City Pulse

By P.J. Gach

Puffy Ami Yumi Hi Hi Puffy AMIYUMI (epic) Fluffy and light like a bakery meringue. They’re a lightweight treat whose sounds bounce all over the road from ska to pop punk to electro and Indie rock. Puffy Amiyumi performed the theme from the Cartoon Network series, “Teen Titans. Musically, they’ve been compared to the Cardigans, Shonen Knife and Stereolab. I’d just like it if they stuck to one musical identity.

Pearl Jam Rearview Mirror (Greatest Hits 1991-2003) (epic) Pearl Jam was one of the seminal bands in the 90′s. They and Nirvana helped change the face of music, ushering in grunge, alternative and other genres into the mainstream. This CD captures all their music; singles, non- record tracks, hits and it captures them very well.

The Occasion The Occasion (Say Hey Records) How can something sound dirge-like, warm, spacey and multi-textural all at the same time? I have no idea, but the Occasion pulls it off masterfully. Sara Shaw’s tape loops and warm guitar work from Jordi Wheeler weave a musical fabric that allows the other members of the band; Brent Cordero (acoustic/electric piano), Charles Burst (drummer) and Marlon Sporer (bass) to float in and out warping and woofing the threads into a new musical direction. It’s a bit of the old Floyd, a touch of Jammy, a nod to garage and a whole new way of listening.

The Reason Ravenna (Smallman Records) Canadian band The Reason may sound angry, and you do hear an echo of Metallica (from their mid years) I their music, they go out on a limb combining Punk sensibilities with more melodic mainstream influences like dance, funk, throw it into a blender and it’s a tasty treat. Hard enough to propel you forward, catchy riffs that leap into your head and enough texture to make you want to replay a track to catch exactly what they did. More information on the band

Vixen Rev It Up and Vixen (EMI- Manhattan Records) Metal has always been a boys club. For every Doro or Angela Gossow (Arch Enemy), there’s a dozen more women clambering up the wall trying to be taken seriously as metal musicians. Back in the 80′s, there was a band called Vixen. They emerged out of LA’s club scene and scored a contract with EMI. Once described as “The female Bon Jovi, “they enjoyed brief success before becoming a musical footnote in the annals of glam metal. So, now E MI has just released their long out of print two CD’s and you know, if you throw them up against oh say Def Leppard or any other metalish band of that era, they rock just as hard. They’re just as fun and just as macho as the boys, in a good way

Catch Jamie Oliver at Barnes & Noble 33 E17th Street tonight at 7 PM. He’ll be signing copies of his new book, “Jamie’s Dinners” and talking about, what else, food! Call 212-253-0810 for more information

The Indietronica Morr Tour is tonight at The Mercury Lounge, 8 PM, $15 featuring Lali Puna, Styrofoam and The Go Find.

Originally published November 2004
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