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Tuesday, May 28th, 2013
Music Reviews

Hotel Oscar, Randal Bramblett and More... The Beat’s Record Roundup

Musicians! Send your latest masterpieces to The Beachcomber, P.O. Box 5707, Destin, FL 325405707.


Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society

Brooklyn Babylon

New Amsterdam

There’s a temptation to label Brooklyn Babylon a steampunk jazz album, but that could just be the cover art, and the fact that the Canadian-born composer and bandleader uses the term himself. Listening to the 17-movement suite album, though, might bring to mind Ellington or Gershwin. This 18-member “big band” tackles the theme of a tour of the borough, from “The Neighborhood” to “Coney Island,” with interludes, “missing parts” and other programmatic touches scattered about. It’s both jazz and theater. There’s reportedly a graphic novel being released simultaneously. Looks like Ken Burns missed the boat.

- Bruce Collier


Emily Bear

Diversity

Concord

Diversity is Illinoisborn jazz and classical pianist/ composer Bear’s sixth release since 2007. She turns 12 this August, and Quincy Jones is her producer. The 13 tracks on Diversity are all Bear compositions, backed up with a jazz trio. Each short piece (the longest is 5:25) gives the prodigy ample opportunity to show off her formidable powers of playing, and of some amazingly mature interpretation. The kid can swing, too. It may just be because I’m a father, but I found the album cover—Emily picking out tunes with her toes on a giant keyboard—adorable.

- Bruce Collier


Randall Bramblett

The Bright Spots

New West

If there’s a lovelier song around than this 30A Songwriters Festival veteran’s “Darling One,” I’d sure like to know about it. Elsewhere, the well-traveled Bramblett proves he’s the king of raspy-voiced singers—unlike the many youngsters that ape the style, Bramblett never makes it sound forced. And he writes better than all of them put together.

- Chris Manson


Hotel Oscar

StudioAmped

www.youtube.com/WSRETV

Apparently incapable of doing a bad show ever, vocalist-guitarist Mose Wilson, drummer Clint Moreland and bassist-vocalist Joe Bradford outdo the studio versions of favorites from Burgers and Fries and the new Rock and Roll Graveyard—and those albums are pretty great. New guy Isaac Eady proves a worthy addition to the band, adding skillful multi-instrumentalist touches to songs I’d swear he had a hand in creating if I didn’t know better.

- Chris Manson


Soul Track Mind

Soul Track Mind

soultrackmind.com

The band name nearly sums up the band’s sound— they’ve got soul on their minds. Donovan Keith’s voice is something of a rarity, a unique tone capable of both power and mournfulness. Soul Track Mind moves outside the standard band format with a small horn section and keyboards, giving the songs a personality that can’t be defined within a single genre. Fans of Motown, classic funk and soulinfused rock should give this a listen. The band performs at the Village of Baytowne Wharf’s Wednesday Night Concert Series May 29, followed by a couple gigs at the Funky Blues Shack.

- Nikki Hedrick


St. Paul and the Broken Bones

Greetings from St. Paul and the Broken Bones

Single Lock Records

Pulling from ‘60s psychedelic rock and soul music—while rooted in a slightly raw lo-fi style— St. Paul and the Broken Bones are contagious. This four-tracker presents highenergy music without a glossy production. It’s a full-fledged rock record.

- Nikki Hedrick


Brett Wellman and the Stone Cold Blues Band

All I Had Was Gone

www.reverbnation.com/brettwellmanandthestonecoldbluesband

This Tallahassee-based outfit puts their love of classic blues on display as their primary inspiration. Much of the album’s focus is on guitar—slow licks that define the blues genre. One listen gives you a window into the band’s personality—mostly serious music with occasional tongue-in-cheek lyrics.

- Nikki Hedrick


The Wild Fruit

The Wild Fruit

www.reverbnation.com/thewildfruit

The first full-length album from the Wild Fruit cements their reputation as a trendsetting duo. From funk to gospel elements, along with the stripped-down rock that has long fueled their sound, this is a great exploration into just how talented they are. Based just up the road in southern Alabama, they regularly make appearances across Beachcomberland.

- Nikki Hedrick