Thursday, February 5, 2009

Short Takes: Auerbach, Isbell, Superdrag

Dan Auerbach - Keep It Hid
Release Date: Feb. 10
Label: Nonesuch
Rating: 90
This is not a Black Keys sound-alike. On this solo debut, Auerbach's lack of a cohesive sound is the most surprisingly enjoyable part of this record. Country ballads give way to tremolo guitar fuzz, while elements of southern soul/R&B come and go. The album has a Muscle Shoals feel, with a modern punch; it's full of appetizers and entrees: one song wouldn't be the same without the other.

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit - S/T
Release Date: Feb.17
Label: Lightning Rod
MP3: "Seven-Mile Island"
Rating: 80
It seems Isbell fell off pace with this release. Where Sirens of the Ditch succeeded à la lyrical storytelling and hook-laden choruses, this latest release falls short. The album struggles to find itself, floating between crooning balladry, straight 90s-style, vamped-guitar rock, and pure Isbell classics (See "Grown," "Chicago Promenade," and "Daylight (w/DBT)" for reference. ) Here, the Isbell gem is "Seven-Mile Island," but the album fails to follow its creatively crafted and repeatable sound style.

Superdrag - Industry Giants
Release Date: March 17
Label: Thirty Tigers
MP3: "Everything Will Be Made Right"
Rating: 92
Tennessee's power poppers revert back to a sound reminiscent of early Foo Fighters and Oasis. Each song brings back memories of 90s-era MTV classics, back when cool things were cool. There is something so comforting about this album's sound which seems to span generations. Superdrag doesn't sacrifice pop for power -- they just combine the two magically as their aforementioned genre classification suggests. The record stays with you and you wonder why, until you listen again and again.

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