By Noah Hubbell
By Kiernan Maletsky
By Tom Murphy
By Noah Hubbell
By Alex Distefano
By Darryl Smyers
By Jon Solomon
By Britt Chester
SEEDY RELEASE BY SPIV DOESN'T WEAR OUT ITS WELCOMEo ITS THREE SONGS MARCH BY BRISKLY AND WITH REQUISITE HUMOR. "NIBLEY VIEW" IS PERCOLATING HARMONY ROCK, "DIZZY TIZZY" PROVIDES EVIDENCE OF THE PERFORMERS' FONDNESS FOR XTC, AND "MAKE THE BEST OF IT" ALLOWS STILTED, SPOKEN-WORD ABSURDITY TO PLAY OUT AGAINST AN ANGULAR KING MISSILE BACKDROP. THIS TRIO HAS YET TO FIND ITS OWN VOICE, BUT THE ONE IT'S BORROWING RIGHT NOW ISN'T TOO BAD AT ALL (SPIVINTL@JUNO.COM). THE MEMBERS OF AMBERJACK, WHO NAMED THEIR EP AFTER THEIR BAND, ARE ACCOMPLISHED PLAYERS, AND THEIR LYRICS ARE LITERATE. UNFORTUNATELY, THE TUNES THEY'VE CHOSEN TO DIGITIZE AREN'T FULLY REALIZEDo THEY CONSIST OF ASSORTED SHARDS THAT MAY BE FINE IN AND OF THEMSELVES BUT DON'T QUITE FIT TOGETHER. "TOUGHIE," THE LAST NUMBER, IS THE BEST OF THE BATCH--A SPEEDY STRUMMER THAT GOES FROM POINT A TO POINT B WITHOUT TAKING A SIDE TRIP TO W. MORE SONGS LIKE THIS ONE CERTAINLY COULDN'T HURT (303-412-6211).
ACCORDING TO DIMITRI WOLOSYN, THE MAN BEHIND ANNA SCORIA, WHOSE DISC IS CALLED CURIOUS SOUNDS, "THIS CD IS ABOUT LOVE, LOSS, NIGHTMARES, DEPRESSION, ABUSE, HEARTACHE, LUST, CONFUSION, FANTASY, UNREQUITED PASSION, JOY, SOULFUL EXPRESSION, VOICES, COLLECTIVE INSPIRATION, DREAMS, HUMANITY." THAT'S A LOT TO BITE OFF, AND IT WILL COME AS NO SURPRISE THAT WOLOSYN ISN'T ALWAYS ABLE TO CHEW SUCH TOPICSo He slips up on a number of sonically persuasive but overwrought tracks, including the dippy Jethro Tull-derived psychodrama "I Don't Want the Ice Cream." But Wolosyn knows his way around in the dark, and his Dave Gahan warble makes "Won't You Show Me" and "Undying Night" worthy of attention, if not undying gratitude. Ambitious, frequently pompous, but never boring (1-719-599-5405). Wailer B & Axiom, which came to life after the intriguing reggae act Roots Revolt died, is a fine live act, which is no doubt why the bandmates decided to make their first disc, a three-song self-titled demo, an in-concert affair. But "Tune In," "Clash" and "Wicked Man," from a January performance at the Fox Theatre, don't capture the group at its best, due to a poor mix: Because Wailer's singing is potted too high and coated with far too much echo, he and the far-quieter-sounding band seem to be on separate wavelengths. Jah advises balance in all things (Mountain High Music, 303-415-1958).
Tunnel, an EP by decanonizeD, isn't a whole lot different from decanonizeD, a demo tape reviewed in this space on February 25: The best songs on the disc ("Bound," "Game," "Dancing") were the best songs on the cassette. Still, the latest recording is worthwhile if only because its superior sound quality underlines the interesting qualities inherent in the band, a emotional and dramatic four-piece with Eighties-era art-guitar leanings that is lifted above the ordinary by the pipes of Talea Harmon. Worth watching (www.decanonizeD.com). Kindercore Records, an Athens, Georgia, indie with a proclivity for releasing tuneful pop of a very good-natured sort, is the ideal label for Dressy Bessy--so it's fortunate for all involved that the company has just put out the group's first nationally distributed disc, the wonderfully cheerful Pink Hearts Yellow Moons. The album has a bushel of Apples connections: Guitarist John Hill is in both combos, and Apples leader Robert Schneider helped engineer and mix the recording at his home studio, Pet Sounds. But the star of the show is Tammee Ealom, whose upbeat singing makes "I Found Out," "Lookaround" and "Big Vacation" damn near irresistible. "Little TV" shows off an unexpectedly driving riff reminiscent of the Velvet Underground's "Waiting for the Man" and "Makeup" isn't all rainbows and lollipops, but they're the exceptions--and for some people, Ealom's relentless chipperness may prove trying. But in general, Pink Hearts Yellow Moons is more than capable of turning that frown upside down (available in area music stores).
I have it from a reliable source that a number of local musicians are planning a bash to celebrate the end of my tenure as Westword's music editor. Well, ladies and gentlemen, this is my final Feedback column--so pop those champagne corks and let the carousing begin. But don't party too hearty, because I'm neither dying nor fading away. Next month, I'll introduce to these pages a new media column focusing upon radio, television, print and the like. I also hope to write about a number of other subjects for Westword, including--on occasion--music. After all, I've been penning music pieces for this publication since September 1990, and I think I'm just starting to get the hang of it.
Beginning next week, this space will be filled with the wit and wisdom of our new music editor, Laura Bond; for a preview of her work, see the review on page 92. I leave you in capable hands.