Archive for the ‘CD reviews’ Category

Album Review: Bottoms Up Blues Gang’s “Handle It”

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

WC Handy may have written a song named the “St. Louis Blues”, but it’s not really about St. Louis, is it? It’s really about a bad woman from St. Louis. I’ve met a few bad STL women myself, but does the song really command it’s title? On their newest album Handle It, the Bottoms Up Blues Gang have penned a song that would suit the name quite nicely. It’s called the “South Broadway Blues” and it kicks off the disc with a pitch perfect tune about hopping between blues venues on S. Broadway.

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St. Louis’ very own BUBG has just produced this phenomenal new album that combines the beautiful, soulful vocals of Kari Liston with really tight instrumentation from guitarist Jeremy Segel-Moss along with a host of appearances from the rest of the Gang. This album hits many different styles from the New Orleans feel of “First Of May” to the sweet, wrenching intimacy of “If Only.” Although it may sound inappropriate, the Gang manages to squeeze in several upbeat blues songs, to keep the album going at a good pace. This album commands repeated listens, so go check it out.

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If you are in a St. Louis band and would like your cd considered for airplay and a review, email local@kwur.com.

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(Relatively) New Albums Worth Checking Out

Friday, May 2nd, 2008

Sonic Youth – SYR7
Finally, the 7th installment in this ongoing, must-have, Sonic Youth experimental series. This is not for you Daydream Nation-only fans. Long-winded instrumental noise-weirdness. The best part is this series is it is actually a series. Each installment has consistent-looking album art. In addition to showcasing Sonic Youth at their most avant-garde, each album looks good together on your shelf. Sadly, this is the first vinyl only release of the series, which may destroy the uniformity of your SYR CD collection. Collect them all! Lee Ranaldo interview I did back in 2006 where we discussed this release coming shortly…


Thee Oh Sees – The Master’s Bedroom is Worth Spending a Night In
Formerly OCS and The OhSees — now Thee Oh Sees. Is this spelling change a Billy Childish reference/homage? Either way, John Dwyer (The Coachwhips, Yikes, Pink and Brown) and his band deliver yet another solid album. Keep them coming! This band has everything good: Punk, Folk, Experimental, Psychedelic, Soft, Loud, Male Vocals, Female Vocals. And John Dwyer will be happy to know that I think this sounds nothing like the B-52s…

The Fall – Imperial Wax Solvent
It wouldn’t be proper if a year went by without The Fall releasing an album. Mark E. Smith is back with a brand new band (that shouldn’t be surprising). This is their 27 (or 28th?) studio album. I’m not sure if it is available in the U.S. yet but I know all you Fall freaks will find a way to get your greasy hands on it. Must. Have. Complete. 28. Album. Discography…


Rhys Chatham & His Guitar Trio All-Stars – Guitar Trio is My Life!
Table of the Elements has released another nicely packaged Chatham box. This 3 disc set features recordings from Chatham’s recent North American guitar trio tour. Over three hours worth of repetitive dissonant guitar strumming! Included in the recordings: Lee Ranaldo, Alan Licht, Thurston Moore, David Daniell and Tony Conrad. Each performance of the piece at first sounds identical, but those who are patient will be rewarded after each uniquely slow-building climax…

-Klax

The band you’ll hate at the end of the year

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

Vampire Weekend.

Their album was officially released today (basically, its the same as what was going around last summer, just with strings added and 2 new songs), and really, every song is great. You can read all sorts of bullshit about the atmosphere and the preppiness-hipster battle thats deep within the album on pretty much all of the big music blogs today, but there isn’t really a clunker to be found on the album (M79 comes the closest). Here’s the thing though, they’re a bunch of preppy, Ivy League dudes, and the album isn’t that far separated from OAR-esque jam band douchiness (separated just enough to be great). Vampire Weekend is going to be everywhere. It’s only a matter of time before the backlash comes, and in a big way too. Enjoy the album while you can, there’s a lot to enjoy.

Rafter – Sex, Death, Cassette

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

Rafter Roberts writes music for commercials (like Michael Bluth in Juno!*) , and he’s part of the Sufjan Stevens crew. Therefore, he already had two strikes against him as I started to listen to Sex, Death, Cassette. Fortunately, Rafter was able to come up big with two strikes. Sex, Death, Cassette obliterates any possible genre classification but still manages to sound like a cohesive album, even with upbeat indie songs like “zzzpenchant,” an Afrobeat impersonation in “Love Time Now Please,” and (shudder) Sufjan Stevens-esque folk making frequent appearances. This is a testament to how well produced this album is, not surprising given that Rafter has produced for artists like the Rapture and Fiery Furnaces. Songs like “zzzpenchant” make you want to dance, while on the other end of the spectrum, “Tropical” is more heartfelt and somehow absorbing. Sex, Death, Cassette may be coming out in the winter, but it sounds like the perfect soundtrack for a drugged-out summer adventure. Oh, to be out of the cold…

Standout tracks: zzzpenchant, No-one Home Ever, How To and Why
Rating: 7/10

* I know his real name is Jason Bateman, and that he’s been in many other things. I just refuse to accept that Arrested Development isn’t real

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists – Living With The Living

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007

Ted Leo is the Billy Bragg of the 2000′s. It’s a comparison that he doesn’t seem to like, but an apt one: he’s the thoughtful punk with a conscience, he’s content to let his lyrics do all the talking and with his Pharmacists, doesn’t try to overwhelm the solid musicianship with volume and speed. He does try to branch out on his new album, Living With The Living, but the end result is the same – another great album. There’s a lot of the Ted Leo standard of “thinking man’s punk,” but on “Bomb.Repeat.Bomb” he sounds more like Dexter Holland of the Offspring – and it’s better than you’d think. His attempt at a reggae-influenced song, “The Unwanted Things,” is, unfortunately, not better than you’d think, but when he takes a stab at a dancier song with “The Lost Brigade,” it works, and well.

That’s not to say that the old formula isn’t still a good one. “Sons of Cain” is one of the best songs on the album, and “CIA,” which is to Living With The Living what “Where Have All The Rude Boys Gone” was to Hearts of Oak, is right up there with it. “Colleen” is a little slower, but still great, and “Annunciation Day/Born on Christmas Day” is faster, but still great. All in all, a simply great album that makes me want to pick up a sign and go protest.

Overall: 9/10