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CLOTHING - JEWELRY ACCESSORIES - ART 1607 Westport Rd. KCMO 816-442-8400 Mon - Thurs 12-9pm • Fri - Sat 12-10pm • Sun 12-6pm

not about ‘promotion.’ Of course, as an artist doing a project, I can only run so far from it being viewed as a promotional project. I get that. But I just really love putting these things out.” E-mail david.hudnall@pitch.com or call 816-218-6774

C D R E V I E WS

Replacements, when Paul Westerberg was curbing his punk leanings. Elsewhere, the band hews closely to established power-pop patterns (big bar chords, big buildups) but makes room for surprising diversions: a crinkly interlude before the chorus on opener “Hey (I’m on Fire),” a two-minute fade-out that hints at, but never returns to, the hook on closer “Downtown.” Writing a catchy song is one thing; having a keen sense for inhabiting space is another. Not a lot of debuts have both. — DAVID HUDNALL

VICTOR AND PENNY Antique Pop

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WRATH AND RUIN Mouth of Oblivion (Self-released) Lawrence’s Wrath and Ruin operates on the belief that metal doesn’t have to exhibit some sort of Cookie Monster grind to be heavy. The band’s synth-laden sound drones and pulsates, emerging from speakers like the soundtrack to some sci-fi horror film. The futuristic tone also wages an attack on that part of the brainstem still beholden to the lizard that crawled from the ooze to walk on land. Hearing Dean Edington’s vocals pierce the mix, you know what it is to fear something instinctively. His words fall somewhere between shouted commands and impassioned cries. As the band’s orchestral, grandiose metal swells behind him, it’s as if the songs become proclamations from on high. This kind of metal doesn’t plod along, all sludge and doom. It’s ponderous music, with words and instruments so heavy that the sheer crushing weight causes everything to slow down, forcing you to listen carefully to the forward-thinking ideas the band is communicating. — NICK SPACEK

MAN BEAR Talking Drunk at 2 a.m. (Self-released) For three or four years there, a discouraging number of independent rock bands felt compelled to exile their hooks and melodies to the back of the track, behind layers of fuzz and hiss. Craft fell out of fashion; “artful” noise poisoned the well. Nobody seemed to have any idea what was good or what was shit, and everybody just kept congratulating each other for being DIY. It was weird — and lame. But I’m sensing a sea change lately, and I credit it, in part, to the rising influence of ’90s alternative rock on young bands. The debut EP from Man Bear, a Kansas City-based three-piece, offers an energetic dose of straightforward, crunchy pop-rock, with echoes of Archers of Loaf, Dinosaur Jr. and, most obviously, Superchunk. (Singer Alex Courtney’s scratchy bleat at times bears an alarming resemblance to that of Mac McCaughan.) “Shimmer,” with its happily plodding bass and upbeat acoustic strum, sounds like late-era 24

THE PITCH

DECEMBER 15 -21, 2011

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(Self-released) As the allure of antiques lies in their rarity, so the allure of Antique Pop lies in the rare ground it covers. Most of these songs from Victor (Jeff Freling, guitar) and Penny (Erin McGrane, ukulele) are sugary, romantic, lighthearted spins on selections from the Great American Songbook — Jimmy McHugh’s “Exactly Like You,” the Mills Brothers’ “Dirt Dishin’ Daisy,” Sam Theard’s “You Rascal, You.” The string arrangements and the harmonic melding of McGrane’s silky lyrics with Freling’s old-timey, wah-wah voice are most superb and add extra layers to the pair’s sound. Both of Freling’s instrumentals — “Victor’s Dream” and “Rickshaw Chase,” which includes a collaboration with gypsy-jazz guitarist Gonzalo Bergara — contain solid guitar work and provide respite from McGrane’s theatrical vocals (too often the centerpiece of the songs). It’s like an antique gem, this Antique Pop. And much like semiprecious stones, slightly antiquated easy listening isn’t for everyone. — BERRY ANDERSON

SOUTH SEA ISLAND MAGIC Death to Winter (Self-released) The band and album names are misleading. There are no sunny ukuleles on Death to Winter, and nothing about the music or lyrics is evocative of coconuts, pineapples or palm trees. Instead, this debut from local duo Gavin Snider and Jacob Simanowitz is a moody survey of the last 30 or so years of electronic dance music. The vocals on opener “Dream in the Dark” recall the hushed rapping on Pet Shop Boys’ “West End Girls.” “Tobacco Road,” with its IDM bleeps and bloops, comes across as an unsubtle Postal Service knockoff. And the synths that thunder, sparkle and soar on “Young Sun Paradox” reveal a chillwave influence. The best of the lot is “Waves Will Crash,” a fuller song that makes room for a memorable, ringing guitar line and vocal harmonies. A MIDI can take you only so far. — DAVID HUDNALL pitch.com

The Pitch 12.15.11  

The Pitch December 15, 2011

The Pitch 12.15.11  

The Pitch December 15, 2011