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Eagle County CD Reviews

Charlie OwenVail CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily
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The Green Sparrow Rounder/ Umgd2 stars of 5Its so much easier to appreciate Mike Gordons influence on the now-defunct-possibly-soon-to-be-reunited band Phish once you hear his solo material. Much of what Gordon does on his latest release, The Green Sparrow, sounds just like Phish without the 20 minute guitar solos, but unfortunately it also lacks the ambition of even the weakest of Phish studio recordings.The Green Sparrow starts out strong with the groove-heavy song Another Door and rides the crest of a really fun wave through songs like Dig Further Down (on which Trey Anastasio lends guest guitar) and Andelmans Yard. But when the album takes a turn for more jazzy territory just after the mid-way point it also slows down considerably. While it is not completely devoid of interesting music and lyrics, it certainly isnt able to hold the momentum the first half creates.Phish fans will undoubtedly value the album as a link to the legendary jam bands chronicles, even if they never tour again, but as a solo artist Gordon has the potential to expand on what everybody already knows hes capable of, with or without his former bandmates. Charlie Owen, High Life writer

The Second Gleam EP Ramseur Rec.4.5 stars of 5Music fans love Seth and Scott Avett because they feel like they know them. When listeners they hear one of the brothers pick a banjo and sing lyrics like these, they feel like hes singing about their own lives: I remember cryin over you / And I dont mean like a coupla tears and Im blue / Im talkin about collapsin and screamin at the moon / But Im a better man for having gone through it / Yes Im a better man for having gone through.That song, Tear Down the House, is the first on The Second Gleam, a reflective and timely follow-up to the bands 2006 The Gleam EP. As the Avetts last recording with hometown label Ramseur Records before they ship off to a freshly inked deal with Rick Rubins American Recordings, The Second Gleam is polished and poetic, characteristic of the affable honesty that makes this band so endearing.Its not the kind of record you release days after signing to a major label, and it makes no concessions to anything other than the brothers emotions. The Avetts are storytellers, and songs like Tear Down the House, Bella Donna and The Greatest Sum sit easily and unassumingly of their acoustic backings. Margaret Hair, Steamboat Pilot & Today

Partie Traumatic Red Int/ Red Ink2.5 stars of 5When Black Kids a group of five young hipsters from Jacksonville, Fla. who clearly wish they had been raised in British dance clubs released its online EP in August 2007, the four songs quickly gained blog buzz, and everyone from Pitchfork to Paste loved them.A year later, Black Kids has come out with its first full-length, and the love has faded. And that is completely unfair.This is the exact same devilishly simple dance pop that caught ears and garnered repeated plays when it hit MySpace. Theres just more of it. No, its not complex, and no, Partie Traumatic is not the kind of album that you sit down, listen to, ponder and repeat. But it is the kind of album that plays happily in the background at a smallish party, or that makes short car trips considerably more entertaining.Ive Underestimated My Charm (Again) is a particularly catching mid-album track thats new to the LP, and sounds like a cross between mid-level Bowie and 1960s doo-wop. Album closer Look At Me (When I Rock Wichoo) uses a jittery electric bass line and guitar hooks to drive Reggie Youngbloods superficial-on-purpose lyrics.Black Kids is one of countless groups of young musicians that has been given much more praise than their music necessarily deserved, and then had expectations set way too high for that music to reach.Partie Traumatic is workable for what it wants to do, which is to get people dancing. Why Black Kids was ever expected to do anything more than that is out of the bands control. Margaret Hair, Steamboat Pilot & Today


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