Remington Youth/Community Radio
Portrait of a Neighborhood (Art on Purpose/GRIA)
Basically a set of field recordings and interviews with Remington residents, this project provides a youthful, street-level perspective that’s intimate and warm. The kids are diverse, observant, and candid when talking about the neighborhood’s challenges and charms. Some of their comments are startlingly succinct: “There’s no trees around here,” says one boy, while others reflect the bustle and vitality of day-to-day urban life. On a second disc, local children interview community leaders and shopkeepers with similarly engaging results.
J. Roddy Walston and the Business
J. Roddy Walston and the Business (Fairfax/Vagrant)
Formed in Tennessee, these brash, stomping rockers relocated to Baltimore a few years back and quickly established a stellar rep for raucous live shows fuelled by playfully rowdy tunes. Here, they capture that live spark and evoke similarly spirited bands such as The Hold Steady, Blue Mountain, The Replacements, and The Black Crowes, with some Beatles-esque melodies and Jerry Lee Lewis piano pounding in the mix. Walston and crew hit those notes without ever sounding derivative, all the while staking out their own territory in an indie rock field that seems primed for a little attitude adjustment. Careening tunes like “Used to Did” and “Don’t Break the Needle” aren’t precious or orchestral—they’re sturdily constructed and performed with bracing gusto and invigorating swagger. It’s ragged-but-right music that’s fun to be around, and who couldn’t use a bit more of that. And “Pigs ’n’ Pearls” and “Use Your Language” hint that a soulful, swampier, shuffling batch of Americana anthems may be just around the corner.
Return of the Son of . . . (Razor & Tie)
On this two-disc set, Dweezil Zappa mines nuance and power from 14 of his father’s complex and fascinating compositions. That’s no small feat, because Frank’s music demands exacting attention to navigate its shifting time signatures, hairpin turns through various genres, and marathon jams. Dweezil and crew smartly punctuate the madness with a few of his father’s shorter, more accessible tunes (“Montana,” “Dirty Love,” and “Camarillo Brillo”) and tackle extended pieces like “King Kong” and “Billy the Mountain” with demented glee. All the surreal imagery, scatological humor, and shape-shifting guitar solos conjure Frank’s spirit of unfettered creativity and artistic freedom. Dweezil carries on that tradition, with just the right mix of deference and difference.
Dweezil Zappa performs at the dedication of the new Frank Zappa statue at Highlandtown’s Southeast Anchor Library on September 19.