CD Review Extravaganza
Part 3: stellar sounds
Rundown: For their third album, a follow-up to their
successful second work Emotion is Dead, The Juliana Theory is
looking to mature their sound and earn more acclaim. Singer/songwriter
Brett Detar and his four bandmates released Love after widespread
touring with fellow rockers Something Corporate and The Ataris.
Key Tracks: "Repeating, Repeating" is a sullen
confession imbued with catchy vocals and ripping guitarwork. Detar solemnly
laments, "I'm burnt out on everything," as the intense chorus
mimics this feeling. "White Days" takes a pulsing electronic
rhythm and juxtaposes it with calm guitar and vocals. "Into the Dark"
is a remix of the first track of their previous album, and gets catchier
with each consecutive listen.
Sounds Like: Built on the foundations of brooding vocals
and poetic storytelling, Juliana fits the emo-rock mold that is characteristic
of bands like Jimmy Eat World. The Juliana Theory has an unearthly ability
to set lyrics appropriately to music, and they perform with a passion
unmatched by most other bands out there today. This record is ideal for
punk and emo fans alike, as well as any rock/alternative fans looking
for something new.
The Detroit Experiment
Rundown: From the heart of the Motor City comes an experiment
in jazz, soul and funk fusion. This recipe calls for over two dozen of
Detroit's jazz legends, the fabled recording studio known as the White
Room and the illegitimate child of those genres: the proud papa of house
music, Carl Craig. Assemble these ingredients in a beaker and let them
sit under a Bunsen burner for five days, and what emerges is a comprehensive
guide to the past, present and mutated future of Detroit's diverse musical
Key Tracks: Ever question the existence of God? The fifth
cut on the album, "There Is A God," does its best to answer
the question with a saintly violin also heard on "Revelation."
"Highest" will entertain you on the stairway to musical ecstasy.
Lastly, "The Way We Make Music" provides a crash course on music-making
away from the glamour and glitz typically associated with the industry.
Sounds Like: A light rain is falling outside; inside,
the dimly lit nightclub is teeming with the volatile talent of Detroit's
finest musicians. You can't compare it to anything you've heard before,
unless you're one of the people who conceived of this project. With DJ/producer
Carl Craig at the helm, sit back and expect the unexpected.
Airs Above Your Station
Rundown: Kinski is a four-piece instrumental band from
Seattle, looking to fulfill the promise outlined in their inclusion on
Alternative Press's 2002 list of "Bands to Watch." But honestly,
how many instrumental rock groups can people name these days? With a guaranteed
lack of support from mainstream radio, the band need not live up to any
hype; yet with their brand of faceless atmospheric art-rock, Kinski prove
they really are a "Band to Hear."
Key Tracks: Airs Above Your Station is Kinski's
third record, featuring epic tracks that often reach the eight-minute
mark. On "Semaphore," a squeaky guitar effect is slowly joined
by a syncopated drum pattern before exploding into a monstrous wall of
guitar. The comparatively quieter "I Think I Blew It" is a hymn-like
piece with guitars that calm and mesmerize.
Sounds Like: Atmospheric, delicate, thunderous
experimentation is key to Kinski, and their incredible attention to dynamics
is both soothing and stunning.
Rundown: When Don Verbrilli sets out to make music, he
strives to bring his listeners awareness, peace and wisdom by using "The
Verbrilli Effect," a process which involves tapping into unseen electromagnetic
atmospheric transmissions and letting them direct the music-making process.
Key Tracks: "Moonlight Swim" is somewhat on
the upbeat side, while "Mating Song of the Big-Headed North American
Bar Swine" has a truly stellar beat and rhythm. Indeed, if played
by said swine after a Saturday night pickup, mating could definitely ensue.
Sounds Like: Something you'd definitely want to play
if you were looking to set a romantic mood without being too obvious.
Think Barry White without the clichéd "Hey Baby."
Collins & Orange Juice
A Casual Introduction 1981-2001
Rundown: British pop impresario Edwyn Collins's unique
voices fuels this "best of" compilation, which spans 18 tracks
and 20 years, featuring songs he performed both solo and with his band
Orange Juice. This compilation is surprisingly uneven, featuring a handful
of songs which are definite winners, and others that fall into a cesspool
of generic '80s Britpop.
Key Tracks: "A Girl Like You", "Magic
Piper of Love" and "Witch Queen of New Orleans" will blast
your knickers off. The CD also features a song about Adidas, which tops
anything Nelly can write about Nike. Unfortunately, as this album progresses,
the songs tend to get weaker.
Sounds Like: A mixture of Bryan Ferry, David Bowie and
Scott Walker, with a bit of Spandau Ballet thrown in. Collins's voice
saves much of the material from being merely mediocre. If you're a fan
of New Wave British music from the '80s, you may get a real kick out of