Yellow Dubmarine: Abbey Dub (Goldlion Records)

Reviewed by Eric Saeger Honky-reggae-ized Beatles tribute band from Maryland set up like a NOLA jazz octet. Beatles fans are universally despised creatures, still gobbling up anything to do with a band that broke up forty years ago; so this is for them, as only they could find a cute one-drop family-barbecue version of ‘Octopus’s … Continue reading Yellow Dubmarine: Abbey Dub (Goldlion Records)

Dark Loft: Dark Loft (self-released)

Reviewed by Eric Saeger Comprised of big-deal sidemen who’ve been involved with everyone from Alicia Keys to The Drifters, this project makes arena-rock that should be palatable to Minus the Bear fans, which is not to say that there are that many curveballs here, but the band’s retro-ness does exhibit the notion of a plan … Continue reading Dark Loft: Dark Loft (self-released)

Vince Mendoza: Nights on Earth (Horizontal Records)

Reviewed by Eric Saeger Someone has to be responsible for the orchestral backgrounds provided to Sting and Björk… wait, it’s this guy, who did an LP of originals with the London Symphony in 1997 titled Epiphany, and has since been busy working with the small-potatoes mentioned above. This time the composer swivels toward the jazz … Continue reading Vince Mendoza: Nights on Earth (Horizontal Records)

Camille Bloom and the Recovery: Never Out of Time (self-released)

Reviewed by Eric Saeger I dunno, Scandal meets zzzzz, um, huh, something or other, and at some zzzzzz points there’s cello, like a bunch of shapeless ’80s-pop B-sides had a polite outdoor Chardonnay-tasting and Perfect Circle were throwing Nerf balls at them from the bushes. Bloom, a Washington state native (if I’m reading the random-factoids … Continue reading Camille Bloom and the Recovery: Never Out of Time (self-released)

Brite Futures: Dark Past (Turnout Records)

Reviewed by Eric Saeger Jeez, man, the way this album was described, I was expecting something that wasn’t completely mediocre – “Abba pop with chainsaws”, I think it was. Instead, we get the remains of Seattle band Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head worrying away at the too-optimistic sounds of Los Campesinos and all those crappy Bowery … Continue reading Brite Futures: Dark Past (Turnout Records)

Duda Lucena Quartet: Live (self-released)

Reviewed by Eric Saeger With a pro PR effort breathing new life into its perceived relevance, Brazilian jazz guitarist Lucena’s late-2010 live collection (mainly comprised of Latin classics such as ‘Corcovado’) will reach many more ears, and deservedly so. This is further proof, not that any was needed, that Latin guys just cold own chill-guitar. … Continue reading Duda Lucena Quartet: Live (self-released)

Obadiah Parker: The Siren and the Saint (self-released)

Reviewed by Eric Saeger Famed for his apologetic, unplugged cover of Outkast’s ‘Hey Ya’, Obadiah Parker is the adopted name of Phoenix busk-rocker Mat Weddle, who apparently popped in at the Howard Stern show, I’m assuming to talk about his addictions (now that Stern’s on pay-radio, isn’t it hilarious watching him squirm while trying to … Continue reading Obadiah Parker: The Siren and the Saint (self-released)

Heart-Set Self-Destruct: Of Nightmares (Soundmine Musicworks)

Reviewed by Eric Saeger This Chicago neo-hardrock four-piece has a tough nut to crack, mainly because they do stuff correctly. They’re equal parts Gravity Kills (the on-the-phone-patch hollering part), Offspring (the singer’s a dead-ringer when in normal mode) and Avenged Sevenfold (the riff part), in other words they’re pretty much the perfect prescription for white … Continue reading Heart-Set Self-Destruct: Of Nightmares (Soundmine Musicworks)

Malefice: Awaken the Tides (Metal Blade Records)

Reviewed by Eric Saeger Despite the fact that the words “awaken the tides” look like they came together by way of a heavy metal album title randomizer (I know, I know, by “tides” they probably mean “legions of downtrodden blue-collar dudes who’ve finally had enough of The Man’s oppression and are about to, um, I … Continue reading Malefice: Awaken the Tides (Metal Blade Records)

Gothsicles: Industrialites and Magic (Wtii Records)

Reviewed by Eric Saeger This Chicago duo-or-however-many-some invented Tosh.0 for the goth scene before there was a Tosh.0. They can be forgiven, then, for fixating on old NES games and internet memes the way twelve-year-old boys worship virus-riddled free-porn sites. Singer Brian DarkNES (that right there is an adorable little jab at Skinny Puppy, in … Continue reading Gothsicles: Industrialites and Magic (Wtii Records)

Forty Winks: Bow Wow (End Sounds)

Reviewed by Eric Saeger Every six months or so some foreigner finds my eclectic, willy-nilly output and assumes I’d be super-psyched to receive a big-ass stack of random LPs from their country. Poland, Belarus, Singapore, whatever – they’re always big stacks, CD-case-inserts written in foreign languages all crimped into thin plastic sleeves to save on … Continue reading Forty Winks: Bow Wow (End Sounds)

Correatown: Pleiades (Another Room Recordings)

Reviewed by Eric Saeger As a Californian, Angela Correa routinely winds up on TV and movie soundtracks (Ugly Betty et al, the vocal double for Darlene in Dewey Cox), which is something to envy unless you factor in the conformity that’s required to succeed in such pursuits. Her surf-dream-pop band’s first full-length (she’s done shoegazier … Continue reading Correatown: Pleiades (Another Room Recordings)

Samiam: Trips (Hopeless Records)

Reviewed by Eric Saeger The eighth album and third Hopeless Records release from this Berkeley, CA punk crew finds them relaxed in their age but not hurting for slam-dunk old school emo melodies. Matter of fact, there are countless newer bands who would have made one of half these tunes into the showpiece track of … Continue reading Samiam: Trips (Hopeless Records)

