Local Music Reviews 

In The Jukebox: New releases from local performers

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Action City Blackout
Action City Blackout
(independent)

“Down in Flames” (from the EP Action City Blackout)
Audio

Chunky guitar riffs galore, Charleston-based Action City Blackout's new six-song mini-album condenses all that's cliché and fun about numskull hard rock — the real fist-raising stuff, circa 1978-1984. Singer Emily Richards (now based mostly in N.Y.C.) switches gears vocally from screeching to operatic throughout, delivering sneering lyrics in a style resembling Lita Ford, if Ford could actually hit the right notes. Richards' former Skintight mates, guitarists Jack Hunter and Collin Debruhl, act as the Malcolm/Angus machine behind the AC/DC-style riffs and interactions, many of which get pretty metallic (a la Cinderella) at every other turn. Produced with huge, meaty-beaty drum sounds, fuzz bass, and expertly-panned guitar tracks, this self-titled collection embraces all the righteous tricks and rocks hard. (www.myspace.com/actioncityblackout) —T. Ballard Lesemann

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Clay Rice
Songs from the Jon Boat
(independent)

“Gullah Coast” (from the album Songs from the Jon Boat)
Audio

Based happily in the marshy side of the Isle of Palms, local singer/songwriter Clay Rice's new album flows as lightly and soothingly as the tidal creeks he's obviously in love with. The romantic collection of tunes and stories is earnest and light in tone, if not a bit corny (some of the lyrical lines seem inspired by stories and recipes from the popular old kitchen book Charleston Receipts). These 13 folk/Americana tunes couldn't embrace the sights, sounds, and soul of the Lowcountry any tighter. With backing from over a dozen local acoustic players and vocalists, co-producer Carroll Brown (who adds plenty of acoustic guitar and backing vocals), works with a warm sound — from the bouncy anthem "Gullah Coast" to the soft ballad "You're My Island." Rice's deep baritone mostly hits the right notes, even if it feels a bit forced here and there. Overall, he sounds like a Lowcountry man who means what he sings, thoroughly enjoys his boiled peanuts and R.C. Cola, and looks forward to the next moonlit fishing trip. (www.myspace.com/clayrice) —T. Ballard Lesemann


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