A quartet of recent local releases 

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The Morning End

Rusty Lemon

(Sour Music)

This six-song, 20-minute EP from popular Midtown bar band Rusty Lemon (you can find them frequently at the Blue Monkey) follows up last year's eponymous LP but is really a reinvention. For record number two, frontman Rusty Lemmon has recruited an entirely new batch of bandmates, most notably guitar hotshot Kirk Smithhart (a former Albert King Award winner for "most promising guitarist" at the Blues Foundation's annual International Blues Challenge). Lemmon indulges in the kind of love-'em-or-hate-'em big rock vocals that have put post-grunge hard-rock bands such Nickelback and Creed on the radio, and Smithhart gives the band a big rock guitar sound to match. This record also expands the band's arena-rock palette. Smithhart provides a hooky riff on "Changes of Mind," a vaguely bluesy, vaguely "Southern rock" number that evokes the Black Crowes. And Lemmon's vocals on "Second Chance" veer into more soul-oriented, near-falsetto territory that evokes Maroon 5 or Jeff Buckley. ("Don't Let Me Down")

-- Chris Herrington

Grade: B

Rusty Lemon plays a CD-release party forThe Morning End Saturday, November 18th, at the Complex. The United and Further Down open.

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Hot Girl in the Limo

For Her And The Snow

(Shangri-La Projects)

Austin, Texas-based singer-songwriter Joe Pesti would seem to be an odd choice to be featured on the first collection of new material released by local label Shangri-La in years. But this debut album from Pesti's band For Her And The Snow is a batch of melodic, twisty indie-rock that sounds something like a poppier, possibly less brainy variant on the style of onetime Shangri-La artist David Shouse (Grifters, Those Bastard Souls, Bloodthirsty Lovers). Recorded locally at Ardent Studios with Doug Easley at the helm and Memphis musicians such as Steve Selvidge, Paul Buchignani, and Rick Steff lending support. ("Parking Garage," "Waiting for You," "Pastel Shapes in the Sky") -- CH

Grade: B+

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Greg Hisky and His Dixie Whisky Flyers

Greg Hisky and His Dixie Whisky Flyers


Greg Hisky is a longtime local rock veteran who dons rhinestones and cowboys boots each year for a Hank Williams tribute concert at the P&H Café. Here, with a band that includes local guitar ace Jim Duckworth, Hisky delves further into the classic country catalog on a cover album that roams from beloved standards such as "Crazy Arms" and "Walkin' the Floor Over You" to more obscure early country and rockabilly gems. The band seems to be pursuing an echo-y, old-timey sound that evokes the '50s-era music they're covering, but instead it more likely evokes the way that music is heard over the radio in nostalgic movies, such as The Last Picture Show. Rather than endearing, the sonics here are too often distracting. This 15-song album is half studio recordings, half live performances at the Buccaneer. The live stuff is more immediate and suggests what a good time Hisky and his band must be in the flesh. ("Lonesome Me," "Cash on the Barrelhead," "Walkin' the Floor Over You") -- CH

Grade: B

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Fried Glass Onions Vol. 3:

Memphis Rocks the Beatles

Various Artists

(Inside Sounds)

Local label Inside Sounds goes to the well one more time in its Fried Glass Onions series, which records Memphis artists covering Beatles songs. Where the first two volumes featured primarily blues and roots acts blending the Memphis sound into Lennon-McCartney copyrights, this volume is more straightforward, with primarily local rock acts taking more straightforward stabs (or sometimes not -- see Candice Ivory's arty slow-jam version of "Eight Days a Week" or Tim Simmons' speed metal "Eleanor Rigby") at classic material. One terrific exception is David Brookings' take on the early-period gem "I'll Cry Instead." With Amy LaVere doing her best Bill Black on upright bass and Paul Taylor playing D.J. Fontana and Scotty Moore on drums and lead guitar, respectively, Brookings' version locates the Sun influence at the core of the Beatles' early sound. ("I'll Cry Instead" -- David Brookings; "She Said, She Said" -- Steve Selvidge) -- CH

Grade: B+


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