THE AGENCY - TURN (Perch Records)
Even though The Agency, made of up musicians from Dashboard Confessional and Seville, has been around for over ten years, I've never heard of them and, I'm guessing, neither has most of America; in their thirteen-year existance, this is only their third album. I suppose I could mention something about their "heartfelt" lyrics or emo-pop sensibilities, but the bottom line is this: if, like myself, you're not even remotely interested in the the two bands that The Agency is made up of, then you probably won't be interested in this one either. It's just more fodder for teenage girls who watch TRL.
RATING: TWO STARS
THOMAS LUNCH – DIAGRAMS WITHOUT INTRUCTIONS (Hi-Fi Alliance )
My first impression upon hearing this electro-punk indie rock debut was that Thomas Lunch is a man who greatly enjoys what he does. Unfortunately, what he does is pretty hit and miss. Musically, Lunch has some decent tracks that are pretty danceable; vocally, he comes off just a little too whiny at times for my taste; and, lyrically, I don't think that he is as witty or inspiring as he thinks he is. The album is a passable first attempt, but I don't think it has the staying power to make Lunch the star that he wants to be.RATING: THREE STARS
THE LYMBYC SYSTYM – LOVE YOUR ABUSER (Mush Records)
Arizona brothers Jared and Michael Bell's lyric-less debut cleverly fuses layers of vintage keyboards with skilled drum work and intricate laptop programming that vaguely reminds me of the feelings I had upon watching a Michel Gondry film or reading a short story by Aimee Bender for the first time. This is the kind of playful instrumental music I would want as the soundtrack to my dreams.
RATING: FOUR STARS
FRANKIE LEE SIMS – WALKING WITH FRANKIE (AIM Records)
I believe that 1950's Texas Bluesman Frankie Lee Sims, cousin and near-musical equivalent of the influential Sam "Lightning" Hopkins, could have been one of the celebrated greats of the genre if it wasn't for the fact that he was coming up around the same time that Whitey discovered the blues, "commandeered" it, and renamed it rock 'n roll. These fourteen previously unreleased tracks, recorded in 1960 with the encouragement of legendary saxophonist King Curtis, represent just how much Sims, as well as his contemporaries, shaped the blues, rock 'n roll, and music as we know it.
RATING: FIVE STARS