Music News

NEW RELEASES FROM THE DESERT

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Ex-River Roses guitarist Gene Ruley and former Bullhorn front man Tom Stauffer, the duo at the center of Tucson's Drakes, have become a surprisingly potent songwriting team. Filled with lovely, melodic guitar-band tunes that occasionally rock out, this strong, eight-song debut rockets this new band to the front of the state's alternative scene. Strong lyrics like "It's not about guilt/It's not about control/It's not about leaving/It's just about where to go" add a lot. Not surprisingly, Ruley's guitar solos are the strongest musical element here. Thin in spots, Stauffer's vocals still manage to help more than they hurt.

After quality songwriting and playing, what separates the Drakes from every other guitar band in the state is the lead and rhythm violin of Brett Klay. Following the Tucson tradition of violins in rock bands established by Black Sun Ensemble and violinist Bridgett Keating, Klay's fiddling adds an odd, appealing, chamber-rock feel to this tape and probably the band's live shows, as well. An original new voice in a numbingly overcrowded genre.--Robert Baird

@sub:Demos

@body:Able Cain
Four overlong songs by well-known local hard rockers who successfully spice up their bland, rock-by-rote formula with Doorisms. Guitarist Brian Buzard ain't bad, but vocalist Robert Edgar is the center of attention here, and his roar is a mix of Metallica bellow and Lizard King angst.--Robert Baird

35 Summers
Superb, melodic guitar rock by Chris Holiman, front man of now-defunct Tucson alternative band River Roses. Holiman's nasal voice has always had surprising range and expressive powers. Tunes like "Bestfriend" show his songwriting has also retained the dense lyrics and rising melodies that made the Roses such a great band. Neil Harry's pedal steel guitar is a nice addition.--Robert Baird

Grievous Angels
The first recorded evidence that there actually is a country-rock band with the stomach to try to cover Gram Parsons. Although it's still rough n' ready--and occasionally out of tune--this band's stab at Parsons' "Return of the Grievous Angel" ain't half bad. Good originals like "Going Once, Going Twice" and "Days of Wine, Women and Wrong" also bode well for these honky-tonk angels.--Robert Baird

@hed:New Releases From the Desert
@body:

This is the only Sun Tracks feature for 9/1

Proofer: "real womon's womon" is cq, per Baird.
Thanks, Scott

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Robert Baird