"Album & Demo Reviews"

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by Kyle Kipp... 

Trans Am • You Can Always Get What You Want

Another indie rawk gourmet entree from Chicago’s premier underground label. Trans Am is a refreshing trio of geeky guys hailing from the southern states that procures from their drums/bass/Casio keyboard/occasional-guitar configuration a combination of pseudo-punk-flavored instrumental techno. Like a loose comparison of styles to a combination of bands like Man...Or Astroman?, Six Finger Satellite, Devo, Big Black, Brainiac, etc. This album is a compilation from the vaults, kind of a fan’s greatest hits, if you will, considering it includes live stuff, "a host of vinyl-only releases, compilation appearances, unreleased material and the often sought after Japanese bonus tracks." The album listens almost like an artsy/dancey/futuristic/atmospheric/progressive soundtrack and/or concept album but keeps grabbing your attention even after the tunes trip out for a while, bringing you back with straightforward, heavy hooks through the course of the seventeen tracks. There are also interesting uses of overdubs, weird sounds and various "beats."  This is a sonic experiment into the space age with good conclusions.  The results show that this is nerd rock with mighty balls.

by Felicia J. Funky... 

Tim Casey and The Bluescats • Blues Bidness

Bluescat Productions, 1997; www.timcaseybluescats.com
There are many bands that play jump/swing blues, but they play mostly cover tunes. Then there’s Tim Casey and The Bluescats, whose debut CD, Blues Bidness, has 12 original cuts (out of 15). Mostly swing/jump blues, Blues Bidness also offers some Chicago-style blues, a belly-rubbin’ tune and the ever-fave instrumental, "Green Onions." The multi-talented Casey even adds bullhorn for a touch of '40s authenticity on a couple cuts!

With a seven-piece band (and a plethora of guest musicians), Blues Bidness was recorded in Los Angeles prior to Casey’s move to Seattle. When he sings, "I’m a 24-Hour Bluesman," I believe him. Reminding me of The Alligators (from Detroit), there’s not a bad cut on the whole album. This well-crafted, self-produced CD is worth seeking out! (Casey continues his winning sound with a new band on their follow-up CD, Live in Seattle, released in ’98.)

by Dennis Katsanis... 

Tony Nicholas • Coffee, Roses & Cigarettes

PO Box 263, Vails Gates, NY 12585
A neo-rock-a-billy masterpiece of short, smart and sharp roots-rock that sparkles like a brand new dime. This engaging mix of twangy vibed-out tremolo guitars, gritty vocals and a stomping primal beat, fire-up a set of fully realized and catchy story songs. Tony Nicholas' world-weary delivery is well suited to this collection of musical gems, which explore the usual themes of love gone wrong in a deeply poetic and original way.

Dave Bolger • Night of Brightness

97 Myrtle Avenue, Plainfield, NJ 07063
Folk music like it ought to be! A compelling mix of original songs, warm vocals and precise harmonies which combine with a loving blend of guitars, mandolins and harmonicas to evoke the imagination, as well as... the heart. Sounding both modern and traditional at once, this collection displays the full monty of naked emotion, literate lyrics and expert production values in an intensely intimate setting. An illuminating experience, indeed.

Swing-a-Delic • Boogie Boo!

A groovy mix of inspired reverence, expert chops and big fun that combine in an original gumbo of jump blues, rockin' rhythms, jazz and soul that avoids the current fad of recycled Gap commercial clichés. The song selection and arrangements are evidence of a deep knowledge and love of the music that gave birth to rock and roll in both spirit and energy with playing that is loose, flammable and completely swinging... baby.

by Pam West... 

blue number nine • blue number nine

Check Other Music, 27 Thorne St. #1, Jersey City, NJ 07307
For several years now, I’ve been familiar with the music of NYC/Jersey-based smooth funk, pop rock singer and flutist Stefanie Seskin and her world-class band blue number nine. I also know the sacrifices and hard work that went into making this album. From the summer sunny breezy funk of the lead track "Hook In," right into industrial strength soul a la Aretha Franklin in "Jerking My Chains," the music jumped out at me as being some of the freshest of its kind I’ve heard in a long while. Each song showcases tasteful, orchestrated arrangements with horns, guitar, flute, and piano/keys while successfully keeping a jazzy dance groove churning under the mix. "The Moment I Saw the Sun" is a power-pop ballad with gorgeous piano intro, while their single "Sweet Sugar Honey" swings to the sound of a growling trombone, jazz vocals, rich harmonies, and yummy horns in general. "All the Way" reminds me of Basia with a pleasant edge. Stefanie’s flute is totally tasty in a Grand Funk way during "You Tell Me I Know." They’ve achieved some sophisticated world-market, danceable pop with American Motown soul ingrained in the groove. Strongly recommended listen!!! (http://www.bluenumbernine.com)

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