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ATKINS MAY PROJECT/Anthology: Really, it's pretty impressive that the original vocalist for Judas Priest can still sound pissed off after all these years. Elvis Costello might have to step up for some angry young man as a senior citizen lessons. Taking a tour through Brit metal over the years, including a cover of Phil Collins (Priest + Collins =‘s ???), you can hear this rattling the walls at a retro club in your suburb probably soon. Proof there's a lot of memory lanes out there for a lot of different kind of walks.

MICHAEL DEES/Dream I Dreamed: An old school jazz vocalist that's made a good life over the last 40+ years makes one of his rare steps to the fore and shows he's had the goods up his sleeve all along. With a look that could stereotype him as a Sinatra manqué, the only thing the two have in common is white hair and swing. Giving out a set of all originals, Dees will have you scratching your head wondering where he's been hiding all this time, especially if you've got that jazz vocal jones. Solid stuff throughout, this is real deal classy stuff that never fails to impress. Well done.

JOE & VICKI PRICE/Night Owls: A husband and wife that sound like they like each other is a pretty big event right there. About the music this duo makes? It doesn't get any more duo than this, they both pick guitar formidably with the heavy lifting done by Joe while Vicki does the heavy lifting on vocals sounding like a thrush from a speakeasy on the wrong side of town in the 1920s. Serving up blues based roots music throughout, this is one of those little treasures we've been hiding out here in the heartland waiting for the rest of you to catch up with to hear what white people with the blues in Iowa can deliver. A really great, heartfelt diversion from the mainstream. Check it out.

LAUREN HENDERSON/A la Madrugada: A sultry Latin jazz vocalist, Henderson has her fingers in interesting pies. Sounding at once like old school Cuban in pre Castro days would sound like in the streets today, she has this special knack for being cutting edge and retro at the same time. And interesting feat when it can be pulled off as skillfully as Henderson does. Sophisticated listening for sophisticated ears, you can bet this goes pretty well with a Cuba Libre nearby.

HU VIBRATIONAL'S/Epic Botanical Beat Suite: Adam Rudolph circles the wagons for the first time in a decade to give his drum orchestra a dusting off and give you a reminder of it all. Sounding like something after hoursy from Ibiza, but not really, this is a nutty romp for anyone that thought Blue Man Group was more than hocking and banging. Following in the footsteps of what Mickey Hart hath wrought, you've got to have real left field ears to appreciate this, but if you do, so much the better as there's real chops at work here rather than art council inspired pots and pans music for the grant money playing. Check it out if you want something completely different with some real pros at the wheel.

RODRIGO BONELLI/Septet Works: Tasty, mainstream big band sounds from a crew a little bigger than a combo. Lead by a drummer that knows how to give everyone some, this set is loaded with snap, crackle, pop and verve as well making it a special treat for big band fans that can make do with a little less brass. It might be unpretentious but that doesn't mean it doesn't have a lot on the ball. A nice set of great listening music throughout.

MATTHEW K: No expense was spared in supporting the debut of this classically molded pop vocalist, but the thing they couldn't have budgeted for was Michael Buble potentially torpedoing his own career by fat shaming over the net and creating a contemporary tempest in a teapot that could have him making a fake trip to rehab and begging forgiveness. Buble's bubbies aren't that net proficient yet so he could have dodged a bullet, but if not, K has one of the greatest career stepping stones a mainstream vocalist could have dropped in his lap. Other than that, you have enough info here to know the drill.

SICK OF SARAH/Anthem: Here's a smattering of proof that you can't go around making snap judgments. This band sounds like a serving of riot grrl nostalgia, but they've been together 10 years. Ten years ago would have been too soon for 90s nostalgia. Another band going their own way after getting tired of hearing about the nobility of indies, they have the crunch and the punch that belies their lengthy flying time and proves that riot grrls are more interesting than sneering privileged punks(?). Certainly a hot times soundtracks for a grrls night out.

WENDY WOO BAND/Tipping Point: Moving from usher to featured act at Lilith Fair, Woo has always had that unstoppable edge for survival. Now looking to move her regional star status to a bigger pond, Woo enlisted Jim Gaines to produce and they come through for each other mightily. Taking her roots base and moving it to the next level of the game, this is the kind of record that has the knack to make new fans without alienating the old. Solidly made at all points and corners, Woo should be bringing it all to your town soon and leaving her mark in her wake. Well done.

Volume 38/Number 169
April 18, 2015
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2015 Midwest Record

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