Tuesday, March 2, 2010 at 10:30 a.m.
Slow Stride (True Records)
Calahoney features top-notch bluesy vocals from frontwoman Laura, accompanied all the while by guitarist Josue, who may or may not be a pair of bohemians trapped in number - crunching nine - to - fives. The overall vibe is reminiscent of the '90s alt-rock scene, and while some songs are standouts, others are worth passing; perhaps 12 tracks was too many for their efforts. Highlights include a cover of Tom Waits' "Fumblin with the Blues," and an original called "London Eludes Me,"which I perversely would like to see reconfigured as "Why Can't they see NYC for the Piece of Shit it is?" Or wait, maybe not, these kids don't look like they curse. This is recommended for fans of Alison Krauss and Patty Jean Griffin.
Phineas J. Whoopie
...Down the Rails (Self-released)
I'm having a hard time trying to figure out if these guys are a Ben & Jerry's tribute band, or if they're a jam band sporting tattoos, or god knows what. There are 10 tracks on this disc and half of them are credited to "the Rails," which I guess is okay since there actually is a bit of a stylistic change in those tracks. Still, overall, this offering could use some editing. There's a little bit of funk in some of these tracks, a little like 311 and a tiny bit of heavier stuff a la Ned's Atomic Dustbin. Other times, there's a serious fratty streak. "Che-Che" is the best track of all here.
Mare Et Terra (Musea)
This is an excellent feature of progressive rock laden with psychotropic references, awash in lush Latin landscapes, orchestras, folk, criollismos, Caribbean music, blues ... ahh! Let me see if I can paint a better picture. Add up the following: Simon Diaz, Frank Zappa, Yes (Tales from Topographic Oceans in particular), Tom Jobim (specifically, the balance between his albums Tide and Wave), the unheralded coolness of Colombia's psych-folk outfit Génesis, Dizzy Gillespie, Procol Harum, and Blues for Salvador-era Carlos Santana.
The first track, "Náufrago," runs through a range of emotions before releasing vocals some 15 minutes in. From there the energy just keeps building until it finally consumes itself at the 36-minute mark. "Libertad" is a little peppier in a weird soca/New Wave/power pop manner and it's also the shortest track here, clocking in at just nine minutes.
These are followed by another half-hour of music broken down into the tracks "Blue" and "Thoughts 1 and 2," both of which continue to explore and push the symbiosis of the album's many elements. Rodulfo has surrounded himself with a very energetic and adept cast of musicians that understand his vision with unparalleled clarity, and there's so much going on in this album, it's almost exhausting. Time for a drink. But I'd love to see this guy jam out live.