Alibi V.15 No.6 • Feb 9-15, 2006 

Sonic Reducer

Low Skies All the Love I Could Find (Flameshovel)

On the new album from the atmospheric, brooding and down-tempo Low Skies, the band has replaced massive crescendos and guttural wails with gentler song structures and soft vocal harmonies. It's less risky, but more listenable while keeping with their amazing ability to create a setting, plant a mood and turn you loose with only distance and detached reverie to hold you.

Eef Barzelay Bitter Honey (spinART)

The actual "Ballad of Bitter Honey," while in the typical folkster vein, begins with a line about booty dancing next to Ludacris, while Nelly's bodyguards agree that the other hoochie skanks "ain't got shit on me." This type of juxtaposition is usually winning but often cheap (i.e. Ben Folds' amusing cover of Dr. Dre's "Bitches Ain't Shit"). Yet it works here, fortunately and partially because the Clem Snide singer/guitarist/songwriter quickly gets down to the business of pounding out some lovely little songs, using refined vocals and the acoustic guitar to its full potential. The apt album title should have English linguists everywhere rejoicing.

Mudhoney Under A Billion Suns (Sub Pop)

After rocking for nearly 20 years, pretty much establishing Sub Pop Records and, well, you know the rest of the story (Seattle, blah, blah, blah), the underappreciated Mudhoney has released their umpteenth album. It's got the same general feel with fuzzy guitars, a snotty disposition, etc., but I'd say this is a blip on the band's discography. It's also a bit overproduced.