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Gringo Star- On Dolphin- More

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Gringo Star
The Sides and In Between

Nevado Music

This four-piece band from Atlanta explores various types of rock 'n' roll on their new album but they are at their best when they're tuning in to the swinging '60s, like on "Rotten," and when taking that sound and drenching it in poppy psychedelia, like on "Magic," a cut that conjures an era when the Rolling Stones' Their Satanic Majesties Request had just hit the streets. "Get Closer" owes a bit of a debt to the Strokes and "Still Alive" is an unlikely yet charming amalgam of psych, Buck Owens twang and funky Creedence Clearwater Revival groove. One of the most intriguing songs on the album is "Knee Deep," a bit of psych folk with woozy vocals that reminds of early T Rex. If these Georgians keep putting out music like this they'll certainly live up to the "Star" in their name.

18th & Addison
Makeshift Monster

(Self-released)

The New Jersey-based 18th & Addison started out as an acoustic act but now the duo of Tom Kunzman (A Criminal Risk) and Kait DiBenedetto (Just Kait, What's Eating Gilbert) have released Makeshift Monster, a set of full-on indie pop/rock, and the sound fits the pair just fine. "Moving Mountains" is catchy and bright even though the song's subject matter details a one-sided relationship, and that's the deal with many of the songs here. "Postcards" and "Hide & Seek" also chronicle personal relationships that are falling apart, but listening to it happen is fun thanks to melodic arrangements and upbeat tempos. Kunzman and DiBenedetto trade vocals on most songs but album highlight "Little Secrets" puts the spotlight on Kait with Tom just singing background vocals, and the radio-ready cut indicates that the duo are not unfamiliar with the sound that made Pat Benatar a big star.

On Dolphin
Layers

(On Dolphin)

Here's the debut effort from On Dolphin, a four-piece fronted by singer Melissa Lyn and rounded out by Lyn's husband Ryan Clark on drums, Nathan Dennen on keys and Anderai Maldonado on bass. The group and assorted friends recorded the album's 10 cuts in "retreat-style" sessions and the relaxed nature of the setting comes through in the music. Lyn sings "More Good Days" by herself but there is something about the song that recalls the sublime harmonies of Crosby, Stills & Nash, and "Dance in the Kitchen" references sunshine lyrically and with its slow but shimmering melody. A loping cowboy-on-the-trail rhythm flavors "Worth the Drive," and "New York," a song about trying to follow-up on a desire to leave the city, is decorated with mournful violin parts that heighten the song's mood of uncertainty. Lyn has a voice that's easy to get comfy with and all the arrangements are mellow; dress in these Layers and for 35-minutes or so you'll be absolutely carefree.

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