We've got quite a backlog of CDs we've never gotten around to, so we're going to try to chip away at the pile with this regular feature. The plan: to take four or five at a time and play each CD for as long as I can stand it.
Kris Allen (Conway, Arkansas)
The 2009 American Idol "winner" successfully avoids shocking anyone by producing an album that seems to showcase the peach-fuzz laced, pretty boy guitar-pop that had the chastity belts of Middle America loosening up last spring. I say the album seems to feature that sound, since it proved too difficult of a task for me to make it very far into this collection of sun beams and fluttering bluebirds. Radio-friendly music doesn't have to be mind-numbing, but I'm guessing that Kris Allen's brand does.
I made it to: The 15-second mark in track 3, "Can't Stay Away," mainly due to the fact that I wanted to at least give the guy a shot. But I got over that.
Kimberly Caldwell (Katy, TX)
Man, talk about an album title that misses the point entirely. The first word of the two word title should be axed completely, leaving what Caldwell should actually experience when she thinks about this record. With ample amounts of pseudo-swagger and a rather unconvincing rasp to her voice, Caldwell hilariously attempts to simultaneously rock our bodies and reclaim what little spotlight she has ever actually possessed. Sadly, I can't tell if she'd rather ape Kelly Clarkson or to be Chris Daughtry--with a bad dye job and a more manly vocal performance. Regardless, Caldwell comes off as Kris Allen's chain-smoking aunt that hasn't quite grasped the fact that American Idol is now in its 9th season, and not it's second.
I made it to: 2:29 in track 1, "Heart Like Mine."
Holy Fiction (Houston, TX)
Hours From It
Houston Chronicle writer Andrew Dansby says that the songs from this group are "to be savored. There's no sense of hurry to the music on the band's first album, Hours From It." I agree and disagree--respectfully, of course. But I was incapable of savoring the sextet's brand of folk-inflected indie-rock, due mainly to the fact that they weren't in a hurry to do much that made me want to keep listening and, in turn, help make me savor their sleepy teases of possibly picking up the pace. The playing, writing or even singing isn't the main culprit, however. The production completely washed away any trace of character or grit that would've helped me hang on for a bit longer.
I made it to: 3:03 in the fittingly titled second track, "Exit".