Sound Check: July 2008

 
 

From
drum machines and booming bass lines to a band that needs no bass at all:
Renminbi is strictly keyboard and guitar rock. The New York City duo of Lisa
Liu and SMV is largely instrumental on their album, The Phoenix, which might sound boring but actually seems to work.

Renminbi

With
its layers and loops, it’s easy to get drawn into Reminbi’s music. The songs
progress throughout the album, weaving a labyrinth of guitar chords that are
somewhat intimidating but certainly arresting. The vocals only add to the
mystery that is Reminbi, and songs such as "Siobahn" give the album
enough accessibility to balance out the edge of the strictly instrumental
tunes.

Also
recently released but nothing remotely like the others reviewed this month is Martine Locke‘s Undone. The alt-country/folk musician’s
third album features Ani DiFranco’s right hand gal, Julie Wolf, but truly
highlights Locke’s blues-tinged lyrics: "How could I know she wears the
devil’s clothes?" she croons in "Devil’s Clothes." "She was
trouble through and through."

Fans
of independent folk singer/songwriters will appreciate Undone. If you haven’t gotten into the genre before, there’s
nothing new here to change your musical tastes — unless, of course, you are a
little bit country and a very little bit rock and roll.

Martine Locke

NEWS AND NOTES

Amanda Palmer‘s solo album, Who Killed Amanda Palmer? has received a release date: On Sept. 16,
the album will be available in stores. It is produced by piano man Ben Folds
and features contributions from indie ingénue St. Vincent and cellist Zoe
Keating.

Amanda Palmer

Also this fall, Yo Majesty releases its debut hip-hop album
on Domino Records. The duo recently announced they will be working with
Basement Jaxx on some tracks. The CD, called Futuristically Speaking … Never Be Afraid, comes out Oct. 7 in the U.S.

Bisexual pop singer Erin Hamilton has released a cover of Cheap Trick’s "The Flame," and it’s a hit in
dance clubs and on the Billboard’s Club Play charts. Hamilton is Carol
Burnett’s daughter. That’s showbiz!

Kirsten Price‘s debut album, Guts and Garbage, was officially
released July 1.

San Francisco queer trio Von Ivaare co-writing and performing four tracks with Zooey Deschanel for the upcoming
film Yes Man. The band, which also
penned the theme song for the series Curl
Girls
, will perform as a "fictional art-wave" group in the movie,
which hits theaters this December.

Team Gina have released a new video for "Rock the
Like," the first single from their new album. The CD, Products of the ’80s, is the same sort of flashy queer hip-hop
we’ve come to expect from the Ginas.

Team Gina’s “Rock the Like”

Ellis‘ album, Break
the Spell
, was chosen as a DIY pick in Performing
Songwriter
‘s June issue. The mag wrote, "[Ellis]
effectively conveys songs filled with love and the longing for it, baring her
soul and demonstrating a vulnerability that makes Break the Spell easily her most compelling attempt yet."

On Tour: Catie Curtis, Ani DiFranco, Janis Ian, Mika Miko, Melissa Etheridge, Amanda Palmer, Chris Pureka, Girl in a Coma, Kaki King, Kirsten Price

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