MORE LIKE TREES/Roots, Shoots & Leaves: In the proud tradition of English musicians ripping off American black culture and selling it back to us, these kids that loved Northern Soul have taken the next step and have turned drum n bass into the mixmaster genre of strum n bass (which they are pioneering) and serve it back with the commercial touches that will make it touch the masses. Rebellious young music for rebellious youngsters, it kind of blows to see a new generation of black musicians get ripped off by a new generation of Brits-but it's nicer than some touted next big thing whining about how crappy things are in Manchester.
CYNTHIA SAYER/Joyride: In the wake of Steve Martin's coming out as a banjo player several years ago, there was this big outpouring of woman banjo players that had picked up the cudgel and were running with it quite nicely but all seemed to disappear from recordings in fairly short order. One of the top of that class, Sayer, is finally back with a new set after five years. After a decade of playing Dixieland with Woody Allen and recording with Bucky Pizzarelli Sayer reaches down and finds her inner Jethro Burns as she takes her banjo on a sweet tour of hokumville with the jazz aid of Sara Caswell, Randy Sandke and others as well as the E Street accordion chops of Charlie Giordano. She may not get booked opening for Del McCoury, but as sure as Steep Canyon Rangers did a fine job of yuppifiing bluegrass, Sayer has moved banjo from the plantation to the uptown sensibility making it more than novelty item as well. Fueled by a set card heavy on oldies from various quadrants that Sayer adds her own special sauce to, this is a right on bit of adult listening that comes in from leftfield and makes itself right at home. A winner throughout.
VINX/Love Never Comes Too Late: One of those cats that personifies the equation that luck is just preparation meeting opportunity; one of those cats that does everything he does as well as he can; one of those cats that does everything well and seems to not make a big deal out of it, Vinx steps out of his comfort zone and goes quiet storm---and does it well. With more accent on crooning than banging on things, he shows the urgency of the classic soul singers---the ones without the histrionics. A sexy album that can let you put the Barry White discs away for a while and let you enjoy the places Smoky Robinson might have gone to if he had the creative freedom in the 80s, you can almost feel the dimmer switch moving itself and the wine pouring itself as this disc plays on. Well done, of course.
MEMORYY/Electric City: Sunshine chill wave electro pop? Hey, it's the 10s, nothing really matters anymore---except is it good? Yeah, this is. With so many things in this kitchen sink, you can't say it's reminiscent of this or that without having a list as long as a 5 year old's list to Santa. Loaded with enough hooks to stick in your mind in the noisiest club for later, you'll be glad when you meet up with it again. Expect this crew to be a break out act.
MIKE AIKEN/Captains & Cowboys: He doesn't sound anything like John Hartford but Hartford would certainly be proud of this sailing country musician. Opening up his sound for his sixth album, Aiken distills various outlaw spirits of the past into his own mix that he brings in from the cold and shakes some of the genres hallmark hostility off of looking at things as a contemporary outsider that values his independence without telling you to take this job and shove it. Certainly a dandy new vector for Americana.
BRENDON BURNS/Pompously Lectures Americans: So this Australian that grew up on George Carlin goes to Scotland to be a radio host and winds up recording a comedy record right here in Chicago. Oh, so I tried to set up this review like a three guys walk into a bar joke. Beside introducing us to new insults like ‘cunt' and ‘convict', Burns world wide view of the human condition is loads of laughs and about as far from Paul Hogan humor as you (and Burns) can imagine. Very much a tell it like it is kind of guy, this new take on laughs is a nice breath of fresh air for Yanks. Check it out, he doesn't even have in impenetrable accent.
DAVE FULTON/Based on a True Story: Whew, talk about a contemporary stand up with a machine gun delivery...this album almost feels like one long sentence, but not the kind that makes you say enough already. A mature cat that seems to be walking through the door opened by Eddie Pepitone, Fulton spent a decade in England and brings world view to his observations. Capably using the contemporary world as a handy prop, you can almost call Fulton a thinking man's comic, but if you did, that would dilute the fun. Sharp eye, keen mind, rapier wit, he's got it all on the ball.
BRIAN HUDSON/Comfort Quest: A folkie troubadour/singer-songwriter at his core, Hudson brings his observations to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness--but not the Constitutional kind. Universal themes expressed in a personal way drive the program here. Sensitive without being mush mouthed, Hudson owes no real debt to the past and sings for now people without any affectation.
Volume 37/Number 159
April 9, 2013
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2013 Midwest Record
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