The Felice Brothers’ fourth effort has the stuff fans love the band for—piano, fiddle and accordion, Americana rock-outs, and stories that get under the skin—but includes more electronic elements. Drum machines feature heavily on some tracks, creating scratchy dance beats under Ian Felice’s anguished voice. Film dialogue and other samples mix with spacey synth lines, then smash against rousing folk guitar. Groups of people singing/shouting the background harmonies help increase the feeling of rollicking barroom solidarity that the band is good at concocting. (SO)
Brooklyn duo Elysian Fields returns with an album brighter than the smoldering noir rock for which Jennifer Charles and Oren Bloedow are known. The effect is sweet and almost weightless, continuing in the direction established by 2009’s The Afterlife. The lamentation of “Johnny” evokes earlier releases while “Sleepover” exhibits a sense of lightness and wonder à la Black Box Recorder. The deep bass of “Red Riding Hood” combined with evilly playful lyrics strikes a tantalizing balance between light and dark. Charles’ humid vocals are as luxuriant as ever, like smoke from a Gauloise exhaled through a pair of nylons. (CA)
GaragePunk.com just turned me on to this latest Slovenly Records "45 series" release by Athens, Greece primitive psych quartet Acid Baby Jesus. The band doesn't really break any new ground, but that's likely not the mission—so we're good. "Hospitals" has narcotic, fuzzed-out echo throughout, "It's On Me" delivers totally acceptable Vox Vibrato weirdness, and "Losing It" is a Jack Oblivian-style bummed-out, bad-time, acid-country achievement with lotsa drone. I think they're singing about drugs, hospitalization and being jerks. They probably really kick ass live and will never come to Albuquerque (that's a challenge, men). (GP)
(SO) Summer Olsson, (CA) Captain America, (GP) Geoff Plant
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Jim Almand • blues, singer-