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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

CD REVIEW: Blacklist Royals "Semper Liberi"

The truest rock'n'roll bands have always been gangs, proudly living coolness out loud in the startled face of unsympathetic propriety. Early Stones, Dolls, Ramones, Clash, Social Distortion.

And Blacklist Royals. They merit addition to that shameful/shame-free record, flinging heedlessly as they raucously do technicolored, kicks-larded, and punchy rock'n'roll that defies dismissal, that by its raw power upends and obliterates beneath boot polished pretensions. Challenging guitars muscle at this music's fore, in LOUD and brash mien -- and, of course, formidable beats drive this funny-car pile-up -- but a satisfying abundance of variegation and lapel-seizing depth issue from swerving, spashing keys.

The primal spirit of genuine rock'n'roll breathes, still: Springsteenish everyman psalmizing, detonative punk, pixilated guitar-party bombast. The Blacklist Royals have a stake in The Music That Changed The World, and they're no less agressively in love with it than were any of their storied street-corner forebears.

RECOMMENDED "Howling At the Moon," "Rock'n'Roll"

-- DC Larson

Sunday, September 19, 2010

CD REVIEW: Laura Cortese

"Acoustic Project" (self)

There are beguiling sauciness, whisper-of-truth articulations, and knowing winks in this elegant string quartet effort. Tender, quietly formidable violin reigns from its midst. Laura spins Celtic-air webs that reward as abundantly as they impressively promise.

Herein are lofted too-rare delights: a laughing lilt to this moment, an arch maneuver to the next. Spirited frolic, leaving a glow of good fortune.

Laura is marvelously aided by Hanneke Cassel, and Natalie and Brittany Haas. As one, the four contrive enthralling melodic charms that beckon through both olde manners and effectively of-this-moment assertions.

Amazing, the force alurk in dancing strings, delicate voicings, and hearts quite open.

Recommended "Overcome," "Women of the Ages"
  -- DC Larson