This week, the Listening Party presents three groups suggested by Xpress Forums users. We start this week’s column with local hip-hop crew AxeRats. Due to the rather ambiguous relationship between AxeRats and their regular collaborators (which include local favorites like the Fist Family, the Ville Boyz and DJ Football), it’s hard to sum up the AxeRats sound in a tidy description. It is safe to say, however, that the duo of Richard Blick and Linus Oddnoggin knows how to make a clever track with an enjoyable (if rarely stylistically defining) flow. We suggest starting with “The Plague Runs You Down,” available on the group’s MySpace page.
Next up, we have piano-based balladeer Richard D. Shank. In Shank’s songwriting and composing, there are frequent nods to the likes of Elton John and Billy Joel, two of his admitted influences. In some ways, Shank’s music harkens back to the radio-ready piano-pop music of mid-‘80s, when Richard Marx rubbed elbows with Prince and Paula Abdul. We suggest starting with “Believe,” which is one of the more upbeat tracks on his MySpace page.
Closing out this week’s column, we have local folk, roots and country artist Nikki Gunter. Although Gunter is still performing covers and standards (”[It] takes a huge force against inertia for [me] to put words on paper,” she explains on her MySpace page), there’s plenty to enjoy in her interpretation. We suggest starting with her cover of the Grateful Dead’s “Box of Rain.”
Now, it’s your turn. Tell us your thoughts on these performers by posting into the comment fields below. This is your chance to be the music reviewer, so praise and pan as you see fit.
Also, if you’d like to suggest a band for Listening Party, or have questions about the column, visit this thread on our Mountainx.com forums.