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Dub Gabriel

Bass Jihad

Hailing from New York City, Dub Gabriel is a musician/producer/DJ who makes long laborious trip-hop songs. His music is comprised of repetitive slowed-down hip-hop beats and “funky,” “unique” instrumental sounds inspired by such diverse locales as the Middle East, Brooklyn and Germany. These sounds supposedly set him apart from the rest of the pack, but really just add to the realization that it sounds like everything you’ve heard before. The music on Bass Jihad is not unlistenable by any means – it makes terrific low-key background noise – but it doesn’t hold the listener’s interest, and fails to present itself as necessary or vital.

Dub Gabriel will be playing at the Doug Fir Lounge on July 17.


Marvin Gaye

Can I Get A Witness

Marvin Gaye is so well-known and established in the lexicon of American pop music that it seems like the need for another greatest hits compilation is questionable. Can I Get A Witness does it anyway,compiling 16 tracks that span the breadth of Gaye’s career. From his early start in defining the Motown sound, to his later politically engaged soul music, this compilation represents it all. It almost goes without saying that the music presented within this CD is great, and after listening one is left to ponder: why isn’t pop music this good anymore?


Luminous Fog

Luminous Fog

Portland’s own eight-piece funk/reggae/hip-hop team Luminous Fog make a valiant effort on their self-titled album to make a relevant conglomeration of all their influences. Instead their music is full of cliched sounds, taking the worst aspects of their various influences and combining them. The rapping is terrible, with lyrics that border on childish, and the instrumentation is incredibly middle-of-the-road and impotent. This is youth music for the smooth-jazz set, coming to a municipal park festival near you.


Professor Gall

Intravenous Delusion

With a mixture of chicken-pickin’ country, a horn section from a ska band, and yowling odd vocal arrangements, Portland’s Professor Gall certainly defies easy categorization. Unfortunately, the music presented – while interesting on first listen – doesn’t have any lasting impact. All of the songs sound about the same, with lyrics that often seem purposefully “weird” and instrumentation that, while varying wildly in influence, fails to make a significant statement. Intravenous Delusion suffers because of this lack of focus and it is doubtful anyone would listen to it more than once.


Joni Laurence

With No Apology (A Live Recording)

Modern folk music is such a hit-or-miss proposition. Sometimes an artist can be powerful and dynamic, but more often than not musicians of the modern scene come off as staid and boring. Joni Laurence’s latest effort falls into the latter category. The performance (a live set from the Unitarian Universalist Church in Urbana, Ill.) is fine, but there is nothing remotely new or interesting about it. The music is mainly simple acoustic guitar with softly sung vocals over it, and lyrics that are comfortably liberal and personal – but not controversial in any real sense. With No Apology is a relaxed testament to very standard American songwriting and doesn’t pretend to be anything else.




For all of their “emo” posturing, San Francisco’s AFI (A Fire Inside) really don’t make music that is terribly sad. Decemberunderground starts off with a dance-pop song, which oddly fits well within the rest of the record. Most of the songs play the scream/sing, rock-out textbook perfectly, which is to say that they are abrasively annoying (though not actually abrasive). Singer Davey Havok, even though he sings sad words about suicide and scorned love, just doesn’t mean it. This album might seem poetic and meaningful to someone in junior high, but its staying power and musical quality are suspect to everyone else.