The Loving Sounds of Static
Three months ago, when reviewing their City Vs. Country EP, I wrote: “Thank goodness Mobius Band is finally set to release a full-length album.” The promising sounds from this electronic rock band contained the perfect mix of expansive guitars and hard-hitting percussion against a synthetic backbone, and the EP remains a steady part of my rotation. Naturally, the trio’s first full-length album, The Loving Sounds of Static, was eagerly awaited.
The new release provides more from the same vein (think Yo La Tengo and The Postal Service), but it’s a slow burn compared to the face-slap of City. For example, “Close the Door” doesn’t find its groove until after a slow and almost overdrawn opening, and “Detach” offers more of a subtle bass-thumping beat when it would seem to have the potential to blow the ears out from under the headphones if fully realized. “Radio Coup” provides the most fun on the album, with Noam Schatz banging his drum kit against Peter Sax’s full bass and Ben Sterling’s grinding lead guitar.
The Loving Sounds is more subdued and less of a hard-driving, open-road mash than their earlier work, but a worthy listen from this still-green New York City trio. (Skylar Browning)
Mobius Band plays the Higgins Alley (424 N. Higgins) Saturday, Sept. 17, at 11 PM. $5.
Joseph “Culture” Hill has played reggae music longer than many of his fans have been alive—World Peace is his band’s 30th album. People freak out when they turn 30 because it’s a lot of years, and 30 is also a lot of records. Shoot, half of 30 is still a lot of records. But with his latest effort, Culture has found the recipe for making a finely tuned reggae record without sounding formulaic.
On some past releases, Hill has fashioned songs out of the reported injustices in the world. On others, he’s used the album platform as an occasion to teach reggae as revolutionary music. On World Peace, however, Hill drops uplifting rasta refrains into musical parables that deal with the daily toils of everyman. If the reggae market were to go belly up, Hill could make a killing as a motivational speaker by hawking the lyrics from World Peace; imagine a conference room full of pasty white guys repeating Hill’s affirmations: “The rastaman never get weary yet/tribulation may come/never get weary yet.”
But a life-coaching gig doesn’t seem to be in the cards for Culture—they’re still in much demand on the reggae circuit. (Caroline Keys)
Joseph Hill and Culture play The Other Side Wednesday, Sept. 21, at 10 PM. $16, or $18 if under 21.
Jane Goodall & Dana Lyons
Circle the World: Songs & Stories
What can you say about an album that’s split evenly between stories by Dr. Jane Goodall (aka the chimp expert) and the acoustic folk ruminations of Dana Lyons, that isn’t already obvious in the setup? Just on its surface you should know whether Circle the World is something you’re interested in. If you’re into tofu and social justice, and talking or singing about either in mostly dire tones, I suppose this may be your thing.
Lyons is much more serious with his songs here than in his signature hit, “Cows with Guns.” Instead of having some fun with vegetarian issues by crooning from the viewpoint of a bovine, Lyons offers heavy material such as “Prayer For This Land” and “Just One Man.” In the latter, he sings: “I am just one man, but I have my dreams/And sometimes I’m frightened, and sometimes I see under darkening skies…” And you get the picture.
It’s certainly noble to write for and about social causes, and Lyons has made a living from it. But his lighter fare is easier to stomach than this more morose music. (Skylar Browning)
Dana Lyons plays a fundraiser for the Native Forest Network and The Ecology Center at The Stensrud Building Saturday, Sept. 17, at 8 PM. $5
If you’re one of those kids on the jam-band scene who needs to be credited with the “discovery” of the newest phat band on the block, read on: The Peaceful Warriors reek of impending success among the Nag Champa set.
First of all, they’re from Colorado. Not just Colorado, but alternative health nerve center and hippie haven Crestone. They sing clumsy lyrics—“the smell of her hair is one of the features/that makes me think about her”—that could compete with any Stringcheese or moe ditty.
But the Warriors’ improvisational prowess overshadows any lyrical shortcomings—they solo expressively and fluently on the 50-minute record.
Singer Mikee T gets credit for penning all words and music on Primero. If you sport an “All Who Wander Are Not Lost” sticker on your vehicle, you’ll identify with Mikee’s lyrics about searching and love. Vocally, Mikee gets his point across without flaunting or flexing too much. (In the jam-band world, how much value is put on vocal delivery anyway?)
Bottom line: the Warriors really groove. So much so that they just might drive you to sell grilled cheeses for gas money to get to their next show. (Caroline Keys)
The Peaceful Warriors play the Top Hat Thursday, Sept. 15, at 10 PM. Cover TBA.