CD Shorts

Alasdair Roberts & Friends
Too Long in This Condition
(Drag City)

Alasdair Roberts is a profoundly original songwriter whose work combines ancient themes with a lyrical syntax that’s utterly modern. After the tour de force Spoils, it was initially disheartening to discover his follow-up was an album of traditional folk songs. But Too Long feels like a proper Roberts release, demonstrating both the depth of his roots and the strangeness of these old songs. The album is filled with obscure Scottish ballads (“The Daemon Lover,” “The Burning of Auchindoun”). Don’t expect mild pastoral reveries. These tunes traffic in fratricide, patricide, drowned corpses, and lepers who use infant’s blood to cure their diseases. They’re also achingly lovely, thanks to the lush but unfussy arrangements. Too Long is both a pleasant update of folk traditions and a perverse head-trip. It’s that rare work that will appeal to both Will Oldham and Richard Thompson fans. —Jeff Jackson

The Reprobates Blues Band
3 Chord Regression
(Lizard)

By the look of the Reprobates, you might think their new album will be like taking the slow, local train home: hopefully the conductor will wake you up when it’s your stop. But lordy, lordy! Gawd almighty! From the first track onwards, you realize you’re on the express. These guys (and one gal) have the wind at their backs, the furnace is burning bright, and all pistons are pounding out some of the most exhilarating, eminently danceable blues you’re likely to find in the Valley. Bo Henderson’s guitar wails with the satisfaction of steel on steel, and David Lenson’s gritty sax clears the cows from the rails. This band is seriously grin-inducing. No matter how bad you’ve got the blues, there’s just no way you’re going to be in the bar car crying in your beer. Forget going home. Get on your feet and let the Reprobates roll over you. —Mark Roessler

Myty Konkeror
I Miss the Future
(Twin Lakes)

While Connecticut’s Myty Konkeror hasn’t produced a stunning breakthrough effort with this release, it’s nonetheless an endearing paean to early ’90s grunge-rock. Drawn-out, often repetitive vamps on one- to three-chord stoner grooves are topped off with minimal lyrics that don’t exude much sophistication, but the deliciously thick guitar tones and gruff, plaintive vocal timbre of singer Michael Steubs still find a certain pocket that anyone who loved Nirvana’s Bleach will relish. The application of John Schlesinger’s lap steel is also a nice touch that’s been tucked in neatly amidst the generally distorted drone of the songs on this disc, which they accurately describe as “a collection of sludge-oozing heaps of sonic scrap-metal.” Biggest downside: though the vocals are sparse in general, Steubs’ voice is pleasing enough that they most certainly should have been brought more to the forefront of the mix. —Tom Sturm

Author: Advocate Staff

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