By Niki D'Andrea
A few weeks, ago, I posted a blog inviting local music artists to send their CDs to me for review. I vowed to review each local CD in the order it was received. Since then, I've gotten a handful of CDs and done reviews, giving critical treatment to Underwater Getdown, Reign of Vengeance, and Dude Offline. This week, I'm reviewing Mr. Blackbird.
If you'd like your CD to be included among the reviews, send it to me, marked "Attn: YAFI," at the address below. And look for a review of Matthew Reveles' CD next Tuesday.
Niki D'Andrea c/o Phoenix New Times 1201 E. Jefferson Street Phoenix, AZ 85034
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Mr. Blackbird “an E.P. by Mr. Blackbird” (Self-released) www.myspace.com/mrblackbird The packaging here isn’t the greatest – this music came on a CD-R, labeled with a red Sharpie and a homemade cover, and a handwritten note that simply read “A CD concerning space men, the Bermuda Triangle, and phonics, for review in your blog.” It was signed by James Miles, who sings and plays synthesizers as the sole member of Mr. Blackbird. But he does some catchy stuff with synths, and the music here is actually pretty good. The opening track, “Non,” with its reverberating go-go bassline and flange effects, sounds like the soundtrack to a porno film with a spy plot. “Broken Nights” sounds like a cross between an old, dreamy disco track (think Blondie’s “Heart of Glass”) and ambient trip-hop (think Air’s entire Moon Safari album). Other standout tracks on the 8-song EP include “Slo Mo Gold,” a didactic, raw techno tune that makes “downbeat” a synth-heavy, creepy-crawling understatement, and “Life Raft,” an instrumental that’s almost John Tesh-ish with its New Age vibe, but is riddled with enough midi to work as the score for a late ‘70s suspense movie.