Crimson Sweet
Eat the Night
Shake It

Polly Watson has pipes that can slice through three-chord punk like a knife through jello. Eat the Night, the newest release by Crimson Sweet, showcases those raw vocals against stripped-down gutter guitar. The album kicks off with “Copper Flashes,” wherein Watson’s bloody yell is nearly androgynous (evoking Crass or Rudimentary Peni) and as coarse as Janis Joplin’s.

The lyrics are simple, as befits punk rock, but Crimson Sweet’s writing is clever and funny with lines like, “You take the meat off the bone/one look behind those king tut shades/my god! There’s nobody home.” Their cover of The Live Ones’ “Disowned” is contagious, and the glam-punk “The Wrong Way” exposes credible New York City roots. Though the brutal flavor fades when Watson momentarily softens up—like she’s risen above the grime of city life for just a moment—she’s really only setting up the suspense. Before the album can get too syrupy, the band dives back into NYC back alleys with fist-pumping anthems like “Waste You, Taste You” and “I Need it Bad.” Eat the Night is nothing new, but it revives a worthwhile flavor. (Erika Fredrickson)

Crimson Sweet plays the Elk’s Lodge Sunday, Aug. 28, at 9 PM. Team Owl and Joey Butta and the Fuctones open. $5.

Jim & Jennie and the Pinetops
Rivers Roll On By
Bloodshot Records

They’ve crooned to propped-up old ladies at bluegrass festivals, hillbilly-fied rock venues with instrumentals blazing and provided backup on Neko Case’s live album, The Tigers Have Spoken. Jim & Jennie and the Pinetops’ most recent release, Rivers Roll On By, attempts to capture a little of each of the duo’s live personas.

Although the record is filed as bluegrass, purists would argue that Rivers reeks of pollution. But while not every song falls into the category, those that do are masterfully picked. The band’s take on bluegrass is fresh, spunky and starkly lonesome—there are no aggressive, callow, 15-minute mandolin solos here.

The other songs on the album are mostly original tunes that could be mistaken for outtakes from Neil Young’s Harvest or Jefferson Airplane’s Surrealistic Pillow. On these cuts, banjo player Brad Hutchinson employs the “banjocaster,” an electric instrument the former architecture student picked up at a yard sale. Hutchinson’s spooky slide riffs give the otherwise lysergic, folksy originals more of a country foundation, his work ultimately sanding over the disparity between the band’s divergent styles. (Caroline Keys)

Jim & Jennie and the Pinetops play The Other Side Sunday, Aug. 28, at 9 PM. $6, or $8 for under 21.

Richard Devine
Sublight Records

If you could see inside the brain of experimental electronic musician Richard Devine, chances are you’d find a space humming with activity. His third full-length album, Cautella, a 55-minute excursion into a world of densely layered alien soundscapes and maniacally driven breakbeats, is so aggressively and expertly clustered that you almost duck for cover from the sound.

Within the last few years Devine has become something of a cult figure within his genre, most notably because his music becomes increasingly complex with each release. This steady rise has finally put him on a level of notoriety once reserved for pioneers Autechre and Aphex Twin—but with Cautella he may be approaching a higher echelon all his own. This new album could be read as the blueprint for electronic music’s future.

Cautella is balanced by Devine coupling intensely dark ambient pieces (“Helix Star Helve” and “Orr Unfolding”) with intricate beat-oriented tracks suited for the club scene (“Arc-Acid” and “Sigstop”). He also taps into a mellower, more melodic vibe on the beautiful down-tempo track, “Timach.”

Although some listeners may be overwhelmed by the sonic intensity of this release, those who want to hear a futuristic and intense electronic offering are in for a treat. (Ira Sather-Olson)

Evolution Fight
City Centre Offices

The second album from this Florida-based hip-hop group treads line laid by similarly politically conscious output from artists like Immortal Technique and Dead Prez. But what makes Cyne stand out is that instead of calling for a violent revolution against the government, they opt for less aggression and more positive means of articulating the problems they see within the status quo.

MCs Akin and Cise Star take turns trading off raps on “Evolution Fight” while producers Speck and Enoch provide melodically dense funk-, soul- and jazz-influenced beats. Like their first album, Time Being, the two MCs rap about a variety of issues: trying to survive in a capitalist economy, the rampant vanity found in American culture and how the group uses its brand of hip-hop as a weapon for change.

The only downside to Evolution Fight is the short duration of its songs, with the majority hovering at the three-minute mark. Otherwise, this is an essential listen for any fan of politically charged hip-hop—it’s got ripping beats perfect for the dance floor and intricate lyrics that shed light. (Ira Sather-Olson)


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