that shoe gaze is alive and well in the indie world throughout he world. As bleak as some folkie thing that could have sprung from Manchester, these down in the mouthers are just right for listeners who's biggest lament is that dad cut off their black card privileges because their grades weren't high enough stranding them with just a Discover card.

BLANK REALM/Go Easy: Riding high in the Aussie underground, this crew sounds like they are making surf music from hell in their vision of psych pop. Influenced by a raft of similar minded 60s bands that never made it in the first place, this sounds like what kids today will turn to when in need of some non-stop noize that never lets up. Punk energy is punk energy no matter what you try to dress it up in, even if you say it's from the thrift store.

BIG PAPA & THE TCB/Six Pack of Cool: My, how the record business and life as we know it has changed. Freshly powered by their long running Papa John's Pizza commercial getting an airing on the Super Bowl among other high profile placements, just because Chop Shop doesn't think they fit the format, this crew has to carry on night after night, long past worrying about grabbing the brass ring. A swinging, jumping, jiving crew of jump blues hipsters, their stuff is a gasser and they don't think show band or good times are dirty words. Fun stuff that won't let you down, this is the party crew stock brokers rolling in the cheddar should have playing at their private parties instead of bragging to their friends and neighbors they can over pay for James Taylor to play in their back yard tent. Smoking stuff that really gets the blood flowing.

CESARIA EVORA/Mae Carinhosa: Unfortunately for Evora, she got her worldwide acclaim during Leonard Cohen's lost years. If he was touring instead of sitting up on Mt. Baldy, Evora would have been a great opening act for him. Or she might have blown him off the stage. This album is one of those ones that make you look the other way when you know that it was put together posthumously by a close friend made up of tracks that didn't make it on to her proper releases. Anyone lucky enough to have seen her live will testify that not just any singer can hold you rapt singing ‘saudade' over and over for a few minutes. Any fan of Cohen's from I'm You Man forward that never experienced Evora before is sure to have their mind blown when encountering this non-album and will want to find out the rest of the story. This shows why it's important to leave your legacy in the hands of a good friend that cares about your memory.

ELI YAMIN & EVAN CHRISTOPHER DUO/Louie's Dream: There's some originals snuck in but basically, this is a tribute to the duos fave old time jazzbos. Any fan of whore house jazz will be absolutely smitten with the opening track, a dreamy piece of Armstrong's that has only been recorded one other time and that must have been around 4 in the morning in the heart of Storyville. While the rest of it wanders around a bit stylistically, the piano and clarinet duo never stray far from the whore house---and now you know why your grand parents had such a problem with jazz and bebop. Where to do think this most American art form was born? High marks all around for chops, feeling, vibes and attitude. Small group recordings aren't for everyone, and this isn't strictly a whore house recording but if that vibe strikes a primeval chord in your psyche, you will get the biggest charge out of this collection. Well done.

Volume 37/Number 121
March 2, 2013
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2013 Midwest Record

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