By Jacob Katel
By Karli Evans
By Jose D. Duran
By Pablo Chacon Alvarez
By Kat Bein
By Abel Folgar
By Laurie Charles
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.