This 16 track disc from semi-local post-new wave pop band Treadmill Trackstar proves that, sometimes, the comeback is better than the first time out of the gate. Angelo Gianni's reedy voice is lush and haunting; slick guitars, rock drums and synth-y keys parts blend seamlessly with warm cello: In fact, it's Heidi Carey's strings contributions that both define the band ("Alternative rock band with a cello" is the tag line on the group's Web site) and update what could be a throwback-to-the-early-'90s sound. Of course, when the band formed that sound wasn't throwback at all. "From 1994 until 1998, Treadmill Trackstar held the distinction of being one of the hardest working touring bands by spending over 200 nights a year searching out and destroying each and every venue across the land that would have them," reads the bio. After a decade-long break, the group reunited for a charity concert and then decided to record an album: i belong is the end result. Tracks range from moody and pensive ("Bus Went By") to cinematic and dancey ("Call to Prayer"), but all are equally masterful and excellently produced. More good news: an upcoming album (described as "Spinal Tap dreamed of Saucy Jack") is in the works. Learn more here or here.
Sound the Promethean Chord by Andrew Larson
The newest album by local musician Andrew Larson starts with footfall and the creak of a door — opening, fittingly, into a sudden crash of sound. "Four ingredients sauteed at just the right temperature and in just the right exacting proportions creates what Bodhisattva forecast as the eminence of the joy of mankind: MUSIC," Larson says on his Myspace page, and there is a suggestion of some sort of genesis. That said, if the album title and hints of evolutionary grandiosity smack of pretension, give the CD a chance. "Drunk on Sunshine," the lead track, is a complicated tapestry of Beach Boys lyrics, Indian raggas, biorythmic beats and electronic burbles. But for all the experimentation evident on this 10 song collection, Larson is a careful composer and a deliberate writer: "You're in my bones, forever into you. Cherry pick my love, I've grown 'em just for you." Tracks range form electro-grunge ("Hurt Me Bad," "Sorry") to prettily whistful ("Ghosts that Guide Me") to spooky/funky ("Old Jack is Close," an album highlight with a burning organ and Larson's excellent falsetto) to upbeat and dancable ("Gain the World," complete with Beatles-esque hand claps). Though it's easy to point to each of Larson's influences (and likely there are dozens hidden between the lines and layered instruments — all played by Larson), Prothethean Chord is far from derivative. Rather, this is the fresh and exciting work of a studied musician who has both knowledge and chops. Learn more here.
—Alli Marshall, A&E reporter