Listen Up

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

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...

The Juke Jumpers

Ken Shimamoto
When I first hit the Fort back in ’78, Robert Ealey’s New Bluebird Night Club seemed like a hipster utopia, where TCU kids and their parents – parents who might have partied at the Skyliner Ballroom in the ear...

Drug Mountain

Ken Shimamoto
One wonders if Lester Bangs was foreseeing this when he wrote that rock ‘n’ roll is a “raw wail from the bottom of the guts.” Recorded by redoubtable noise maven Steve Albini in his Chicago lair last sum...

Staff Benda Bilili

Ken Shimamoto
Read the backstory on these guys, and you’ll think they’re superheroes. Paraplegic street musicians who tool around the streets of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on custom-built motorized tricycles...

Sam Sadigursky

Ken Shimamoto
It would be wrong to call Words Project III Miniatures a “poetry-jazz” record. To many folks, that description evokes a ’50s movie cliché of goateed beret-and-turtleneck wearers in a smoky basement, snapping ...

Tom Waits

Ken Shimamoto
Waits has had quite an odyssey, from Troubador doorman to protégé of Frank Zappa manager Herb Cohen (who sponsored the recordings released as two volumes of The Early Years) to Eagles “Ol’ 55″ songwriter ...