Sunday, November 19, 2006


CHRIS BROWN Now That You’re Fed (Self-released) Although, most will be distracted by the Jellyfish association (co-producer here is Chris Manning after all), the correct reference point is Lindsey Buckingham, especially with Brown’s deft use of the acoustic guitar and layered vocal tracks. Which all makes for a truly pleasing experience.

MITCH LINKER Self-titled (Self-released) After stints with the Dent and the Day Traders, Linker takes the plunge as a solo artist and finds that the water is great. Basically, Linker’s melodic pop music will garner him loads of admirers. I mean, who doesn’t want good tunes and that cool pop vibe? Really.

BIG BUS DREAM Self-titled (4th Ward) With an emphasis on acoustic psychedelic jazz-folk pop, Mike Shannon and Chick Tsikouras have no option but to rely on well-crafted songs to hold rapt the attention of their listeners. No wallpapering the cracks here with pyrotechnics. I guess that’s why Big Bus Dream succeeds.

TEAM ROCKIT The Lowest Point In Rock ‘N’ Roll History (Fire Tone) How droll! The name says it all actually. How many different ways can you grind out these garage nuggets? The focus is on the power without the glory. Motor City mania of the Stooges and MC5 has gripped Team Rockit and hope it never lets go!

CINDERPOP Their Skies Are Beautiful (Bongo Beat) This Canadian quartet provides a fair middle ground between shoegaze and powerpop. Thus, the songs range from jaunty to atmospheric, from rocking to dreamy. Melodies can be a tad slight but there’s no doubting the intent.

THE RACHETS Glory Bound (Pirates Press) Sounds like Bruce Springsteen fronting the Clash. Unkind? No, there’s a compliment in that somewhat as The Ratchets have captured well the heartland soul of the Boss and deliver it through songs that reflect the ragged energy of old school British punk. And if Hold Steady can have a hit album…

ELLA ROUGE Self-titled (MobyDick) This Swedish band has done a bang-up job of distilling the classic 70s rock of Pink Floyd, ABBA, Wings and ELO and extrapolating gigantic tunes from the mixed-up hubris. The big sound of Ella Rouge may jar indie rock lovers but in the heart of the unseemly beast beats a rock ‘n’ roll beat.

FOUR HOURS SLEEP Love Specifics (Popboomerang) A glorious throwback to rock sophistication of the sixties and seventies. Smooth and textured, velvety and erudite, Four Hours Sleep is an enthralling study of pop’s myriad joys. Spanning diverse genres, from Spectoresque pop, country-blues, experimental music and folk-pop, Bill McDonald & friends keep it constantly interesting.

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