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ROUGH MIX

TAKE ’EM OUT FOR A SPIN: It’s only been about two months since our last roundup of new locally made CDs, and now we’re not only looking at a stack of nine freshly minted albums, we’re also working our way through a pile of updates about albums that will hit stores in the next couple of months. So, for anyone who worried that the Capital Region’s music scene was waning in the wake of some high-profile breakups—Beef, the Clay People, the Users—feast your eyes on the following.

• Last week at Artie’s Lansingburgh Station, area blues act Big Johnson celebrated the release of their new disc, Big Rear Window. The 12-track effort features the band’s takes on such warhorses as “She Caught the Katy” and “Whipping Post,” plus four original tunes. The only behind-the-music info the band provided was that the songs were recorded in Troy by Rough Cut Recording. The band’s Web presence is at http://communities.msn.com/BigJohnson BluesBand.

• Capital Region hard-rock act Bishop’s newest is Centipede, a 13-tune album written and produced by the band. The group cut the disc at SOS Studios with John Chiara recording, and Chiara mixed the tracks with the band’s drummer, who calls himself the Root. Silvertone’s Larry DeVivo handled mastering chores, and the Root also is responsible for the package’s slick graphics. The band report that they’ve got a healthy presence on the Web, at such sites as www.ArtistDirect.com and their own portal, www.bishopmusic.com.

• Second-generation guitarist Graham Tichy, whom local fans know as one of the players in Rocky Velvet, can be heard on the new album by Bones Maki & the Sun Dodgers, a straight-up rockabilly act based in the Detroit area. The band are named for front man Craig “Bones” Maki, who produced the album and wrote most of the tracks. The disc—titled simply Bones Maki & the Sun Dodgers—was issued by New Baltimore, Mich., concern Woodward Records. If you feel like traveling to Sin City, you can catch the trio at the “Rockabilly Hall of Fame Presents” extravaganza, happening this weekend (Saturday and Sunday, March 30 and 31) at the Gold Coast Casino in Las Vegas.

• Berkshire bluesman Albert Cummings is back with From the Heart, his first disc without backing band Swamp Yankee. Instead, his sidemen are none other than Double Trouble, the duo who backed up the late blues god Stevie Ray Vaughan during his heyday. Cummings first hooked up with Double Trouble in 2000, when they played a show together in Troy. The 11-track From the Heart was recorded at Arlyn Studio and Wire Recording, in Austin, Texas, with Double Trouble’s Chis Layton (drums) and Tommy Shannon (bass) running the boards. Cummings, who wrote eight of the album’s tunes, reports that he just arranged for national distribution of the self-released disc, so it should be available most everywhere. For more info, check out www.albertcummings.com.

• One of the latest female singer- songwriters to hit the scene is Saratoga Springs’ Katie Cooper, whose pseudo-eponymous band, K8E, recently issued their first CD, Accoutrements. The 14-track effort, released by Seattle’s Three Muse Records, was recorded at Pechette Studios in Saratoga with the band’s guitarist, Glenn Winroth, producing. Joshua J. Pechette handled the engineering, and all of the tunes were written by Cooper. The singer classifies her stuff as art rock, and says the music “incorporates lyrical themes of betrayal, heartbreak and self-renewal with a soundscape of haunting acoustic ballads, heavy laments and ironic pop.” Although the album just landed in our office recently, it actually was released last fall. Betrayal, heartbreak and self-renewal can be found at www.k8emusic.com.

• Another disc by a singer-songwriter named Kate that got lost in the shuffle during the last couple of months is Don’t Get Me Started, the third release from Slingerlands folksinger Kate McDonnell. A fairly well-established figure on the indie-folk scene, McDonnell cut the album at Catskill’s NRS Studios with ace sound guy Scott Petito producing, engineering, mastering and also playing bass, electric guitar and other instruments. (Another guest is local folk-blues fave Ben Murray, who plays harmonica.) The album is a mix of original tunes by McDonnell, songs written in collaboration with other musicians, and traditional numbers. To get an idea of the singer’s literary bent, note that her tune “Give It Back” was inspired by a Dorothy Parker poem. For more info on McDonnell—and, undoubtedly, the personable black Labrador featured prominently on her album artwork—check out www.waterbug.com.

