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Reviewed this week: Cat Power, Jimmy Sizzle, and Buke & Gase

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Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Cat Power

Sun

(Matador)

On her first disc of all-original material since 2006’s The Greatest, Cat Power (aka Chan Marshall) returns with a record that dabbles in several different genres. Discarding the more soul-influenced sound of her last album, Marshall turns her focus to electronic music for the opener “Cherokee,” which features repetitive samples, a drum machine and even handclaps. “Silent Machine” is anything but silent, with a catchy guitar intro and pounding beat. But most surprising of all is the appearance of veteran rocker Iggy Pop, who duets with Marshall on “Nothin’ But Time.” Though his vocals don’t spring up until nearly six minutes through the almost 11-minute track, Pop doesn’t feel out of place on the number, managing a charming croon alongside Marshall’s plaintive lead. The song would’ve made a fitting conclusion, too. The tacked on “Peace and Love” is jarring, and should’ve been included elsewhere. —Michael Cimaomo

Jimmy Sizzle

All for Love or for Money

(independent)

Jimmy Connors, aka Jimmy Sizzle, has crafted an album of gentle acoustic rock. Connors keeps most of the tunes very relaxed, even when they’re uptempo, with stories that get into archetypal themes (see the album’s title), with a few divergences into gambling, travel and adventure. Sometimes Sizzle’s natural feel for melody wanders into Joe Jackson or Perry Farrell territory, which is a huge plus. The CD’s only weakness is that the drum/beatbox tracks seem to be limited to very spare, even jerky beats, though some songs beg for more fluid rhythms on kit, congas or another instrument, and that effect sometimes eclipses what are otherwise quite nice melodies and bass lines.e_SEmD Tom Sturm

Buke & Gase

Function Falls EP

(Brassland)

Though only four tracks in its entirety, this release from Brooklyn-based indie rock duo Arone Dyer and Aron Sanchez makes a great placeholder until the group drops its second full-length album in January. Opening with a cover of New Order’s “Blue Monday,” the disc is also an introduction for listeners unfamiliar with the band’s use of instruments such as the “buke” (a modified six-string, formerly baritone, ukulele) and the “gass” (a self-devised guitar-bass hybrid). Fortunately, Dyer’s vocals provide a melodic center to most tracks, even when they’re altered, as on “Misshapen Introduction.” But that song, as well as the closer, “Tending the Talk,” also features persistent percussion reminiscent of a metallic press pounding out beats in an ancient factory. It’s a frustrating inclusion, lending a too-similar sound to every track it pops up on. Still, based on the cover alone, many fans and mix-tape aficionados may have a hard time staying away.—Michael Cimaomo

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