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April 8th, 2009
Tuesday reviewsday: Two more bands

By ASHLEY CASS
Scene Reporter

Two records, for this week.

Future Clouds and Radar
Peoria
http://www.myspace.com/futurecloudsandradartx

Besides being the name of an Algonquin Indian tribe in the United States and largest city on the Illinois River, Peoria is the title of the Austin indie rockers Future Clouds and Radar’s sophomore album. The band is made of Robert Harrison on vocals and guitar, Darin Murphy on drums and vocals, Hollie Thomas on keys and vocals, Joshua Zarbo on bass and vocals, and Kullen Fuchs on trumpet, keys and vocals. The band formed in 2006.

The first track, entitled, “The Epcot View,” begins with a twangy guitar riff and transforms into a hypnotizing lure into the rest of the album. “Old Edmund Ruffin,” is a soft melody.

At the 54 second mark, the third track, “Feet on Grass,” —a whirlwind of instrumental “synthy” futuristic keys accompanied by upbeat drum beating — sounds like it should be on the Neverending Story soundtrack. “Eighteen Months,” is the album’s most upbeat track saturated with groovy go-go guitar and trumpet. More of a cheesy retro bar theme, Harrison repeats the lyrics “I spent eighteen months buried alive,” over and over throughout the song.

The concluding track, “Follow the Crane,” contains a romantic lounge element with its tap, tap, tap cymbal sounds, melodic drumming and cool jazz piano riffs. Midway through the track a mess of noise effects of sirens, sci-fi sounds, dog barking commences only to be silenced by Harrison’s vocals followed by a solo of eerie piano playing. The melancholy piano notes are accompanied by ghostly “ah ah ah ah” vocals at the posterior of the track. Truly a schizophrenic experimental mess of Oasis vocals, Beatles-esque ambience, and experimental Pink Floyd progressions, Peoria is a cool chill out album.

The album’s cover features three big stripes of an American flag with a large amp in the foreground and the band’s name in uneven lowercase font.

AmpLive
March Murder Sampler 2009
http://www.myspace.com/amplive

Despite following the typical fashion of reviewing a local or Texas band, I received this cool four track CD sampler at a free SXSW party that the artist AmpLive was playing at. Impressed not only by his modesty and down to earth nature, I noticed that everyone in the room was dancing to his cool mashups and mix-ups.  Better known for his Hip Hop project Zion I, the Bay Area DJ and producer has collaborated with Del the Funky Homosapian and remixed tracks by Radiohead and MGMT. The first track titled, “Gary is a Robot,” begins with 8-bit Nintendo beats accompanied by a robot voice declaring that “Gary is a Robot,” who’s got it all in the aspect of money, cars, girls, cloths, looks, and luck. The violin instrumentation at the end of the track sounds hauntingly like the theme of a Final Fantasy videogame.  “Get Served,” features clever raps amidst over redundant beats and slow lean tempo “get, get, get served,” lyrics. The song features all sorts of samples and sound effects, which seems to offer a fresh angle every time you hear the song. Saturated with bullhorns and gunshots, “Lose Ya Head,” the sampler’s third track, is an upbeat dance version of a Zion I and Too Short track Amplive used in his remix of Radiohead’s “Nude.” The concluding track, “It’s On,” features female rapper K. Flay-a less street Americanized version of European rapper Lady Sovereign.

While the CD art is bland and came in a clear plastic, the twenty minute sampler is a fun album for rushed pre-gaming activities.

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