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Thursday August 18th

O'Connell Plays Well With Others; Deep Dish Spins Hot Set

Maura O'Connell
Walls and Windows

Irish songstress Maura O'Connell has made a career of recording the material of other songwriters.

A former vocalist for Celtic group De Danaan, O'Connell embarked on a solo career in the mid-1980s, exploring folk, pop and alternative country music without being defined by one genre. Her rich, expressive voice and stylistic experimentation allows her to move easily beyond the role of a chanteuse.

Her latest album, Walls and Windows, follows that same path with covers of tunes by such artists as Patty Griffin, Kim Richey, Eric Clapton and Van Morrison.

But these aren't just your same old songs.

A self-described song interpreter, O'Connell uses her full-bodied alto voice to expose a range of emotions only hinted in the songs' original recordings and make each tune her own.

In "Long Ride Home," O'Connell's voice takes on a darker edge, strengthening the anger and bitterness of Griffin's lyrics. Combined with a driving acoustic guitar and a haunting fiddle, the track delves into the complexities of a spouse's death after 40 years of marriage.

O'Connell slows the tempo in Clapton's "I Get Lost," making the track more of an honest look at a romantic relationship than a forlorn reflection of one.

In "Blessing," O'Connell combines the words of a traditional Irish blessing with a little bit of blues. Amid uillean pipes and funk-style bass, her voice alternates between gritty and tremulous, lending passion and credence to her words.

Whether you've heard the original artists perform the tunes in Walls and Windows or not, O'Connell's ability to add new dimensions to each track makes the album worth the listen.

By Harmony Johnson

Mullet
Super Happy Fun Time
1 Star

Somewhere between childish potty pranks and baffling stupidity lies Mullet, a band that has nothing to say but rants anyway.

With riffs that poorly imitate Blink-182 and "funny" lyrics that aren't even as witty as the Bloodhound Gang's, Mullet is a rambling band of immature brothers. Cracking jokes about every tasteless subject known to man, the band fails to deliver even the lowest of low-brow humor effectively.

Super Happy Fun Time is tragic, bouncing with poppy-punk attitude through 10 painful songs.

The band's improperly titled debut LP is proof that humanity has left some on the evolutionary chain's lower rungs. Sporting song titles like "Boobies" and "Wang," the album doesn't have much to say.

Though vocalist Mikey Lozano's twisted version of "Green Eggs and Ham" in "Boobie" draws a roaring laugh, its humor is childish and short-lived. After all, how many times can you hear a whiny, weak voice chanting "Boobies on a train/Boobies on a plane/Boobies here and there/Boobies everywhere" and still laugh?

Mixed in with the awful lyrics are boring and tuneless chords that sound like Blink-182 minus the talent. Mikey's guitar riffs are as simple as his lyrics are crass. He continually relies on elementary chords and predictable solos.

His two brothers Frankie and Adam support on the bass and drums, respectively. Their combined rhythm drags without change through track after track, rarely diverting to support choruses about burps and prostitutes.

Only a few of the tracks represent a salvageable product, with "Rainy Day," being a somewhat emotional introspection. The band's reading of Dion's "Runaround Sue" is energetic, but Mullet had no business covering it. Regardless, it's still one of the best songs on the album -- moderately catchy and tuneful.

Like being in a third grade bathroom listening to kids spout out all their newly learned cuss words, Super Happy Funny Time is silly, stupid and sickening. Mullet would do well to take the advice from one of its songs and "just pack your things and leave."

By Nick Parker

Deep Dish
Global Underground: Moscow
4 Stars

The Iranian-American DJ duo known as Deep Dish has truly proven that it's one of house music's elite by giving the world's dance community something tasty and creative.

DJs Ali ("Dubfire") and Sharam have already released some amazing dance mixes. But Global Underground: Moscow is the duo's first entry in the reputable double-disk Global Underground series, which presents the sets of some of the world's most famous DJs in different cities of the world.

With Moscow, Deep Dish strays a bit from the typical Global Underground style and the result is stunning. Instead of blending a little progressive house with a lot of faster, spacier trance, Deep Dish mixes a well-selected group of tracks that maintain the steady beat which is characteristic of house music.

But the duo's work really deserves to be free of tidy categorization because its work sounds almost as good through a set of headphones as it does when heard on the floor of a club.

Moscow's first disk begins brilliantly as the dreamy undertones of 16B Featuring Morel's "Escape (Driving to Heaven)" morphs into the progressive "Rise" by Soul Providers featuring Michelle Shellers. Ali and Sharam establish an irresistible deep house groove that remains present as the music ventures into darker territory.

Disk two brings more vocals and harder, more metallic beats into the mix. Unlike most poorly made dance music, the set avoids excessive repetition by surrounding its intertwined rhythms with eerie, hypnotic sounds and melodies.

The album's cold nature reflects that of the city for which it's named. But while its mood is rarely light, the mix captivatingly blends funky, banging, erotic and serene beats. It's a crowning achievement in the dance music world, proving that Global Underground: Moscow is a truly unique experience.

By Elliott Dube

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