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Thursday, March 22,2001

The Incredible Moses Leroy


The Incredible Moses Leroy
Electric Pocket Radio / Ultimatum

It is very important to play the record over and over because you learn by listening, the natural way to learn," expounds the orator from The Cortina Method of Speaking French, an excerpt on the title-track to Moses Leroy's follow-up to Bedroom Love Songs. The lesson on Leroy's Radio: when daydreaming, keep your head in the clouds, your feet on the ground, and your fingers on the Casio keys.

Combining his love for his civil-rights-leader great grandfather Moses Leroy, and the incredible and transformative quality of comic-book heroes he embraced as an only child, Ron Fountenberry slipped into a telephone booth one day at UC San Diego and stepped out The Incredible Moses Leroy.

This mixed-moniker aural artist implements the sitar, Moog, a children's choir and "an empty gasoline can" with conventional instruments in an emotionally euphoric and sonically playful LP. From the bubbly, skip-a-long in the sun "It's a Sunday" to the doo whopping Beach-Boys-get-smacked-upside-the-head-by-machine-gun-beats "Our One Millionth Customer," Fountenberry floats in a dream world-one anchored in the past by easy-listening influences of his mother's record collection, one fondling the future of bleeps and electronic chaos that he must have imagined as a shy adolescent. The taser blasts and ragtime piano of his quirky cover of Gruppo Sportivo's "Beep Beep Love" and the la la loop of "Fuzzy"-a sample from the Sandpipers-jump-start the album with comically jarring visions of a "passion girl from outer space" and a "lovely blue-eyed Nazi prom queen." They are the only cover and musical sample on the 16-track record, peepholes into the past that has structured Fountenberry's buoyant musical landscape.

Songs like "Christmas in the Summertime" suffer from sappy lyrics, like "Whenever she's in the room/I find it hard to breath/It's like a language I heard overseas," and the hidden (now disclosed) track "She Can't Get Any Sleep" should have been hidden, in the trash. But, all things considered, the incredibly catchy Electric Pocket Radio is destined to be played over and over.

-P.W. Miller

The Indulgers
Tan & Black / Celtic Club

What a wonderful Irish world Colorado has become. Pubs-like Castle Rock's The Celtic Crossing-keep popping up around the Front Range like four-leaf clovers in the dewy Irish meadow. And the in-like-flynn Indulgers are releasing the Tan & Black on the day of the Green.

This baker's dozen of 12 originals-penned by vocalists Damien McCarron and Mike Nile-plus one plaintive cover of Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World," showcases frontman McCarron's bass barreltone bellow, and the Golden-based band's ability to blend Celtic trad and rock 'n' roll without sapping the vigor of either style. Electric guitar riffs, wandering bass lines and an upbeat rhythm take a backseat as the majority of the songs commence with a traditional fiddle (care of the lovely Renee Fine) and/or penny whistle melody that threads the contemporary flair of a sometimes indulgent rock racket.

Having sold roughly 3,500 copies of their 1999 debut In Like Flynn, which is currently placing at #11 on's top-25 list of emerging international Celtic artists, the Indulgers continue to seek the proper mixture between now and then. And that's the story behind the seemingly dyslexic title. Like Bass floating on Guinness, the idea is to turn things upside down and inside out, according to McCarron, who speaks both English and Irish-the Bass and Guinness of languages.

"...For years it's watched men gather/For centuries to find/The tan and black that is our life/Nature's great divide," goes "The Legend of Tan & Black," the mystical, intro/spective written by McCarron. "The time that's long forgotten/As waves wash virgin shores/The island enchanted/Breathing its legends, its tales, its lore." It's a rather traditional, spoken word launch to the album, which mid-way through cuts into "Tan & Black," the polar opposite of the intro. A grinding, blues-rock guitar arrangement mixes with a screechy fiddle riff that feeds into the first verse, about frustrations regarding unemployment. "Tan and black/Baby what do you think of me/Don't look back/Tan and black," howls the chorus before dropping into a crunchy guitar solo.

Tan & Black is shaken, not stirred, a cocktail of the Irish and American, the old and new-a cascading stout of Denver and Dublin and points in-between best served at room temperature.

-P.W. Miller

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