Color me impressed: The Denver-based group Chronophonic puts out a really great product. Their second album, Footwork, is a sexy, slippery creation that meanders into hip-hop, soul, jazz and cosmic-slop funk with skill. Chronophonic's span of styles is as impressive as their ability to actually pull them off. The band features Jon Piazza and Jake Sanders on vocals and has an incredibly tight horn section that is sure to inspire some potentially embarrassing living room dancing. "Bean So Hot" starts the album off with a jumpy, staccato chorus that immediately breaks into growly guitar riffs, la The Roots. The rapping is technically well done, but there's a lot of information crammed into a tiny aural space. It's classic overreaching, and the song comes off as a little disconnected. Enjoy the groove instead. "Breakfast For Dinner" is a fun, hot little funk number that includes the word "sex-muffin," while "Dom P" is a slow jam that earns its designation of "baby-makin' music." Now do it 'til you're satisfied.
50 Foot Wave
50 Foot Wave
Is 19 minutes and 43 seconds of constant drive too much? Ex-Throwing Muses guitarist/singer Kristin Hersh doesn't know and doesn't care. With her new band, 50 Foot Wave, Hersh is throwing her bid in for rock goddess, and their self- titled EP is a great place to start. 50 Foot Wave knows only one speed -- hard and fast -- and they doesn't waste any time, pounding away relentlessly as soon as the CD starts. "Bug" features Rob Ahler's fantastic drumming and Hersh's odd raspy rock 'n' roll vocals -- a quality that is reminiscent of a more soulful, lucid Courtney Love. "Clara Bow" is tight, with leanings toward The Muffs, Team Dresch, and 7 Year Bitch. A brief respite comes with "Long Painting," but only for a minute before things get wild. Amazingly, for once I was actually yearning for one blessed slow song. Rockin' like Dokken is not a bad thing by far, but some versatility is needed. 50 Foot Wave have the talent, but perhaps they just need more time. Let's cross our collective fingers for the prospect of a future full-length album.
John Wilkes Booze
Five Pillars of Soul
Kill Rock Stars
The Five Pillars of Soul was designed in order for you to shake that booty. It'd be a shame to disappoint them. John Wilkes Booze is a unit from southern Indiana, a group of young men who are "dedicated to soul" and have the white 'fros and snazzy suits to prove it. While tapping their sound from such neo-'60s-era soul/rock brethren as the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and The Make-up, the group nearly wanders into a concept album frame of mind. The album was originally produced as five separate series pieces, each one honoring their "Five Pillars of Soul": Melvin Van Peebles, Tania Hearst, Albert Ayler, Marc Bolan, and Yoko Ono. For example, "Sweetback's Gonna Make It" is a nod to the Van Peebles movie Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song. It's a sexy number that has outright velocity -- you could even break out and do the Mashed Potato to it. With all pillars now in one collection, it's an eclectic tribute to those who inspire them. Never has an homage had such a fun groove. -- Kara Luger