taking a listen

by Keith Barber

taking a listen

reviewsof local & state music CDs>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

KOTIX Feel Good Music

The debut album of rapper Kotix (not to be confused with K-Otix) comes on the heels of a well-received mixtape, You…Part One, and is mostly everything its name implies. Feel Good Music has some noticeable flaws, but it’s a highly creative and ambitious effort from the Greensboro musician and rapper. The one-two punch of opener “Under My Spell” and the subsequent “Feel Good Music” keeps you off balance, merely because neither are representative of the rest of the album.

Kotix displays a highly unconventional, almost avant garde flow on “Under My Spell,” while the title track is the closest the album comes to pop music. His throaty, slurred “yeahs” sound almost parodic at times and could have been used in greater moderation, as they seem to populate most every track. “Breakin’ No Bread” is a clever side-trip into booty rap, but the album is decidedly darker and more lyrically-oriented from there on out. Killa Warlord dominates the hook of “Full Time Hustla” with his ragged dancehall inflection, but the rest of the album belongs to Kotix. “Look in the Mirror” and “See the Sunrise” are deeply personal reflections on his place in the rap game. A few snafus aside, Feel Good Music is one of the better local rap albums of the years.



Somewhere between the blissful country rock of the Marshall Tucker Band and the guitar-heavy goodness of Gov’t Mule lies Asheville’s Velvet Truckstop. Their sophomore effort Sweet Release represents everything you’d want from either of those bands: crafty arrangements, pointed songwriter and fantastic jams. Singer Jamie Dose possesses the quintes sential Southern-rock voice with its faint growl and emphatic character, while guitarist Dorsey Parker is never obtrusive but always hits the right solo at the right time. As good as Velvet Truckstop is on their own, Sweet Release is rife with wellplaced guest spots. There are bits of plucky pedal steel from New Riders of the Purple Sage’s own Buddy Cage on “Carolina Way” and “Resting Place,” while former Grateful Dead keyboardist Tom Constanten (the one who didn’t die) provides some classical punch with his Hammond B3 on “The Storm” and “Goodbye.” The band’s own Brad Curtioff does his best JoJo Hermann impersonation on “Mercenary Wind,” a song punctuated by his subtly bright piano phrasing. While southern rock is and remains to be a genre rather limited in its potential to impress, Sweet Release gives fans all they could ask for and a little more.


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