Album Roundup

Music by Craig Graziano
Issue 58 • December 2017

Featured in this roundup:
The Can-Do Attitude • The Can-Do Attitude
Mcrcsms • Aphilixal / Ebsthesi
Dori Freeman • Letters Never Read
Elements of Music • Danielito
Doll Baby • Hell Block

The Can-Do Attitude
The Can-Do Attitude

Charlottesville • October 23, 2017

The Can-Do Attitude specializes in cosmic cowpunk with a ramshackle sensibility that recalls The Minutemen, particularly D. Boon’s seemingly stream of consciousness lyricism. The self-titled debut also moonlights as N. Lee May’s cultural manifesto delivered like a deranged preacher at the pulpit. “I’m starting to doubt evolution because I’m still here,” he grumbles on “Make Some Money.” Despite scathing social commentary, the album never gets too down on itself thanks to its rollicking energy and a warped sense of humor that borders on non sequitur.

“Anonymous Son” begins with the exclamatory satirical chant, “Hey! Go to Work! Go to Bed!” before things take a bizarre turn as May distracts the listener from the initial premise and instead chows down on a delicious drumstick. “Forget about the people over there. So many people. I’m just gonna keep eating this chicken.” The only collaboratively written track repeats as a surreal choir, “One day we’ll hit an asteroid and all of the corn will be popped,” before building to a dissonant freakout. The band’s comical nature, performative eccentricities, and occasional science fiction references make this a dystopian space cowboy opera that is worthy of The Billy Nayer Show. Available as a free download.

Aphilixal / Ebsthesi

Harrisonburg • November 10, 2017

A double album release from Kendall Farrow’s prolific electronic project, Aphilixal focuses on uptempo house tracks while Ebsthesi twists the genre into a more ambient aesthetic. One key highlight is the fragmentation of vocal-takes into spliced digital hymns such as on “Post Lone.” Other noteworthy moments include “Bitter York’s” gamalon tones and “Some Things Can Be Done” which builds a lush atmosphere over the course of seven minutes. Released under a pay-what-you-want model, the tracks are free to use and remix in non-commercial projects with attribution. Downloadable materials for a DIY cassette kit available courtesy of Lagom Audio/Visual.

Dori Freeman
Letters Never Read

Galax • October 20, 2017

On Dori Freeman’s sophomore album, she continues to draw from the deep well of Americana with robust returns, inspired and driven by lovelorn country musings, Appalachian murder ballads, and reworkings of traditional standards. Teddy Thompson, son of folk legends Richard and Linda, produces once again. Richard provides his distinctive guitar on opener “If I Could Make You My Own,” a sincere message of adoration and sacrifice. Later we are treated to a faithful, elegant cover of “I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight.” No matter the sub-genre, this exploration of roots music is a terrific vehicle for Freeman’s melodious vocals.

Elements of Music

Manassas • November 6, 2017

After spearheading four previous projects as producer and beatsmith, Elements of Music finally takes the mic on Danielito. “Kinda Broke” pops off with Melle Mel-esque laughter a la “The Message” before elaborating that “Nobody told me that life would be this expensive.” The low key delivery, extensive vocabulary, and intricate quadruple rhyme scheme speak in volumes, waxing personal and blending seamlessly with guest vocalists Wax, Lacree and Billy Mercury. “Kush Mody’s Outro” offers some impromptu piano and freestyle. The latter half of the release includes instrumentals of the vocal tracks, allowing you to focus on its meticulous and equally engaging production.

Doll Baby
Hell Block

Richmond • October 13, 2017

Doll Baby’s eternally loud sophomore EP captures the indelible marriage of heavy thrums with slightly askew, yet infectious melodies in the vein of Nirvana’s Bleach. Sparse acoustic strums kick off “Alive,” as Julie Storey bellows raw spitting vocals across canyons before all parties kick into a pulse-raising sprint. Storey inquires, “Does this mean we’re gonna get married? Does this mean we’re gonna have… beah-bies?” Meanwhile, “Perfect Posture” reveals occasional moments of fragile gentilitygentleness. The subtle juxtaposition of folk instrumentation with shattering bass, guitar, and drums helps to intensify the dynamic range. Available on limited edition cassette from Egghunt Records.

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