(BAA Records) Local art-rock auteurs the Warble have gone through several directional shifts and lineup changes, and they have at times yielded mixed results for the band. Always pushing their collective creative boundaries, the Warble has been reinvented yet again — this time as a sparse synth/noise-pop power trio — and the end result is not only a satisfying one, it's a revelation. Movie Night is the best and most consistent Warble album to date and an early frontrunner for local album of the year.
The Warble is centered around the creative vision of frontman Alex Warble (also a well-respected visual artist), who, along with drummer and original member Ben Bauermeister and recent addition vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Elizabeth Hoehn (the daughter of the late local power-pop songwriter Tommy Hoehn), has crafted nothing short of an experimental pop masterpiece. I defy anyone to listen to "Just Busted" once and not have it stuck in your head for days.
(Grand Palace Records) This self-titled debut 7" vinyl single (featuring two songs, "As Predicted" and "Meanwhile") was produced by emerging studio empresarios Jake and Toby Vest at their High/Low facility and finds the all-girl garage-rock quartet mellowing out a bit and cranking up the reverb — more so than in some of their live shows. And while a portion of the group's raucous and infectious energy may have been lost in the exchange, the additional clarity allows Bake Sale's intricate vocal harmonies and smart songwriting to really shine, which, in the end, makes for a fair trade-off. Overall, a fine first effort.
(self-released) Silver Seeds is the new "rocked-up" project of former Harmony Brothers co-frontman Philip Weaver. And while there are definitely some things I don't like about the sound/production of this debut EP (currently being distributed as a free CD in local record shops), the songs themselves are quite strong and show immense promise for this up-and-coming band. In particular, tracks like "You're So Young" and "You Cast a Shadow" make me think of what a younger Ben Nichols (Lucero) fronting the Cult (circa "She Sells Sanctuary") might have sounded like — in a good way.
Sucre Du Sauvage
(Goner Records The latest offering from Louisiana organist, inventor, and one-man band Quintron (joined by his wife Miss Pussycat) was recorded entirely on public display as part of an installation at the New Orleans Museum of Art. The album is a tale of two halves — the first being tight and poppy, the second being more experimental. But in all of Quintron's musical explorations, there is a welcome edge of weirdness, freedom, and just pure fun. Standout tracks include the monkey anthem "Banana Beat," the catchy "All Night Right of Way," and the dark, Doors-y groove of "New Year's Night."
Tiffany Harmon & Other Stories
(self-released) This moody, dark debut from the newly formed local singer-songwriter/alt-rock group Tiffany Harmon & Other Stories is as well-recorded by the production team of Matt Burns and Darryl Chabot as it is executed by the group. The problem is that Other Stories seems to have only one gear: low- to mid-tempo atmospheric rock. Don't get me wrong. The songs are good enough, and Harmon is a devastating lead singer, but I find myself waiting for the band to really let loose — which, unfortunately, never quite happens on this E.P., though the closing track, "The Curse," does come close.