Skeletons in the jukebox

“Skeletons” provides a forum for local musicians, artists, record-store owners, etc., to erase cool points by expressing their unseemly affection for an unhip album from their past.

Tchaikovsky – Nutcracker Suite, by Ian Reardon of MarsupiaL

“When I was a little kid, my parents would bring me to see Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite. My mom would walk me down to the pit to watch the musicians tune their instruments. The lights would go down, and the curtain would unveil a world of incredible sights and sounds. I still remember sitting on the edge of my seat in silent awe, amazed by the incredible dynamics. That was my first introduction into the world of music. I’ve always wanted to do a heavy metal version of the suite. Picture ‘Dance of the Sugarplum Fairies’ with a Slayer-style crunch. Beautiful.”

CD Reviews

Ruby Slippers, Living Room: Two Stars

Genre(s): Alternative, Rock

You’ll like it if: You don’t mind jazz and alternative rock being bed buddies.

Defining song: “Sing” – Dark and chilling, it’s a step away from the usual chirpy sounds that Ruby Slippers emit.

Ruby Slippers are a hard-to-categorize trio. Lead siren Molly Kummerle is a seasoned entertainer who relishes center stage. However, the rest of the band (Andy John and Robin Tolleson) seem like the type of experimental duo that enjoy creative isolation. Their new album, Living Room, floats in this unidentifiable limbo, unsure of exactly where their musical strengths reside. Numbers like “Stay with Me” (with guest keyboardist Chuck Lichtenberger) and “Snow Day” are rooted in rock ‘n’ roll normalcy, making them firm contenders for bar favorites. Regrettably, those tracks come across as stale in a studio format. Yet, songs like “Sing” and “Christmas Day” go beyond the parameters of crowd-pleasers, and reveal a band eager for experimental expression. Ruby Slippers have an able singer in Kummerle, and hopefully she’ll lead her band down the path less traveled.

Divine MAGgees, Love Me Like the Roses: Three Stars

Genre(s): Folk, rock

You’ll like it if: You enjoy music that takes the Indigo Girls sound and gives it a swift kick in the ass.

Defining song: “Silver Bullets” – Full of haunting harmonies, this song should be a prime-time lurker on respectable radio stations.

I’ve been a sucker for a fiddle lately. Andrew Bird first introduced me to the coupling of rock ‘n’ roll and bow, and now the diva duo Divine MAGgees (pronounced “Maggies”) have prompted an inner lust that has become unshakable. Danielle Tibedo (vocals, guitars) and Cregan Montague (vocals, fiddles) dabble in folk sensibilities, but have enough edge to leave an ember in any doubter’s eye. Punk leanings meld perfectly into flourishing harmonies, giving the duo a confident air missing in most bands that flirt with various styles. The immaculate studio tinkering of Chris Rosser gives Love Me Like the Roses a gloss without sacrificing the live sound the duo intended for their third release.

The Divine MAGgees have brought my ears a step closer to enjoying folk-rock, although it won’t be sequestering time in my regular rotation. Nonetheless, for people who like this style of music, they’ll have a tough time finding anything better.

[When he’s not bending readers to his will, Hunter Pope cooks, gardens, hikes and spends his mortgage money on CDs he’s never heard.]

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