CD Reviews – October – 2007

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Black Crowes
Brothers of a Feather: Live at the Roxy
Eagle Vision
4 out of 5
To many Black Crowes fans, the last few years since the band reunited have been relatively flat. The band hasn’t done any press to let their fans know what’s going on, they’ve shed two members and only message board rumors and vague press releases have given any type of insight into it all. And despite last year’s CD/DVD release of Freak N’ Roll Into the Fog, no new material has been released (although, they still maintain that it’s coming).
But last year, even the most jaded ‘Amoricans’ fell back in love with the brothers Robinson when they performed a series of duo acoustic shows under the moniker Brothers of a Feather. The CD part of the project was released this summer, but just last month a combo CD/DVD package hit the shelves that’s guaranteed to be the most important release by the band since its platinum selling Southern Harmony and Musical Companion.

Brothers of a Feather offers 14 CD tracks and 20 DVD tracks all culled from the Los Angeles shows, which go from the black birds’ earliest releases all the way through their solo work (when the Crowes were on hiatus), and the set also features two brand new songs “Magic Rooster Blues” and “Cold Boy Smile.”
Some of the most shining moments of the set include the covers, such as Lowell George’s “Roll Um Easy,” and the amazing Roosevelt Skye track “Driving Wheel.”
Even though the footage shows a subdued and seated Robinson brothers, Rich Robinson takes his typical serious role, while Chris takes his usual goofy ambassador role. Chris’s interactions with the crowd — particularly when he tries to act as if he feels mushrooms are “illegal and wrong” — are loveable and hilarious.
Production-wise, the shows lacked flair on purpose and thus both the CD and DVD are without it as well, which is fine, but the post-production could have done more to highlight Rich’s playing, which at times is overshadowed by Chris’s ultra-powerful voice.
Regardless of that flaw, this is the best thing that the boys have done since reuniting and, hopefully, it’s a sign of things to come.
— Brian F. Johnson

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Phish
Live Phish (8.13.93/10.21.95/11.14.95/12.01.95/12.29.97)
Jemp Records
4 out of 5
In an effort to capitalize on the free trade of their shows, Phish, several years ago, started to put out LivePhish releases.
The latest batch to be released (8.13.93 / 10.21.95 / 11.14.95 / 12.01.95 and 12.29. 97) hit the mark just where other LivePhish releases have. Their production is dialed-in perfect with re-mastered soundboard audio and their packaging is flawless in its simplistic design. It’s also wickedly cool that you can purchase the packaged CDs, or buy the MP3 or Flac files right on your computer, and some shows now have the option of video selections as well.
There is only one problem with the whole LivePhish set, and that’s a simple organization problem. A lot of the data, including dates, venues, cities and otherwise, are inconsistently organized from disc to disc, making iTunes importing a hassle and web searches a must. It’s a minor glitch in the spectrum of the whole set, but one that should be remedied for the anal-retentive hippies who care enough to buy the CDs — Brian F. Johnson

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Kinetix
Talking to Faces
Independent
3.5 out of 5
The Denver five-piece Kinetix bills themselves as a funk-pop-jazz group, but their latest album, Talking to Faces, just might have fans looking in the rock section of the music store for their disc.
While the band still holds on to the orchestration and roots that originally gave them that classification, Talking to Faces stretches it more into the rock realm. In fact, the opening bars of the title track specifically show the fence that the band teeters on and how effortlessly they can bounce between sounds. With a funky bass line and wah-wah heavy guitar part, the band launches the song, before heading in, balls first, to a rock riff and screaming guitar solo and back again. Throughout, the vocals hold a very pop feel over the music, like a cheering section for the musicians, but it’s done without taking away from the musical realms the band is exploring, and they add to the ample energy.
— Brian F. Johnson

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Pete Kartsounes
Out of Nowhere
Independent
3.5 out of 5
Boulder guitarist/ singer/songwriter Pete Kartsounes was never as successful as he was when he was teamed up with his old musical partner Brendan MacNaughton. But his newest release, Out of Nowhere, certainly makes a conscious effort to surround him with the best bluegrass pickers and Americana musicians the Front Range has to offer. The result is a strong album that showcases some of his best work since he and his former band Acoustic Semi/Possum Logic parted ways.
Kartsounes has spent the last several years playing in a number of local and regional acts, most recently Wayword Sons, and the maturation is apparent in these songs that touch on his familiar themes of love, location and lament, but do so without the trite songwriter pitfalls he’s shown in the past.
The musicianship is stellar and Kartsounes’ always-strong voice shines among these deeper, more developed tracks. It could very well be his best work to date.
— Brian F. Johnson

QUICK SPINS

Ingrid
Michaelson Girls and Boys
Cabin 24 Records
This New York songstress is enjoying her turn in the limelight after writing a song for the TV show “Grey’s Anatomy” and having a song featured in an Old Navy ad. Michaelson may have shot to fame via those routes, but her music warrants the attention.
3 out of 5 stars

Kennedy
Kennedy for President
Cordless Recordings
This singer/song-writer has a manic style comparable to Beck; the main difference being that there is a lot more pomp than substance, although that may be an asset for Kennedy in today’s image-driven music scene.
2 out of 5 stars

Cipes and the People
Conscious Revolution
KG2 Records
Reggae was always meant to be more of a musical weapon than the back-ground music to a bong session. This hook-filled album catches a fire and the true spirit of the reggae movement.
3 out of 5 stars

Megadeth
Warchest
(Box set)
Capitol Records
This massive box set proves without a doubt that even though Metallica may have sold more records, Megadeth has tons more integrity and talent. Filled with a full arsenal of unreleased tracks, this is a must for any Megadeth fan.
4 out of 5 stars

Keith Richards
Under Review
Sexy Intellectual Productions
Normally, “unauthorized” DVD’s aren’t worth much, but this look at the Rolling Stone’s guitarist who is sometimes known as “the human riff” has a lot going for it and spans almost two hours.
3 out of 5 stars

Various Artists
Instant Karma: The Campaign to Save Darfur
Warner Brothers
Officially sanctioned by Yoko Ono, musical heavyweights like Aerosmith and Green Day team up with Amnesty International to pay tribute to John Lennon and raise money to stop the violence in the Darfur region of Sudan.
4 out of 5 stars

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