Spring fashions include lots of pastels, of course. But the real key is that they're casual, yet oh-so-sporty. Did you think our mid-May batch of local CD releases would be any different? Sure, these new ones have less chiffon than in previous years, but let's try a couple on and see how they feel. Bring your own Woolite.
The cover art for Miami musician Derek Cintron's Oh... The Drama practically begs us not to give a fair listen to the music within. First there's the fact that Mr. Cintron is pictured standing in his driveway wearing tighty-whities and ankle socks. He's suggestively holding a dripping hose in one hand and what looks like an early-morning cocktail in the other. But the initial vocal comparison that comes to mind is an excellent one: the late Jeff Buckley. Cintron's sweeping voice, screaming guitar leads, and demolition-derby drumming give Oh The Drama a forceful, dynamic personality. A melodically strong chorus buoys "Reborn," as do its chiming, rollicking acoustic guitar and sprightly fiddle.
Impressively, besides the violin and an occasional keyboard lick, the whole show is Cintron's. Playing guitar, bass, drums, and other percussion throughout, he's a regular one-man band, sort of South Florida's answer to Prince. On a track like "Quitter," where overdubbed guitar lines cavort recklessly, it sounds like a full band in the throes of a classic-rock jam session. "Closure" interrupts the flow with some out-of-place punk phrasing, and "Yvette" starts a trickle of sap adripping, victimized by Cintron's tendency to get a tad mushy. That's nothing compared to the final track, though, an a capella about wanting to die that should have been left at home. Barring those complaints, Oh The Drama is the best proof yet of Cintron's single-minded vision. (Released on Sportatorium Records; available at Borders Books & Music, Uncle Sam's, or directly from www.derekcintron.com.)
Local roots outfit Iko-Iko never met a cliché it didn't love. Take Shine, its new disc; the 12-track platter begins with a song about a train (a brave topic for blues-rockers, to be sure), with squirrelly, barrel-chested vocals over a bed of New Orleans organ. It's every bit as authentic as ordering a catfish po'boy from an Albertson's in Weston.
By the track "I Want My Goddamn Money," it's painfully obvious that Iko-Iko has no intention of ever bringing a different dish to the blues-shuffle buffet. The 12-bar tedium of this tune -- which shouts the title phrase repeatedly, until I was ready to dig up some pocket change to appease it -- is thankfully finished in less than three minutes, but that's more than enough time to reach for the remote and flex that trigger finger. Don't exercise the option too liberally, or you'll miss out on "Stars From the Sky Like Angels With Their Wings on Fire." This rural-road slow burner pours out heartfelt guitar leads and Louisiana hot sauce piano licks, and the result rocks hard enough to redeem Shine, and by extension Iko-Iko, temporarily. Unfortunately much of the album sounds just like what you'd hear pouring out of a Bourbon Street bar on a weekday afternoon: suited to the surroundings, but pedestrian enough to make you want to walk on by. (Released on Little Silver Records; available at area record stores or from www.iko-iko.com.)
We get sacks and sacks of letters, but a recent response to our ad for freelance music writers took us by surprise. Read on, as Bandwidth shares its letter of the week. You'll have to imagine the "Serial Killer in Training" handwriting yourself.
Hi! Last time I sent in clips, CD reviews and story ideas, my story ideas ended up in the ShowTime section of the Friday Sun-Sentinel and the writer got my material from his editor and turned it into his column. Oh, I'm serious about not getting fucked outta my identify [sic] for profit by No Idea Whores. Why don't U "review" your material-gathering practices under the guise of employment? Love to read that one.
As you wish! First, it's no secret that New Times and the Sun-Sentinel are in cahoots under the covers. Anyone who's ever visited our office has seen the system of vacuum tubes that allows us to funnel any copy we choose directly to our competitor's office. Whenever I have too much to write about here -- and God knows there's too much good music for just one paper to cover -- I'll simply shoot it off to my best friends at the Sentinel with a note saying: "Here's some good stuff for your Friday section. Enjoy!" I never get anything in return, but it sure feels good to share.
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We'd give credit to the note's author, but alas, he didn't bother to sign it, proving the point that neither brains nor balls are required to write. He must have worried that we'd steal his prose this time, too -- which we did. Thanks, buddy. Keep sending in those ideas. They really cut down on the workload here, and the profit adds up to some serious coin.
Sounds like fun: On Thursday, May 4, Donna the Buffalo roams into Alligator Alley, bringing its tour-tested approximation of Rusted Root to town. Singer/piano-basher Anne Rabson is one-third of Saffire the Uppity Blues Women, which is a good reason to see her solo gig at Lake Worth's BamBoo Room this Friday and Saturday night. Check out lovable local goofballs the Crumbs and the Come Ons Friday at FU*BAR. Vinyl is one of those East Coast hippie-rock outfits with a DJ and some Latin funk thrown in for good measure. They'll be with Double Stack Scoobie at Respectable Street Saturday night. Also taking place Saturday is an evening of high-school punk called Kosherfest 2000, featuring Pointless, First Time For Everything, Bum Ruckus, Polyester, and the Outrights, rocking FU*BAR. Respectable's will host the Sick Flick 2000 Tour on Tuesday evening, which includes a couple surf/skate films and a live set from Nature Kids.