CD Reviews


Warpaint The Fool (Rough Trade)

The dreamy, experimental art-rock of L.A.’s Warpaint is easy to fall in love with. Lead vocalist Emily Kokal achieves a rare and perfect balance of vague, psychedelic abstraction and concrete sensuality, especially in opening track “Set Your Arms Down,” a torch-pop number ignited by a few simple chords and a hypnotic drum pattern courtesy of Stella Mozgawa, one of the most talented newbies in a long time. There are more conventional tracks, such as “Undertow,” that highlight the band’s songcrafting techniques and wouldn’t be out of place on an old ’60s girl-group compilation. There’s a stripped-down acoustic moment, “Shadows,” that evolves into pulsating electronic candy adorned with reverb-drenched piano notes. Check the tricked-out dance-rock of “Composure,” with its distorted schoolyard chants, for a taste of what this band sounds like in a nightclub. ★★★☆☆


Video Games Live Level 2 (Shout! Factory)

Video-game composer/rock guitarist Tommy Tallarico teams up with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, a 34-person chorus, and a bunch of classical soloists to reinterpret 16 different themes and medleys from the world’s most famous time-wasters. Level 2 offers a DVD/Blu-Ray, with which you can experience a lights-saturated and special FX-laden live event, filmed in New Orleans last April in hi-def. The DVD is fine, but the CD alone is worth acquiring, especially if you’re skeptical of games as an art form. Hearing, for instance, pianist Martin Leung perform a stark solo rendition of (Super) Mario songs stopped me in my tracks. What had sounded like goofy bleeps in my teen years suddenly revealed itself as a layered, nuanced and, dare I say it, emotional piece of music. Solos aside, there are breathtaking re-imaginations here: John Williams-esque take on World of Warcraft, and a Led Zep approach to Megaman. Game on, classicalphiles! ★★★☆☆


Sheep on a Cliff Sheep on a Cliff (Panic Inc.)

Local hard-core stalwart Kevin Brough toils in three Vegas bands (Die Laughing, Life’s Torment, Sheep on a Cliff), each drawing a sparse nightly audience of aging punkers. Guy doesn’t care; he continues to release new material at an alarming rate, with three full-length CDs out in October alone. Brough’s best project is the raw punk trio Sheep on a Cliff, because of blond bombshell drummer Emma Rhodes, whose banshee shriek curdles blood. Recorded by Black Camaro mastermind Brian Garth, this self-titled 11-song collection is easily the best aggressive-music debut by a local band in recent memory. Tracks such as the diabolical doom-grooving “Jack Tripper” showcase Rhodes’ glass-breaking vocals, with bassist Travis McCuller commanding the lead mike for the lacerating “Abortion Technique.” Brough, meanwhile, leads the guitar charge with sludge-noise-drone instrumental “Innerlube.” Bonus: Wild front cover art by Greg Telles. Grab this one at Zia. ★★★☆☆

Suggested Next Read

Phantom of the Suburbs


Phantom of the Suburbs

By Cindi Reed

Tony Award-winner Anthony Crivello is one of the few Las Vegas stars you’d never recognize at the grocery store. In fact, his transformation from human to Phantom is so complete that during VIP tours, people comment that he wasn’t in the show. It’s not just the makeup, latex prosthetics, bald cap and wig that alter his appearance, but the character acting as well. After watching such a tortured soul onstage, meeting the vibrant and fun actor is almost shocking. The athletic Crivello has a surprising sense of humor and a wise-guy personality.