September 24, 2020

Vandoliers – Forever – Bloodshot Records

By Kristi Kates | March 16, 2019

Mixing Texan-Americana music, south-of-the-border rhythms, and ’70s-inspired cowpunk, this 10-tune set from the Dallas band pulls together twangy guitars with strings and horns for an intriguing fusion on tracks like “Troublemaker,” with its low, rumbling undertones; “Sixteen Years,” which in certain sections sounds fleetingly like a Mexican celebration heard from a distance; and the more serious, even remorseful slow trot through “Tumbleweed,” with its more formal arrangement and pensive lyrics. ** ½

The Claypool Lennon Delirium – South of Reality – ATO
John Lennon’s son Sean Lennon has evolved into a remarkable lyricist and songwriter in his own right, as evidenced by his earlier solo albums. On this venture, he teams up with Primus vocalist/bassist Les Claypool for their self-titled duo project, produced by the pair themselves at Claypool’s California recording studio. With a pollution, insect, and natural world theme, they careen through tracks like opener “Little Fishes,” the quirky/bouncy “Toady Man’s Hour,” and the prog-rock grooves of “Like Fleas.” ***

Trevor Horn – Reimagines The Eighties – BMG
“Video Killed the Radio Star” was Horn’s first claim to fame, as the very first music video played on MTV (by Horn’s then-band, The Buggles); since then he’s delved into production duties for artists like Seal and Rod Stewart. On this endeavor, he takes on a shortlist of ’80s tracks and remakes them as his own via a host of guest collaborators, including Robbie Williams on “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”; Duran Duran’s “Girls on Film,” with an orchestra; and and A-Ha’s “Take on Me,” with Horn on lead vox. It’s nothing groundbreaking, but it’s fun and interesting to hear different takes on these classics. ** ½

Telekinesis – Effluxion – Merge
Recorded on an old MacBook mic in the Seattle basement of multi-instrumentalist Michael Benjamin’s (aka Telekinesis) house, this set is all his own. The result is an inward-looking collection of tracks that might’ve actually benefitted from a little collaboration. It’s not that it’s bad — it’s all pretty, if plain, power-pop, pleasant enough with its uncomplicated rhythms and familiar melodies; it’s that it just all kind of sounds the same. **


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