Sunday, April 8th, 2007
Sunday Cleaning – Volume 69
|Calla / Strength In Numbers (Beggars Banquet)
Calla have made a career of blending the desert plains twang of their Texas roots with the late night seediness of their current New York City home base and their latest album doesn’t deviate much from that distinctive recipe. Aurelio Valle’s whispered vocals still seethe with equal parts desire, desperation and narcolepsy overtop a band recreating the sound of a prize fight in slow motion. It’s funny – every time I’ve listened to this CD, I find myself glancing at the CD around track 10 in hopes that it’s the last track – it’s not that I haven’t enjoyed the trip thus far, it’s just that the mood that Calla sustains over the course of the record ends up wearing a bit over the course of time. And it figures that the last three songs on the album are some of the strongest ones. But if you’ve already made up your mind about Calla, whether positively or negatively, this record is unlikely to change your mind.
Calla are at the Horseshoe on Wednesday, April 11.
|Leeroy Stagger & The Sinking Hearts / Depression River (Boompa)
You don’t need to visit Stagger’s MySpace account and its profile picture of him with Steve Earle to know that he’s a fan of the man – you just need to listen to “Where I Live”, the opening track of Stagger’s new record, and its straight-out-of I Feel Alright brand of country rock, from the politically charged lyrics down to the raspy vocals. Luckily for Stagger, it’s delivered with enough vim and righteous anger to justify itself beyond being an Earle tribute. The rest of the record follows suit, ranging from solid if unspectacular to genuinely affecting (“Satellite” is stunning), mostly depending on how well Stagger’s plainspoken lyricism comes across. He’s not yet as deft a wordsmith as his heroes but at just 24 years old, he’s got lots of time to develop into the hardcore troubadour he aspires to be (and hopefully with maybe a little less of the hard living that Earle’s gone through). But in the meantime, he’ll have to settle for fronting a kick-ass roots rock band.
|The Coach & Four / The Great Escape (Makeshift Music)
If this mini-album from Memphis’ The Coach & Four contained only one song, “Hello Destroyer”, and an additional six tracks of canned 70s sitcom laugh track, it would still get my strong endorsement. The lead track is a near-perfect three minutes of American indie rock, with guitars that jangle and punch, unrelenting drums and howling Mould-ian vocals yet still unfailingly melodic. The very definition of a “hit repeat ad nauseum” song. The rest of the record doesn’t quite reach these lofty heights – it’s not possible to expect them to – but with their early Spoon-like tautness, they do prove that the band has the goods to measure up to that standard and it wasn’t just a fluke. And then for the final two songs, they go all Southern rock boogie and synth-pop… just because, I guess. But even that’s done well. Definitely a band to watch out for.