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Sluka: Figure It Out

Sluka: Figure It Out

The players, the rest of whom include, Nico Hueso playing viola violin, Erdix Maxhelaku, cello, Brad Steinwehe, trumpet and Jordan Morita, trombone back him as perfectly here as they do throughout Figure It Out.

Arktik Lake: Shimmer

Arktik Lake: Shimmer

The slower, almost cinematic cowboy shuffle of “Hombre” follows. DC’s bass guitar keeps things together here, under Willson-Piper’s Dick-Dale single-note noodling. The keys that slip in add perfectly to the overall 60’s vibe of this wonderful instrumental. For me, it’s the best song on the Shimmer.

Marc-E: Catharsis

Marc-E: Catharsis

The overall effect of Catharsis is that the listener is well under the spell of a master musician/composer, who handles both the organic instruments as well as he does the electronic. 

Hasten Mercy: Hasten Mercy

Hasten Mercy: Hasten Mercy

This three-song EP is a grand old, ‘just the tip’ kind of a tease for wanting more from Hasten Mercy and Michael Baker. But this trio will surely get you on your way.

My Autumn Amor: Quiet Girl

My Autumn Amor: Quiet Girl

A picked acoustic runs underneath the vocal on the last tune here, “The Out.” Once this one gets snapping, we are in what sounds most to me like deep Cobain-like rendering with cool effects and a wavery key line. It’s a great song to end Quiet Girl, as we get some well-placed aggression, the other end of the spectrum of love emotions, to wrap up this EP perfectly. 

Beo String Quartet: Ghosts Revisited

Beo String Quartet: Ghosts Revisited

From classical masterpieces, contemporary pieces, and original progressive rock, the full range of Pittsburgh’s Beo String Quartet is impossible to label. Which is a very good thing, as far as I’m concerned.

Elliot Cole: Journals (vol. 1)

Elliot Cole: Journals (vol. 1)

It’s not every day we get to enjoy someone’s compositions when that someone is not playing any instrument creating the recording of that composition. But this is often eh classical way, and it is served well by a talented duo of players rendering Elliot Cole’s writing into reality.

Magnum Dopus: Suburbanova

Magnum Dopus: Suburbanova

A roiling key soundscape gives way to plucked piano and big snare on Tennessee-based Magnum Dopus “8PM,” the opener on the band’s new full-length Suburbanova. I like the arpeggiating shimmery feel of the proceedings here, fueling Andrew McCarty’s strong vocal opening to the landscape. The song works easily well when it breaks and gets quieter, the shimmery key effect giving way to softer atmospheric sounds.

Vannon: Desert of Our Dreams

Vannon: Desert of Our Dreams

Still, I recommend Vannon’s Desert of Our Dreams. There is great playing, songwriting, and singing here from a heavy band that surprised me many times.

Hippy: Falling in Love with Being Alive

Hippy: Falling in Love with Being Alive

We get another solid rockin’ commercial stab with second to last tune, “Destination Alienation.” At about the six-minute mark, the guys lift this one into a Stone’s-like jangly rocker (pretty much all on the shoulders of Frizell’s wonderful guitar layering); I just love, again, how these guys shoot things off into another direction I did not see coming

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