CD Reviews: The Colour, Hyphy Hits & More
We keep putting off doing our Spin Cycle column, since so many great shows have been happening in town. So here are reviews of discs that have been laying on my desk unreviewed for far too long...
There is absolutely nothing new with this album - and that's just fine by me. Like squirrels through a field of tulip bulbs (I'm ready for spring), these four dig through and claim as their own starchy riffs from Interpol, Kings of Leon and all the appropriate predecessors who by now every music critic is sick of listing.
Most albums of this ilk don't know when to cool down and speed up, leaving listeners feeling either unsatisfied or like a bag of popcorn left in the microwave for two extra minutes. But I'll say this about these spry lads from Los Angeles: they know how to write in different tempos and put their small catalogue in order. It's the catchiest rock record I've heard this year - easy to play front to back in a first sitting.
The Colour plays Monday, March 12, at the Basement in the Arena District. Click to www.promowestlive.com for info.
Aboard what may actually be the last train to Clarksville, this quintet of former session musicians sounds no more than two stops away from where my beloved Monkees left off. That would be speaking of the structure of the tracks - maximum pop 'n' roll fixated on the catchiest hooks and blind to all else. Sonically, smooth and flat, the timbre of the record is closer to '70s pop kings like Gilbert O'Sullivan, John Sebastian and Harry Nilsson.
That's a potent combination: some of my favorite chord sequences played with a light-hearted demeanor, a delicate touch of keys, multipart harmonies and guitars that wouldn't anger your fairy godmother.
Download: "Sewn," "Strange"
Rap collections featuring rappers united only by zip codes are notoriously bad, but this compilation representing one segment of the San Francisco hip-hop sound allows genre ambassador Keak Da Sneak to come front and center. He leads two tracks, guest stars on two others and has a clear influence elsewhere.
Music deemed "hyphy" - a combination of "hyper" and "fly" - resembles styles from both Atlanta and Houston (and often the Neptunes), but this album makes a good case that hyphy has its own legs to stand on. Loud, quirky, sometimes obnoxious legs - but legs the same.
Download: Messy Marv "Get On My Hype," Mistah F.A.B. "Super Sic With It," Keak Da Sneak "Allndoe"