Local Licks

This week we review Philthy Rich, Katrina Wreede, Roosevelt Radio, and The Mean Faces.


Philthy Rich, Trip’n 4 Life

Philthy Rich certainly is filthy-mouthed, but he’s nonetheless found favor with such well-established emcees as E-40, The Hoodstarz, and The Jacka, all of whom appear on this album. On a track called “Realest Nigga on Earth,” he uses the N-word 45 times in four minutes (give or take a couple, since the CD skipped). He also proclaimed himself the proud father of two children. Other songs include “Feel’n Like Pac,” “Feel’n Like Pac Remix,” and the sassily titled “I’m Jus Say’n Tho.” (Town Thizzness/SMC)

Katrina Wreede, Add Viola & Stir

It would be hard to question Katrina Wreede‘s street cred, at least in the classical string world: principal soloist, symphony player, member of the Turtle Island Quartet. Her new disc comprises all original compositions, most of them rendered in trio form (one is a viola-harp duet, another has Wreede playing over wind chimes). Add Viola begins with some lightweight, ambient ballads and waltzes, but gradually builds tension. The wind chime song, called “Invocation #3,” is by far the most evocative. (Vlazville)

Roosevelt Radio, Roosevelt Radio

Like so many first-effort indie rock EPs, Roosevelt doesn’t really get going until the first falsetto break. Thankfully, that happens pretty early on, since lead singer Ben Ross has one of those malleable, chalky, falsetto-prone voices that’s probably best described as “robust” (a favorite word in the band’s press materials). The six songs on this EP are fine works of yearning, melodic, emo-boy rock, complete with piano vamps and guitar distortion. Roosevelt Radio has potential. (self-released)

The Mean Faces; Gorilla Dust

A hand-scribbled CDR is like a box of chocolate. You never know what you’re gonna get. This one skipped on the first track, but the music was actually quite hooky. Call it smooth jazz for indie rockers: soft, digestible chord patterns; dense, breathy vocals; a groove that sweeps everything along. The second and third tracks got a little blurty. The fifth wore its title, “Ooh Baby,” without irony. (self-released)