Sonic Reducer: Stolen Jars • King Khan • Lara Ruggles

Geoffrey Plant
3 min read
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Stolen Jars gained international exposure in 2012 when their cute and catchy tune “Driving” was used in an iPad commercial. “Independent” musicians like duo Molly Grund and Cody Fitzgerald no longer face a backlash from fans if they sell their song to a major corporation known for underpaid workers and overpriced technology with no socially redeeming value—they gain more listeners. I felt letdown when Iggy sold his song to Nike, but whatever. I’d sell my song to Blackwater if they paid me. Oh, the album. Kept is another installment in the same line as Stolen Jars’ first album: intricate tappity-tap rhythms, mumbly-boy vocals, outstandingly cute little-girl vocals and meandering, plunky guitar. If you liked the first Stolen Jars album—or the commercial—you’ll like Kept.

King Khan & BBQ Show Bad News Boys (In the Red)

For nearly half a decade King Khan has been dedicated to his soul-revue act, The Shrines, and despite the occasional reunion gig, The King Khan & BBQ Show seemed to have left the building. Khan and BBQ fans rejoice! Not only is there a brand new, top notch album in their inimitable garage doo-wop style, but a comprehensive tour of the US will bring the King Khan & BBQ Show to Sister in Albuquerque on Nov. 1st. Nothing on Bad News Boys comes close to one of the weirdest sexy songs of all time, Taste Buds (from Invisible Girl)—and maybe that’s ok—but the trippy lyrical phrasings Khan fans have come to expect are fully present; he man’s mind is a sugar cube. There are a couple of incongruous hardcore songs on Bad News Boys that I could do without and that’s the worst I can say. Bonus: The cover art is another great portrait of Khan and BBQ by Johnny Sampson who also did the Invisible Girl cover.

Lara Ruggles Cynics and Saints (Immersive)

As soon as iTunes pulled up the info for this CD I noticed it was categorized as “alternative”. I don’t know why. Apple drives me nuts—and that’s no pirate joke. George Benson is more alternative than this commercially palatable singer/songwriter comeback from someone not many had heard about in the first place. Schoolteacher by day, folk singer by night, Lara Ruggles has a great voice and the band is well produced; the music on Cynics and Saints is part adult contemporary, part piano-driven drivel. Perhaps I’m being harsh but songs like “Steady My Love” sound straight off the soundtrack to “Gilmore Girls”. I could see some film production picking up Ruggles’ songs but as an album, nothing stands out.

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