sound check

July 28, 2011 |

by Michael Swanger


Yourself & The Air

"Who's Who In the Zoo"

Lujo Records


Chicago trio Yourself & The Air's new EP, "Who's Who In the Zoo," falls squarely into the "quirky indie-rock" category thanks to its spacey, atmospheric sound, shimmering synths and overall childlike wonder. The seven-song affair kicks off with its most accessible songs, "Trampoline" and "Sick Days," both of which sound like they were influenced by The Cure, Porno for Pyros and The Pixies, before sliding into a hazy, trance-inducing series of ballads including "Bon Voyage," "Bicycles Plus," "Colors" and "Ice Age." Whether the group's youthful, exuberant vocals and occasional mosquito-buzzing-in-your-ear keys resonate with most listeners might be questionable, but the band's strength is its ability to mostly create wide-open, colorful instrumentation that puts the listener mostly at ease. CV

(Yourself & The Air performs Friday, July 29 at 10 p.m. at the Vaudeville Mews. $5.)


Steve Cropper

"Dedicated: A Salute to The 5 Royales"

429 Records


Star-studded tribute albums often fall short of my expectations, but this record is an exception to the rule. Steve Cropper, the impeccably tasteful Rock and Roll Hall of Fame guitarist best known for his work with Stax Records, pays homage to The 5 Royales, one of the most talented vocal groups to ever gather around a microphone, with an all-star cast on "Dedicated," due in stores Aug. 9. The album's title says it all considering how gifted artists like Steve Winwood, B.B. King, Lucinda Williams, Delbert McClinton, Sharon Jones and Shemekia Copeland serve classic Royales tunes like "Thirty Second Lover," "Baby Don't Do It" and "Dedicated To The One I Love" with such soul stirring care. But as good as this album gets, here's hoping it motivates new generations of music fans to give The 5 Royales' original recordings a try. CV