Clearing Out The Mailroom: Tuesday, April 20, 2010

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.

The 5 Browns
The 5 Browns in Hollywood (E1 Entertainment
Residing in Utah, The 5 piano-playing Browns are responsible for the most recent entry into the "So why exactly did they make this record?" series. Honestly, it's bad enough when singers with a velvet voice and a Velveeta personality strike it rich by raping the alleged Great American Songbook, but deciding to tickle the ivories to the tunes of some of the cinema's iconic scores is another boring and pointless thing, altogether. Instead of usurping the majesty out of classics from masters such as Rachmaninoff, The Mormon piano-bangers aim their sunshine rays at John Williams and Phillip Glass, among other luminary movie melody makers. After the first few notes, when The Browns take on the Williams' Star Wars calling card, it's apparent that they would need another 20 siblings to even dream of giving the number its proper heft.
I made it to: 1:57 into Track 1, "Star Wars: Suite for 5 Pianos"

Basement Jaxx
Scars (XL)

With this, and the following record for that matter, we're digging even deeper into the pile that has been building in the mailroom. Released in the second half of last year, the fifth studio album from London's Basement Jaxx is engaging enough to make it through a few songs before the thumping monotony gets the better of us. Employing vocal assistance from the likes of Lightspeed Champion, and even Kelis, to blend in with an assortment of styles, Basement Jaxx makes a true and admirable effort to steer clear of the repetitious droning that eventually did us in. Before we hit stop, however, there were a couple of gems that made the time spent on the album worthwhile. The album's second track and the song that was the introductory single, "Raindrops," was a fun take on disco-cool that sounded more "vintage" than dated. And, the funky "She's No Good" mixed in a touch of soul with a pulsing electro-rhythm to satisfying effect, thanks to the voice of Eli "Paperboy" Reed.
I made it to: 1:37 into Track 4, "Saga".

Pure Analog (Self released)

Similar to the Basement Jaxx, record, the latest from Austin's Dertybird was released last year. Also similar to the English electronica duo, this blues-rocking group isn't looking to reinvent their chosen style of groovin', as much as they are just aiming to groove, period. From what I gathered rather quickly, Clayton Colvin and gang really mean well and are earnest enough in their delivery, which is believable and keeps them from coming off as a band of bluesy weekend warriors. But their strict allegiance to a southern-rocking blues barrage, even with a decent amount of soul, tends to ware thin quicker than they would likely prefer. To be clear, this is likely one of the few records that might win a second spin down the road, but not now.
I made it to: the end of Track 2, "All I Ever"

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