• The prize for oddest title in this week’s CD roundup goes to Skunk With a Porpoise, which adorns the new EP by self-described “ska-funk-punk-reggae” armada Monkey Gone Mad, a nine-piece group based in Scotia. The band didn’t forward any production or recording info, but the wide-angle shot of a basement filled with amps, horns and comfy chairs that adorns the disc itself offers a pretty good suggestion that the music was laid down in the bowels of one of the band member’s homes. According to the info the band did send, they play irregularly because members are away at college in Massachusetts, Connecticut and other locales—notwithstanding the players who are still high-school students in Scotia. To learn more about the outfit, swing over to www.monkeygone mad.com.

• Local electronic-music experimentalist Jim Sande’s trio, the Jim Sande Ensemble, just unleashed their second album of densely layered soundscapes, Cyclorama. Sande, who recorded the disc in his home studio, also sang and played synthesizer, percussion and guitar, while Michael Farley contributed guitar and more electronic instruments and Joe Hetko added bass and guitar. Multitasker Sande even did the moody painting that adorns the album’s cover. More info can be procured at www.jimsande.org.

• Saratoga Springs singer Lise Winne joined with a trio called the Spirites Consort to record Wing’d With Hopes: New Interpretations of Renaissance Songs, the release of which will be celebrated with an April 7 show at the Parting Glass. The album was recorded at four different studios, with the original sessions beginning in 1996; the studios were Marsland, Mountaintop, NRS and Spirit 11, and Sean Flynn, Al Grunwell and Scott Petito were among the folks who handled recording duties. Petito finished off the project by mixing and mastering at NRS. Notables who guest on the album include Petito (on piano, bass and percussion), Brian Melick (percussion) and Spa City jazz guy Cole Broderick (piano). Extra points, by the way, are due to the players for wearing flamboyant medieval caps for the album’s photos. Visit www.lisewinne.com for more info.

COMING SOON: A slew of local players have sent in updates about recording projects that should soon see the light of day, so here goes. . . . Blackcat Elliot, the group featuring former members of North Again, are busy working at Scarlet East Studios with producer John Delehanty. There’s no release date set for the group’s forthcoming album, but a CD single featuring two tunes (“When My Party Ends” and “So Nobody Knows”) is ready for public consumption. The band will launch the single with a show on Saturday [see box, page 48]. . . . Ever-popular party band the Burners UK just finished their new disc, with band member Jay Yager producing, at Cotton Hill Studios. . . . Albany rockers Crabapple report that the CD-release party for their new album, Heaven and Hell on Earth, is set for May 4 at Valentine’s. What’s more, band member Don Bazley says the show will also double as a celebration of the local music scene, because acts including Howe Glassman, Dana Monteith, knotworking and the Staziaks are slated to share the bill. . . . Last weekend, Albany jamsters Jerkwater Ruckus recorded two nights of Valentine’s shows for an upcoming live album. . . . The cheerfully indefinable Jason Martin reports that he’s running the boards for a new seven-piece band called Kabloobie, who are recording a project called The Sweet Seductive Sounds of Secret Society Radio at Martin’s studio space in Troy. The three-song EP is due in the spring. . . . Todd Pasternack, front man of the seemingly defunct Ominous Seapods, is back with a new group called marlow, whose first CD is titled white out. Pasternack and his bandmates will hit Valentine’s on April 6 for a CD-release show. . . . Finally, local rockers Wag are at work on their latest album.

ET CETERA: Rounding out this week’s report are three last items of note: Last Thursday, the Albany Public Library’s main branch, on Washington Avenue, launched a new series of live music performances with a gig by Capitalander-turned-Bostonian Rosanne Raneri. Other performers playing free shows as part of the series include Michael Eck (May 16), Sara Ayers (July 18) and Beth Jochum and Ernie Williams (Sept. 19). Info: 427-4300. . . . Albany popster John Brodeur is putting together a show to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Elvis Costello’s first album, My Aim Is True. Artists interested in participating in the July 20 show at Valentine’s should e-mail Brodeur via tiger pop1@yahoo.com. . . . Lastly, here’s the latest development in the wonderfully debauched adventures of local glam-punk act the Erotics: The band are now officially sponsored by Jägermeister. Cheers, dudes! . . . Send Rough Mix items to phanson@ metroland.net or call 463-2500 ext. 144.

—Peter Hanson


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