Keep It Crisp
(Best Friends Records)
Judging by the lyric sheet included with their latest CD, Andy Falconetti, Jeff Almond and Eric Van Leuven of Breezy Porticos didn't cut many classes during their scholastic careers. The title of the first song -- "Gee, Your Math Looks Terrific" -- is funny in a professorial sort of way; while "Trick of the Light" puts geometric principles to metaphorical ends via lyrics such as "Parallel lives never come together/And parallel lines never grow apart." Yet an advanced degree in quantum physics isn't required to enjoy the tunes as a whole, because the players pair their clever words with music as catchy as it is appealing.
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The band's pedigree can be traced back to Sissy Fuzz, a '90s ensemble loosely affiliated with Dressy Bessy and the Apples in Stereo. No surprise, then, that the Elephant 6 influence can be heard on tracks such as "Breezy Porticos," which features vocal doot-doots, strummy guitar and a melody that should get listeners nodding like bobbleheads. Rather than tricking up the arrangements and spit-shining the sound, however, Falconetti and company keep things ultra-simple, and the approach pays off in accessibility. To paraphrase Morrissey, it's all but impossible to dislike this charming band (www.breezyporticos.com). -- Michael Roberts
Blue Ribbon Buzz
(Big Bender Records)
Taking Americana and y'allternative to fresh heights, Front Range-bred Buckskin Stallion blends a sweet mash of twanging lap steel, accordion, fiddle, acoustic bass and sundry other organic sounds into a first outing as smooth as barley soda. Steered by tunesmith Troy Schoenfelder, a transplant from the farm country of South Dakota, Stallion keeps the buzz earthy and friendly with a strong collection of ditties that burble as pleasantly as a mountain creek, and a couple of well-chosen covers of traditional nuggets. And the disc prominently features guest spots by local roots standouts like Sally Van Meter, Christian Teele, Vince Herman and Danny Shafer. Ultimately, Blue Ribbon Buzz grips your attention like a half-clad hillbilly in an inner tube (www.buckskinstallionmusic.org). -- Nick Hutchinson