Sunday, January 23, 2022

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Sound Check


Ani DiFrancoAni Difranco

“Allergic to Water”

Righteous Babe

Ani DiFranco has come a long, long way, emotionally speaking. Those of us who cut our teeth listening to her early work — where lyrics were spat out like accusations, and you’d think her guitar was going to come apart in her hands — it is a little weird hearing DiFranco sing a song with a chorus that says “I’m just happy all the time.” But happy she is. DiFranco is a happily-married mother of two, and while she is still the full-on feminist and ardent supporter of her sociological and political ideals, she is a bit more laid back about it now. “Allergic to Water” is a gorgeous album. DiFranco’s voice has softened over the years; it’s nearly identical in timbre from her early days, but there’s a warmth around the edges that makes songs like opener “Dithering” or the previously-mentioned “Happy All the Time” sound welcoming and comfortable. CV

Mr. NastiMr Nasti


“Truth Sound”

Maximum Ames

Watching the Fairfield-based Nicholas “Mr. Nasti” Naioti perform live, it can be hard to know what to make of him. But the studio version of the act is something altogether different. If you’re not already at least open to the idea of synth-enfused hipster pop, there’s nothing I’m going to say to change your mind. But for the rest of you, “Truth Sound” is thoroughly charming. Naioti’s vocals carry a Billy Corgan-esque whine but lack almost all of Corgan’s angst or emotion. In spite of that, tracks like “Change It” and “Like a Wild Animal” are easy to like. The album’s strongest point lies in the arrangements. “Truth Sound” is a lush, deceptively complex effort, and tracks like “Forge a Path” and “Bodies” (the best track on the album) provide plenty of surprises on second and third listens. CV

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