‘Listen Up’ Music Reviews
Roman Candle, "Oh Tall Tree in the Ear"
3 and one-half stars out of four
Comment: POP-LIT 101
Please, please ignore singer/guitarist Skip Matheny's twaddle that this set was inspired by playwright Tom Stoppard and early-1900s German poet Rainer Maria Rilke. These are simply witty, sturdily built and charming pop/rock tunes that owe their debt to Wilco, The Jayhawks, Ryan Adams, perhaps even My Morning Jacket. That's great company, and these songs should accompany you on summer road trips. — Jerry Shriver
Download: "One More Road," ''They Say," ''Early Aubade"
The Crystal Method, "Divided By Night"
3 stars out of four
Comment: THEY LOVE THE NIGHTLIFE
For its first studio album in five years, the Crystal Method — electronic savants Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland — has drawn up a predictably eclectic guest list, ranging from New Order bassist Peter Hook to rising hip-hoppers LMFAO. The result is a club-ready collection of fizzy dance tracks and atmospheric reveries, from the Eastern-flavored single "Drown in the Now," featuring Matisyahu, to the dreamy, percolating "Slipstream," with indie rocker Jason Lytle. — Elysa Gardner
Download: Aforementioned tracks, "Kling to the Wreckage"
Consider: "Dirty Thirty," ''Smile?"
Skip: "Double Down Under"
Cam'ron, "Crime Pays"
3 stars out of four
Comment: RAP WITH CONVICTION
Emerging from self-imposed exile, Cameron Giles returns to street-savvy themes of violence and cocaine culture, rap cliches rescued by his savage wit and ingenious wordplay. Droll rhymes don't mitigate his rampant misogyny, so it's refreshing when Harlem's hip-hop slangster strays from character on "My Job," an anthem for 9-to-5 cubicle drones everywhere ("I hate my boss, dude think he know it all ... Hope he sit in a casket, got me sittin' in traffic"). — Edna Gundersen
Download: "My Job," ''Cookin Up," ''Get It in Ohio"
Skip: "Cookies-N-Apple Juice"
Operation Aloha, "Operation Aloha"
2 stars out of four
Comment: GUESS YOU HAD TO BE THERE
Nice gig if you can get it: Fourteen vets of bands such as Maroon 5, Gomez and Phantom Planet fly to Maui, hole up in a treehouse and record the resulting vibe. Lazy, laid-back and, uh, most mellow, these tunes probably sounded more engaging around the beach bonfire than here in the real world. — Shriver
Download: "Phone Booth," ''Failure"
Skip: "Intercepted," ''Akoha"