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 V.19 No.9 | March 4 - 10, 2010 

Sonic Reducer

Free Pop "In Cool Time" (Free Pop Arkestra / Full(y) Blown)

Few things (the Hope Diamond, a Picasso, cans of sardines) are better than a stray 7-inch record finding its way into your possession. The other day, Free Pop’s black, marbleized EP, “In Cool Time,” materialized on the Fisher Price record player that lives in the Alibi offices. The recording is strange with vibrato, ambient sound, heavy ukulele, tender ballads and some high-pitched singing reminiscent of creepy, mid-century children’s music. Behind this weird excellence are locals Matt Galindo, Zak Modell and Malinda Tryba. Track down Free Pop at the group’s next show and get this record. (JCC)

Johnny Cash American VI: Ain't No Grave (American Recordings/Lost Highway)

Feb. 26 (what would have been Johnny Cash’s 78th birthday) saw the release of the final album in the late Man in Black’s American Recordings series. The songs, recorded between 2002 and Cash’s death in September 2003, include covers and one original. Unifying the tracks are spiritual and morbid themes and an overwhelmingly gloomy tone. That is, until the final track: Cash’s rendition of the Hawaiian song “Aloha Oe” by Queen Lili’uokalani, which feels like comic relief at a funeral and is beautifully done to boot. (JCC)

The Album Leaf A Chorus of Storytellers (Sub Pop)

[ MP3 Preview ]

Among various mellow rock acts who aren’t household names but play mega venues worldwide, The Album Leaf’s music stands tall (nodding meekly with hands in pockets), somewhere between Iron and Wine and Sigur Rós. On A Chorus of Storytellers, frontman Jimmy LaValle once again proves he isn’t a spectacular wordsmith. Like a derivative musician who needs to widen his exposure to sounds, his lyrics suggest he could benefit from studying poetry. But his calm, enigmatic techno suites admirably pick up where Broken Social Scene’s epic electronic instrumentals left off. Plus, there’s a little headphone pop-rock tinge thrown in. (AP)

(JCC) Jessica Cassyle Carr, (AP) Adam Perry


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