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Local Licks

This week we review Luvplanet, Kiyoshi Foster, Ian Franklin, and Books on Tape.

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Luvplanet, Luvolution.

The Nineties never happened. At least not according to Luvplanet, a four-piece rock band with nostalgia-based, hair-metal guitar solos and a glam aesthetic. Lead vocalist Nicole Sutton has a sharp, twangy voice that might serve well in the folk realm if she weren't so married to those skronking guitars. Most songs are based around familiar platitudes (e.g., All I can do is be myself). Lack of riff variation makes most songs seem a little longer than they actually are. (Micseven Music)

Kiyoshi Foster , Tranquilizer.

How could any woman resist a man who sings, in a ragged, country-rock tenor, a line like Baby, I'm pulled right toward you/When you push me adore you/You're magnetic magnetic. That pretty much encapsulates the sentiment on Kiyoshi Foster's new album, which is about 70 percent schmaltzy love ballads, plus one song about the good old days, one about dejection, and one about busking. His voice sounds just scruffy enough to be believed. (self-released)

Ian Franklin, Step by Step.

Apparently, plaintive crooning isn't always the best way to get a girl. Singer-songwriter Ian Franklin tries a different tack on Step By Step, which is all about love and relationships, but resists being tender-hearted. Baby, I got your fix, he assures on the opener's hook, just to let us know who's in charge. His large country-rock band includes various combinations of keyboards, drums, basses, and guitars. "Fly Away" is catchy. (self-released)

Books on Tape, Books on Tape.

Actually the solo project of Catholic Comb frontman Adam Dishart, Books on Tape is a rock outfit that faithfully replicates the sound of Eighties-era shoegaze bands. Dishart's new seven-inch consists of two songs with appropriately opaque titles, "Memory" and "Carnival Lights." The music is melodic and upbeat, but Dishart intones all his lyrics in a sullen, emo-boy tenor. Were it fair to judge character by song cadence, you could easily pin him as a self-pitying fop. And yet, he wears it well. (Ephemerata)

Update: In the original version of this story, we misspelled the name of Kiyoshi Foster.

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