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Concert Review

Corinne Callen

CMJ

By toksala

October 26, 2009

Corinne Callen and Gulf of Michigan

From our reviewer Nathan Halpern, a sum-up of Corinne Callen & Gulf of Michigan at the Delancey last week. The October 21st performance was a part of CMJ’s week of musical mayhem.

Corinne Callen made a special CMJ appearance Wednesday night at the Delancey, moonlighting from NYC pop-punk mavens “Le Mood,” with whom she normally appears. With her sweet country-pop style, sunny blond tresses, and laid back stage presence, Callen evoked the specter of the lovelorn singer-songwriters who populated Los Angeles in the 1970s. Her lovely vocal lines drew on classic melodic tropes that proved none the worse for wear in her capable hands. While she didn’t quite transform the Delancey into the Troubador, she still delivered a poignant taste of sun-bleached wistfulness to the Lower East Side this night. (Listen on her MySpace.)

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Gulf of Michigan

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Gulf of Michigan

Corinne was followed by the decidedly more raucous Gulf of Michigan. Since releasing their debut EP two years ago, this crew of southern transplants has drastically expanded its sound. The gnarled, masculine guitar-rock of yore remains, but has grown to incorporate elements of country and southern gothic. Lead singer JD Elliot played acoustic guitar and banjo, and sang in a gruff, burly voice, most assuredly inspired by Tom Waits. The presence of additional southern signifiers (electric upright bass and a bit of fiddle) further underscored their sonic return to the swamps. The convoluted acoustics of the room sometimes found the drums dwarfing the rest of the band. But on the softer numbers, The Gulf of Michigan displayed the great range of potential in their new sound. (Check out their MySpace.)

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