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Youd think that any band forced to play alongside Justin Dont-hate-me-because-Im beautiful Timberlake and Christina Running-out-of-things-to-pierce Aguilera would have a hard time replenishing their hip hop fluids after being sucked dry as toast every night. Fortunately, youd be wrong.
L.A.s hot & tasty Black Eyed Peas have shown
on their third album, Elephunk, that they are quite chock-full
of some nice, juicy funk (do you think they might add a little legitimacy
to the others street creds? Makes you go hmmm
). With new
vocalist Fergie (yes, shes babe-licious) puttin a little
breath into the proceedings, and with a big helpin' of ridiculously
infectious tracks like "Lets get Retarded," (Hey,
they said it), not to mention a generous side plate of "Hey Mamas,"
slick rasta rhythms, its hard not to want seconds, and easier
to forgive them for the company they keep. -Brandon Whitehead
Local musicians Amy and Scott Saia prove that while three guitars, a bass, organ and drums may seem like a heavy load for two people to carry on a single album, its possible. Recorded in their basement, the two wrote, produced and engineered the upbeat and lyrically poignant album, which reflects on Saias life and her outlook on the world.
Saias vocals hold a striking resemblance to a raw Aimee Mann, but Saia tends to draw back from written high notes. Although many of the guitar strumming patterns seem to run together from song to song, the introduction to Work breaks this mold, and the syncopation of the chorus is a beat you are sure to be tapping for days.
The title track also stands above the
others because of its minor key and its meanderings on historical
figures. Saia proclaims everyone is a soldier; we just all fight different
battles. "I am just a souldier warring in and out all day
is my anthem, lonely is this song of mine." - Jessica
With more "pop" than "emo" in their punk sound, Glasseaters fourth album (in as many labels) eats up a bigger than average piece of credibility from the neo-punk pie, although the taste can be a little bland here and there.
Goodbye" starts off the album
with just the right attitude, ripping out some high-speed drums and
nicely pointless lyrics that makes the head bang, even if some of
the middle tracks sag a little. Not everything is beautiful here,
no matter where you look, but theres still plenty to see. -Brandon
One of the best aspects of an independent artist is his or her ability to mix styles and abilities without the stigmata of projected sales or corporate sponsorship (although they could use the money).
KC's own blues/jazz/country/etc. musician Jerry Dowell epitomizes that attitude well with his second album, Prelude to Apocalypse (such a heavy name, Jerry!), proving once and for all that 13 different songs are better than 13 songs that sound exactly the same.
While starting off a bit jaggedly with "Dog Solider," Dowell
quickly redeems himself with well-built tunes like "Loaded Gun,"
and the downright perfect "Dead Buildings." They don't call
it "range" for nothing baby, and there's obviously little
Jerry and his gang won't try to grab. The end of the world should
sound so good. -Brandon Whitehead
When one is forced to pick through the 99-cent drive-through menu that is the world of Top-40 radio stations today, one must choose carefully. For instance, a nice Spin Doctors Shake might sound good, but since nobody ever wants more than one, the item soon vanishes into the mist, like the McRib. A new favorite on that list is Dashboard Confessional, led by vocalist Chris Carrabba trying to channel Kurt Cobain (and doing ok, more or less), while being backed by a decent band trying to channel the Pixies, who arent even dead.
With their third album, A Mark, A Mission, A Scar, hitting
the shelves, or wherever they put them these days, complete with a
DVD, these guys have luckily managed to expand enough beyond fast-food
music with some tight playing and just enough spice to make the them
more filling than your average McBand. -Brandon Whitehead
Damn this is a good compilation, even if it uses that totally dubious label "alternative." The taste of so many styles and so much good music on this CD just adds to the argument of how crappy commercial radio is along with most major labels. Theres punk, country-alt, hip hop, pop, gospel, power rock, blues boogie, R&B, techno dance and some jazz.
Atlanta-based Five Star Iris kicks opens the disk with
World Needs Now, a fresh, hard-driving message song: "theres
no time to debate/have you seen the paper today/we got CEOs with hollow
looks and corporate kitchens cookin books/eating our 401ks."
Funk seasoned with free-form jazz percolates "Em" from the
New Jersey band Lemon Juice Quartet. Sheer butt-shaking 70s
moves emerge from Eugene, OR with the full-band R&B sound of the
Satin Love Orchestras "Growin Me A Mustache,"
"big, black, thick and long..." A guitar in
Texas-drive pushes "Gone Are the Days" by Two and A Half
White Guys out of Salt Lake City. Blues n gospel brings
the Rochester, NY-based The Campbell Brothers home in "Ive
Got A Feeling." The whole CD got me home. -Bruce Rodgers
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