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Taking a listen

by YES! Weekly staff

Taking a listen

Embarrassing Fruits — The First Time EP

The album opens with what I might consider one of the best summer college songs for 2008, “First Time,” a song about infinite possibility and the loved ones at your side who empower you to go anywhere and do anything — then, of course, the person is lost and no longer around (hello summer love story). The five-track EP sets the perfect low beat and steady rhythm we need to keep from getting too worked up in this heat, and play while we sit on our porches drinking PBRs with friends. Embarrassing Fruits mostly originates from Greensboro, containing members from Mortar and Pestle, Straight No Chaser and Westfalia. Where did Andy go? I think she headed for Mexico last we spoke, but the trio of guys are carrying on just fine. Trekky Records (trekkyrecords. com) is climbing the ladder in the music world with bands like this, putting out recordings like these, that have everyone begging for more (now, if they could only fix their office flooding problem…). One of my favorite lyrics makes fun of the everyday, distracted music lover (you and I), “We’ve all got our own songs in our heads, but we go to the show, and we pretend to listen, hey!” With a low Silver Jews-like tone, mid-range vocals and poppy-flavored lyrics, one of North Carolina’s top indie bands is well on their way. The free release show for this EP will be on Aug. 1 at the Local 506 (local506.com) with Hammer No More the Fingers, Opening Flower and Happy Bird. I repeat, free show. Write in to heather@yesweekly.com and tell me what you like most about Embarassing Fruits and their single they have up from this yet-to-be released EP, and you could win it!

Rating: 4 records (out of 5) www.myspace.com/embarrassingfruitsband

The Hold Steady — Stay Positive

I think it’s always interesting to follow your favorite record label as far as news, new bands and new releases. After a while, you notice trends taking over after your favorite bands leave the company, and usually it’s a steady decline. Vagrant Records has made a few obvious mistakes in the last few years, but this album is far from it. The Hold Steady, who seem to have run off the track with their last album, Boys and Girls in America, are returning to what they do best: telling stories. And these intricately produced stories have Craig Finn singing ballads about the typical younger American life (where rock and roll ends up saving your soul). Some of the over-played themes of drugs that most bands can’t pull off anymore come through innocently with lyrics in songs off this album because they pad it with so many lighter, more positive tunes. Album No. 4 isn’t really a typical one to break through, but the Hold Steady is proving it possible. Rock tracks like these could only be taken just barely a step further when Drive-By Truckers singer Patterson Hood makes an appearance on the song “Magazines.” Rock music with a harpsichord? The message of the overall album tries for a “just you wait” feel through hard times. Check them out live in Carrboro on Aug. 12 at Cat’s Cradle; I have a feeling they are going to be press-busy for a while before they return again. Tickets at etix.com.

Rating: 4 Records (out of 5) www.theholdsteady.com

For a chance to have your band’s CD reviewed, mail it to: YES! Weekly, 5500 Adams Farm Lane, Suite 204, Greensboro, NC 27407. ATTN: Heather MacIntyre

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