Lithe yet playful, Kitsap County quintet Alligators dec-
orate their chiming, swirling, surprisingly diverse debut
with tasteful prog-rock, jazz, and psychedelic touches.
Consequently, Piggy & Cups makes for a pleasing listen,
vaguely reminiscent of the Church or a less synth-oriented Of Montreal, but it isn't necessarily the most memorable one. Not
all indie-pop has to be studded with hooks, of course. Recom-
mended for those who prefer atmosphere over songcraft.
Broadcast Live, Boomerang
Metropolis, Rebel Army Media
Not to be confused with Birmingham's Broadcast, Albany, NY's
Broadcast Live offers Saul Williams-style rapping and singing,
sometimes in Spanish, over drum machine and rock instrumen-
tation. On their sophomore release, the quartet castigates homo-
phobes, celebrates Che Guevara, and proclaims that "now is the
time to seize the means of production" because "they watered
down jazz and now they're strangling hiphop" (major record
companies, I would assume). Victorio Reyes's commitment
to social justice comes through loud and clear...but I'd still
rather listen to the down-tempo introversion of Broadcast.
Cinema, Cinema, Exile Baby, Digitone Records
Surely Brooklyn duo Ev Gold (guitar, keyboards) and Paul Claro
(drums, percussion, woodwinds) are baiting cineastes with their
screen-tastic name. Well, I'll bite. If I didn't like their full-length
debut, I'd be doubly bummed—I write about movies for a living—
but I glommed on to their SST-style psych-rock from the start.
Gold's pitch can be wobbly, but Cinema, Cinema knows how to
work within his limitations, i.e. the music supports his voice rath-
er than leaving it to flop around on the sand like a jellyfish...for
lack of a better metaphor. Hüsker Dü meets the Flaming Lips
by way of Das Damen with some Doors and Sabbath on the side.
Common Market, The Winter's End EP, Hyena Records
Regardless as to what people
outside the Northwest think
about Common Market,
there's no doubt that Seattle
has a lot of love for this brainy
beat-making duo. Based on
the depth and quality of their
new EP, I predict greater
national visiblity in '09.
The first track alone offers elegiac horns, a smattering of French, and other unexpected touches. And so it goes with the rest of the release. Eclecticism for its own sake isn't worthy of praise, but MC RA Scion and DJ Sabzi expand their genre's borders with grace.
"Freedom Song," in particular, which weaves woozy brass with a bob-your-head chorus ("Freedom song/for my people right here/we belong"), deserves to be a hit. Let's hope it happens.
Endnote: For more information about Alligators, please click here or here; for Broadcast Live, here or here; for Cinema, Cinema, here; and for Common Market, here or here.
Images from Fanatic Promotion and Planetary Group.