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Staff Picks Category: Indie rock

Longtime Companion by Sonny & the Sunsets []



Step one after a break up is to write and record a country album. San Francisco native Sonny Smith has followed this guide, only he’s unexpectedly added a little bounce, shuffle and humor. I saw Sonny & the Sunsets on the Longtime Companion tour at Flywheel in Easthampton, MA and he played a number of songs from this record alongside his usual catchy, sometimes surfy, melodic fair. He also took off his pants.

Smith’s deadpan delivery over the groovy “I See the Void” had me sold on his version of country music. He and the Sunsets played a mini set of their hip take of twang with nods to Buck Owens, The Flying Burrito Brothers (the self-titled number takes me to that “Hot Burrito no. 2″ place with steady soul bass over a simple chord change) and even a little Beachwood Sparks.

For a record dealing with heartbreak and separation, Sonny & the Sunsets offer the listener an enjoyable experience and while forging new ground within a classic genre.

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Return To Cookie Mountain []



Return To Cookie Mountain (2006), by the Brooklyn-based quintet TV On The Radio, was my introduction to this group’s music and I quickly became a fan. I really enjoy the unique harmonies and vocal layerings of the two primary vocalists Tunde Adebimpe and Kyp Malone. The melodies are also exceptional and have been described as “atmospheric” and “spacious” Their music is not easy to categorize but some close approximations include: indie-rock, soul and trip-hop. Repeated listenings to this CD always reveal more pleasurable discoveries of their unique sound. Two outstanding tracks for me are “I Was A Lover” and “A Method”.

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