Random acts

Of note

Good news, bad news: The Asheville-based eclectic-rock band ChunkStyle has nearly finished recording its first full-length release. Sadly, it looks like it will also be the band’s last release: Founding member James Moats is leaving the group, and remaining members Dan Taylor and Lincoln Benson do not wish to continue the project without him. The band lost drummer Adam Clark in late March. For more information, visit www.chunkstyle.cjb.net.

NDS trashes new CDs: Local rockers New Dark Science have scrapped their original studio tracks from their as-yet-unnamed debut album due to poor recording quality. The group has plans to re-record the album with the help of former Hootie and the Blowfish producer Dick Hodgin. For details, visit www.hometown.aol.com/newdarkscience.

Perfecto!: A-Tone artists Mandorico are recording a new album at Atlanta’s Sound Lab studios. Currently titled Flamtam!, the record is the group’s first major studio effort since the aptly named afrocubanhiphopcaribbeanrock, and should be available this fall. For more information, visit www.geocities.com/~mandorico.

Front-row reviews

What: The Acoustic Review

Where: The Grey Eagle

When: Friday, April 27

It’s no secret that most local acoustic shows tend to be somewhat laidback affairs. Often, it’s a social event akin to playing on the back porch with friends — the only exception being that one of the friends is selling CDs and T-shirts.

Knowing this, I came prepared to deal with the genre’s traditions of long sound checks, last-minute tunings and extended beverage breaks. But instead, the unthinkable happened: The music simply started. Apparently, this group of musicians had no respect for tradition.

A mostly instrumental set by Etowah-based performer Bobby Wynn opened the show. Wynn wowed the crowd with his intricate work on 12-string guitar. Hints of bluegrass twang and country kick came through, but the overall feel of his music strayed little from the introspective singer/songwriter standard.

Next up was Ed Anderson, who ventures as far from the singer/songwriter stereotype as he can. Wielding a guitar, a harmonica, a kick-pedal drum and a powerful voice, Anderson might more appropriately be labeled “the one-man alt-rock band.” Needless to say, he is a very busy man on stage. Still, he found the time to play several surprisingly well-developed songs, ranging from upbeat rock ‘n’ roll to a fairly mellow cover of the Nick Drake song “Pink Moon.”

With one exception, the duo of Rebecca Mark and Tom Leiner explored a single theme — that of the lovelorn singer backed by the lugubrious guitarist. In small doses, such songs can be powerful, but after four or five in a row, the novelty wore thin. Thankfully, their last song was a bit more cheerful, if only by comparison. Last singer Daniel Lee boasted a powerful, perfectly controlled voice: Imagine, if you can, the voices of Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday blended and pumped through Bruce Springsteen’s larynx. Abstract comparisons aside, it was a highly enjoyable performance.

Who: The Turbo Poodles

Where: Vincenzo’s

When: Sunday, April 29

In contrast to the tortured souls peopling the local singer/songwriter set, Leo Converse and Darren Kohler have a fairly straightforward task: playing songs that people know. Together they’re known as the Turbo Poodles, and they are the live equivalent of a jukebox.

The duo’s main strength stems from a diverse repertoire rather than any especially creative interpretation. A typical set could range from early Willie Nelson to later Eric Clapton, or from a Led Zeppelin ballad to a pop fossil by Men At Work.

There’s no real nuance happening here: The Poodles play, and the people dance. Mission accomplished.

Top threes

Top-three reviews of (relatively) recent local EPs:

Drug Money; Drug Money — Tight garage/neogrunge rock that’s just shy of capturing the band’s on-stage power. 4 out of 5.

STAMMER; STAMMER — Loud guitars, hoarse vocals, and largely monotonous songs with just a hint of melody. 2 out of 5.

around the house of Malinak; LICE — A very mixed bag. Alternates between clever, pointless, intriguing and offensive. 3 out of 5.


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