City Paper is not for tourists
Unrest once ambled through Malcolm X Park, but the band’s successor, Air Miami, has given up the funk for an airier sound. The quartet, which adds Mike Fellows (once of Rites of Spring) and Lauren Feld
The Arlington-rooted combo could be described as having a more suburban sound than its predecessor, but that would be the suburbs of London, not of Washington. Bouncy, strummy, and agreeably lightweight, these two two-minute tunes suggest the sweet, balmy (and sometimes fey) side of British indie-pop: Marine Girls, Cocteau Twins, and even a hint of Saint Etienne in the gentle synthbeat that closes “Stop Sign,” while the “ba-ba-ba” ‘s of “Airplane Rider” attempt the pop-primordial innocence of sunny ’60s American bands like the Association or the Cowsills. The anti-hip hipness of such sources is a bit arch, but the result is not unpleasant. The single’s available in the usual local stores or for $3 from Teenbeat, P.O. Box 3265, Arlington, VA 22203.
Ulysses in AOR-Town A collection of 10 songs performed by mostly local female singers, Sirens is the first release by The Way It Is, a new label founded by longtime local engineer and producer Steve Carr. (There’s also an 11th, unidentified track, which features a male voice.) None of these songs are likely to drive listeners off course; as produced by Carr, they’re more notable for their polish than depth.
The stylistic menu includes funk (Cheryl Scott’s “Top of the Line,” Cashmere’s “Don’t Play With My Heart”), hard rock (Rose Manfre’s “Dangerous”), pop-rock (Jeanne Pugh’s “Knee Deep in Flowers,” Lisa Cerbone’s “Manic-Depression Jubilation,” Sue Ellen Sacco’s “Dot on Your Door”), upbeat country-rock (Lucia Piazza’s “Hello Mama” and Lauren Raymond’s “Count It All Pure Joy”), a bratty found-sound piece (Lisa Suckdog’s “Brontes in the Attic”), and a “Remember (Walking in the Sand)” burlesque gag track by a WHFS DJ (Kathryn Lauren’s “That’s the Way Love Goes”).
Several of these tunes are quite catchy, and only Suckdog’s (the one track not originally made for this project) wears out in a single listening. Still, all are distinguished more by crafts(wo)manship than by inspiration. Ironically, all 10 songs seem but a prologue to the earnest hidden track, a theme song that delivers the meaning behind the name of Carr’s label: “All men were created with a key/Dishonesty’s the lock between us and true liberty/And I just want to feel the way it is/Everything in the universe.” Sirens can be had from The Way It Is, P.O. Box 5715, Rockville, MD 20855.