Listening Log 

12-15-2005

Fried Glass Onions: Memphis Meets the Beatles, Vol. 2

Various Artists

(Inside Sounds)

At its best, this sequel to last year's Inside Sounds comp, which paired Memphis artists with Beatles covers, takes the same tack: giving the originals a discernibly Memphis spin. Eddie Harrison locates the Stax-flavored soul in "Lady Madonna." The Beale Street Syncopaters ride "Martha My Dear" up and down the New Orleans-to-Memphis jazz continuum. But some artists make less locally-distinct variations work too, as on Gary Johns' creeping crooner take on "I Wanna Be Your Man." And best of all: Charlie Wood turning the White Album's "Back in the U.S.S.R." into a jazzy critique of the present-day U.S.A. ("Back in the U.S.S.R." -- Charlie Wood, "I Wanna Be You Man" -- Gary Johns) -- Chris Herrington

Grade: B

Unknowing & Driving

Antique Curtains

(Makeshift)

Everything about the lead track on this local indie-rock debut -- the agitated riffs; the yelping, barely coherent vocal; the song title ("Spy Song") -- screams Pere Ubu, and if the rest of the album doesn't necessarily sound like that, the individualistic indie/punk blueprint that seminal band concocted is pretty close to what this entire record feels like. Packing 10 songs into 24 minutes and released on the venerable local Makeshift label, Unknowing & Driving announces a promising addition to a local indie-rock scene that's been in upheaval lately, even if the inaccessibly personal and/or amateurish vocals portend little chance to corral listeners not already primed for the sound. ("Spy Song," "One Night," "Hot Water") -- CH

Grade: B+

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