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Sound Check

8/20/2014

Brian SetzerBrian Setzer

“Rockabilly Riot! All Original!”

Surfdog

Brian Setzer is like your second favorite uncle. When he walks into the room, you’re always like, “Hey! Uncle Brian is here!” and everyone has a great time. But when he’s not around, you’re never like, “I wonder where Uncle Brian is?” Setzer’s albums are never what you would call “eagerly anticipated,” but they’re always welcome when they come around, and “Rockabilly Riot!” is no different. You know what you’re getting here: some damn fine guitar playing — for all his accomplishments, I still can’t help but feel like Setzer is one of the great, underrated guitar players — and some good, old fashioned Rockabilly from a man whose name is now synonymous with the stuff. “Rockabilly Riot!” doesn’t break down any new doors, but why should it? It’s OK to know exactly what you’re getting, when what you’re getting is so damn good. CV

imogen heapImogen Heap

HIV

“Sparks”

RCA

Imogen Heap may just be the most original, inventive pure musician working today. “Sparks” has been a three-year labor of love for the London-born performer, and the result is one of the most technically diverse albums ever created. For some time now, Heap has been working on finding some kind of perfect marriage between performer and technology. She’s not exactly there yet, but it’s scary how close she’s getting. One track of “Sparks,” the appropriately named “Me the Machine” was written and performed entirely with Heap’s proprietary Mi.Mu Gloves — a pair of wireless, motion sensitive gloves that allow her to control a variety of instruments, faders and electronics through a series of gestures. It’s more than just a creative gimmick: “Me the Machine” isn’t the best track on the album (that would probably be “Lifeline”), but it provides a fully realized, exciting look at where Heap’s music is headed from here. Even without that, “Sparks” is a creative, lush, gorgeous experience, but when put all together, it makes the album a must-hear experience. CV

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