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MIA DOI TODD/Songbook: Todd does her covers album and the song stack runs dangerously close to looking like a boomer gift shop album but Todd slathers on the special sauce that let's her make diverse stuff like "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" and "Pancho & Lefty" become her own. Mixing her ethereal, magic vibe over the entire proceeding, this becomes quite the tantalizing diversion. A winner throughout.

SPEED THE PLOUGH/Now: Now is certainly a good title for the latest from this vet folkie/Celt crew as they've adapted to the times more than lots of their peers. Still folkies in their hearts, the vibe is different even if the feeling isn't. Top notch organic music doesn't co-opt itself or it's history to move forward, this is more than just cosmetic changes making them accessible to a whole new generation without alienating old fans. Solid stuff throughout.

THE POP GROUP/We Are Time: Malcontent stuff that isn't kidding around. If you really hate your parents, this is the music you need to be pogoing around the rec room to just to let those buzz kill philistines know which end is up and what time it is. This is really, modern punk.

THE POP GROUP/Cabinet of Curiosities: In which we find the crew seeming to be under the influence of Talking Heads and Peter Gabriel, but not really or too much. The sound of the suburbs before rides down the local heroin highways evened things out, the blows are raining down upon the empire in a left field prog kind of way. These bad boys are on a roll and on a march toward victory only hinted at in "The Wall". A modern manifesto, this is what you want in your ear buds when you have a chip on your shoulder.

THE POP GROUP/Haney Maan an Mars: Sinister hard core rock, these malcontents are cool because they hate the system and everything about it more than all the malcontents that came before them combined. Wild, theatrically presented stuff that kicks the man in the teeth, often deservedly so. You really want to hear pissed off? This is a fine example of the real deal. Check it out if you really want to hear your vision realized.

JACKIE LEE/White Horses: Essentially retried since 1973, Lee is an Irish singer that pretty much was Petula Clark's chief rival during Clark's best 60s period. Just because Lee's career was more Britcentric and often shone in the background certainly doesn't make her chopped liver by comparison. What we have here is her biggest album paired up with other solo and group work that sounds just as swinging and mod as anything Tony Hatch frothed up. Of course, there's the previously unreleased track from an album that was never released and seems to have disappeared. Anyone down with some mod recidivism will get this sweet confection right out of the box. Well done.

MIKE WATT/Ring Spiel Tour 95: We always like to get behind anything Chicago related and here we find Watt at the Metro circa 1995 with a show that shows what Barry McGuire or Dave Van Ronk would have sounded like if they were powered by punk rock energy and had thoughts about the 90s rather than the 60. Easily a fun bet if you get millennial nostalgia.

BOBBY MESSANO/Bad Movie: Millenials and those younger might listen to oldies radio and enjoy the tunes, but this is the kind of set, made by a guitar slinging cat that has rubbed elbows with lot of those oldies radio greats, they probably won't get. This isn't just a geezer cutting loose, this is a rocker cutting loose. The soaring sound of freedom in a blues/rock mode is the stuff that set many nights on fire Hard, heavy and hard rocking, Stones sympathizer Jon Tiven keeps the aim true here with loads of satisfaction delivered throughout. All the right moves without feeling like they are moves, this is how you kick out the jams, mother-----. (not afraid to say it, just trying to beat isp filters).

DAVIS COEN/These Things Shall Pass: Kicking it out on his first fully realized religious release, the cat with fingers in a lot of roots pies comes right down the middle with a straight up approach to getting the word out that nobody beats Jesus Christ. More fully produced than the usual religious based recordings you are used to, Coen delivers the southern soul direct from Mississippi and is welcoming all comers in to the tent. Solid stuff.

VINTAGE #18/Grit: Blues rockers that deliver a wide mash up of sounds that captivates your ears throughout. With a lo fi approach, they are wrapping up accolades from all quadrants with this fascinating sound loaded with something you just can't put your finger on. Perhaps a dose of modern white boy electric blues, their sound is spare but full and loaded with soul. Tasty stuff for when you are ready for a new treat that'll treat you right, it's time to spread the word about this crew beyond their home turf. Killer stuff throughout.

Volume 40/Number 164
April 14, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2017 Midwest Record

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