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Music reviews - 11-22-06 

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Dreamland Faces
Dreamland Faces
Self-release

When saw-and-accordion duo Dreamland Faces used to play Java Joe’s at The Public Market every Saturday morning it would give me such a thrill to see folks’ eyes bug and jaws drop. But the music thrills me more. Like a life-sized music box, Dreamland Faces is hauntingly beautiful and odd. It’s vaudeville, it’s cabaret, and it’s nostalgic. Spin the band’s new self-titled CD and you can practically smell moth balls and grandma’s perfume. Sawer/vocalist Andy McCormick cops to a bullhorn to add the Cantor to his candor. Karen Majewicz squeezes the box while ringing out hearts with her achingly beautiful warble. The instrumentation is minimal and heartbreaking, the music breathtaking and timeless. Could it be that the saw is tonally the perfect instrument?

--- Frank De Blase

 

 

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Various Artists
Brats On The Beat: Ramones For Kids
Go Kart

I’ve always said that The Ramones was a pop band. And despite the grime and volume, the band’s melodies were as viable and catchy as the girl groups it emulated. As far as I’m concerned The Ramones’ songs were perfect for kids of all ages. (OK, there are few themes --- sniffing glue, for instance --- that may raise parental eyebrows.) Brats On The Beat is truly a kid’s record. But instead of Barney or Raffi or The Wiggles the kids get introduced to the legendary quartet’s music via punk and rock stars like Pennywise, The Donnas, Josie Cotton, The Adolescents, and The Dwarves. C’mon, just picture a bunch of kids --- affectionately called The Gabba Gabba Heys --- jumping around the studio singing along with Blag Dahlia on “Rockaway Beach.” Brats On The Beat is cool for big kids, too.

--- Frank De Blase

 

 

 

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Platinum Weird
Make Believe
Interscope

The Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart is the brainchild behind this project. In an effort to create a buzz for the disc, Stewart created an elaborate back story involving a ’70s-era Stewart meeting a female vocalist, the two cutting an album, and then the vocalist disappearing just a short time before the album was to be released. Stewart moved on and magically, 30 years later, Stewart finds his Platinum Weird cohort and they decide to put out the album that was shelved in 1974.

Too bad the back story is a lie, and all the hype and intrigue was for nothing. Make Believe is filled with mellow, unimpressive tunes from start to finish. The songs don’t sound bad; they just lack any feeling whatsoever. Why Stewart would work with such a weak vocalist is beyond me. There’s no range to her voice, and there’s certainly no power. Annie Lennox she ain’t, and Stewart should know better than to try and follow her.

Some describe this disc as being like Fleetwood Mac. I disagree. Even Fleetwood Mac had some balls sometimes.

--- Todd Rezsnyak

 

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