Alibi V.16 No.32 • Aug 9-15, 2007 

Sonic Reducer

Danbert Nobacon and the Pine Valley Cosmonauts The Library Book of the World (Bloodshot Records)

Danbert Nobacon is one of those crazy genius musicians. Nobacon's folksy rock is part meticulously calculated political poetry, part ad hoc ramblings of a man holding on to reality's edge with the strum of his guitar. Just in case there is any doubt of his mental dispostion, he repeatedly outs the voices in his head in "The Last Drop in the Glass" and again in "Information Storm," beating the point to a pulp. His earthy, impassioned voice casts a charming line, baiting and hooking willing ears to his message. Whether or not the message is understood isn't the point—just that it's heard. [AD]

Over the Rhine The Trumpet Child (Great Speckled Dog)

As torchy as ever, Karin Bergquist's voice writhes in and out of tonal periods. One moment, she aches blue like Portishead's Beth Gibbons. The next, she's resurrecting yellowed greats like Patsy Cline. But really, songwriting is where the married couple that is Over the Rhine gets interesting. Karin can sing and husband Linford Detweiler can provide the instrumental backing for the duo's soul-laced Americana, but there's not much new there. Songs like "I Don't Want to Waste Your Time," and "If a Song Could be President," which cap the disc, are just two examples of abundant lyrical chops. [MD]

The Section Quartet Fuzzbox (Decca)

Sometimes to truly appreciate something, you have to look at it from a different angle, and that’s precisely what The Section Quartet accomplishes with their major-label debut. Fuzzbox takes Joseph Hayden’s favorite ensemble instrumentation of two violins, a viola and a cello—the string quartet—and instead of applying it to classical-era music, TSQ chooses to conquer rock music, resulting in the exploration of the power of rock ’n’ roll through the intimacy of chamber music. Original arrangements effectively adapt the music of Led Zepplin, David Bowie and Radiohead, among many others, from big hair and tight pants to a moving modern interpretation of America’s "other" contribution to pop music. [TG]

[MD] Marisa Demarco, [AD] Amy Dalness, [TG] Thomas Gilchrist