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Thursday, October 28, 2010

CD Review: Pigeon John, Dragon Slayer

CD Review: Pigeon John, Dragon Slayer (Quannum Projects)
With a title like Dragon Slayer, you may be expecting one of two extremes. If your point of reference is stories of knights in shining armor, that would be swashbuckling songs of a hero vanquishing fire-breathing mythical monsters; if you turn to the Urban Dictionary, you’re more likely to expect an album packed with misogynistic stereotypical (c)rap.

Either way you might be a little taken aback. Dragon Slayer, Pigeon John’s latest album in a 10-year career, is decidedly from the easy listening side of the hip-hop tracks. Instead of brazen in-your-face fast-flowing rhetoric, there are warm and fuzzy words, and a lot of unthreatening indie-spirited music.

Read my full review at Atlanta Music Guide ( )

Pigeon John is on tour with DJ Shawon in November, playing the Loft @ Center Stage, Atlanta, on November 9

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

CD Review: Martina Topley Bird, Some Place Simple

CD Review: Martina Topley Bird, Some Place Simple (Honest Jon’s / Ipecac Records)

Martina Topley Bird is a name you might have come across, without even knowing. Some Place Simple is her third solo album, but she has been featured on albums by Tricky, David Holmes, Primus and Gorillaz, to name but a few. Her most recent collaboration is with Massive Attack, co-writing and singing on “Psyche” and “Babel” on their new album, Heligoland.

Her solo albums, Quixotic in 2003 and The Blue God in 2008, were cast in the same mould as that Bristol trip-hop vibe, brought to prominence by the likes of Tricky and Massive Attack. Some Place Simple is a minimalist leap away from that sound. There are tracks from both Quixotic and The Blue God, each with the hazy bluesy sci-fi sound of their original scores ripped away; all that remains is the beating heart, to which is added the scantest of percussive and keyboard accompaniments. There are also three new tracks, plus a remix of one of these, although I use the term hesitantly, since everything is so paired back to the bare bones that to call it a remix seems grandiose.

Read my full review on Atlanta Music Guide (  )

Martina Topley Bird plays The Fox Theatre, Atlanta on October 29 with Massive Attack. Some Place Simple is released on October 26.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

CD Review: Dark Dark Dark, Wild Go (Supply & Demand Music)

Dark Dark Dark
Wild Go
Supply And Demand Music

By Giles Turnbull

Wild Go is the sophomore album from Minneapolis-based Dark Dark Dark. The sextet began as a collaboration in 2006, centered around Nona Marie Invie’s distinctively beautiful voice, with additional vocals from Marshall LaCourt, and the pair’s excellent songwriting. The dramatically sparse supporting cast of instruments captures emotions and creates a mood simultaneously happy and sad.

This album is expansively spacious, and yet full of many things; there’s a certain something that you feel but just can’t put your finger on. It may be the elusive mix of styles, bluesy and atmospheric, but dodging further categorization; the tempos, fairly uniform throughout, in a way that’s mesmerizing, never prosaic; every song, intensely personal and at the same time relevant to the world.

Here a melancholy violin reflects on romance, there a meandering accordion gives a Parisian air of intrigue; a certain je ne sais quoi. Everything is in perfect balance, whether it’s the stark simplicity of “Robert,” the solemnity of “Heavy Heart,” or the drifting emotion of “Say The Word;” from the apocalyptic storytelling of title track “Wild Go,” imagining New York returning to its natural state, to the breathtaking views in the landscape of “Daydreaming,” over which the Invie’s vocal melody floats like a feather on the wind.

The album release show in Minneapolis, which drew over 1,000 people for the start of their US tour, speaks volumes for the engaging appeal of Wild Go.

Dark Dark Dark play Five Spot, Atlanta on October 9.

CD Review: Andy Shauf, Waiting For The Sun To Leave (P Is For Panda)

CD Review: Andy Shauf, Waiting For The Sun To Leave (P Is For Panda)

Andy Shauf is the quietest man in the world, probably. But he grew up listening to Napalm Death, Slipknot and the sounds of monster trucks playing tug of war with bungee cord — maybe. He’s also definitely been voted one of USA Today’s Pop Candy “Pop Five Canadian Artists You Should Be Listening To.”

Read my full review on Atlanta Music Guide (;)