Jenn Mierau: Hush (Galactique Recordings)

Reviewed by Eric Saeger Montreal-based Mierau has her google-eyed-chick moves down, but with so many google-eyed chicks around there’s little to do to set oneself apart from the pack but slow it down a little more and get more spacey, which she accomplishes in ‘Hushabye’, a series of half-whispered loops over backward-mask loops and all … Continue reading Jenn Mierau: Hush (Galactique Recordings)

Mambo Legends Orchestra: Ten Cuidao! Watch Out! (Zoho Music)

Reviewed by Eric Saeger Being the remaining contingent of Tito Puente’s band, Mambo Legends Orchestra is essentially the Latin reply to today’s Count Basie Orchestra, aiming to preserve the vibrancy of 40s/50s core mambo and salsa – there’s no better band to do the job, obviously, than the one on this two-disker. Frankie Vazquez’ heavy/slithery … Continue reading Mambo Legends Orchestra: Ten Cuidao! Watch Out! (Zoho Music)

Wyld Olde Souls: Ensoulment (My Generation Productions)

Reviewed by Eric Saeger With Florence and the Machine making Grace Slick cool again, it’s important to pay attention to every bunch of second-hand hippy fashion plates that barge in. Album opener ‘Ferris Wheel’ dredges up every 60s acid-pop trick in the book, including an irresistible Spanky And Our Gang vocal round and phase-shifting the … Continue reading Wyld Olde Souls: Ensoulment (My Generation Productions)

Dida Pelled: Plays and Sings (Indie Europe Records)

Reviewed by Eric Saeger My great hopes for this jazz-guitar record were negated, but that’s a preference thing, so don’t let that stop you if you’re into standards as examined by subdued, dreamy, barely-plugged guitar. Dida Pelled studied at Thelma Yellin High School Of The Arts in Tel Aviv, the go-to school for jazz talent … Continue reading Dida Pelled: Plays and Sings (Indie Europe Records)

Steve Lipman: There’s A Song In My Heart (Locomotion Records)

Reviewed by Eric Saeger What rapturous justice that this Sinatra-loving dentist (from Connecticut!) has released a terrible vanity album that I can torture with impunity! Just like all of you people, I’m staring down the barrel of tens of thousands of dollars of dental work – do all those guys honestly think people have brand … Continue reading Steve Lipman: There’s A Song In My Heart (Locomotion Records)

Mike Bloom: King of Circles (Little Record Company)

Reviewed by Eric Saeger Though mostly a one-man operation run by a Julian Casablancas solo band associate, this project has a money trail leading to actor Tobey Maguire, who funded it up to the time it was picked up by a new record label from Pierre de Reeder, itself bankrolled in turn by de Reeder’s … Continue reading Mike Bloom: King of Circles (Little Record Company)

Last Winter: The Heart and the Broken Compass (Six Degrees Records)

Reviewed by Eric Saeger Last Winter have a lot of things not-going for them. One, they’re from Florida. Worse, they’re from Orlando. And last, they’re trying to find safe haven for their unadventurous rawk in the plain-vanilla waters of the emo-rock Bermuda Triangle, hoping to survive the soulless vortex that’s swallowed so many Vans Tour … Continue reading Last Winter: The Heart and the Broken Compass (Six Degrees Records)

Karmacoda: Eternal (Sola Musa Music)

Reviewed by Eric Saeger This column offers safe haven for all trip-hop comers, even this debatable effort from the stubbornly DIY San Fran threesome. Obviously the fetish is there, being that they kinda-sorta named the band after a Massive Attack tune, so points for fanboyism get chalked up from the get-go. But the electronics are … Continue reading Karmacoda: Eternal (Sola Musa Music)

Arrica Rose and the …s: Let Alone Sea (pOprOck records)

Reviewed by Eric Saeger This stuff is just a few DNA strands away from being something you’d picture your mom doing with her for-the-hell-of-it bar band. Said genetic sequences are comprised of faraway spaghetti guitars, a few puffs of synth, and a debatably desirable gift for Chris Isaak alcoholic-Americana. ‘When The Clouds Hang This Low’ … Continue reading Arrica Rose and the …s: Let Alone Sea (pOprOck records)

In One Wind: How Bright a Shadow (Primary Records)

Reviewed by Eric Saeger Rooted mostly in twee-folk, these too-long-in-the-city Brooklynites erupt in occasional Boredoms no-wave (‘Death By Sea Air’) and play to their inarguable strengths with dweeb-prog (opener ‘Tuck Me in with Bells’), all the while dabbling in the cracks in between and offering singing that should have stayed in the shower, save for … Continue reading In One Wind: How Bright a Shadow (Primary Records)

The Front Bottoms: The Front Bottoms (Bar/None Records)

Reviewed by Eric Saeger Microwaving the Dead Milkmen for Generation Text pretty much on schedule, although this unplugged New Jersey guitar/drums punk duo have a darker edge, obsessed not with booger-fingered AIDS jokes but uber-emo concerns, from taking steroids in the hope of impressing a Snooki-like bimbo to the joyful fantasy of beating dad to … Continue reading The Front Bottoms: The Front Bottoms (Bar/None Records)

Driftwood Fire: How to Untangle a Heartache (self-released)

Reviewed by Eric Saeger I suppose at the least we can now say it’s no longer a mystery how a pair of chick scientists (as in females utilizing glorified vocational training in various scientific McJobs, not scientists who try to understand chicks) would interpret modern Western-Americana. Their best feature is their Sarah McLachlan yodelling, while … Continue reading Driftwood Fire: How to Untangle a Heartache (self-released)