Trax

07/03/2014

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DUNES, Love (Sacred Bones): 3 out of 5 stars

As Amen Dunes, Damon McMahon crafts personal, category-defying music whose psychedelic haze frequently evokes War on Drugs, minus the searing electric guitar leads and polished production. “Have yourself a good time” he intones over Parker Kindred’s metronomic drumbeat and an anthemic hook in “Lonely Richard”; less pop-friendly yet more emotionally gripping are “Spirits Are Parted” and “I Can’t Dig It,” where his wail becomes part of the frenzied atmosphere as Jordi Wheeler pounds out piano figures like an entombed madman. At the Complex in Glendale Sunday. sacredbonesrecords.com/collections/amen-dunes


 


OLD CROW MEDICINE SHOW, Remedy (ATO): 4 out of 5 stars

The onetime buskers-turned-Grand Ole Opry members return with a consistently rewarding, expertly performed bluegrass set jubilant with quick banjo runs, tight harmonies, thumping bass, evocative harmonica and strong songs that transcend genre. The infectious lighthearted humor of “Brushy Mountain Conjugal Trailer,” “8 Dogs 8 Banjos” and the Doc Watson tribute “Doc’s Day” balances poignant ballads like “The Warden” and “Dearly Departed Friend” (“21 guns for 21 years and American flags in the wind/ Standing by the grave of a dearly departed friend”). crowmedicine.com


 


BENYORO, Benyoro (self-released): 3 out of 5 stars

Gentle, polyrhythmic West African dance music from a New York City sextet whose members hail from Africa, America and Martinique and utilize electric guitar and modern drums as well as djembe, log drum, talking drum, the kora harp and the ngoni lute. Keen listeners will detect strands of jazz and Congolese soukous threading through the loping Malian rhythms of tracks like “Ségou Breakdown” and “Boulkassoumbougou,” but the overall vibe is pretty chill. Other highlights: “Toubaka,” the Mandé traditional “Kulanjan.” At the Mint in LA Sunday. benyoro.com

 



RONNIE EARL AND THE BROADCASTERS, Good News (Stony Plain): 4 out of 5 stars

The veteran guitarist opens with a spirited revamp of the blues chestnut “Mystery Train,” swapping solos with guitarists Zach Zunis and Nicholas Tabarias in an instrumental that sets the tone as well as a high bar of expectations — which are consistently met throughout this 10-track keeper. Earl often cedes the spotlight to Zunis, Tabarias and guest vocalist Diane Blue (whose soulful restraint powerfully echoes Earl’s on Buddy Guy’s “In the Wee Hours”), but they never outshine his taste and masterful phrasing. Other highlights: “Six String Blessing,” “Puddin’ Pie.” ronnieearl.com


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