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Antimatter, Fruit Bats, Eric Benet, Widow, Hanalei

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ANTIMATTER Planetary Confinement ****

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With masterpiece stunners like Planetary Confinement leaking out into the world, one wonders why people still consistently choose crap (i.e. radio). Antimatter’s existential, haunting, atmospheric, acoustic-based neo-folk packs the most minimalistic punch of any band you’ll ever hear. Their music has the power to tear down this revolting world and rebuild amidst the dark hope of fallout. Strains of Pink Floyd and labelmate Ulver’s quieter work could be kissing cousins. Although nothing can quite compare to 2002’s Saviour, “Line of Fire” will knock all the air out of you. (The End)

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FRUIT BATS Spelled in Bones ***

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Wow, such a poetic title! The Fruit Bats are the prophets of New America! Not really, but they want to be a Shins equivalent so bad that, upon listening, you can practically see Ivy Leaguer Natalie Portman failing miserably at being a bubbly teenage misfit in a Garden State doctor’s office. They’re on Sub Pop, though, so that’s blasphemy. Right? Claves and tambourines seem like a good idea, but aren’t. (Sub Pop)

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ERIC BENET Hurricane ***

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So, as the tabloids all asked, why did Eric Benet cheat on Halle Berry? It takes two to tango, and if I were Halle and I listened to the sorrowful, apologetic Hurricane, I might be inclined to forgive. Organic, soulful, acoustic-based slow rock with some R&B overtones is minimal, tasteful and quite well executed. Eric’s velvety smooth voice isn’t over the top; it strolls down the avenue comfortably with your hand in his. (Reprise)

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WIDOW On Fire **.5

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And Widow really are on fire! Their album cover has the band rockin’ out in the middle of a fireball with Flying Vs, a sunglassed drummer flashin’ devil horns, and a leather-braceleted lead-singer chick who looks like she just got off work at the local auto shop! But Widow’s epic Iron Maiden butt-metal is actually ultra sweet, with tasty licks and hot guitar soloing. Too bad every song sounds the same. (Cruz del Sur)

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HANALEI We Are All Natural Disasters **

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It hurts to give Hanalei all of two stars, but it’s only fair. Their blend of John Mayer plus Mystic Underground plus Beck isn’t as nasty as an unsanitized stripper pole, but is about as common. Adding airy synth and bright little electronic sounds in the background doesn’t make them The Postal Service; it makes them desperate and elevator-y. Déjà vu: Claves and tambourines again seem like a good idea, but aren’t. (Thick)

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About The Author

Rebecca Vernon

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