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Bright, "Bells Break Their Towers"

Like label-mates Landing, Bright dish out melodic tracks rooted in '70s prog rock, but with a distinctively modern feel and looks ahead as much as it looks to the past. With its heavy repetition and psychedelic feel, it's also an eight-song spiritual journey.

Strange Attractors

"Manifest Harmony" in particular feels like a ritualistic incantation with circling and heavily patterned music and vocals. It's easy to imagine vocalist Mark Dwinell performing shamanic rites in the empty desert landscape shown in the album's artwork. Throughout the album Dwinell's almost-chanted lyrics are invocations atop the layers of chunky guitars. Many tracks sound like an arcane ceremony overheard through an open window. But the music isn't at all quiet and hymnal; this ain't Enya. The electric guitars continually make themselves known and they open "It's What I Need" with a snarl.

The album is laced with a distinct Eastern influence, though there aren't any actual sitars, the guitars effectively mimic their delicate sound. Ringing chimes in "Flood" reinforce the east-meets-west feeling.

The album feels so methodic and deliberate, that I was surprised to learn that Bright generally improvise in the studio. But that also adds to the overall spiritual feeling...instead of improvising, it feels more like Bright was channeling.

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The Eye: Video of the Day

Ted Leo

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Review of the Day

The Anniversary/Superdrag Tour CD EP
A few months ago I reviewed the Superdrag tour EP "Greetings From Tennessee", and I commented on how little I liked the release because it seemed like the songwriting had slipped. It seemed only die-hard fans could appreciate the EP, as the mixes were not great, and the songs weren't the hard-hitting strength one would expect from Superdrag. Well, Superdrag released this split tour EP with The Anniversary shortly after "Greetings", and two of their tracks were also on that release, so I held off. Until I heard recently that the band had rerecorded those tracks and mixed them themselves specifically for this release. In fact, all tracks were recorded just for this release, and although I'd never heard The Anniversary, I took a chance. I'm glad I did. Not only are the Superdrag tracks much better here, The Anniversary are happily a band I am pleased to recommend. They are a bit complex, The Anniversary. Shuffling styles and identities on the fly, the only constant being the powerful vocal harmonies, The Anniversary have the sound of a band that's never happy with one direction, and that's just fine. Hastily written and recorded, as the liner notes announce, these tracks are psychedelic power pop, speaking of redemption and strength in numbers. There's even a humorous moment on the second track, 'Anais', where an aborted start is ridiculed by all involved. Funny stuff. As for the Superdrag tracks, they definitely redeem themselves and reclaim the tracks, as they are much more powerful and, for lack of a better term, crunchy here. You can tell that they wanted to get the power of these songs across better, and that John Davis wail is back, I'm pleased to announce. And you can hear all of the instruments well, which is always a plus. The double-tracked vocals on 'Take Your Spectre Away', originally a track the band was working on for their sophomore album, are a nice touch, as they just drive the band to a complete frenzy towards the end of the track. There's one new one here, 'I Guess It's American,' and it's classic Superdrag: poppy, angry guitar, and Davis singing about what's wrong with this system. "If you ever pull that shit again/Never see you the same way again," says Davis, right before proclaiming "I guess it's American/it's embarrassin'." Indeed. Here, though, The Anniversary and Superdrag prove that real American rock is still anything but, and it's worth it to give these tracks a listen. - 

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