Artist: Groove Duke
Album: Heavy Mariner
When I first picked up Heavy Mariner, my first thought was, “Oh geez, there are rhinoceroses on the cover. Rhinoceroses out in the sea trying to harpoon a whale.” Then again, I’ve seen much weirder cover art. Groove Duke, nonetheless, has created a piece that’s delightfully jam-packed with classic 1970s funk and soul sensibilities, or as Mark Cornell writes in the liner notes, “This album is my love letter to Rhythm and Blues.” Particularly devoted listeners of legends like Earth, Wind & Fire, Al Green and Sly and the Family Stone will certainly appreciate the relentless brassy attitudes, the sassy lyricisms and those definitively Motown beats. Notable tracks include the somewhat menacing “Stick Boy,” “You Better Believe It” and “Detroit.” Be sure to check out this new record by CU’s very own Groove Duke for a tumble back to the land of funkadelica.
Artist: The Walkmen
I remember the magical moment when I shook Hamilton Leithauser’s hand when he and the band stepped off the Krannert Center lobby stage a year ago. And in many ways, listening to their newest studio album release, Lisbon, is just as magical, providing all that we want from the band who has brought us compelling songs like “Little House of Savages” and “The Rat.” You’ve got your kaleidoscopically vibrant guitar riffs, like in “Follow the Leader,” and the catchy bass line in “Woe is Me.” In several places in Lisbon, particularly “Victory” and “Blue As Your Blood,” The Walkmen exercises a tradition of theirs: unwinding Leithauser’s wailing, scratchy vocals against an anticipatory percussive buildup to an outpour of substantial instrumentation. And this record, amongst their others, is not without a large dose of angst and darkly contemplative moods. While many things going on in this Walkmen installment are expected, they’ve come such a long way that it’s time that they’ve made a unified album like this.