Saturday, October 18, 2008

Record Reviews: Spitting Nickels; The Sea & Cake; Le Loup - (Spitting Nickels, 10/25 at Park Bar)

(words: milo)
Soul and grit and that boot-stomping bar band ethos, but delivered so…passionately. Yeah, with passion – that’s the word I kept coming back to – which left me no other choice but to quote the aptly put bio entry on Detroit quartet Spitting Nickels’ homepage: “To Spit Nickels is, at least by one person's definition, to do something very difficult, but with passion and purpose.” Dig it.

The band, having persevered after the tragic loss of their guitarist Tom Furtaw, will release their EP 5 The Hard Way, on Saturday, 10/25 at the Park Bar.

Spitting Nickels - 5 The Hard Way

Spitting Nickels' projection as a working-class or blue-collar band is made solidly evident by their fat-cat indicting opener Give & Take – think Harrison’s Taxman as transposed upon the oil stained pavement of an abandoned factory parking lot on an overcast day in Detroit – and these scuffed denim Stroh’s swishing crusaders are gonna lay down everything that’s been going wrong, in their eyes, these past few years.

These riffs come in quick and steady, like punches to the head…while singer Dennis Miriani’s soulful howl trades off expressive waves with Chris Brosky’s guitar – " still work, but then they take it away…times they are tough, I can’t get a break..."

Get a rhythm and strum that guitar with reckless exertion balanced by soulful conviction – that’s all you need,...dig the waving grooves of "4 The Hard Way" that bottle neck into splendid crunchy guitar solos. "The Bitch of it All" breaks out again with these characteristic tight guitar jolts that ride over Brosky and bassist John Bissa’s intertwining sunshine guitar tones and smooth driving bass lines while drummer Eddie Baranek, who every where else is hitting the skins as lethally as a ninja but as rousing as a jackknifed-truck, brings a more subtle driving pop-rhythm on this one while he joins Miriani on back-up vocals for the chorus. Textbook smoky blues-guitar-guts spills all over the opening of "You’re The Bomb, Soccer Mom," which slides nicely into an alt-country feeling swinger, with Miriani’s gruff twang singing a tongue-in-cheek love song to a distinctly American cliché; that great indie-shred-mixed-with-blues-beauty guitar styling also shines on this one…This all gets wrapped up with the steady beat and ravenous guitar rip opening of “Work it Out” that ebbs and flows into the EP’s most intricately structured entry (dig the organ coming in, and that guitar break-down at the halfway part) with flowing crescendos and Baranek providing his sweet refrain over the chorus.

Release Show - 10 / 25 at the Park Bar


The Sea & Cake - Car Alarm thrill jockey

The Sea & Cake always get it right. I mean, if you've been digging onthis Chicago-based 4-piece and their smooth-sheen jangle-fuzz withwisps of electro and proggy-jazz-pop and their literatestream-of-conscious lyricism and urban-sunset-reflection pieces…then,the good news is this is more of the same and it'll be right up youralley.

Sometimes it's difficult distinguishing their 7 other albums (each with similar-vibes and syrupy jammy-guitars) to newcomers – if it counts for anything, this record is more a return to the steadyguitar-grooves and transfixing-wanderlust pop of their late 90'smaterial. You can't go wrong, with 4 supremely talented, ego-lesspassion players of the Chicago underground, pouring their hearts outrewardingly on (yet) another release.

more info:


Le Loup - The Throne of the Third Heaven… hardly art

These murky early morning banjos rising with strange harmonies, like soggy dirt-caked leaves spread over a hilly terrain in some ideal wooded area where there is no hum of cars and your able to just build and build your percussion lines with bells and tambourines and bass drums booming and just stretch out, shake your legs and wiggle your fingers, shrug your shoulders and be as weird as you want…

Le Loup follow Xiu Xiu or Akron/Family in the sense of truly exploring the potential of a song, in what you can add or what tones and moods you can galvanize, but also Blitzen Trapper or Animal Collective in their apocalyptic-exploded takes on neo-folk-mixed-with-electronics…sometimes triumphant and energizing in experimental cacophony, but sometimes a bit too meek or subdued in their whispered tones and buzzy melodies, contradictorily minimalist-pop at times, and then spiky-experimentalist at others…strong flavor of heavy cosmic ponderings in autumnal escapist strolls away from civilization, through young eyes…This D.C. group has a very distinct flavor, sometimes bordering melodrama, but they’re slowly developing into something you may want to taste very soon…

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