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Merkin

Scatology (Self-released)
Ken Shimamoto
It might not matter to anyone else, but it does to me: Merkin was the last band I watched grow up onstage at The Wreck Room. That’s what’s fun about following local music: seeing assemblages of kids who are frankly not that...


JoCo

A Troubling Noise (Self-released)
Ken Shimamoto
This CD-R came with a note from its creator, one Jonathan O’Connor, which read, “Chris Hardee said I should mail you one of these. I was also a fan of PFFFFT! and thought you might like this.” Right away, my bullshit filt...



The Panic Basket

Hard Bread (Self-released)
Ken Shimamoto
Here’s the first recorded result of a collaboration between electronics wizard Darryl Wood (ex-Confusatron and ex-Parasite Lost) and Darrin Kobetich, solo acoustic guitar virtuoso who’s jammed bluegrass with the Blackland R...


The Dangits

Greatest Hits Vol. 1 (Self-released)
Ken Shimamoto
I’d resigned myself to the fact that nobody around the Metromess plays real, unhyphenated rock ’n’ roll anymore — you know, that blues-based music with a backbeat Chuck Berry said you can’t lose?



Nels Cline Singers

Initiate (Cryptogramophone Records)
Ken Shimamoto
A musician I know put it thus: “Nels Cline is a warlock!” While I doubt the Wilco guitarist is conversant in the dark arts, I agree that his instrumental prowess approaches the supernatural.


The Slack

The Deep End (Idol Records)
Caroline Collier
On The Deep End, The Slack offers a little something for every pop-rock fan. No matter what your favorite band is, it’s probably sonically quoted somewhere here. At least Dallasite frontman Chris Holt and his three bandmates ...



Johnny Butler

Solo (Self-released)
Ken Shimamoto
While solo saxophone recitals are a time-honored tradition in the avant-jazz field (think Anthony Braxton, Roscoe Mitchell), the addition of looping technology — long beloved of rock guitarists — is a relatively new wrinkle...


Tobias Gebb and Unit 7

Free At Last (Yummy House Records)
Ken Shimamoto
Tobias Gebb is a Manhattan-born-and-bred drummer who leads a band in the style of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. That long-lived, drummer-led unit that was the gold standard of straight-ahead jazz from the ’50s (when Blakey ...



Transient Songs

Cave Syndrome (Indian Casino Records)
Ken Shimamoto
This full-length debut effort by a Seattle-based ensemble built around Haltom City expat and former Hasslehorse member John Frum marks a significant step forward from 2008′s Plantation To Your Youth EP. In some ways, Cave...


The Burning Hotels

Novels
Caroline Collier
A maelstrom of cymbals and aggressive, feverish guitars, Novels sets a hectic pace from the get-go. A chaotic feeling pervades the 37 minutes and 11 songs, but an underlying mathematical genius rules. Every note complements eve...