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Grayson Wray- Alice Peacock- Disposable Thumbs- Julia Lau- Needtobreathe- Elevator Action

with Zane Ewton 

Grayson Wray - Alternate Heavens

Grayson Wray is a bizarre little band that could be compared favorably to Talking Heads and Jethro Tull. If that combination doesn't spin your head, the hodgepodge of random genres creates an odd mix-tape vibe to the proceedings.

The band is full of multi-instrumentalists but none stand out. Alternate Heavens is broken into three sections, Morning, Afternoon and Night. By the end of the record it feels as though someone slipped a Baby Mozart disc into your player. It is real music just dumbed down for the toddlers.

(Am I the first writer to get a Baby Mozart reference in a review?)

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Alice Peacock - Who I Am

Alice Peacock is one of your typical singer songwriters, except that she is actually quite good. Who I Am was recorded live as Peacock sang and tickled the piano keys. The feel is looser than the average Sheryl Crow clone but still manages to put some gloss on the songs about breaking up with boys.

The arrangements are sparse, showcasing Peacock's plain, pretty voice and lyrics that range from depressed to relieved, most notably on album highlights "Love" and "Finding My Way". Put on your rain shoes, the clouds are forming over your head.

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Disposable Thumbs - We Watched the Sun Go Supernova

Disposable Thumbs is really just some guy named Zach Lewis who thinks it is terribly pertinent information for you to know that he lives in Oregon and records in his basement. We Watched the Sun Go Supernova is a little blast of electronically minded indie rock. The kind with a little guitar and humor thrown in for good measure.

At only six tracks it is a fun record that ends before it can overstay its welcome; a little trick other bands should be quick to note.

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Julia Lau - In the Wildflowers and Weeds

Another singer songwriter with an unremarkable but pretty voice. Julia Lau offers up much of the same things that have plagued women singer songwriters since Jewel and Sheryl Crow.

Lau sings of tortured souls lacking for lovers, losing lovers and tortured love in general. Her voice is first and foremost in the mix, with the music almost fading into the background. Two tracks turn up some electric guitars and are the album highlights. Both "Mindful of You" and "To Be Beautiful" support Lau's voice much better and provide some much needed diversion from the sappy gloom of the rest of the album.

Maybe she should put down the acoustic guitar and form a rock band.

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Needtobreathe - Daylight

The Edge will have some explaining to do when he gets to rock and roll heaven. His signature guitar sound has created so many sub par bands that the accomplishments of U2 might not be as favorable when weighed against the terrible bands they have spawned.

Needtobreathe have latched onto many of the elements that U2 embraced, but thankfully they are good enough to add something else to the mix. The guitars are a little louder and provide more drive than ringing bells. The big choruses are here but the vocals are more to the current crop of nameless modern rock band's cluttering VH1.

Daylight is a decent enough rock record. Nothing revolutionary but worth a listen.

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Elevator Action - Society, Secret

If Franz Ferdinand weren't so irritatingly Scottish, they may very well be called Elevator Action. Society, Secret has some commonality with those Scots. They play the same angular riffs and have some danceable beats.

However, Elevator Action is more varied and has more swing in their swagger, owing a debt to Talking Heads indie rock and some grunge fuzz. The entire album is really quite good. While this band hasn't reinvented the wheel, they surely have their own rolling nicely. 

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