Memphis A Little Place in the Wilderness

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Rating: 5.4

Soft rock has its place. It’s good in old folks homes, in the moving/inspirational/epiphanic moments of romantic comedies… but soft rock doesn’t fit in as the bastard child of one surprisingly good band, Luxe, a somewhat unknown early collaboration between Torquil Campbell, Chris Dumont and James Shaw (of Metric), and Campbell’s newest involvement, Stars. Memphis formed during Dumont’s vacation in Campbell’s hometown of Vancouver, B.C. They got together, spilled their creative juices (eek) and Memphis was born.

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Two Gallants The Scenery of Farewell [Saddle Creek]

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Rating: 6.5

San Francisco duo Two Gallants seem to attract their fair share of trouble. A run-in with the police, unfortunately ending in an arrest and a night in jail, and the legal battle that ensued has left Adam Stephens and Tyson Vogel scarce time to grace us with a full-length effort. The Scenery of Farewell satiates with a calm(er) set of recordings from sound checks and radio appearances.

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Prosser Prosser [Clickpop Records]

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Rating: 7.8

Eric Woodruff’s (of Bellhingham’s spacerock strongarm Delay) new project, Prosser, aims for a more autumnal and intimate sound this time around. Armed with a cast of Seattle-area musicians, and occasionally a cellist, Eric has been canvassing the area by playing at the Tractor, High Dive and the Comet Tavern, among others. Eric Woodruff‘s not fucking around with getting the word out- and his new self-titled album, Prosser makes you understand why.

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Son Volt The Search [Transmit Sound/Legacy]

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Rating: 6.0

Jay Farrar’s voice has always been a thing of unassuming beauty, a squeaky yet articulate vehicle for earnest tales of death, drugs and dreams. The tracks on his newest Son Volt release, The Search, find Jay hitting his stride again after a few not-so-great albums brimming with hesitant lyrics. With the addition of a keyboardist, Derry Deborja, this effort sustains a more melodic undertone awash with organ and piano. The brief starter track, “Slow Hearse”, thoughtfully introduces the piano and then plunges directly into a hearty tambourine-shaking track, “The Picture”, a la early Wilcoan style. Son Volt adds their own special grassy horns and upbeat drive, appealing them as the more authentic reproduction of the former, and much hailed, Uncle Tupelo.

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Elvis Perkins in Dearland – Live in Seattle, WA

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Photo jacked from Elvis’ MySpace

Tractor Tavern
Seattle, WA
March 30, 2007

The Tractor Tavern was the most appropriate host for the wistful Elvis Perkins and his backing band, Dearland. The grimy floors, dusty cowboy boots draped along the ceiling, multi-colored strings of light hung won ton across the ceiling and the bar’s propensity to serve only beer (and an excellent Texas beer at that – Shiner) and simple liquor drinks all set the mood for the bare bones country truth of Elvis Perkins.

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French Kicks The Roller EP [Vagrant]

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Rating:  4.4

The new EP from the French Kicks, emergent band borne out of the D.C. hardcore resurgence of the 90s, lacks grit and charm. A new exclusively eMusic release, The Roller EP, stuns with a bit of boredom and a less than vicious bite. Turning from post-punk/garage rock into wistful pop-rock is no simple task, but the French Kicks have mastered the downward spiral well.

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