Chris Brokaw Red Cities

A former member of seminal bands such as the powdery Codeine, Pullman, Come and the New Year, Chris Brokaw travels further west of the mid-'90s Chicago sound, and in the process throws the ideas of using vocals out the window. What Red Cities consists of are a slew of guitar-laden (and moderately driven) instrumental pieces that act more like segues within segues than a collection of flowing tracks. At times, he keeps things relatively slow and open, allowing atmosphere to become the featured instrument, due to the great recording by Boston-area producer Pete Weiss, then shifting to other moments of pure cinematic dissonance, but with an old-school country/western influence. A Godspeed You Black Emperor! from the Old West perhaps? While there are hints of GYBE!, the material is much more akin to Calexico or Giant Sand, in terms of rustling and relaxation. There is absolutely no hint of pretension within the album, just a stepped back assault of thoughtful and clever "soundtrack" music for your aching soul. (Atavistic)