Friday, March 2, 2007

Radio Moscow and Bobby Conn

This past week there wasn’t too much that I was really interested in reviewing. So, instead I decided to give a listen to two random CDs and see what I thought of them. I chose Radio Moscow’s self-titled debut and King for a Day from Bobby Conn. Both are very different from each other, style-wise, and also different from what I generally listen to. However, I found that I enjoyed aspects of both.

Band: Radio Moscow
Album: Radio Moscow
Release Date: February 27, 2007
Label: Alive Records

Radio Moscow offers up a slew of guitar heavy rock. They carry a sound that is somewhat reminiscent of the southern blues-rock of yester-year. Some of the riffs and lead guitar definitely reminded me of sounds familiar to The Allman Brothers Band. Early on, the track “Lucky Dutch” gives a definite feeling of “Black Betty” from Ram Jam. However, their sound isn’t merely a direct adaptation of music from the rock gods of yore.

Headed by Parker Griggs, Radio Moscow showcases a fusion of sound, all their own. The group has worked to incorporate a variety of styles into their project, ranging from moaning blues slide guitar to a heavily distorted rock sound. This release, however, is not going to be the bread and butter of every music listener out there. Their style seems like they were plucked right out of the rock scene of the 60’s and 70’s, but with a grittier garage twist. The album provided me with a few interesting listens, and got me all nostalgic for the good old rock jams that seem lacking in music these days.

Band: Bobby Conn
Album: King for a Day
Release Date: February 27, 2007
Label: Thrill Jockey

King for a Day also provides a wide variety of musical styling. Bobby Conn is no stranger to the bizarre and his music proves it. It seems as though he’s been know to go a little wild, once proclaiming to be the Anti-Christ. This album, however, brings with it a wide variety of genre hopping. The first track, “Vanitas” is a perfect example. It starts with the sound of a gong and leads in with a variety of chimes and other ambient sounds. However, the song doesn’t keep at it for too long, the strings begin to pick up and the drama of keys provides a building effect. Soon comes the introduction of quiet chants, quite typical of Sufjan Stevens. However, the chants lead into a full on guitar attack that picks up the energy of the song. Soon, they fade away and an almost frantic offering of ambient noise returns.

As the rest of the CD ensues, so do a variety of song types. Lyrical contributions range from the overtly sexual to expression of the joy of life and love. The title song, “King For A Day” has a quality somewhere between a light samba and elevator music; however, it’s not boring for a second. One of the standout songs of the album, and my favorite, is “Love Let Me Down,” which provides a transition from a deliberate and brooding introduction to a chime-filled chorus.

Bobby Conn calls his music a mix of indie, experimental and showtunes. It seems like an odd combination, but I can certainly see how music from the stage has played a large part in his inspiration, and it works. For instance, the almost feverish beginning of “Anybody” reminds me a bit of the theme song to Broadway’s Rent.

At first I thought neither of these releases were much of my taste, but they’ve both grown on me a bit, because of the individuality and pure personality that is present in both. So, I’d suggest that if you like what you’ve read, that you give one a listen. In addition to that, I’d suggest giving them more than one listen, because neither are overtly catchy, but they both offer a genuinely unique experience.

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