Evolution of a Soul (self-released)
Evolution of a Soul, the Deacons' debut, incorporates soul, jazz, R&B and a little old-school funk. "Homeboy" is a seven-minute instrumental introduction to an album filled with dazzling guitar riffs, classy jazz boards and cool sax solos topped with inspirational vocals. "Talk About It," "Mamma Told Me 'Think'" and "Party Baby" are fun original songs, while "Rainy Night in Georgia" and "Breakin Up Somebody's Home" are terrific covers, proving that the band can handle some of the greatest songs of all time. The group even gets away with gospel in "Sing Your Song" and heartfelt blues in "Still Alone." If you like the old Stax sound, you'll more than likely be satisfied with the Deacons. - Lauren Yusko
Clan of the Cave Bear
Black Spaghetti (Tower Control USA)
Clan of the Cave Bear is a two-piece metal band that plays what's best described as instrumental music that's the aural equivalent of an epileptic seizure. The abrupt pauses often break up the flow of the disc. An example is "Dredging Sajon," a tune that features rapid double bass drum mixed with distorted and reverb-filled guitar. It almost sounds as if the CD is scratched and repeating itself. "Leave it to Bigfoot" displays the band's ability to take a death-metal base and twist it with guitar effects so that it sounds like a music box slowly opening itself to emit a barrage of intensely fast drumming. As extreme as anything on Mike Patton's Ipecac label, Black Spaghetti shows off Clan of the Cave Bear's often-chaotic and generally abrasive art. - Ryan MacLennan
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