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 a few at a time and play each CD for as long as I can stand it.
Amy Cook (Austin, TX)
Let the Light In (Root House)
It's easy to assume that Dallasites are rather tired of hearing about how a band or an album possesses and "Austin Sound." Too bad and so sad for you, then. Amy Cook's latest bluesy, folk rock record that at times has a distinct lounge-lizard leaning and is indeed a record that oozes a very Austin quality. And, sorry, that's a good thing, whether you want to admit it or not, bitter North Texan. Besides, it doesn't matter where a girl is from if she can sound like a less rode-hard-and-put-up-wet Lucinda Williams, and also enlist the help of folks like Alejandro Escovedo, Ben Kweller and Patty Griffin. That record would be a must-listen, regardless of what city the sound originated from.
I made it: 1:01 into track nine, "Strange Birds."
The Prids (Portland, OR)
Chronosynclastic (Velvet Blue)
Post punk is very now, isn't it? The Prids sure seem to agree, and they handle themselves fine with their latest release. Drawing heavily on clear influences, such as Built to Spill, this four-piece outfit successfully stays on the non-mimicking side of the flattery fence. Even when the group gazes into My Bloody Valentine mode, such an influence is only that--an influence, where its presence enhances, rather than fuzzily clutters. To a point, the blend of post-punk styles that were heard on this record tend to be dizzying, but never terribly disconcerting.
I made it: all the way through track six, "Sydney."
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Bullet for My Valentine (UK)
Should metal ever be pretty? Most will tell you that no, metal should never be terribly smooth and picturesque, let alone poppy. In fact, if one were to add "pop" onto the term "metal", the work in question should automatically fail to qualify for metal-dom any longer. What we were able to make it through on Bullet For My Valentine's latest album has an Armor-All sheen that glistens more than what is typically accepted, even among the more melodically concerned metal albums. No one's saying that all metal must fit dangerously between Judas Priest and Prong, but please, don't be so pretty.
I made it: 3:13 into track three, "The Last Fight."