Volume 96, Issue 85
Wednesday, March 12, 2003

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CD REVIEWS: Arlene Bishop, Susan Tedeschi, New Car Smell, K-REC

A&E has broken hearts and New Cars waiting

Arlene Bishop
Cut a Man's Heart Out

Rundown: A longtime staple of the Toronto music scene, Arlene Bishop releases her highly anticipated second album, featuring enough chic-pop to keep Susan B. Anthony happy. A combination of stark instrumentalization, strong vocals and poetic lyrics, Bishop's music is a veritable sightseeing tour of womanhood.It is also an intensely easy-listening album, which may just make men wish they had a period to vent about.

Key Tracks: The title cut is definitely the standout of the album; Bishop clearly knows this, as she includes two different mixes, the second of which is vastly inferior to the original. There isn't really a weak track on the album and every song has obviously been well-thought out, which is nice to hear for a change. However, at times some of the material sounds rather empty.

Sounds Like: Aimee Mann, Indigo Girls, etc. – all those ladies you'd expect to see letting their armpit hair grow at Lilith Fair. Arlene Bishop has a great voice, completely worthy of her other, more famous, counterparts.

–Daniel Noble

Susan Tedeschi
Wait For Me
Tone-Cool Records

Rundown: Following a Grammy nomination for "Best Female Vocal Rock Performance" alongside musical icons Avril Lavigne and Sheryl Crow, Tedeschi has jumped into the spotlight. Her nomination has captured the music industry's attention, with Rolling Stone calling it "a victory for everyone searching for a rock 'n' roll oasis in an arid, teen-pop wasteland."

Key Tracks: Wait For Me has a healthy mix of mellow blues with songs like "Wait for Me" and "In The Garden," while also offering upbeat, refreshing rock hits like "Hampmotized" and "'Til I found You." Track two, however, titled "Gonna Move," has such repetitive and elementary lyrics that it may leave listeners with the urge to yank their hair out.

Sounds Like: Tedeschi's musical style could easily fall under the same category as Melissa Etheridge or Jann Arden, offering a mosaic of blues, country and rock. Although her catchy songs foster a healthy mix of guitar and drums, one can't help but place her lyrics on the level of an advanced first-grader.

–Tanya Cassidy

New Car Smell
Favourite Century
Dark Skippy Records

Rundown: Ottawa duo Tony Missio and Scott Paterson have created a very catchy album titled Favourite Century, which has a perfect, easy-going summer sound. Don't let the lack of buzz stop you from listening though – www.newcarsmell.ca has free downloads for all.

Key Tracks: "Second Fall of Rome" is a poignant, sad love song with nicely integrated vocal harmonies. "Steady Bowling Partner" is another sad one about losing a father. Although the band calls this album "black comedy," there seems to be a lot more blackness than comedy. "Number One With A Bullet" is a pointless, pseudo-witty commentary on Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love.

Sounds Like: Geek rock. The band lists Elvis Costello, The Beatles and Steely Dan as influences. The album has that lazy/hazy Hawaiian summer vibe. The focus is on the vocals, with the odd quirky addition of a bassoon or accordion. All in all, this album is one that's definitely worth checking out if you can't wait for the sounds of summer.

–Jessica Burgess

Disque Jockey

Rundown: With an impressive collection of independent full-length albums and music videos to back him up, the Vancouver based DJ/producer K-REC delivers Disque Jockey, his first solo effort on the Nettwerk Records label. Spots on Electric Circus and MTV in the past have established K-REC as a major player in the electronic music industry, a reputation that this record will probably jeopardize.

Key Tracks: With producers like DJ Shadow setting the standard these days, Disque Jockey is blatantly juvenile. The intro track "Can You Feel It" sounds confused, with many wasted great ideas. K-REC's fickle nature behind the boards is characterized by his tendency to change the mood too quickly. A solid guitar lick turns adolescent when he introduces high-pitched vocals, making the song sound like something that didn't make Basement Jaxx's Remedy album. "One Man Mozart" is loud, piercing and also utilizes the highly unoriginal heavy guitar sound. Amongst all the disappointment, "Trouble" is the only song that shows any promise. Son Doobie (Funkdoobiest), lends his voice to this highly hip-hop influenced effort, which is brilliantly spliced together and could be the key to K-REC's future, assuming he has one.

Sounds Like: Although K-REC has the tools, he hasn't yet learned how to use them. Half of the album sounds like trance, and the other half is an oil and water mixture of hip-hop and electronica. Showcasing his emcee skills on half of the tracks cheeses the sound even further, making this record sound like something one of your drunk buddies threw together at a basement house party.

–Kaelan Moat


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