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Listening Log

11-3-05

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Sings Out
Noise Choir
(self-released)

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I've never been much for instrumental rock music, but as an Afropop devotee, the variation on the form presented by this five-song, 13-minute debut is close to my ideal: rhythmic and percussive, with bracing guitar lines and no indulgent solos -- groove music twisted askew. Play it as background noise, and it'll sneak up on you. Members of this relatively new local band were in a group called Reginald a few years ago, and the music worked in much the same way. -- CH

("Muscular Pony," "Joystick")
Grade: B

Joecephus and the George Jonestown Massacre
Joecephus and the George Jonestown Massacre
(self-released)

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Having long been an alt-country skeptic and mainstream-country defender (some friends might say apologist), this is the kind of record that gives me problems. However much alt-country types might want to claim someone like George Jones for themselves, the vocal quality that made Jones great is still a lot more prevalent in Nashville studios than in the pages of No Depression. In country music, as in R&B, singing is crucial, and the flat, earthbound vocals are what nearly sink this local alt-country band, who are otherwise adept at a trad-country sound and seem to have good taste in the music they love. The vocals are less of a detriment when the music turns from country to rock. -- CH

("No Turning Back")

Grade: B-

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