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Local bands have fresh music for spring

Thursday, March 20, 2008

For many, the start of the spring season signals new growth after a long winter. For the local music scene, spring comes with new music.

And although more new music is on the way — the Dirty 30s are recording in St. Louis and plan on releasing an album this summer, local heavy metalheads Thorlock are laying down tracks at the Enchanted Forest and could finish as soon as this week and Fists of Phoenix should have a new album ready any day now — here are four local CDs to get you started.

FILL: "So What's Goin' On Later?"

The area's alt/jazz three-piece have gone funky on its new release. 1970s detective show theme music funky — and it's all good, baby.

The funk train pulls through Fill town on tracks like "Bodas Kusho" and "So Far," which feature snapping bass lines, cool guitar and neck breakin' beats. However, Wes Ables (bass), Chris Stephens (guitar) and Brandon Glenn (drums) stay jazzy on "C3" and "FACED."

Another thing you get with this band are three guys who can play their instruments extremely well. They don't even need a vocalist. Producer Kris Baronovic (Warchalking) did a great job of making an all-instrumental album sound like it should: crisp and clear. To get your copy of the new LP, contact Fill on its MySpace page: www.myspace.com/fillmusic.

WARCHALKING: "Stratum"

Warchalking's Kris "Barney" Baranovic really knows how to write a tune, and he shares his talent with all of us for 10 beautifully-penned tracks on "Stratum."

Although Baranovic's self-titled "Warchalking" debut album with this particular project (the man has been in millions of Cape Girardeau bands) was pretty good, the second album, "Stratum," fills the listener with its emotion from the beginning. That beginning, "I Know Your Name," has the feel of a cloud taking me away from all my troubles. But it doesn't end there, of course — "So Much" is stronger and yet very personal, allowing Warchalking a "bigger, harder" acoustic sound with lyrics that stay with you.

I know the "unplugged" sound isn't for everyone, but great songwriters are. Besides, Barney's got a bit of a backup band at live performances now. And as he proves on "Big Dumb American" and "As We End," he can play a little guitar, as well. To get your hands on "Stratum" — and I highly recommend you do — message them at www.myspace.com/warchalking.

Foster McGinty: "State of Mind Music Box"

For those who like Cream, Jimi Hendrix and the Experience and other bands under the "power trio" label, "State of Mind Music Box" is exactly what you're looking for. For those who enjoy blues and its great guitarists, Foster McGinty burns up the guitar in a style favorable to that of a Robert Johnson or a T. Bone Walker.

But for the most part, the six-track EP, featuring Bloomfield, Mo., native McGinty (vocals, guitar), Trifon Dimitrov (bass) and Rossen Nedelchev (drums), pretty much shakes the labels and rocks out. Tracks like "Circus Mind" and "Message To Relay" may or may not actually be great lyrically — McGinty's voice isn't what shines through. What is noticeable; however, are the hypnotic beats and powerful yet slick guitar.

"Pillaging Boxcar Blues" is the highlight of the album with its straight-up blues sound and stick-in-your-head catchiness, but it's catchy without being commercial. The only song I had any problems with was "The Queens Jam," which was sang a couple of octaves above what it sounded like McGinty could comfortably reach. You can purchase the album by visiting the Foster McGinty official Web site at www.fostermcginty.com.

THROWER PO: "I will pay you to say: Corporate rock still sucks"

Jon Thrower is a poet. As such, his music, which I guess you might call "punk sampling," is poetry.

Self-described as "carpet punk," Thrower cleverly labels his album with the following disclaimer: "Songs recorded in my room with my friends." Thrower Po could also make the claim, "will play with your mind like an instrument."

Some tracks, like "Cricket," feature a sampled kazoo and a few birthday calls. Some, like "Before I Go Stranger," just have drum kits, friend's voices and ... sex. Each successive track adds to the sampling dimensions of previous songs, and there really isn't any creative direction Thrower is afraid to take. One thing is for sure — the energy is high throughout this album. Get yours by cpmtacting the band at www.myspace.com/throwerpo.


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