Sound Check: June 2008

 
 

Releases Reviewed

Speaking of JD
Samson, she’s been busy lending her production skills to other artists these
days. She produced a track on Ferron’s new album, Boulder,
which was also produced and engineered by Bitch.

Ferron is a musical veteran whose deep alto voice has been under the radar since she
started recording in the late 1970s, but lesbians are familiar with her
folk-soul work, which is why most will appreciate Boulder:
It’s mostly a collection of songs from her past reworked with newer, younger
musicians like Ani
DiFranco
and Julie Wolf.

This works to Ferron’s
advantage, as it gives her an extra edge, showing that she can embrace change
while maintaining her sound. Even on "In the Meantime" (the track
with beats by JD), Ferron rises to the occasion by balancing a spoken word
style with catchy stanzas over a drum machine, Bitch’s backup singing and piano
chords.

Ferron

Another longtime
lesbian musician, Thalia Zedek
,
has released Liars and Prayers with her band
(appropriately named the Thalia Zedek Band). Her indie rock orchestrations are
worth several listens for her raspy vocals and dark and political songwriting.
It’s not exactly something you’d hear in the Top 40, which is why it’s
something you should add to your CD collection. Zedek has been working to
perfect the marriage of classical and traditional rock instruments since the
1980s, and she’s damn near perfect on Liars
and Prayers
.

It’s not all politics, though — romantics might enjoy a good cry to "circa
the end":


Because I know that some day I’ll come back looking for you
guided by a spark of memory
keep your hands up and head down until when
I’ll say the words we decided on back then.

Thalia Zedek

Perhaps if you’re looking for something a little more upbeat, Changing Modes is more your speed. The foursome has an out vocalist, Camille Atkinson, who
also plays percussion while her band mates rock the keyboards, guitar, bass and
drums. Their third album, Down and Out in
Shangri-La
, is their first with
Atkinson in the band, a Letters to Cleo–lite mix of indie-pop.

However, it is a little yawn-inducing after the first few tracks. None of
the songs stand out, so they drag on together with no real cohesion. Atkinson
might actually be better off putting her pipes to use as a solo act.

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