Wednesday, October 1, 2014


Sound Check

5/14/2014

coverThe White Elephant

“Cocaine Love Letter”

Independent

After putting out two of the better roots-rock albums released in the state, The White Elephant is, in its own words, pumping the breaks a bit. Eschewing the crunchy, electrified, three-chord blues-infused rock riffs of its first two albums, “Cocaine Love Letter” is stunningly understated. Absolutely nothing here will remind you of the band’s past roots-rock successes, but in a way, that’s the point. Minus amps and drums, this is The White Elephant stripped down to the floorboards of emotion, and the result is rather charming. “Thursday Night” is the best track on the album and, not coincidentally, one of the few in which frontman Ron Coleman handles the vocals. For much of the album, guitarist Chris Rohr (who also penned most of the tracks) takes over the singing duties. And while there’s nothing wrong with his efforts, Coleman’s vocals have an elevating effect. CV

 

DM Art Center

BlondieBlondie

“Ghosts of Download”

Eleven Seven Music

Packaged with a disc of re-recorded classics and released as a two-disc set, Blondie’s “Ghosts of Download” is the band’s first original release in three years. Designations of “good” or “bad” almost have to take a back seat, because any discussion of overall quality without first addressing how unfocused the album is would be putting the cart before the horse. Thematically, the album is a mess. Nothing ties the album together, and “Ghosts of Download” feels less like a professionally-arranged album and more like someone hit shuffle on their iPod. Opening track “Sugar on the Side” is a Latin-infused number featuring Colombian DJ act Systema Solar. That’s followed by the GaGa-esque “Rave,” featuring erstwhile Toilet Boys frontman Miss Guy. From there, the album segues into various iterations of new wave, rock and pop sounds. “Winter” is the track closest to the classic Blondie sound, but even that is a stretch of association. CV

Iowa Wild