Tuesday, April 21, 2009

and Power

Laws of

"Our music is a high energy blend of 'twisted folk' with world
music, second line, funk, jazz, and Eastern European influ-
ences thrown into the mix of mainly original material."
-- the Tiptons Sax Quartet

Formerly known as the Billy Tipton Saxophone Quartet, the
bi-coastal outfit returns in fine form on their eighth outing. Sax
players Sue Orfield and Tina Richerson join co-founders Jessi-
ca Lurie and Amy Denio and percussionist Chris Stromquist.

For those unacquainted with the 20-year-old outfit, they de-
fy classifications like pop and jazz, although both genres come
into play, along with afro-beat, klezmer, rai, and more (the 11
tracks include vocals and instrumentals). This particular album
reminds me of the Lounge Lizards and the Jazz Passengers—es-
pecially the opening track —and I mean that as a compliment.

Naturally, there's some spirited blowing here, especially on
"The Shop of Wild Dreams." If the Tiptons are best known for
their playing, they offer some fine singing, too, especially on acap-
pella closer "Mi Yo Mei," a traditional Taiwanese chant. And if
you keep listening, a short hidden song follows, in which they
throw a little old-timey country into the mix. Recommended.

Born Anchors, Sprezzatura, Steer Clear Music

“This is the best local rock release this year”
-- John Richards, KEXP

"The most exciting rock band
in Seattle right now.”
-- Megan Seling, The Stranger

Music to wake you up, to shake you up, to thoroughly invigorate you. In all honesty, I didn't like this Seattle trio's debut on first listen, but it started to click into place the second time through. Still, their energetic take on emo isn't my thing—though KEXP, KNDD, The Stranger, and The Weekly are
all over it—but I can appreciate their passion and power.

Tucker Jameson and the Hot Mugs, Or
Something in Between..., Horizon Music Group

On their second CD, Jameson and his Hot Mugs mix
up a hearty bar band concoction with an organ-fueled kick,
like a cross between Greg Kihn and John Cougar Mellencamp.

In the UK, they prefer the term pub rock, and I don't mean that
as a pejorative. Remember those 1970s and '80s indie labels, like
Stiff or Beserkley? This Berklee College of Music-trained quartet
would fit on either quite well. Could be more memorable, but Or
Something... plays like a not-unwelcome blast from the past.

Tara Jane O'Neil, A Ways Away, K Records

Whispering words entwine with dreamy guitar and gong-
like sounds on the fifth solo offering from Tara Jane O'
Neil. Sometimes multi-tracked plucking takes over alto-
gether, sometimes her voice, which recalls folksinger San-
dy Denny, rises above the strings. Nice rainy day music.

Ronald of Orange, Brush Away
the Cobwebs, Velvet Blue Music

Ronald of Orange sprinkles wavery, Brit-inflected vocals
over bright, tinkly keyboards and drum-machine beats. His five-
track EP is the essence of '80s-style twee pop, and fans of the Cure,
Pete Shelley, and M83's Saturdays = Youth would do wise to lend
him an ear. If his thin voice strains at time, a bit of crackle only
serves to add character to his bouyant charm offensive.

Endnote: The film Passion and Power: The Technol-
ogy of Orgasm documents the history of the vibrator. For
more information about Born Anchors, who play the Sunset
Tavern on 5/2, please click here; for Tucker Jameson, here
or here; for Ronald of Orange, here; and for the Tiptons,
here or here. Jessica Lurie image from Something Else!

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