Music Reviews


Low Glider Bus Rider


A poor metaphor but a metaphor nonetheless: imagine packing a bowl with the collected musical heritage of America in the 20th Century. This would include all the works of music from jazz to funk and punk to rap, as well as folk songs and dustbowl protest songs. Imagine sucking this in to your lungs until you start choking, and as you exhale and the smoke whirls in tiny whorls and eddies, blue-grey cascading across the room, there is a rough approximation of the music of Blume. On this release, styles shift and musical idioms are embraced recklessly and then tossed away by the time of the next track. The center around which these musical styles revolve is the work of lead singer Joel Blum. Blum carries the weight of pulling this all off with his relentless and effortless acoustic guitar playing as well as a core of like-minded musicians who assist him. Jill Bartyzal provides a component of the rhythm section on fretless bass (and other instruments) and B.T. on the drum set. Everything is fair game here, and at various times a trumpet, mandolin, and even the Jew’s harp is utilized to great effect. While the casual use of styles might be unsettling to some listeners, the more adventurous times will be well rewarded by unearthing this release by Blume. The use of various styles in lesser hands would be a clear sign of being a musical dilettante but Blume is able to mix these various elements into a satisfying whole without sounding like an amateur.

Blume, 974 Island Lake Avenue, St Paul, MN 55126; 612 608-3083,

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