Freeman Dre and Kitchen Party Red Door 2nd Floor

Freeman Dre and Kitchen PartyRed Door 2nd Floor
This debut album was written and recorded in the gritty, if gentrifying, Toronto, ON hood of Parkdale, and many of the songs reference life on the margins there. Much loved local watering hole the Cadillac Lounge is name-checked in the rousing "Saturday Night in Parkdale." The band have earned a rep as a highly entertaining outfit live, and this energy is well captured by co-producer/mixer John Critchley (Dan Mangan, the Warped 45s). The six-piece Party are augmented by such guests as Derek Downham (the Beauties) and Michael Louis Johnson. They describe themselves as "street folk punks" and some songs have a Pogues-like feel, while such touchstones as Dylan and Waits are also audible. Female backing vocals spice up a couple of tracks, including closing cut "Do Widzenia," which has an Eastern European, gypsy vibe and is the highlight of a disc with few lowlights. Dre also deserves credit for coming up with possibly the first song to reference the G20 summit fiasco, "Funny Situation." Cool stuff. (Independent)