sound check

By Michael Swanger

“Let It Out”
Independent release

Los Angeles-based pop-rock-soul singer Megan Bobo, formerly of Des Moines, became an overnight sensation when the University of Iowa singer finished in the Top 25 of the fifth season of the hit television show, “American Idol.” However, “Let It Out,” Bobo’s recording debut with her L.A.-based pop-rock band Neverwonder, will prove whether she has staying power. To help boost her chances, the album’s 17 radio-friendly tracks are clearly aimed at the young pop-rock crowd as energetic songs like “Help Me,” “Wild Out” and “Let It Out” are sure-fire club hits. But aside from an out-of-place band interview for the final track, what makes this album perhaps most interesting is the remixes of songs (including three versions of “Help Me”). Some might call it marketing savvy, while others might cry artistic foul. Nevertheless, Bobo’s big voice is consistent throughout, regardless of the mix. CV


Seasick Steve
“Man From Another Time”

As much as I admire rustic singers, I admit I had my doubts when I peeled back the shrink wrap on Seasick Steve’s new album “Man From Another Time.” But after listening to it I was immediately, pardon the pun, hooked by Seasick Steve’s humble, gritty sound. Long story short, Steve is an anomaly in modern recorded music (another reason to like him): he was signed to a label in his 60s; the Oakland native found fame in the United Kingdom where he became the oldest Brit Award nominee; he spent 50 years busking before recording an album; and once helped produce albums for Bikini Kill and Modest Mouse. But what I like about Seasick Steve is his ability to transition from acoustic Delta blues (title track), to dark country (“The Banjo Song,” “Wentachee”) to ballsy garage rock (“Big Green and Yeller”) without missing a beat. Recommended for fans of Fat Possum Records. CV

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