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 V.20 No.44 | November 3 - 9, 2011 

Sonic Reducer

John Maestas Humoso (Najulda Records)

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Headed by guitarist John Maestas, with tenorist Aaron Lovato, bassist Asher Barreras and drummer/percussionist Enrique Chavez, this quartet plays with a mature restraint and a well-developed emotional sensitivity not typically found in such young players. Reflecting influences from South America, Spain and the West Indies, the program includes 10 well-wrought originals, ranging from Maestas’ hard-bop “Mayan Prophecy” and swinging “Strollin’ Down Senile Street” to Barreras’ Caribbean-inflected “Otra Vez” and Lovato’s shadowy “Jarmusch,” plus a couple of standards. The best moments come in the interplay between Lovato and Maestas, who anticipate and respond to each other’s impulses with relaxed precocity. (Mel Minter)

Blouse Blouse (Captured Tracks)

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Portland’s Blouse knows its way around a synthesizer. The trio, formed just last year, exploits the best parts of the ’80s dream pop aesthetic—melancholy minor chords and sorrowfully pulsing dance beats; soft, fuzzy, opaque production—and leaves the excessive application of hair product et al behind. With the exception of a couple overtly new wave, Berlin-esque moments—and even those are a bit alluring—the album is a fine exercise in airy, textured aural girliness. Side note: There is a rock band in Tempe that goes by the name of Pants. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)

David Lynch Crazy Clown Time (Play It Again Sam)

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Lynch's first solo album resides inside the same mundanely bizarre universe that fostered his most brilliant and funny films. There are passages of lyrics that sound as though he’s reading from a way-too-long memo composed by the lawyer who represents his dentist. The music is homemade European house à la Kruder & Dorfmeister with Auto-Tune and great song titles like “Strange and Unproductive Thinking.” There are big, lazy beats behind the off-kilter vocals. My daughter says listening to this record is like having screws driven through her ears, but in my opinion it’s a professional piece of tripped-out worldliness set to a pleasant tempo. Sounds the way Audrey from “Twin Peaks” looked walking down the hotel hallway. (Geoff Plant)


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