Quick Spins: Chromeo, Pieta Brown and the Orbans“Quick Spins” are expedient, pretension-free music reviews. This installment tackles new(ish) ones from Chromeo, Pieta Brown and the Orbans.
Chromeo’s “Business Casual”
WHAT IT IS: The Montreal electrofunk duo’s follow-up to 2007’s mammoth album “Fancy Footwork,” which spawned the highly danceable title track (among other singles).
WHAT ONE JERK THINKS ABOUT IT: Although a full three years passed between the release of “Business Casual” and Chromeo’s immensely popular sophomore album “Fancy Footwork,” I can’t help but think this new record was rushed. P-Thugg and Dave 1 should’ve spent more time crafting this batch of ’80s-throwback tunes; the songs here don’t measure up to their early counterparts. While lead single “Night by Night” is enjoyable enough, and “The Right Type” is like a modern-day Hall & Oates master recording, “Business Casual” can’t seem to get out of its predecessor’s immense shadow. More importantly, the new Chromeo tracks just aren’t fun. Where is this album’s “Momma’s Boy”? If we wanted depressing synthesizer music, we’d spin some Depeche Mode.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO ABOUT IT: Visit your favorite MP3 retailer and download the few standouts.
… BUT YOU DON’T HAVE TO TAKE MY WORD FOR IT: Watch the video for “Don’t Turn the Lights On” below:
Pieta Brown’s “One and All”
WHAT IT IS: The seventh release from Greg Brown’s 30-something daughter. (If she sounds familiar and you can’t quite place her, Pieta opened for John Prine when he played the DECC in September.)
WHAT ONE JERK THINKS ABOUT IT: Excuse my language but … holy crap. The first time I heard the track “Out of the Blue,” I had a bit of an epiphany: This is one singer/songwriter whose records I should be spending a lot more time with. While the track is a bit introspective (read: great for wintertime “jags”), not all of the recorded-in-Iowa-City “One and All” is so dreary. One pick-me-up standout I’d like to bring your attention to is “El Guero,” which seems almost tailor-made for your next road trip mix tape. This is music to explore our great country to.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO ABOUT IT: Buy it — unless you hate America.
… BUT YOU DON’T HAVE TO TAKE MY WORD FOR IT: Brown will perform Nov. 5 at Red Mug in Superior. In the meantime, check out this video from Red House Records about the making of “One and All”:
The Orbans’ “When We Were Wild”
WHAT IT IS: The first full-length album from the buzz-worthy Fort Worth, Texas, quintet.
WHAT ONE JERK THINKS ABOUT IT: The second coming of Brendan Benson’s famed Mood Elevator side project? While the Orbans aren’t nearly as bouncy — there’s a bit of that Texas grit so favored by the Toadies causing them to fall just short of pure pop bliss — “When We Were Wild” is every bit an unforgettable rock record as that Michigan group’s “Married Alive.” One song in particular that you won’t want to live another second without is “Were Her.” Expertly put to tape by indie-tastic producer/engineer Adam Lasus (Marching Band, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah), this is as gorgeously epic as straight-ahead rock music gets. Here’s hoping they make that trip up I-35 someday soon!
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO ABOUT IT: Buy it. Now.
… BUT YOU DON’T HAVE TO TAKE MY WORD FOR IT: See (and hear) how “When We Were Wild” was made:
Or ... through Nov. 1, you can download the entire Orbans debut for only a buck at http://theorbans.com/dollardownload.html. For real!