CD Reviews for Jan. 6 |

CD Reviews for Jan. 6

Sun Kil Moon
“Tiny Cities”
Available at All That Jazz for $16.98

I had to have someone tell me what I was listening to. I never would have guessed that “Tiny Cities” was an entire album of Modest Mouse covers because it sounds nothing like the original.

In this record, the Mouse’s music is heard as if the Earth were rotating backward, as if time slowed and everything was filtered through the eyes of an acoustic guitar.

To me, Modest Mouse is tightly wrapped with modern technology. His music is the last wave in the butterfly wing chain that began when electricity was invented. But the Sun Kil Moon version is more like the ripple that might have been made if that butterfly had no wings — if it was just a caterpillar body slapping the surface of the water.

If you, like me, kept “Good News for People Who Love Bad News” in your CD player until it had furrowed its sound forever in your ear canal, then this album will be a very strange experience.

But strange is not a bad thing, and listening to something from a new direction is a good mental exercise.

Rated: It made me want to hear the real thing.

Rogue Wave
“Descended Like Vultures”
Available at All That Jazz for $14.98

My first thought when hearing this record was, “Something interesting is about to happen.” In music, that is.

In the past year, the thin tie pop rock that had saturated the market started to transform. Bands started writing catchy pop songs over a thick layer of experimental King Crimson type distortion and weirdness.

It’s the musical equivalent of a sheltered frat boy reading Jack Kerouac for the first time. An old recognizable form changes into something unpredictable.

Rogue Wave’s second album might be the crossroads of electronic experimentation and melody driven music. Others have done it — I’m thinking of The Dandy Warhols’ last album — but for some reason, “Descended Like Vultures” represents some sort of critical mass for me.

Rated: It’s amazing what a few pedals can do.

Our New Orleans
“A Benefit Album”
Available at All That Jazz for $16.98

In New Orleans imagery, it’s hard to tell the difference between a funeral procession and a parade. The line between the dead and the living is blurred by local mythology.

As the city around seems to be laying in its death throes, New Orleans dances around its body in this benefit album, fully aware of the cycle of life and the things that grow out of mold and decay.

We should all embrace pain so loudly in such brightly colored clothing. From the first track, Allen Toussaint’s “Yes We Can Can,” this album is an inspiration.

Released by Nonesuch Records, proceeds from this album go to Habitat for Humanity to help those who lost their homes to Hurricane Katrina.

Buying this album proves there’s no such things as altruism — the reward for your donation is 16 tracks of incredible heartfelt music by New Orleans’ best from Dr. John to the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.

Rated: Donate today.

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