Notes From The Orphanage VII: “…And We’ll Watch Them Fall”

Rex Moroux, Royal Street Inn (self-released) – The first thing that’ll probably strike you about Rex Moroux is that he sounds an awful lot like Adam Duritz of Counting Crows. Unfortunately, not much else will probably stick with you. Nice enough Americana stuff, but not terribly memorable.

Marty Rudnick, More Songs about Cars and Girls (Sandbox) – Marty Rudnick pays tribute to the collected works of Brian Wilson, with production assistance from Australian pop god Michael Carpenter. Stay tuned for the bonus tracks, which include a Beach Boys and a Beatles cover. I apologize for only just now getting around to writing about this, since it’s a wonderful summer album…but, hey, there’s always next summer, right?

The Thermals, The Body, The Blood, The Machine (Sub Pop) – With a voice that’s somewhere between Roky Erickson and Stan Ridgway, it’s clear that Thermals frontman Hutch Harris (no relation) is gonna be an acquired taste, but this is an energetic rock album with some post-punk tendencies. The lyrics, not to mention the artwork, have some pretty strong indictments of modern religion, but given that their last album was called Fuckin A, would you really expect them to pull any punches?

Urban Delights, Revolution No. 1 (Unique) – If you remember ‘90s dance heroes Apollo 440, you’ll love these guys, since they’re led by Harry K, who was Apollo 440’s primary songwriter. Urban Delights do the blending of dance beats and rock rhythms as well as anyone, with songs like “Crush” and “Y U Cum 2 The Party,” a floor-filling, jump-to-the-beat number that’s as good as its title suggests. The more I spin it, the more I like it.

Pepper, No Shame (Atlantic) – Hailing from Hawaii, these guys have a white-boys-doing-reggae thing, like Sublime, 311, or early Smash Mouth. It’s better than you might think, given that description…and if you’ll just stay tuned through the third song, “No Control,” you’ll believe me. But, guys, trust me, you don’t need to intersperse skits throughout the album. It doesn’t work for most rappers, and it doesn’t work for you.

El Presidente, El Presidente (Sony BMG) – Part dance, part disco, part funk, and just enough rock to keep things interesting, El Presidente have some pretty good tunes on their self-titled debut, which is just now making it to the States after a 2005 UK release. Unfortunately, they’re in the shadow of the more popular Scissor Sisters, and, unlike the Sisters, they don’t have Elton John in their corner. Still, “Rocket” and “100 MPH” kick ass, “If You Say You Love Me” is nice and dreamy, and the rest of the disc is quite likeable as well.

Ronnie Milsap, The Essential Ronnie Milsap (RCA / Legacy) – We’ve all been through this: someone mentions an artist, you say, “I know the name, but I don’t know anything by them,” and they say, “Yeah, you do, you just don’t know you do.” That’s totally Ronnie Milsap. There are forty songs on this collection, and even if you’ve never listened to country music, you’ll know the better part of a dozen of these tracks. Examples: “Daydreams About Night Things,” “Smoky Mountain Rain,” “Stranger In My House,” and “I Wouldn’t Have Missed It for the World.” See, I told you.

  

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