Chelsey Nicole and the Northside Vamps
Love Through the Line
A range of vintage sounds on this seven-song debut: Motown-style soul, blues, smooth Muscle Shoals stuff. Powerful vocals from Chelsey are good all around, but at their best when she's belting — her voice is naturally so big, the emotional range that's represented by the lyrics doesn't always come across on the quiet parts. Everything about the sound, including the horn section, hits spot-on — and this is just a debut release. Good stuff that likely translates well live.
CHELSEY NICOLE AND THE NORTHSIDE VAMPS EP RELEASE. 9 p.m. Thu., Dec. 19. Howlers, 4509 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield. $5. 412-682-0320
Fedora the Explora
Indie rock with seeming sonic references to AM Gold pop on this debut EP. Strings and horns mingle with synths in a way that feels natural (a feat unto itself), and the lyrical content, if not mind-blowing, is good enough to not be distracting. Good songwriting, well produced; even "Voice of an Angel," which starts out sounding kind of sappy, turns into something genuine and pretty. Worth a listen for sure.
Rhythms of Anyway
A mix of standards and originals on this 10-track full-length from the well-reputed local jazz singer, whose band includes notables like Max Leake and the legendary Roger Humphries. Writing new material in an older idiom like this is always a challenge, but it's one Lee rises to; "Love No Hands," the first original on the album, is poetic and pleasant. And of course you can't go wrong with tunes like "The More I See You" and "Nature Boy," both of which appear here.