Album Reviews of Local Music 

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Kevin Hackler
Absalon
(independent)

The new studio collection from Charleston jazz trumpeter Kevin Hackler and his studio combo stands as one of the finest releases by a local act of the year. The curiously titled, eight-song album Absalon sounds like a grand piece of work from a seasoned veteran act (circa 1967) with a world of experience. Hackler's current gallery of cats — bandmates electric guitarist Dave Linaburg, drummer Stuart White, vibes man Michael Hanf, and bassist Ben Wells — recorded and mastered the album over the spring with local engineer Tim Holbrooke. A truly collaborative effort, Hackler's horn sails effortlessly across White's smooth snare and cymbal work, Linaburg's occasional wild electric guitar distortion, and the unexpected rhythmic turnarounds. Hanf's vibe technique is amazing and complements Hackler's softer Miles moments very well. From the first melodies and accents of lead-off tune "Wishful Thinking" and the Far Eastern/caravan drowsy feel and minor-key melodies of "Venerativeness" and "Abif" to the beauty of "Falling Down," Absalon shines brightly. (www.kevinhackler.com) —T. Ballard Lesemann

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Lindsay Holler & The Dirty Kids
Love Gone Awry
(independent)

Through her raspy-sweet voice, Lindsay Holler sings the honest tales of a woman with plenty of love to give, in need of some of her own. A touch of Ani DiFranco and taste of Robinella, Holler's "empty bottle" lamentations are spun into off-kilter, upbeat works of art with the help of the multifaceted Dirty Kids. Lyrics like "I always end up alone" and "The smell of regret is strong" from the flawlessly country-western "Nothing Tonight" become spunky head-bobbers when Michael Hanf lays a perfectly melodic vibraphone progression over them, or guitarist Dave Linaburg follows with an almost pedal steel-esque slide guitar segue. Opening track "Dirty Kids" demonstrates the band's tightness immediately, pleasantly complemented with background "aaass" to Holler's story of a woman still in love with the man she lost 20 years ago. The syncopated "Weak" that follows is everything but that. Made up of local players on the jazz scene, the Dirty Kids aptly demonstrate their stylistic versatility and have done a bang-up job of capturing their songs into concise, beautiful studio tracks. The music sounds like they took an antique house and spruced it up with color, all the while maintaining the classic feel. (www.lindsayholler.net) —Stratton Lawrence


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