sound check

By Michael Swanger

Seth Walker
“Leap of Faith”
Hyena Records

North Carolina native singer-guitarist Seth Walker serves up a heaping helping of tasteful Americana music on his latest album, “Leap of Faith,” that demonstrates his versatile playing and singing. Walker smoothly transitions from Big Easy funk (“Can’t Come With You,” “Rewind”), to Gulf Coast swamp-rock (“Dig A Little Deeper”), to Texas blues (“Leap of Faith”), to tender ballads (“Falling Out of Love”), to gospel (“Lay Down (River of Faith)”), to country-rock (“Something Fast,” featuring an enthusiastic duet with Delbert McClinton) thanks to some T-Bone Walker and B.B.King-inspired guitar playing; and arrangements that remind me of Jimmy Reed, Slim Harpo and Ray Charles. At the center of it all, though, is Walker’s rich, warm voice that is his own, but reminds me of a long list of great American singers. CV

(Seth Walker performs Sunday, Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. at the Flying Mango, 4345 Hickman Road. Call 277-1830.)



“Let Us Lay Aside Every Weight”
Independent release

Deep, dark, multi-layered indie- and psychedelic-rock characterize this mind-twisting seven-song EP by Des Moines band Tyke (Joshua Moore, Joe Rounceville, Todd Lahmann). And though mid-tempo, mournful rock-ballads augmented by distorted guitars and sound effects on songs like “Twigs and Planks,” “The Incredible Machine,” “Trying to be Patient (Waiting to Disappear),” “Anticipating the Trumpet” are at the forefront of this meditative effort, you get the feeling there’s more to “Let Us Lay Aside Every Weight” than meets the eye. Maybe it’s the spiritual undercurrent that flows through it (“Amen” features siren guest vocals by Tina Haase Findlay), or the fact that it somewhat reminds me of early Syd Barrett-influenced Pink Floyd. Whatever it is, it is hauntingly disturbing and comforting at once. CV

(Tyke hosts an all-ages CD release show on Friday, Feb. 19 at 5:30 p.m. at the Vaudeville Mews with Finn Miles and Bella Soul. $5.)

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