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MUSIC REVIEW: Late Winter Music

Yuck: YUCK

Yuck is already a sensation in their hometown of London and we might soon see the same trend in the states. The opening track of their self-titled release, "Get Away," is a distorted, catchy tune with pop-tacular lyrics: "I can't get this feeling off my mind / I want you / I need you." But tracks like "Holing Out" erupt with full-force rock & roll. Conversely, "Suicide Policeman" features soft harmonies backed by acoustic guitar and light-handed percussions. YUCK stands as indisputable evidence that this group fearlessly creates songs that cannot be placed into a single genre. The five members build upon their musical niches, resulting in a "try anything: try everything" integrity. (Fat Possum, 2011)

—KNW

Hear this! "Holing Out" by Yuck

The Curious Mystery: WE CREELING

Seattle-based group The Curious Mystery—formed in 2005—has carved out a distinctive musical alcove with their latest, WE CREELING. These twelve psychedelic tracks put rolling percussion, Eastern strings, and jazz-informed rhythms into scrap-art melodies. Kicking off this, their second album, is the spacey track "Up in the Morning," followed later by hot-tempoed "Cool Kids in tha Valley" in which Shana Cleveland lets loose with yelps and deeply crooned lyrics. Frontman Nicolas Gonzales busts out his best Jim Morrison vocals later on "PB & J," and, finally, bluegrass influences abound in the nonabrasive twang of "From the Garden." The variety and easygoing vibes throughout WE CREELING solidify this group's sound as a true junkyard gem. (K Records, 2011) —KNW

Hear this! "Cool Kids in tha Valley" by The Curious Mystery

Chain & the Gang: MUSIC'S NOT FOR EVERYONE

It's fair to say that in the recent past, Ian Svenonius has been doing more than what he does best, which is fronting a solid rock & roll band. It's befuddling to think how many offshoots and side projects a professional squealer can rack up. That's why this latest from the pared-down outfit Chain & the Gang is so refreshing. The jams are cool and soulful, and sound jubilantly improvisational. Chain, et al, have managed to seize the bite-size '60s pop-tune format and cram it with sneering commentary. "Not Good Enough" sounds like a Sesame Street ditty refashioned with schoolyard-taunt lyrics. "Detroit Music" (parts I and II) serve as an elegy for the former hub of garage and soul and, yes, even the stalling auto industry gets a mention. Despite psychedelic sermonizing on the titular track, Chain & the Gang manage to pull off a fun and snotty effort. (K Records, 2011) —NE

 

Hear this! "Not Good Enough" by Chain & the Gang

Vending Machine: LET THE PEOPLE SING

We received this album from our own beloved Memphian, THE OA's designer Tom Martin (who also lent his skills to the snappy packaging), and now we're firm believers in the one-man music machine Robby Grant and his epic indy-pop ballads. While most of the tracks recall digestible '90s college rock, the layered vocals and melodic flourishes suggest songwriting from a more delicate place. Where this album excels is in production—beneath every acoustic-guitar vamp and tittering keyboard is subtle complement: bagpipe-sounding synths, quietly mournful lead guitar, and clipped percussion. LET THE PEOPLE SING showcases Grant's compositional dexterity, and makes it sound easy, all the while. —NE

 

Hear this! "It's Not the Things You Want" by Vending Machine

 

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