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INDIE ROUND-UP for June 2 2005

Although rap and electronica are not my usual beat, I think I manage to explain why I like the selections below. In between, you’ll find a self-described “bunch of average middle-aged people” who call themselves Key Lime Pie. Next to strawberry-rhubarb, that’s my favorite kind of pie, so they have much to live up to. Read on to see whether I liked the band as much as the dessert. Without further ado, here is the

INDIE ROUND-UP for June 2 2005

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Bludshot, Another Day

An alien who visited Earth and listened only to rap music might be forgiven for thinking that when humans indulge in drugs, sex, self-aggrandizement and foul language – or even just having a good time – they must also hurt or insult others. Fortunately there are talented artists like Bludshot (Shawn Tierney) who can rhyme about both hard times and the good life while casting a critical eye on themselves.

The story of redemption after hitting bottom that Bludshot tells in “Sunshine” is as affecting as the verbal acrobatics of “Fly Away” are technically impressive. “The Smoke Out” is a romantic number featuring the hilariously named producer Dragonfly Pympwell, who sounds like Barry White and is the musical mastermind behind most of these tracks. Bludshot has a lot of songs about anger and lust, but his jibes at himself undercut the objectivization of women in which he keeps threatening to indulge. He’s the guy who’s just trying to make his way in the world. For example, it’s not totally clear who the “hateful bitches” in “You Don’t Know Me” are, but it sounds like he’s got a legitimate complaint against them. Or he’s the half-nervous, half-confident would-be romancer, like the smitten barhound in “Chica Bonita” who never actually makes his move: “I’m assuming when she’s done grooming she’ll be back/To the spot at the bar where she left her drink at/So I’ll just hang low and guzzle some beer/And hope that when I see her my A game will appear.” And in “Bad Blud” he acknowledges that the use of alcohol and drugs comes out of weakness, while “Sunshine” is a rueful look back at the gangsta lifestyle.

The climax of the CD is the gripping “Welcome To My World” where guest vocalist Gina Mohammed chimes the chorus: “Welcome to my world/The place of the unforgiven/You don’t want to stay too long/With the way that I’ve been living.” In this as in most of the tracks, Pympwell has an excellent ear for creating just the right musical track for the story being told.

Just once, I think, Bludshot mentions the fact that he is white. It doesn’t seem to matter in these songs. I suppose we have Eminem to thank for the ability of a rapper like Bludshot to have legitimacy and a fair chance of major success. He definitely has the needed talent. He’s neither as angry nor as funny as Eminen, but he makes his own strong statement on this very good album.

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About Jon Sobel

Jon Sobel is a Publisher and Executive Editor of Blogcritics as well as lead editor of the Culture & Society section. As a writer he contributes most often to Culture, where he reviews NYC theater; he also covers interesting music releases.Through Oren Hope Marketing and Copywriting at http://www.orenhope.com/ you can hire him to write or edit whatever marketing or journalistic materials your heart desires.Jon also writes the blog Park Odyssey at http://parkodyssey.blogspot.com/ where he visits every park in New York City. And by night he's a part-time working musician: lead singer, songwriter, and bass player for Whisperado, a member of other bands as well, and a sideman.

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