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click to enlarge All Smiles  - Ten Readings of a Warning  -  -  - Dangerbird / Release date: April 24 -  -  - Sounds like: John Lennon meets Billy Corgan - on a Travis disc -  - Short take: First album's a charm -  - Everyone seems to sound at least a little like the Beatles, - but former Grandaddy guitarist Jim Fairchild writes some - dead ringers that somehow still maintain originality. As - All Smiles, he plays all the instruments (save drums) with - cameo performances by Modest Mouse, Menomena and - Sleater-Kinney, as well as Great Northern's drummers. - And why he wasn't tapped for vocals a decade ago - remains a mystery; his voice and lyrical style trumps the - album's instrumental work, which is largely sleepy and - downbeat in a daydream kind of way. Propelled by - beautifully resonant tracks like "Backward, Forward, - Through," Fairchild could very well emerge as another - Jeff Buckley or Elliott Smith in coming years. He's had the - lungs; now he's got the breakout album.  - Matthew Schniper
  • All Smiles

    Ten Readings of a Warning

    Dangerbird / Release date: April 24

    Sounds like: John Lennon meets Billy Corgan on a Travis disc

    Short take: First album's a charm

    Everyone seems to sound at least a little like the Beatles, but former Grandaddy guitarist Jim Fairchild writes some dead ringers that somehow still maintain originality. As All Smiles, he plays all the instruments (save drums) with cameo performances by Modest Mouse, Menomena and Sleater-Kinney, as well as Great Northern's drummers. And why he wasn't tapped for vocals a decade ago remains a mystery; his voice and lyrical style trumps the album's instrumental work, which is largely sleepy and downbeat in a daydream kind of way. Propelled by beautifully resonant tracks like "Backward, Forward, Through," Fairchild could very well emerge as another Jeff Buckley or Elliott Smith in coming years. He's had the lungs; now he's got the breakout album. Matthew Schniper

click to enlarge Jarvis Cocker  - Jarvis   -  -  - Rough Trade  -  - Sounds like: Pre-glum Blur exhumed -  - Short take: Pouting wiseacre turns blithe with - age -  - With age usually comes some apathy or at least - detachment, as youthful vitriol becomes drowned in - shrugged shoulders and yawns. But Jarvis Cocker, the - snide leader behind the seminal Brit-rockers Pulp, has - never been one to follow the trends. After 20-some - years of grouchy pouting, he's reversed the tracks and - released his most upbeat album yet, an eponymous solo - debut. It works wonders: His knack for songwriting - carries through even as he has his first good time, - snarkily chiding "Fat Children" or sampling Tommy - James' "Crimson and Clover" on "Black Magic." Even the - slower songs, such as "Baby's Coming Back to Me," are - more smile-inducing than anything. Cocker is taking all - of life's grief in sprightly stride here.  Matt - Martin
  • Jarvis Cocker

    Jarvis

    Rough Trade

    Sounds like: Pre-glum Blur exhumed

    Short take: Pouting wiseacre turns blithe with age

    With age usually comes some apathy or at least detachment, as youthful vitriol becomes drowned in shrugged shoulders and yawns. But Jarvis Cocker, the snide leader behind the seminal Brit-rockers Pulp, has never been one to follow the trends. After 20-some years of grouchy pouting, he's reversed the tracks and released his most upbeat album yet, an eponymous solo debut. It works wonders: His knack for songwriting carries through even as he has his first good time, snarkily chiding "Fat Children" or sampling Tommy James' "Crimson and Clover" on "Black Magic." Even the slower songs, such as "Baby's Coming Back to Me," are more smile-inducing than anything. Cocker is taking all of life's grief in sprightly stride here. Matt Martin

click to enlarge The Academy Is...  - Santi  -  -  - Fueled By Ramen / Atlantic  -  - Sounds like: The flavor of the week -  - Short take: Catchy? Yes. Forgettable? Yes. -  - Unlike their Fueled By Ramen labelmates (Fall Out Boy, - Panic! at the Disco and Gym Class Heroes), The Academy - Is... creates a sound that connects to the roots of rock - more than to other, more out-there genres. That means - you get tracks that are far less eccentric than their - contemporaries'. The music made by The Academy Is... - (ellipsis and all) is quite catchy  at least five of the 11 - tracks on Santi are sing-along-able, including - the first single, "We've Got a Big Mess On Our Hands." - Unfortunately, that's about as far as it goes. The rock- - mixed-with-pop sound makes The Academy Is... - incredibly palatable for the young high-school set. - They'll swoon for these Chicagoans. And they'll forget - about them by the time they hit 18.  Pete - Freedman
  • The Academy Is...

    Santi

    Fueled By Ramen / Atlantic

    Sounds like: The flavor of the week

    Short take: Catchy? Yes. Forgettable? Yes.

    Unlike their Fueled By Ramen labelmates (Fall Out Boy, Panic! at the Disco and Gym Class Heroes), The Academy Is... creates a sound that connects to the roots of rock more than to other, more out-there genres. That means you get tracks that are far less eccentric than their contemporaries'. The music made by The Academy Is... (ellipsis and all) is quite catchy at least five of the 11 tracks on Santi are sing-along-able, including the first single, "We've Got a Big Mess On Our Hands." Unfortunately, that's about as far as it goes. The rock- mixed-with-pop sound makes The Academy Is... incredibly palatable for the young high-school set. They'll swoon for these Chicagoans. And they'll forget about them by the time they hit 18. Pete Freedman

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