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Nov 24, 2017







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Jonathan Saraga, Journey to a New World (Fresh Sound Records)

The hot takes on this New York-based trumpeter’s 2013 debut LP First Vision generally pronounced it a wandering sort of record but in a good way, bearing a Dave Douglas kind of steez. That’s true of this, but now we know more about what’s influencing it: video games, or rather the storylines of the better ones. That’s what he’s sort of on about here, on his second album, or at least he sees it that way; I’d venture these very pleasant ramblings were concocted as a jazz soundtrack for a game, if not a violent one then one where there are bursts of activity of some sort. That’s not to infer there’s anything Nintendo about it, not with such a generic combo in place — Saraga’s joined by Remy Le Boef’s alto saxophone, pianist/Fender Rhodes guy Chris Pattishall — and the stuff does cook, with opener “Uprising” tending to a little creepy business and then loping off into delicately written 1970s-tinged post-bop. Very easy to listen to, in spite of some roiling Sean Jones-ish bits that will make you sit up. A+ — Eric W. Saeger




Bully, Losing (Sub Pop Records)
CD Reviews: November 9, 2017

11/09/17
By Eric Saeger news@hippopress.com



 This Nashville trio’s second full-length feels like a random mix of Versus, Hole and Yeah Yeah Yeahs, with singer Alicia Bognanno applying a few different indie styles to document a fairly rote-sounding breakup: sucks to be me, everything’s boring, I hate you, please be cool, the works. The overarching sound is no-wave, but not hard-ass no-wave, which is a little weird to me, being that the recording was done at Steve Albini’s Electrical Audio, where Bognanno interned years ago. Some of the guitar lines come from the Big Black playbook, the ones steeped in angry droning at least, while others go with early Pixies, but the x-factor is always Bognanno: will the next tune be a Courtney Love throat-shredding exercise, a blast of Karen O bitterness or just a mousy coed singalong? Eh, I suppose nobody wants to be hoarse for a week nowadays, so keeping her voice tuned enough to pull off Lisa Loeb if the occasion arose makes good business sense on Bognanno’s part. The tunes are, you know, OK, if that’s of any use. B Eric W. Saeger 






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