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 V.20 No.6 | February 10 - 16, 2011 

Sonic Reducer

Music reviews in 100 words or less

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Named after the Detroit area's ubiquitous party stores (which sound like a place to buy balloons and bubblegum, but run more along the lines of cigs, malt liquor and bulletproof glass), The Dirtbombs’ new album is less soul, more dub and just as pass-out-in-the-back-of-the-car-with-no-pants-on rock and roll as any previous release. Party Store is all covers of Detroit techno tunes from the ’80s, and it sounds kinda like the PiL masterpiece Metal Box. For real. Buy the traditional format and it comes on three records just like Metal Box did. Sexiest record of 2011, so far. (GP)

Ryan Cohan Another Look (Motéma Music)

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Pianist Ryan Cohan has put together a satisfying, straight-ahead collection of mostly original tunes that features a tight combo, with Joe Locke (vibes), Geof Bradfield (saxes, bass clarinet), Lorin Cohen (bass), Kobie Watkins (drums) and Steve Kroon (percussion). Rhythm is a primary component of Cohan’s muscular playing, often used to drive the proceedings farther out, as on the title track, and it’s used to great effect on a delicious “Caravan.” The arrangements give the group a big-band feel at times, but things can feel a little too guided. Nonetheless, there are plenty of surprises—and sensitive playing on ballads, too. (MM)

Toro Y Moi Underneath The Pine (Carpark Records)

Toro Y Moi is the stage name of 24-year-old South Carolina native Chaz Bundick. On his second album, synthesizers drive a smooth, spaced-out electro pop sound that’s sometimes listed under the chillwave moniker. Heavily influenced by European film score composers of the ’60s and ’70s, French house and funk, Under The Pine is soaring and upbeat (and reminiscent of French bands like Air, Stereolab and, at moments, Phoenix). It’s also super relaxing—listen to it in the bath or at your cocktail party. (JCC)

GP (Geoff Plant), MM (Mel Minter), JCC (Jessica Cassyle Carr)

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