By Jacob Katel
By Laurie Charles
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Abel Folgar
By Kat Bein
By Jacob Katel
Nothing Rhymes With Orange
The Happiness Struggle (Leftfield)
It's been a long six years since the Coccaro brothers have gifted the local scene with their Anglophile musings, and the follow-up effort was worth all the extra time. Even if this album seems like a contrived effort to sound British, I can't dump on the dudes; their honesty shines above all. Here's the deal: Nothing Rhymes With Orange has come a really long way since one of the bandmates' girlfriends gave me a copy of 2004's Polite Gothic at a Starbucks in Kendall.
And that was an enjoyable record. The band seemed full of promise, even embarking on a UK tour a couple of years ago, which made sense. But then there was nothing from their camp, until now. On this disc, Carl Coccaro (vocals) and his brother Rich (guitars/keys) have evolved significantly in their sound with the addition of the Dereks: Cruz on bass and Sexton on drums. Plus Ryan Sambrook delivers keyboard work, and it doesn't end there.
This 11-track album also features a full-fledged choir on "The Night Clouds," to great soul effect, and a small ad hoc army of other players who do the studio thing right — by assisting. Though the album might not be balanced for certain ears, it certainly boasts some solid rockers alongside slower acoustic numbers. The title track will satisfy any fan of mid-to-late-'90s Brit rock, while "Escaping Hell" will do the same for fans of more current indie/alt-rock.
Rista World (GR Komplete)
This was another one of those discs that sat beneath my pile of booze and IOUs for too long, and I'm kind of glad I finally discovered it. Let's face it: Goran Rista, whatever post-Iron Curtain reality from which he escaped, is a nut who delves deep into the worlds of electro-hippie-jazz-funk. Add acidic pangs of world beat and who knows what else; everything goes into the pot and tastes good. Even the freaking cover of this album looks like a deleted scene from Pee-wee's Playhouse. Is that a fucking smiling drum kit? Geez, I hope the environmentally friendly packaging (complete with veggie inks) comes double-dipped in lysergics.
But other than that, there's a lot of new-age-y stuff to be found here, which is kinda weird because he looks so young. But even young men do not err when employing Elastic Bond's Sofy Encanto to vocalize a track, in this case the delish and Middle Eastern-quirky "Have We Met Before?" And then he goes on to get good and sappy with a fitting tribute to his father, titled "Spanija," with Earth, Wind & Fire-style horns and Carlos Santana-style guitars guiding it along. Good job. Let's hope Rista doesn't lose steam.