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CD Review Aimee Mann - Mental Illness

Aimee Mann

Mental Illness
Record Label: SuperEgo Records
Review by John Noyd
March 2017

Stripping away all but what makes Aimee Man one of the finest songwriters of her generation., “Mental Illness,” dresses perceptive duress in simply stated fates; her rich sensuous voice kindly underlines in cleverly crafted melodies backed by studious acoustic guitar, airy string arrangements and cozy open-hearted choirs. Mann’s quietly enlightened ballads are lovingly framed in melancholy modesty, transforming forlorn warnings into picture-perfect curtain-calls, underscoring a razor-sharp intellect behind each sweet turn of phrase. Flinty pop symphonies swaddled in fallen-angel sympathy, Mann’s ninth solo endeavor blends affectionate reckoning inside faultless resolve, supporting each song’s struggling characters in warm compassion as objective conjecture meets earnest concern and blind-faith perseverance embraces patient consolation.  Aimee plays Madison’s Barrymore Theater May 2nd along with beguiling ironist, talented troubadour Jonathan Coulton.


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CD Review Six Organs of Admittance - Burning The Threshold

Six Organs of Admittance

Burning The Threshold
Record Label: Drag City
Review by John Noyd
March 2017

Dispatched with placid mastery, wistful intricacy and evocative serendipity “Threshold,” unscrolls exquisite hobo road-trips extracting ecstatic patters from synaptic guitar acrobatics to form floral chorals merging in thorny harp-like flights tastefully laced with river-running percussion.  White-water otters tramping in railroad-gypsy mystery, bewitched pixie proficiency and intuitive cruise-controlled industry, San Francisco’s Six Organs of Admittance blurs the lines between disciplined imaginations and improvised compositions; transcendental sentinels camping at heaven’s gate drizzling vigorous country-jazz arabesques over teeming, bohemian dreams. Enigmatic instrumentals sparkle among musical tarot-card readings weaving pastoral ballets entwined in sublime serpentine post-folk hypnosis; meditative cave-ins whose budding buddhic grooves greet shadow-chasing incantations dancing in the wind.  Full of surprises, the band’s live performances are incredible. Catch them playing Milwaukee’s Colectivo Coffee’s Back Room April 12th.


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CD Review The Dig - Bloodshot Tokyo

The Dig

Bloodshot Tokyo
Record Label: Roll Call Records
Review by John Noyd
February 2017

As a quartet with three songwriters and two vocalists; The Dig’s albums enjoy a cohesive diversity whose seamless intrigue is fascinatingly balanced in a flashy crash-course of craft, cunning and clout. Doused in playful danger and buffed to a mouth-watering gloss, the slinky ministers of coy nocturnal joys ooze in musical ruses; moon-lit night-crawlers fed hearty helpings of glam-pop showbiz. Exposing unspoken hope behind feigned disdain, the cavalier, “Bloodshot,” plots love-doctor rock with percussive struts and balcony-pelted promises. Flirtatious hooks planted between impatient bass, tweaked keys and bedroom harmonies roam in dramatic undertones as edgy after-hours elegies peddling shadow-seeking jealousies sneak back-seat speeches past thorny romance, heartsick visions and bruised egos. The Dig plays Milwaukee’s Shank Hall March 31st along with Nico Yaryan and Kolars.


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CD Review Sepultura - Machine Messiah

Sepultura

Machine Messiah
Record Label: Nuclear Blast
Review by Sal Serio
January 2017

‘Machine Messiah’ marks the 14th studio album by Brazilian masters of thrash metal Sepultura, and emphatically could be their best release since 1989’s ‘Beneath The Remains’. Thanks to the inventive arrangements by the band, and the superbly crisp engineering by Jens Bogren at the Swiss Fascination Street Studios, the Sepultura vision is razor sharp and painstakingly realized on their new 2017 effort.


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CD Review London May - Devilution: The Early Years

London May

Devilution: The Early Years
Record Label: Cleopatra Records
Review by Sal Serio
January 2017

One of the most unusual but highly intriguing releases of 2016 is the London May ‘Devilution: The Early Years’ compilation (CD pressing limited to 1,000 copies). May is a punk rock drummer and actor who began in Baltimore thrashing out the beat for bands like Rat Patrol and Reptile House, which led to work with Washington D.C. punk icons Dag Nasty. Eventually the road led May west to California and gigs with some of punk’s biggest names like Samhain and the Circle Jerks. Quite a few of these tracks are unreleased, including the selections by the Circle Jerks (live rehearsal of “Wonderful”), Samhain (live), and two Dag Nasty songs. Also included are several songs seeing the first light of day in a digital format.


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CD Review The Raptor Trail - Devil On An Indian

Raptor Trail

Devil On An Indian
Record Label: MBM Entertainment
Review by Sal Serio
January 2017

The third release from North Carolina’s melodic prog rock trio The Raptor Trail is a full-on concept album written by multi-instrumentalist Matt Mayes, which details an internal clash between Native American spirituality and 21st century white Christian morality, and inevitably results in an apocalyptic conclusion. While the theme is intense and demands a certain amount of rapt attention, the music is an overall uplifting and diversely varied experience, featuring instrumentation ranging from the conventional guitar/bass/drums, to the more esoteric guijo, banjo, and various keyboards/effects/percussion.


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