Capsule Wednesday 8

By: JamBase Staff

The Howling Hex: XI (Drag City)
Rollicking, smart and overflowing with wild-yet-controlled energies, The Howling Hex's fifth release trundles in the wisely winning ways only real veterans can muster. Hex is Neil Patrick Haggerty's primary vehicle since departing Royal Trux, and he's a lot more readily appealing here. There's something for Velvet Underground lovers ("Live Wire") and VietNam enthusiasts (spoken incantation "Let Fridays Decide") but the overriding vibe on XI is The Numbers Band's 1976 landmark Jimmy Bell's Still In Town, where rough blues, dirty rock and angular jazz wrestle to prickly, captivating results. Over Haggerty's "lead fuzz bass" rattles Mike Signs' itchy electric guitar and the swooping, chopping saxophone and flute of Rob Lee, a serious find who rivals the Numbers Band's great Jack Kidney, a voice as powerful and moving as any traditional rock instrument here. Put simply, this is some seriously good shit, kids! (Dennis Cook)

Pat McGee Band: These Days (The Virginia Sessions) (self-released)
The Pat Mcgee Band has been making music with a rotating cast of musicians since 1996. Unfortunately, its acoustic roots rock has been in the shadow of Virginia brethren the Dave Matthews Band the entire time. These Days: The Virginia Sessions won’t do much to change that. It’s a solid, acoustic rock album, consistent in its engaging harmonies and melodies, despite dark, emotional lyrical content. Founding member drummer Chris Williams passed away in October of 2006 and the album, particularly the haunting, melancholic closer "End Of October," finds McGee waxing poetic on the loss of a friend. Highlights include the poppy "Maybe It’s Time," the rocking "Hand That Holds You" and the beautiful, aching eulogy "Come Back Home," which finds the songwriter comparing a lost soul to a fading satellite. Despite some somber, reflective moments, These Days is a fine representation of McGee's pop oriented songwriting that should appease his longstanding fan base. (Bill Clifford)

Orion Rigel Dommisse: What I Want From You Is Sweet (Language of Stone)
Rising from the smoke of burning houses and dust of disassembled bones, Dommisse's quirkily effervescent debut unfolds like a fable. Everything about it, from the unique instrumentation - Wurlitzer electric piano, vibraphone, omnichord and electric cello form the core – to the the woodcut cover drawing of goats gathered around a well outside a lopsided trailer in the woods speaks of otherness and strange distance. And there's Dommisse's quivering, liquid voice moving like water on uneven ground, filling crevices and falling with natural gravity. Released on a new label run by Greg Weeks (Espers) and Jessica Weeks (Woodwose), What I Want From You Is Sweet takes devastation and decay and mushrooms earthy, fragrant life from it. Dommisse's landscape is wholly unique and as auspicious a start as Kate Bush's The Kick Inside or Laurie Anderson's Big Science (DC)

Scarecrow Collection: Radio Frequency Disaster (Harmonized)
New Jersey-based Scarecrow Collection is a relatively new band on the roots rock scene. Its most recent recording, Radio Frequency Disaster, blends catchy, hook laden musical melodies with introspective, heartfelt lyrics. The album's 11 cuts cover a broad range of emotional territory. Opening with a distorted blast of feedback that melds into sullen acoustic guitar, "I Won’t Leave You There" is a chilling take on waiting for answers with subtle political overtones. "All The Things" is an elegant piano ballad that also features wailing electric guitar. "Bottle" is a reflective tale of being away from a loved one with Gerald Fee's solemn vocals drenched in thick swells of Hammond organ and lush acoustics. The band has been widening its touring base beyond the Northeast and with this fine recording the future certainly looks bright. (BC)

JamBase | In The Fields
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[Published on: 10/17/07]

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