sound check

By Michael Swanger


Damon Dotson
“Stars & Bars”
Llama Records

Musically speaking, Okoboji native singer/songwriter/guitarist Damon Dotson has the makings to be a pop star judging by his latest album, “Stars & Bars.” Not a Justin Timberlake type of pop star. More like an Ari Hest pop star. He’s got the voice, one that is natural and distinct and has been compared to Dave Matthews and Coldplay’s Chris Martin. And he’s learned that spacious, melodic arrangements best suit his songwriting, listeners’ ears and, perhaps, radio. Slow rockers and ballads like “Open Wide,” “Someone Like You” and “Stay” are his forte, though the album’s lone country tune “Harpers Ferry” also stands out and makes me want to hear more. Though I would have preferred a thicker tone for the electric guitar solos and a roots-rock tune in place of the jazz-rock-fusion ditty “Glad To Be Alive,” this is Dotson’s best work to date. CV

(Damon Dotson plays Friday, Dec. 18 at 8 p.m. at People’s Court. $10.) — Michael Swanger


The Jitz
‘The Jitz’
Drunk Tank Reel To Reel Records

Although The Jitz’s self-titled 4-song EP only clocks in around 10 minutes, it doesn’t take long for the rock and roll sounds to infect your ears. The trio of Mike Clabaugh (vocals/guitar), Tony Buns (drums/vocals) and Nate Osborne (bass/vocals) rip through four rocking tunes that will keep the girlies dancing. “Dumb Tattoo” starts the album with a bang (“I know you thought real long before you got that bong smokin’ elf”), followed by “Booty Call,” which should become a nightlife scene anthem. The funny, yet rocking “Right In The Nutz” bats third while my favorite song, “Won’t You Leave Him,” handles clean-up. The EP shows a lot of promise and lets everyone know The Jitz will be partying long after last call. CV

(The Jitz play The House Of Bricks on Friday, Dec. 18, 9:30 p.m. $6. They also play a free show on New Year’s Eve at GT Lounge.) — Jared Curtis

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