Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Kaiser Chiefs - Yours Truly, Angry Mob (B-Unique, 2007)

The Kaiser Chiefs burst on to the rock and roll scene a few years ago with their excellent chant-a-long single "I Predict a Riot." Riding on the waves of that success, this delightfully titled album provides more cheeky, hook filled Britpop. There's nothing too fancy here, just more of the energetic and melodic rock and roll that has been coming out of England since the Libertines, Franz Ferdinand and the Arctic Monkeys. The lyrics aren't particularly deep, mostly retreading the well worn pop terrain of love lost and found such as on "Love is Not a Competition (But I'm Winning), but there are some snarky observations that rise above the mundane like on the title track "The Angry Mob." What keeps the album from sinking into mediocrity is the level of the musicianship which focuses the listener's attention and buffs the songs down into easily digestible nuggets. So, while there many not be any wisdom of the ages at work here, there is a pretty good album of catchy rock and roll.

(Book Review) David Fulmer - The Dyin' Crapshooter's Blues

Writer David Fulmer has carved out a very satisfying niche for himself with his thoughtful mystery novels that are steeped in blues and jazz lore. His previous novels Jass and Rampart Street followed detective Valentine St. Cyr through the Storyville section of New Orleans as Buddy Bolden and King Oliver began to turn brass bands into jazz bands. For this novel, Fulmer moves north pre-Depression Atlanta, which is finally shaking off the effects of the Civil War and coming into its own as a center of blues and hillbilly music. Former detective turned sneak-thief Joe Rose pulls into town as a major jewel heist goes down. Soon, his acquaintance, pimp and rounder Little Jesse lies dying from a drunken cops bullet. Street singer Blind Willie McTell (yup, that McTell) begins to compose the epic song of the title as he keeps a vigil at Little Jesse's bedside and encourages Rose to find the killer. Meanwhile, Rose and his lady are being framed for the heist by a racist cop and the clock is ticking for him to find the answers. Fulmer always cooks up a satisfying story and this is no exception. Just like his Storyville novels, the city of Atlanta becomes a character - divided between black and white, rich and poor, old and new the city is revealed in all its contradictions. Fans of the blues should not miss this beautifully written story.

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