Chicago's Anni Rossi - photo by Jim Newberry
Weather-wise, March marks time’s talent for turbulent promises, teasing weeks of season’s intermingling, combustible combinations accompanying blustery unpredictability. Musically this March contains similar irrepressible tendencies to come in from left field; out of the blue CDs that get up inside your ears. Something different this way comes, thawing thoughts, poised inside early spring storms, spanning history, encapsulating the future and living in the now. Buckle up and enjoy the ride.
Bell Orchestre - As Seen Through Windows
Album title: As Seen Through Windows
Record Label: Arts & Crafts
Studied silences cultivate cacophony as, “Windows,” moves among bright lights and shadows, cinematic snapshots bursting with instrumental chutzpah. From glassy passages to race-car rhythms, BO’s quasi-classical motifs mate, molt and mutate into soundlab experiments, displaced soundtracks and theatrical interventions; elegant pools of acoustics preceding curious Keystone comedies and flowering romances
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Burnt Sugar - Making Love to the Dark Ages
Album title: Making Love to the Dark Ages
Record Label: LiveWired
Scats pitter-pat past cool animal bop frosted in electronic blips, found sounds and willfully meandering ambience. Galactic atmospheres cushion hep-cat vibes, after-hours sessions pitting astral brass with cosmic guitar, gypsy jazz and bluesy gospel. Buzzing between Avant Theater and Night Club Improv, Burnt Sugar’s exceptional love-making scenarios are carnal caramels.
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Burnt Sugar online:
Mi Ami - Watersports
Album title: Watersports
Record Label: Touch and Go Records
Melting high-voltage punk and urban jungle funk into electrifying, hypno-rave aerobics, Mi Ami goes new-wave native, bending rules with explosive results. Feline yelps bite wobbly bass, cat-scratch guitar stab at throbbing, bobbing drums: post-nuclear trance-rock waking up hot and sweaty. “Watersports,” attacks passionately, floating on tightropes, half adenoidal epilepsy and half neo-disco voodoo.
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Mi Ami online:
Anni Rossi - Rockwell
Album title: Rockwell
Record Label: 4AD
Twittering lyrics flutter past brittle riddles and pickled patty-cake pizzicato. Rossi’s enchanting ellipses are modern, quaint, hermetic and open-hearted. Her oblique chamber-folk rocks as her twisted art-pop talks, poems restlessly squirming in well-scored precision. Spiraling violas, cymbal-less rhythms, melodies touched by vocal yodeling – “Rockwell,” covers strange terrain visiting scenic vistas, cozy burrows and paisley meadows.
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Sholi - Sholi
Album title: Sholi
Record Label: Quarterstick/Touch and Go
Paralyzing prayers, guitar acrobatics and nervous percussion roast dark skeletal textures, colliding powerful free jazz tempos against ancient aspirations, ghostly hopes and driven intuition. Sholi’s toreador torpedoes swoop and climb, effervescent chords dance over stranglehold beats; indie-rock tapestries shrouding thick forests of skitterish transmissions. Ballistic mysticism in clanging anchors, spidery threads and moody transcendence.
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Zu - Carboniferous
Album title: Carboniferous
Record Label: Ipecac Recordings
Dazzling whirlwinds of Doomsday dance tunes, Zu’s reflex riffs crunch synchronized thunder under monolithic squeals. Clawing at the consciousness, “Carboniferous,” is a tense, impervious box of monster heartbeats, skyscraper squalls and jet-propelled demolition derbies. Cornered rampage, bulldog sax, slam-dunked stomps and Troglodyte upper-cuts pitch howling bursts of Armageddon’s pleasure while praying mantis prog-rock chases armor-plated algorithms.
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March also offers its comfortable share of sure things. DAN HICKS AND THE HOT LICKS serves up reliably tasty jazz-folk in Dan’s upbeat and intelligent, “Tangled Tales,” while THE BOY LEAST LIKELY TO continue to spread communal kinderpop whimsy in, “The Law of the Playground.” Meanwhile, MARTY WILSON-PIPER and STEVE KILBEY release separate solo discs that sound remarkably like THE CHURCH and the INDIGO GIRLS resurface sounding stronger than ever.