CD reviews from Eagle County, Colorado
Solo Kitchen Table4 stars of 5Much like Bob Schneider and Jason Mraz, Martin Sexton needs to be experienced live in order to fully appreciate his music. All three musicians are known and loved for their ad-libbing on stage, constant reworking of original material to suit different audiences and high-voltage interaction with the audience.The best alternative to seeing Sexton live is listening to one of his live CDs, and Sexton has just released his latest live album titled Solo, which comes with a DVD of his performance at the first Mile High Music Festival in Denver this past summer.The recording quality is excellent, with neither Sexton or his audience drowning each other out. There is an almost perfect unity of balance between the two, which is rare on most live recordings from any performer.The bulk of Solo is all original material, and the songs he picks to cover Princes Purple Rain, The Beetles With A Little Help From My Friends, and Ray Charles Hard Times have just enough signature Sexton flair to sound cool and fresh.Its a very fun album, recorded over the span of several live shows at small venues across the country without his backing band, and the bonus DVD definitely makes it worth the asking price. Charlie Owen, High Life writer
Receivers Jagjaguwar4.5 stars of 5Parts & Labor is all about the build. And because of that because it takes most of the bands songs a solid two minutes of electronic tooling to get to the melody it might be easy to dismiss Parts & Labor as too experimental for most tastes.But if you put aside all the guitar glitches and fuzzy intros, Parts & Labor would be a straightforward rock band, a sort of less interesting Hsker D. Founding members Dan Friel and B.J. Warshaw hold onto their love for cacophony and chaos on Receivers, but the duo with new drummer Joe Wong and supplemental guitarist Sarah Lipstate has steadily and increasingly indulged an instinct for writing happily angstful rock songs.Receivers uses Satellites, a seven-minute noisepunk odyssey, to introduce Nowheres High, a song that in some (not many) circles could be considered a single. The songs on Receivers are tied together with found sounds and samples submitted by the bands fans, and that method comes through in the albums seamless transitions.Parts & Labor often is tagged for Friel and Warshaws noise backgrounds, and to a point, the musicians indulge that on Receivers, easing each track into the next with uncomfortable bits of static.But for every unknown or unfamiliar sound, theres a bare bones post-punk chorus, as on Nowheres High, Little Ones and Wedding in a Wasteland. It might take forever for Parts & Labor to get to a melody, but its worth the wait. Margaret Hair, Steamboat Pilot & Today
Life Like Merge Records3.5 stars of 5For most of Life Like, husband-and-wife, dance-pop duo the Rosebuds are subdued, drawing on a folksy lilt that has characterized so many of their lush, calm recordings.Then Bow to the Middle smacks a drum fill between Border Guards and Nice Fox both poetically down-key offering up a handclapping, step-shouting dance with the devil. This is the Rosebuds: Ridiculously catchy, unexpectedly thoughtful and sometimes obsessed with evil.More so than on the duos first three full-lengths, the Rosebuds find balance on Life Like, trading the upbeat tempo Bow to the Middle on the next track for the non-metaphorical beauty of Nice Fox, a song about a fox that lived and died in the couples backyard.Even when Ivan Howard and Kelly Crisp get dark with lyrics, the two hold on to some part of the Pixies drums, 1980s synthesizers or indie collective choruses that have, on past records, defined the Rosebuds sound. Margaret Hair, Steamboat Pilot & Today
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